Sep 15, 2015
Dr. Jerrold Bushberg, one of two experts interviewed for this article in the New York Times has consulted for the CTIA, the telecom industry lobbying organization in the U.S., since at least the year 2000 (1). More recently, Dr. Bushberg has represented cell tower companies in many local hearings. Why didn't the Times disclose his conflicts of interest?
Moreover, why didn't the Times interview one of the many researchers who are not in denial about the health effects from exposure to low-intensity, non-thermal levels of cell phone radiation?
(1) Reily Gregson, "Health-related lawsuits on front burner," RCR Wireless, July 31, 2000. http://www.rcrwireless.com/20000731/carriers/health-related-lawsuits-on-front-burner.
July 30, 2015
Press Release, Environmental Health Trust, Jul 30, 2015
"The Berkeley ordinance simply gives the public its constitutionally protected right to information currently buried in fine print."http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2629494
July 27, 2015
Paul Brodeur, a former staff writer for The New Yorker who has published numerous books on occupational and environmental health hazards, posted an article today on the Huffington Post entitled, "Leave It to the New York Times."
Mr Brodeur cites the recent article in the New York Times by Carol Pogash as the most recent example of the newspaper's long-standing bias in its reporting about the health effects of exposure to low-intensity microwave radiation from cell phones and other wireless devices.
July 25, 2015
Mitchell Shapiro of the Quello Center at Michigan State University posted a commentary that criticizes the New York Times' coverage of the Berkeley cell phone "right to know" ordinance, "NYT Buries Lead, Muddies Water on EMF Health Issue."
He also sent a message to Margaret Sullivan, the Public Editor at the New York Times, in which he recommends that the author of the article, Carol Pogash, needs to review the research on EMF health impacts.
July 24, 2015
Following is a letter from Drs. Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg to the New York Times. Drs. Hardell and Carlberg arguably are the leading epidemiologists in the world who study brain tumor risk from wireless phone use.
I wrote the earlier posts below (July 21-22).
Since then more studies have been published that strengthen the association between use of wireless phones (mobile and cordless phones) and increased risk for brain tumours. We have performed long-term research in this area and in the following we give a short up-dated summary of our findings based on research since the 1990’s. In our publications relevant information can be found also on other studies, as well as discussions of the current scientific evidence.
July 24, 2015
The lead paragraph of the New York Times article published today, “Cellphone Ordinance Puts Berkeley at Forefront of Radiation Debate," reveals the paper’s bias:
“Leave it to Berkeley: This city, which has led the nation in passing all manner of laws favored by the left, has done it again. This time, the city passed a measure — not actually backed by science — requiring cellphone stores to warn customers that the products could be hazardous to their health, presumably by emitting dangerous levels of cancer-causing radiation.”
The Berkeley ordinance was written by Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig and Yale Law Professor and Dean Robert Post to withstand legal challenges from the CTIA—The Wireless Association because this industry association threatened the City with a law suit even before the ordinance was drafted.
The case was heard by Federal District Judge William Alsup. Judge Alsup ruled that the ordinance was intrusive as it required cell phone retailers to label cell phones, post a warning in their stores, and provide consumers with a fact sheet. However, the Judge decided it was legal to require cell phone retailers to provide customers with a fact sheet as long as the facts were not controversial.
"You can limit exposure to Radio-frequency (RF) Energy from your cell phone."
"Although all cell phones sold in the United States must comply with RF safety limits set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), no safety study has ever ruled out the possibility of human harm from RF exposure."
“RF Energy has been classified by the World Health Organization as a possible carcinogen rather than as a known carcinogen or a probable carcinogen) and studies continue to assess the potential health effects of cell phones. If you are concerned about potential health effects from cell phone RF Energy, the City of San Francisco recommends:”
” limiting cell phone use by children ...”
“using a headset, speakerphone, or text ...”
“using belt clips and purses to keep distance between your phone and body ...”
“avoiding cell phones in areas with weak signals ...”
“reducing the number and length of calls ...”
In 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed this ruling in an unpublished opinion. After a two-year legal battle, the City lost the political will to defend its law. Nonetheless, according to the San Francisco Department of the Environment, "San Francisco believes the Ninth Circuit's opinion is deeply flawed, but the City is bound by that opinion ...."
A Cell phone retailer shall provide to each customer who buys or leases a Cell phone a notice containing the following language:
"The City of Berkeley requires that you be provided the following notice:
To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. This potential risk is greater for children.
Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely."
Although the Berkeley ordinance does not address the science, more than 200 scientists recently signed a petition calling for precaution in using cell phones and other wireless devices and the need for stronger wireless radiation regulations.
The nation needs more cities like Berkeley and San Francisco willing to challenge the status quo to protect public health and promote the public interest.
For more information about the ordinance and links to media coverage see http://bit.ly/berkeleycellordinance. The text of the ordinance is available at http://bit.ly/Bklyordinance.
July 21, 2015
In my opinion, the story that the New York Times will publish tomorrow in its print edition about the Berkeley cell phone ordinance is a travesty if it reads like the online article it published today, "Cellphone Ordinance Puts Berkeley at Forefront of Radiation Debate."
Ms. Pogash informed me that she was not interested in the science. I responded positively as the ordinance is really not about the science (although the CTIA wants to argue the science). The Berkeley cell phone "right to know" ordinance is simply a consumer disclosure law which brings to the consumer's attention the cell phone manufacturers' safety information that the FCC mandates manufacturers provide to consumers.
Throughout our conversation, Ms. Pogash requested several times that I not provide additional information as she could only write 1,000-1,200 words. I did share with her my concerns that the Times may publish a biased article. These concerns stemmed from the few pieces that the paper published on wireless radiation. I mentioned how the Times treated Nick Bilton's column in March ( "Wireless Technology Health Risks --The New York Times Fuels the Debate").
After our conversation I emailed Ms. Pogash several messages over the next week as I was concerned that she might change her mind and write about the science. I offered to discuss the science with her and sent her the following links which I thought were most relevant to the Berkeley cell phone ordinance:
International EMF Scientist Appeal
Doctors Caution Pregnant Women About Wireless Radiation Health Risks
Gandhi, Om. Yes the Children are more exposed to radio-frequency energy from mobile telephones than adults. IEEE Spectrum. PP(99):1. Jun 23, 2015.
"Captured agency: How the Federal Communications Commission is dominated by the industries it presumably regulates”
Why did the New York Times publish such a biased review of the science today in the article that is linked to below? Is this just poor journalism or does the Times have conflicts of interest in covering this topic?
This biased article appeared in print on July 24, 2015, on page A14 of the New York edition with an unbiased headline: "Berkeley Offers Safety Guidance on Carrying Phones."