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Call for Action to Reduce Harm from Mobile Phone Radiation
The European Environment Agency published a major report today to alert governments about the need to attend to early warning signs about technology health risks, including mobile phones.
Brain tumor risk associated with cell phone use is addressed in one of the report's chapters. (2) The report highlights the classification of this form of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) as "possibly carcinogenic"
The research that has found increased brain tumor risk associated with long term mobile phone use is reviewed. The authors note that governments and industry have been slow to respond to the WHO’s precautionary warnings and urges policy makers to respond to early warnings more quickly. It argues that industries that cause future harm must pay for the damage and suggests that taking early precautions can stimulate rather than stifle innovation.
The report accuses the mobile phone industry of “inertia in considering the various studies and taking the IARC carcinogenic classification into account,” criticizes the media for not “providing the public with robust and consistent information on potential health risks,” and attacks governments for shirking “their responsibilities to protect public health from this widespread source of radiation.”
Although the report acknowledges the many benefits of mobile phones to society, it recommends the need for precautionary actions to reduce cell phone radiation exposures to minimize the extent and seriousness of the risks to the brain and other organs.
The report makes four specific recommendations about cell phones:
a. Governments, the mobile phone industry, and the public should take all reasonable measures to reduce EMR exposure, especially from mobile phones, particularly exposure to children and young adults who are likely most at risk for brain and salivary gland tumors. The report recommends texting, use of hands-free sets, and improved design of phones which generate less radiation and make hands-free use more convenient.
b. Governments should reconsider the scientific basis for the present exposure standards “which have serious limitations such as reliance on the contested thermal effects paradigm; and simplistic assumptions about the complexities of radio frequency exposures.”
c. Mobile phones should be required to have effective labeling and warnings about potential risks for users.
d. Adequate funding should be provided for the “urgently needed research into the health effects of phones” and base stations. Funding could include industry grants and a small fee on the purchase and/or use of mobile phones.
It is time for the U.S. to end its two decades of denial and assume a leadership role in adopting precautionary measures to reduce the potential harms associated with exposure to mobile phone radiation. Otherwise we may face a steep price in terms of preventable health care costs, lost productivity, and reduced quality of life. A nickel a month collected on each cell phone subscription would generate sufficient funds for the U.S. to undertake the needed training and research to head off this potential epidemic. (3)
For more information about the health risks of cell phone radiation and other forms of EMR see the new BioInitiative Report at http://www.bioinitiative.org. and my web site at http://saferemr.com .
(1) “The cost of ignoring the warning signs - EEA publishes ‘Late Lessons from Early Warnings, volume II’ “
New technologies have sometimes had very harmful effects, but in many cases the early warning signs have been suppressed or ignored. The second volume of Late Lessons from Early Warnings investigates specific cases where danger signals have gone unheeded, in some cases leading to deaths, illness and environmental destruction.
News Release, European Environment Agency, Jan 23, 2013. URL:
(2) Lennart Hardell, Michael Carlberg, and David Gee. “Mobile phone use and brain tumour risk: early warnings, early actions?” Chapter 21 in Part C-Emerging Issues. “Late lessons from early warnings: science, precaution, innovation.”
Part C: http://www.eea.europa.eu/
The full 750 page report is available at http://www.eea.europa.eu/
(3) Joel M. Moskowitz. "Comments on the 2012 GAO Report: 'Exposure and Testing Requirements for Mobile Phones Should Be Reassessed.'”
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
Page Updated Last on: Oct 25, 2013