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Consumer Information on Wireless Phones

Wireless phones are hand-held phones with built-in antennas, often called cell, mobile, cellular or PCS phones. These phones are popular with callers because they can be carried easily anywhere in the world.

Wireless phones are two-way radios. When you talk, it picks up your voice and converts the sound to radio frequency energy or radio waves. The radio waves travel all through the air until they reach a receiver at a nearby base station.

The base station then sends your call through the phone network until it reaches the person you are calling. The message travels through the telephone network until it reaches a base station close to your cellular wireless phone.

Then the base station sends out radio waves that are detected by a receiver in your telephone, where the signals are changed back into the sound of a voice. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) each regulate wireless phones.

FCC ensures that all wireless phones sold in the United States follow safety guidelines that limit radio frequency (RF) energy. FDA monitors the health effects of wireless phones. Each agency has the authority to take action if a wireless telephone produces hazardous levels of RF energy.

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