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EMF Studies

20 June 2017

Cell Phone Safety Guidance from the California Public Health Department

Cell Phone Safety Guidance from the California Public Health Department
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety, 19 June 2017



CDPH fact sheet with draft watermark

This page will be updated periodically with further developments.
See links at the bottom of this page for media coverage.

What prevents CDPH from adopting the cell phone guidance document?

Following my successful public records lawsuit against the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), reporters have posed two key questions:

(1) “Why did the State of California suppress the CDPH cell phone radiation safety guidance document (aka "fact sheet") from 2009 to 2015?”

(2) “Why won’t the State adopt the fact sheet now since the evidence is much stronger for cell phone radiation health risks?”

Unfortunately, the documents that the Department released due to the Court ruling do not answer these questions.

My interviews with key informants suggest that it was due to suppression by “political appointees.” Opposition to releasing the document came from within the Department and from at least one other agency within the state government.

In October, 2009, the CDPH conducted a webinar on electromagnetic field (EMF) exposures and health effects which may shed some light on the motivation for suppressing the fact sheet. A presentation was made by the former chief of the CDPH Division of Occupational and Environmental Health, the division that prepared the cell phone guidance document earlier that year.

Although Raymond Neutra, MD, MPH, DrPH, had retired from CDPH two years earlier, as the former chief of the CDPH EMF Program, he was asked to present the reasons for precaution regarding cell phone use. He has served on scientific advisory boards for the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization.

Dr. Neutra posed the following question, “How certain must we be of how much ill-health from cell phones, cordless phones and base stations before we would opt for cheap or expensive protection?”

Speaking as a private citizen, he argued we shouldn’t need certainty to lower our exposure 100-fold.

He presented the following precautionary recommendations:

• Keep cell phone off most of the time
• Use ear piece or speaker function
• Place on table 3 feet away before turning on
• Write down phone messages
• Return calls, then turn off
• Keep it off in bus when others might be exposed

Next, he addressed the reasons why government requires more certainty before recommending precaution:

• Industry lawyers and lobbyists afraid that precautionary government recommendations
will support tort law suits
• Industry afraid that “alarmed” citizens will push for more
• Lobbyists pressure government not to issue them

I would argue that although we now have substantially more evidence that cell phone radiation is harmful, the telecommunications and wireless industries have much greater political and economic power at the state and Federal level. Moreover, industry motivation to suppress precautionary policies is likely as strong as ever.

Thus, we should not be surprised that governments fail to provide the public with precautionary recommendations about cell phone use. Nor should we surprised that wireless radiation regulations have not been updated since 1996.

The slides for Dr. Neutra’s 2009 presentation can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/neutra2009.

http://www.saferemr.com/2017/03/cell-phone-safety-guidance-from.html

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