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Cell phone industry to publish radiation data

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July 17, 2000
Web posted at: 3:37 p.m. EDT (1937 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The U.S. cellular telephone industry will start publishing information on the amount of radiation that enters users' heads when they use various wireless phones.

CNNfn has learned that the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association is going to require manufacturers to submit data -- called SARs for Specific Absorbed Radiation -- starting August 1. The move is a policy shift for the CTIA.

Manufacturers who want to be certified by the CTIA will need to submit the information, which is expected to start reaching the public in three to six months.

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The information will be included in the product literature inside cell phone boxes. How to read the data is not yet clear, but customers will be able to compare SARs on different cell phones.

The industry, however, continues to maintain that all cell phones sold in the United States meet government regulations and are safe.

For years the CTIA has said the radiation numbers would lead to a "meaningless beauty contest" and would confuse the public.

Louis Slesin, editor and publisher of Microwave News, told CNNfn that there was a lot of pressure from customers.

"The public wants to know, and a couple of months ago a blue ribbon panel set up by the British government said outright this information should be on the box. So there is growing pressure worldwide to make this information available to consumers," he said.

Prudential Securities Analyst Chris Larsen said the industry should learn from cigarette manufacturers.

"Why not come out front and say ... here is the information you need to make a decision. We don't know if it's bad or not, but here's the information. We'll be as up front as possible because apparently not being up front has hurt the tobacco companies," Larsen told CNNfn.

CTIA President Tom Wheeler was unavailable for comment, but several sources confirmed the policy shift.

The largest U.S. cell phone manufacturer, Motorola, stands to gain if the public chooses cell phones with low SAR numbers because its StarTac line of phones has produced some of the lowest reported SAR numbers.

There was no immediate comment from Motorola.

Correspondent Steve Young contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
FDA to participate in study on mobile phones
June 9, 2000
Cellular cool
May 30, 2000

RELATED SITES:
Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association
Microwave News
PrudentialSecurities.com - Home
Motorola, Inc.
FDA: Consumer Update on Mobile Phones
Food & Drug Administration on Cell Phone Safety
WOW-COM's World of Wireless Communications
Pacemaker patients - Use the cell phone, but with caution
Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones

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