The Tribune conducted its investigation in partnership with researchers at RF Exposure Lab, an FCC accredited lab in California. Researchers there have tested cellphones for 15 years. For this test, they measured 11 different cellphone models.
You can read their original report here and the methodology here.
Below are excerpts of Roe’s answers, edited for length and clarity.
This Study Did Not Find An Increased Risk of Cancer Or Other Harms
We are talking about electromagnetic radiation. This is not like gamma radiation or X-ray radiation. This is further down the spectrum, so it's less dangerous. But having said that, high readings from a cellphone can cause thermal damage. That is well documented. No one disputes that. That's why there's a safety limit.
[Note: According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's website, most studies to date show no connection between health problems and exposure to radiofrequency fields from cellphones. But radiofrequency radiation can damage human tissue at high exposure levels.]
The Tribune Investigation Raises Questions About Federal Rules
The industry is, basically, on the honor system. They choose a lab. By federal rule, the manufacturer must test a phone to ensure that it complies with regulations before taking a new device to market. But the companies only have to test a single device in order to make millions of that phone.
We tested more phones than Apple tested before they put the iPhone 7 on the market.
Federal Standards May Not Be Adequate
The standards are outdated and were issued back in the nineties, when people carried phones in different ways and used them less. I don't think anybody anticipated how integral the smartphone would be to our lives. We use cellphones 24/7, especially kids. This year, Common Sense Media released a study that found that 29 percent of teenagers reported sleeping with their cellphone in bed at night.
There is a Call for These Standards to be Modernized
Officials at the FCC said they are going to buy phones off the shelf, and test them against samples from the manufacturers. The agency shares regulatory responsibility for this issue with the FDA. If the feds find that the phones are out of compliance, they have the power to recall them.