(Lloyd Burrell, Contributor) Tom Wheeler, former head of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) and frontrunner nominee to become the next Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), allegedly suppressed and biased research from the nation’s largest cell phone health research project while he served as head of the CTIA.
Timing critical – safety standards under review
Wheeler’s nomination comes at a critical time. The FCC is responsible for setting the U.S. safety standards that are supposed to protect people from radiation emitted by cell phones, cell towers and other wireless technologies. These safety standards, widely considered to offer little protection to the general public, are currently under review.
Earlier this year, the BioInitiative Working Group, a body of 29 independent scientists and health experts from 10 countries, launched a scathing attack on the inadequacy of the current standards. The report’s authors, re-iterating their position as published five years earlier, concluded, “The clear consensus of the BioInitiative Working Group members is that the existing public safety limits are inadequate for both ELF (extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields) and RF (radio frequency radiation).”
Growing calls for improved wireless safety standards
A growing number of public health bodies are asking that the current wireless safety standards be reviewed. In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as a Group 2B possible carcinogen. Doctors groups are sounding the alarm. In its 2012 position paper, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine stated, “Multiple studies correlate RF exposure with diseases such as cancer, neurological disease, reproductive disorders, immune dysfunction, and electromagnetic hypersensitivity.”
Similarly, the International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE) and Irish Doctors Environmental Association (IDEA) state that “there is sufficient scientific evidence to warrant more stringent controls on the level and distribution of electromagnetic radiation.”
Tom Wheeler’s poor track record in protecting the public interest
In 1993, a gentleman named David Reynard appeared on the Larry King Show announcing he was suing the wireless industry. Mr. Reynard alleged that the fatal brain tumor suffered by his late-wife had been caused by cell phone radiation. The deceased woman’s doctor gave a vivid and visual demonstration using an x-ray of the tumor showing that the location of the tumor corresponded exactly with the location of the cell phone’s antenna.
The public’s fears were aroused, Telecoms shares took a hit and the cell phone industry started looking for solutions. In his capacity as president for the wireless industry’s trade association, Wheeler struck a deal with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The industry would fund and conduct a major study on the safety of cell phones; in return, the FDA would agree not to regulate cell phones until this research was complete.
A $28 million research program was set up and funded by mobile phone carriers and manufacturers from 1993 to 1999 with the epidemiologist, Dr. George Carlo, at its head. According to the industry publication, RCR Wireless News, right from the outset, Wheeler had very clear expectations of what he wanted the research program to show. At a 1993 meeting, when Carlo was asked what he had concluded to date, Wheeler, dissatisfied with Carlo’s reply, spoke up and said, “We need to say phones are safe…”
No more biased research
Enough of the biased research. The public deserves to know about the dangers of wireless and similar technologies in addition to proper protection from them.
Sources for this article include:
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