Health, Nutrition & Fitness

Belgium Adopts New Regulations to Promote Cell Phone Radiation Safety


Dr. Joel M. Moskowitz reports on recent legislation regarding cell phone radiation in Belgium.

According to the Federal Public Service, beginning in March, 2014, new regulations will apply to the sale of mobile phones in Belgium. Children’s mobile phones will be banned. The specific absorption rate (SAR) for every mobile phone must be listed at the point of sale and the following warning must be provided to customers:

“Think about your health – use your mobile phone moderately, make your calls wearing an earpiece and choose a set with a lower SAR value.”

The Belgian government’s additional recommendations include use of other hands-free methods to keep the phone away from the body such as text messaging, and not making calls when the signal is weak, such as in an elevator or in a moving vehicle.

All cell phones will be labeled with the letter A, B, C, D, or E, corresponding to the phone’s specific absorption rating, or SAR, which is a measure of the maximum amount of energy deposited in an adult user’s brain during a short phone call.

“A” indicates a SAR less than 0.4 watts/kilogram (w/kg), “B” from 0.4 to less than 0.8 w/kg, “C” from 0.8 to less than 1.2 w/kg, “D” from 1.2 to less than 1.6 w/kg, and “E” more than 1.6 w/kg.

Although phones sold in the U.S. cannot currently exceed 1.6 w/kg and are measured in a different manner than in Europe, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering weakening the U.S. standard and adopting the European or international standard which was developed by a private organization called ICNIRP. The multinational Telecom Industry has lobbied to weaken our protections in the interest of global “harmonization.” This policy change is strongly opposed by numerous consumer groups, environmental groups, medical professionals and health scientists in the U.S. who have advocated for stronger regulations, not weaker ones, to protect public health.

In 2010, the city of San Francisco adopted a cell phone “right to know” law that is similar to the Belgian Government’s new regulations, but after a lengthy legal battle in the Federal courts with the Telecom Industry, the city repealed the law earlier this year.

The new regulations by the Belgian government are in response to the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) declaration that radio frequency radiation is “possibly carcinogenic” based upon research that finds increased risk of brain cancer due to intensive use of a mobile phone.

Since the IARC declared that cell phone radiation is “possibly carcinogenic” in May, 2011, more evidence of brain cancer risk has been published in the peer-reviewed, scientific literature. The latest study by Lennart Hardell and colleagues in Sweden finds a three-fold increased risk of brain cancer after 25 years of cell phone and cordless phone use.

The American public needs to learn about the risks of using wireless devices and how to use them safely; otherwise, we may face a major public health crisis in the ensuing decades with the proliferation of these devices in our society.

The English translation of the Belgian government’s press release along with supporting materials are available on my Electromagnetic Radiation Safety web site at:

The supporting materials include sections covering frequently asked questions, general information about cell phone and other types of electromagnetic radiation, child leukemia, and electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Although some of the information is misleading in my opinion, it is worth examining.

Reprinted with author’s permission from

About the author

Joel M. Moskowitz

Dr. Joel M. Moskowitz has been the Director of the Center for Family and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, since 1993. He and his colleagues published a review of the research on mobile phone use and tumor risk in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2009. Since then, he has been writing and lecturing about the health effects of exposure to wireless radiation and strategies to reduce potential harm. His web site, Electromagnetic Radiation Safety contains numerous resources on this topic.

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