SOURCE: Environmental Health Trust

January 17, 2011 05:00 ET

Environmental Health Trust Calls for Warning Labels on Cell Phones

Calls on FCC to Mandate Posting of Warnings on New Cell Phones and Develop Technology Based Standards

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - January 17, 2011) -   Environmental Health Trust (EHT), a nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying and controlling environmental health hazards, has called on the US Federal Communications Commission to stop flip-flopping and acknowledge and publicize the risks of cell phone radiation to cell phone users. Specifically, the EHT is urging the FCC to mandate that cell phone manufacturers post safety warnings about microwave radiation on new cell phones sold within the US and require new standards based on lowest feasible levels of microwave radiation.

"In terms of awareness of microwave radiation risks from cell phones, the US is far behind other countries, including Switzerland, Israel, France and Germany," says EHT founder Devra Lee Davis, PhD, MPH. "These nations require cell phone makers to publicize radiation rates directly on phones sold to their citizens, provide special labeling for low radiation phones, and restrict their use by children, who are more vulnerable to radiation. We are asking that the FCC oversee the creation of a new standard for cell phones, based on the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle for exposure to diagnostic radiation."

Dr. Davis also expressed disappointment that the FCC had completely reversed its positions on cell phone radiation since a September 14, 2009 Senate hearing of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, during which Iowa Senator Tom Harkin had promised to investigate the matter. At the EHT sponsored Expert Conference held in parallel with the Senate hearing, experts spoke of growing laboratory and human studies showing damage from cell phone radiation.

After these events, in November 2009, the FCC website included new advice about how to lower radiation:

  • "Use an earpiece or headset."
  • "Use the cell phone speaker."
  • "Consider texting rather than talking."
  • "Buy a wireless device with lower SAR."
  • "If possible, keep wireless devices away from your body when they are on, mainly by not attaching them to belts or carrying them in pockets."

Ellie Marks, EHT's Director of Government & Public Affairs, said that the FCC, far from coming clean on the dangers posed by cell phone radiation, has engaged in an active cover-up in tandem with the cell phone industry. Dr. Davis and Ms. Marks noted that a range of documents on the hazards of cell phone radiation are available on the EHT website, www.ehtrust.org.

Ellie Marks writes, in her blog, that in September 2009, the CTIA was scheduled to speak against proposed new legislation in the small California town of Burlingame affirming the public right to know the SAR values of phones, this advice to buy lower SAR phones that had been on the FCC website for more than a decade in some form or other -- disappeared.

In preparing for the Burlingame city council hearing, Ms. Marks had corresponded with city officials asking how the industry could oppose posting information on the SAR since the FCC website advised lower SAR phones would emit less radiation. Dane Snowden, Vice President of the CTIA and former chief of the Federal Communication Commission's Consumer Information Bureau overseeing the FCC website, informed the hearing that the warning that Ms. Marks referred to in her communication with the city council had been removed less than 24 hours after she had brought these facts to public attention.

Commenting on this bizarre and sudden change to the FCC website, FCC Critic Cynthia Franklin, notes:

"The 'sanitizing' of the consumer cautions occurred right about the time it became apparent that San Francisco's new law (that manufacturers must make public the SAR level for each phone) was going to pass and possibly ignite a national outcry in other places. Environmental Working Group (EWG), a leading consumer watchdog over cell phone safety issues, has recently written, 'The FCC has essentially cut and pasted the wireless industry's position into its revised websites.'"

About Environmental Health Trust
Environmental Health Trust (EHT) educates individuals, health professionals and communities about controllable environmental health risks and policy changes needed to reduce those risks. Current multi-media projects include: local and national campaigns to ban smoking and asbestos; working with international physician and worker safety groups to warn about the risks of inappropriate use of diagnostic radiation and cell phones, exploring what factors lie behind puzzlingly high rates of cancer. With the public's support, EHT can do more work like to help protect the world's brains and bodies. Please join the campaign at www.ehtrust.org.

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