The Wall Street Journal is the latest major publication to address the issue of Cell Phone Radiation and the potential adverse health effects. They reached out to EMF expert and UC Berkeley Professor, Dr. Joel Moskowitz for his input which you can read below.
Should Cell Phones Have Warning Labels?
"Consumer products from toothpaste to stepladders come with obvious safety-warning labels. Why shouldn’t cellphones?
Cellphone use in the U.S. has mushroomed over the past two decades. But the industry falls seriously short in its efforts to provide cellphone users with information about the health risks associated with their choices and ways they can minimize possible harm.
Exposure to radio-frequency, or RF, radiation is a major risk of cellphone use. Manufacturers have a legal duty to provide warnings that are clear and conspicuous when products raise health and safety concerns. But, typically, RF safety instructions are buried in user manuals with tiny print, hidden within smartphones, or made available on the Internet.
There have been numerous calls for clearer warnings. The Environmental Working Group and 11 other consumer groups in 2013 submitted a letter to the Federal Communications Commission calling for better disclosure about the risks of RF emissions.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, representing 60,000 physicians, submitted a similar letter. Consumer Reports in 2015 recommended that cellphone manufacturers “prominently display advice on steps that cellphone users can take to reduce exposure to cellphone radiation.”
While the research is not conclusive, higher-quality studies show that mobile-phone use is associated with brain-tumor risk and reproductive harm. In 2011, for example, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC,declared RF radiation “possibly carcinogenic” based on evidence of increased brain-tumor risk.
By 2016, we have evidence from more than a dozen epidemiological studies that heavy cellphone users, usually over long periods, 10 years or more, face increased risk of malignant and nonmalignant brain tumors.
The U.S. incidence of nonmalignant brain tumors has increased in recent years, especially among adolescents and young adults. It’s unlikely the increase was entirely due to improved detection because, according to one review, we would expect to see a plateau, then a reduction in incidence, which has not occurred.
The most serious type of brain cancer has increased in parts of the brain near where people hold their phones. Observations that overall increases in brain cancer were not seen after the introduction of cellphones merely serve to illustrate that there can be a considerable lag between exposure to a carcinogen and the cancer’s diagnosis.
Skeptics about the risks of cellphones often cite studies that are flawed. They ignore evidence in a 2014 review of 10 studies associating exposure to cellphones with reductions in sperm motility and viability. And while some have argued that the IARC did not have adequate evidence to classify RF radiation as “possibly carcinogenic,” the IARC is considered the gold standard for making such determinations.
Last year, 220 scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on the effects of electromagnetic fields signed an appeal to governments to strengthen consumer disclosure and RF radiation standards citing “numerous recent scientific publications” showing effects of such fields on living organisms.
As for people who claim there is no mechanism to explain how cellphones cause cancer, in 93 out of 100 laboratory studies, low-intensity RF radiation was found to cause a cellular-stress response which can lead to carcinogenicity.
Insurers are paying attention. Lloyd’s, the London insurance market, in a 2010 report on emerging risks, took no position on whether cellphones cause harm, but warned that scientific and legal developments could change the insurance climate, as occurred with asbestos.
Similarly, Swiss Re AG in 2013 identified “unforeseen consequences of electromagnetic fields” as a leading risk for the industry. Concerns about the cost of potential claims against the cellphone industry have led some insurers to exclude coverage for claims related to electromagnetic fields in their commercial general liability policies.
Even before we had scientific consensus about the public health threat from tobacco, Congress mandated warning labels on cigarettes in 1965.
The public has a right to know that cellphone radiation exposure can be reduced by keeping devices away from the head and body, and by using a speakerphone, wired headset, or text messaging."
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