Briefing notes from Cindy Sage, April 8, 2009:
Comment to the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health
on the issue of cell phones, cordless phones and PDAs.
Co-Editor, BioInitiative Report
What the FDA Should Do About Communicating Radiofrequency and Microwave Radiation Wireless and Cell Phone Risks to the Obama Administration
FDA should advise the Obama economic team that ignoring health risks likely to arise from long-term cell phone and cordless phone use will have high economic costs for health care.
FDA should advise the Obama economic stimulus package team that a large financial commitment to wireless broadband is premature, and may result in higher health care costs and costly retrofitting later. Stick with wired broadband solutions.
FDA should assess the potential costs and health risks likely to be associated with broadband over powerline (BPL) , SmartGrid wireless technologies, and mandated use of compact fluorescent bulbs for energy conservation. All pose potential health risks from chronic exposure to low-intensity RF/MW.
What the FDA Should Do About Communicating Wireless Risks to the FCC
FDA should take formal note of the BioInitiative Report and other recent studies that establish the existence of low-intensity ELF- and RF effects and so advise the FCC.
FDA should formally recognize the three fundamental conclusions of the BioInitiative Report. 1) Low-intensity effects are conclusively established (effects that occur at exposure levels far below existing safety standards); 2) Existing FCC and ICNIRP standards are obsolete; and 3) New, biologically-relevant public safety limits are needed with respect to new wireless technologies and for extremely-low frequency power fields (60-Hz power frequency fields) from power lines, appliances and electrical wiring.
FDA should advise the FCC on the need for new, biologically-relevant public exposure standards for cell and cordless phones, and other wireless devices (PDAs).
What the FDA Should Do About Communicating Cell Phone Risks to the Public
FDA cannot make a positive assertion of safety on long-term cell and cordless phone use and should amend its advice to
agencies and to the public accordingly.
FDA should amend its website with updated cautions to the public about long-term brain tumor and acoustic neuroma risks.
FDA should issue a warning advising against the routine use of cell phones by children.
FDA should promote wired alternatives to wireless internet for schools ”“ take a ”˜wait and see”™ position on new wireless technologies.
FDA should establish a policy that selects for a public-health based standard of evidence for judging the science. It should reject the demonstration for scientific certainty of harm from cell phone use and other wireless exposures as a basis for taking preventative action and issuing interim warnings.
The FDA should act proportionately to the risks so far reported; and consider disproportionate risks that may accrue to children.
FDA will be hard-pressed to explain why no cautionary warnings were issued for health impacts that could have been greatly reduced or avoided entirely.
FDA should get ahead of this curve and avoid unnecessary costs to the healthcare system, unnecessary deaths and medical costs, and unnecessary investment in wireless technologies that will have to be replaced at high cost later.
FDA is vulnerable to charges of “too little-too late”, of being overly deferential to industry at the expense of the public”™s health and children”™s safety.
It will be far less costly to implement safer, wired technologies today than to replace them later, once costs to the health care system become apparent. Early action to choose non-wireless (wired) alternatives can prevent much of this economic shock wave.
The public health costs given the millions of users, and more millions affected by second-hand radiation will be enormous.
FDA stands to suffer loss of reputation and credibility if it fails to enact/recommend preventive actions that are proportionate to the current knowledge about NIER. The cost of inaction is too high given the existing body of international scientific and public health evidence we have available today.
Potential public health consequences may reasonably include chronic inflammatory diseases, cancer, neurological diseases, addiction and sleep disorders (with corresponding loss of cognitive function, judgment, behavioral problems, loss of healing ability, loss of cancer surveillance, interference with metabolism.
Other governmental agencies around the world have already issued various cautions and precautionary advice to the public on wireless exposures. The governments of Belgium, France, Germany, Finland, Lichtenstein, Austria, Switzerland, Greece and Sweden have already taken public positions encouraging precautionary action. Medical associations in many countries have issued resolutions that warn the public of risks from cell phone use and other wireless technologies like WI-FI and wireless internet. The FDA will have to explain to Congress and the public why it continues to adhere to outdated policies and ignores mounting evidence of health risks.
FDAs activities will be seen as cosmetic and enabling to the industry at the expense of public health and well-being, if it ignores the global shift to precaution on EMF.
The FDA cannot afford to ignore the potential health effects of chronic, indiscriminate exposures to ELF and RF ”“ it has the potential to be another “Vioxx” moment for FDA. Public trust is already stretched thin over FDA failures to protect the public.
FDA cannot rely on “the NAS research program” or the NTP toxicity evaluation of RF to justify inaction. These programs are an insufficient response, are not proportionate to the risks involved, and provide no cover to FDA for positive assertions of safety that are no longer credible.
FDA will have to respond to WHO Interphone results on malignant brain tumors, acoustic neuroma and parotid gland (salivary gland) tumors. Individual country studies report more than a doubling of risk for gliomas at 10 or more years of use, ipsilateral use for adults; and more than a five-fold risk for children who use cell phones in their pre-teen and teen years as measured when they reach the 20-29 year age group.
Measures to reduce cell and cordless phone exposures are available, and would very likely reduce risk of brain tumors.
The FDA should take action to highlight these “early warnings” and recommend precautionary and preventative action.
The FDA should discuss strategies for emissions reduction with cell phone manufacturers.
It has been the same for most environmental carcinogens ”“ that change comes when political will dictates change: not when the science conclusively proves an effect. An FDA failure to act in a timely and proportionate way will be judged to be complicit concealment on behalf of industry interests.Leave a reply →