Did you know that the FCC now considers your outer ear to be an extremity?
On June 4, 2013, the FCC issued a ruling classifying the outer ear (referred to as “pinna”) where people place their mobile (cell and cordless) phones as an extremity, similar to one’s “hands, wrists, feet and ankles.”
“The Commission. . .amends its rules to subject the pinnae to the same RF exposure limit currently applicable to hands, wrists, feet and ankles.”
This reclassification of one of our body parts will officially go into effect, August 15, 2013. The public has 30 days in which to submit comments.
By making this reclassification for your ear (they wrote they relied on the expert opinion of the FDA and the IEEE, an industry trade group), it will allow the outer ear to fall under a more loose (“less stringent”) RF radiation exposure standard from the rest of your head. The FCC says their ruling will not result in increased radiation exposure even though it legally allows the mobile phone industry to expose our ears, which happen to be attached to our heads, to higher levels of radiation.
The outer ear is within centimeters of our brains and necks. RF exposure has led to increased incidence of brain cancer, thyroid and salivary tumors, among others. Recently published studies, for example, show “that long term use of a cell phone increases the risk of developing [an] acoustic neuroma,” which is a non malignant form of cancer. The acoustic nerve runs from the middle ear to the brain and a “neuroma” is a benign tumor. But though an acoustic neuroma is benign, “it’s, [according to a pathologist I interviewed] in a very sensitive location. It’s very difficult to get out. When you have a neuroma in an arm or leg [a real extremity] it is easy to get to. Not with the head. You have to open up the skull. It’s in a very bad location although it’s benign. You can have partial or total hearing loss.”
An article just published in The Telegraph about cell phone dangers also discusses a patient who had an acoustic neuroma and lost hearing in one ear after using a cell phone, which can be read here.
With all of these vulnerable areas cell and cordless phone radiation is zapping, it’s nice to know that the FCC is doing such a thorough job that it is making this distinction between our outer ears and the rest of our heads, but I think it will be the mobile phone industry, rather than our bodies, which will benefit.