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Health and Safety Information 83
absorption use special phone cases, while others involve nothing
more than a metallic accessory attached to the phone.
Studies have shown that these products generally do not work as
advertised. Unlike "hand-free" kits, these so-called "shields"
may interfere with proper operation of the phone. The phone may
be forced to boost its power to compensate, leading to an
increase in RF absorption. In February 2002, the Federal trade
Commission (FTC) charged two companies that sold devices that
claimed to protect wireless phone users from radiation with
making false and unsubstantiated claims.
According to FTC, these defendants lacked a reasonable basis to
substantiate their claim.
What about wireless phone interference with
Radio frequency energy (RF) from wireless phones can interact
with some electronic devices. For this reason, FDA helped
develop a detailed test method to measure electromagnetic
interference (EMI) of implanted cardiac pacemakers and
defibrillators from wireless telephones. This test method is now
part of a standard sponsored by the Association for the
Advancement of Medical instrumentation (AAMI). The final draft,
a joint effort by FDA, medical device manufacturers, and many
other groups, was completed in late 2000. This standard will
allow manufacturers to ensure that cardiac pacemakers and
defibrillators are safe from wireless phone EMI. FDA has tested
wireless phones and helped develop a voluntary standard
sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
(IEEE). This standard specifies test methods and performance
requirements for hearing aids and wireless phones so that no
interference occurs when a person uses a compatible phone and
a compatible hearing aid at the same time. This standard was
approved by the IEEE in 2000.
FDA continues to monitor the use of wireless phones for possible
interactions with other medical devices. Should harmful
interference be found to occur, FDA will conduct testing to assess
the interference and work to resolve the problem.
Additional information on the safety of RF exposures from various
sources can be obtained from the following organizations
FCC RF Safety Program:
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA):
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):