Special Interest Groups Stand in the Way of Cellphone Radiation Warnings

by Matt Klassen on April 5, 2011

One of the most important ongoing debates in the modern mobile market surrounds the health effects of the modern cellphone. On the one hand, you have regulatory bodies like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) telling the public that no studies conclusively show that cellphones are bad for your brain, while on the other hand you have an increasingly large pool of doctors, scientists, and other health professionals warning of the negative effects that weak electromagnetic signals have on the brain and the body, studies that should have us all rethinking our mobile lifestyle.

But if cellphones really are bad for us, why haven’t we been warned? Sure we’ve heard about the debate, but all governmental bodies are still telling us that the radiation effects from modern cellphones are negligible. Perhaps the reason we haven’t heard about these negative repercussions in any sort of formal way is that like many other technologies that could help or hinder humanity, special interest groups stand in the way.

In fact, as one American city discovered, warning mobile customers about the risks cellphones pose to our physiology is not only bad for business in the mobile sector, its downright unconstitutional.

It may come as a shock to you that cellphones have never been subject to any sort of health regulations since their inception several decades ago. The assumption was that with such a weak signal emanating from the phone, it wouldn’t have any negative effects on the human body. Well, those assumptions are clearly wrong.

Increasingly the mainstream health sector is getting on board with studies that demonstrably show that even weak signals pulsing from a cellphone can alter our brain’s chemical makeup and negatively affect our health.

In fact, recently the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported findings that simply placing a turned-on cellphone next to one’s ear for less than an hour caused significant changes in the brain’s chemistry. Sure you won’t find a tumour there the first day you talk on your phone, but be assured; your phone isn’t doing your body any favours.

Even before these studies starting rolling out, one city in particular had taken it upon itself to warn its citizens of the possible health affects of the modern cellphone. After a lengthy public discussion process, the San Francisco municipal government passed a law that required mobile retailers to distribute literature with each cellphone sold, warning the user about the radiation a phone emits and the impact digital pulses have on the human body.

Further, retailers were required to post the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), the rate at which energy is absorbed by the body when exposed to a radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic field, of each phone sold.

Well, it looks like such warnings are unconstitutional, at least according to the CTIA, who is now suing the San Francisco government for breaching the First Amendment, as apparently telling retailers to warn their customers contravenes free speech. The CTIA’s basic claim, as spokesperson John Walls explains, is that you cannot force retailers to distribute said warnings. “You can’t compel speech,” he said. “Telling retailers to give out that information violates the First Amendment.”

Whether or not the CTIA’s claim has any merit in regards to violating the First Amendment, with such support from the health care sector it may not matter. Heck, look at a package of cigarettes today and you’ll see more mandatory consumer health warnings than you know what to do with, meaning that hopefully its just a matter of time before we all start hearing more about the affects of cellphone radiation.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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The Buzz around the Negative Effects of Cellphones on the Natural World — TheTelecomBlog.com
August 16, 2012 at 5:39 am

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Jordan Richardson April 6, 2011 at 4:09 am

What Dr. Nora Volkow notes is an increase in the metabolism of glucose in the brain near the location of the cell phone antenna. In the interview linked in your article, the doctor says “we don’t expect it (the increased metabolism of glucose) to have any harmful effects.”

And further, in response to a question, Dr. Volkow says “What it (the study) does say to us is that the human brain is sensitive to these electromagnetic radiation. That it is sensitive. Whether these had any negative consequences in the way that it’s affected or not, that is something that needs to be properly evaluated.”

The interest in potential long-term effects and the answer, far from a conclusive assurance of “negative” impact, is unknown. We simply don’t know enough about the long-term effects of cell phone use. Any studies that have been done that approach the issue have been inconclusive at best (the 13-nation INTERPHONE project, for instance) in terms of discovering long-term effects. The WHO says that there is no “convincing evidence” for health effects from cell phones. In fact, the vast majority of reputable, peer-reviewed research out there still shows no evidence of a causative relationship between cell phone radiation and negative health effects. That may change with the passage of time, but it may not.

So when you say “be assured; your phone isn’t doing your body any favours,” there really isn’t any evidence to back that up. And when you add Dr. Volkow in with the “pool of doctors, scientists and health professionals” that state the “negative effects,” you must have missed Dr. Volkow’s conclusions (again from your linked interview):

“…as reiterated, in our conclusion at this point, we do not know what the clinical significance of this particular finding is, both with respect of potential therapeutic effects of this type of technology but also of potential negative consequences from cell phone exposure.”

I’d also quibble slightly with your suggestion that there have been no health regulations placed on cell phones. Both the FCC (radio-frequency exposure standards) and Health Canada (Safety Code 6) regulate how much radiation can be distributed from a cell phone and set limits accordingly.

On the corporate side, the wireless industry certainly has a vested interest in keeping warnings off of cell phones. There’s no telling how much such things would impact sales, if at all, but I’m sure it’s a risk they don’t want to take. They only care about their bottom line, of course, and they’d fight against labels even if it was revealed that cell phones cause instantaneous tumours the size of golf balls. By no means should their actions or reactions serve as a barometer of the facts.

Chris February 2, 2012 at 11:00 am

The World Health Organization (WHO), the International Cancer Research Center and the European Community have all now recognized that cellphone radiation can cause cancer.

But there is a solution – the EMF-Bioshield®TEL device

This device’s effectiveness has been tested by several international research entities, who have all shown that it eliminates the harmful biological effects of dangerous cellphone radiation. It has also won several international awards.

For more info see: emf-bioshieldtel.com

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