Southern California environment news and trends

FCC moving towards first review of mobile phone radiation standards in 15 years

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If you’ve ever wondered what if any affect the radiation from your mobile phone/device has on the human body, pressures are mounting for the FCC to find out. As reported by Bloomberg, Julius Genachowski, the Federal Communications Commission’s director, has proposed that the agency review its safety standards regarding mobile-phone radiation, the first such review since 1996, when the initial standards were set. Considering the vast advancements in mobile phone technology (not to mention the increased number of users) over the past 15 years, some would say such a review is long overdue.

“I’d say it’s taken this long for a new review to happen because of pressure from the cell phone industry,” said Renee Sharp, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group when reached by phone. “They’ve actually been lobbying to have the standards weakened, if you can believe it. They’re a very powerful group. We’re almost certain that they made sure the U.S. wasn’t part of Interphone, which is an international effort to begin asking the question could cell-phone radiation be causing brain tumors.”

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New report ranks the cleanest — and most toxic — fruits and vegetables

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There has been much debate in the news of late regarding genetically modified foods (GMO), particularly in terms of identifying and for many, simply avoiding said produce. Here in California, the controversy has resulted in the Right to Know initiative landing on the November ballot. If passed, it would the first law in the country requiring labeling on all GMO food.

Pesticides are another area of controversy when it comes to produce, such as the current debates in California’s strawberry industry over fumigants. Treehugger has reported on the Environmental Working Group’s recent release of the eighth “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” which ranks the pesticide load of 45 commonly consumed fruits and veggies. The numbers are culled from pesticide residue testing data from the US Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration.

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