Thursday, January 2, 2020

Wireless Radiation Safety: 2019 Year in Review

The four top wireless safety stories in 2019 were ...

1) widespread public opposition to the rollout of 5G;
2) revision of national and international radio frequency radiation exposure limits, and 
3) cell phones that exceed the safety limits.
4) Berkeley's cell phone "right to know" law survives 2nd U.S. Supreme Court challenge

5G Deployment

The fifth generation of cellphone technology, 5G, was launched this year with fanfare and considerable hype. Hundreds of scientists and medical doctors opposed the rollout of this new technology due to the absence of safety testing.

Thousands of wireless safety advocates in the U.S. and many other nations have organized opposition to the deployment of this technology which requires installation of millions of “small cell” antennas.

In addition to microwaves, in many countries 5G for the first time will expose the population and environment to millimeter waves from cell antennas in their neighborhoods as well as a new generation of wireless devices.

Devra Davis. 5G: The Unreported Global Threat. Medium, May 18, 2019.

Joel Moskowitz. We Have No Reason to Believe 5G is Safe. Scientific American, October 17, 2019.

For more information see:

Radio Frequency Radiation Exposure Limits Revised by the ICNIRP and the FCC

This year the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed revised safety limits for radio frequency radiation (RFR) exposure that ignore or dismiss most of the research published since the original guidelines were adopted in the 1990's. The revised exposure limits fail to regulate low intensity RFR exposures that have been found to cause harm to humans and other species in hundreds of peer-reviewed studies.

ICNIRP and the FCC have long-standing conflicts of interest with the telecommunications industry. 

More than 240 scientists who have published over 2,000 papers and letters in professional journals on electromagnetic fields believe that national and international RFR exposure limits are inadequate to protect human health.

As part of a project called, “The 5G Mass Experiment,” Investigate Europe, a team of investigative journalists from the European Union (EU), examined the risks of deployment of 5G and the adequacy of electromagnetic field (EMF) safety guidelines promoted by the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). 

The journalists published sixteen articles about the ICNIRP "cartel" in newspapers and magazines in eight EU countries including France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. The articles reported conflicts of interest among members of the ICNIRP and efforts to bias national reviews of the health effects of RFR.

Investigate Europe. The 5G mass experiment. January 13, 2019.

Joel Moskowitz.The ICNIRP cartel and the 5G mass experiment. March 15, 2019.

Investigate Europe. Mobile phones and health: Is 5G being rolled out too fast? Computer Weekly, April 2019.

Louis Slesin. Will WHO Kick Its ICNIRP Habit? Non-Thermal Effects Hang in the Balance. Microwave News, November 4, 2019.

For more information see:

Cell Phone Testing in the U.S. and France

A year-long investigation by the Chicago Tribune found that some popular cell phones purchased over-the-counter including the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 failed the FCC's safety test when tested following the manufacturers' recommended separation distance from the body of 5-15 millimeters. Many phones failed the test when kept close to the body resembling how most people use their phones. Following the publication of this study, three legal firms filed a class action lawsuit against Apple and Samsung.

In December, the FCC completed an investigation which found that the phones it sampled passed the FCC safety test. However, the FCC used different procedures than the Tribune. Most of the FCC's phones were provided by the manufacturers along with software and ancillary equipment for testing. Moreover, the FCC did not test phones next to the body.

Marc Arazi, Devra Davis, Annie Sasco. Scientists call for the recall of millions of mobile phones. Press release. Paris, June 28, 2018

FCC. Results of Tests on Cell Phone RF Exposure Compliance. Office of Engineering and Technology. December 19, 2019.

For more information see:

Berkeley's Cell Phone "Right to Know' Law Survives 2nd Supreme Court Challenge

In a major victory for consumer rights and public health, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a free speech challenge filed by the CTIA--The Wireless Association against the City of Berkeley's"cell phone right to know law."

Thus, the ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the law is constitutional enables the city to continue to enforce its ordinance which requires cell phone retailers to notify prospective customers about cell phone manufacturers' safety guidelines to ensure consumer safety. The ordinance was adopted by a unanimous vote of the city council in May, 2015.

In refusing to review the case, the Supreme Court ignored the pleas of six pro-business organizations that submitted amicus briefs in support of the CTIA's position.

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