12 June 2017
State of California Investigation Links Cell Phone Use to Cancer
by Jackie Jalley, Associate, Wexler Wallace LLP, wexlerwallace.com, 6 June 2017
n 2010, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) prepared a public guidance document warning exposure to EMFs (a type of radiation) emitted by cell phones could lead to brain cancer and other health problems. It was never publicly released. When Dr. Joel Moskowitz, Director of the Center for Family and Community Health at UC Berkeley School of Public Health, learned of the document’s existence, he took action. He asked the CDPH three times between January 2014 and January 2015 for a copy under the California Public Records Act. Each time the CDPH replied the guidance document was waiting to be “finalized” but then Moskowitz’s request was ultimately denied. After learning of Dr. Moskowitz’s failed attempts, a New York Times reporter also requested a copy. That too was denied.
In response to the CDPH’s obvious suppression, Dr. Moskowitz filed a petition seeking public release of the document. On March 13, 2017, a California court ruled in favor of Dr. Moskowitz and directed the Department to release the public guidance document. CDPH released the document marked with “Draft and Not for Public Release” and Dr. Moskowitz’s case cite in spite of the judge’s ruling that the document was not a draft and was to be publically released. Dr. Moskowitz is awaiting an unmarked version in compliance with the ruling to be released.
According to the cell phone radiation guidance document, several studies have linked the use of cell phones to brain cancer found on the same side of the head where the phone is held. Other studies have linked cell phone exposure to fertility problems. The CDPH recommends reducing exposure to cell phone EMFs by increasing the distance between your body and the phone, the places you use your cell phone and reducing actual use of the phone in general. Such examples include more use of the cell phone by texting instead of calling, using the speaker phone for calls and not sleeping with your cell phone near you. Additionally, EMF emissions are higher when used in a car, bus or train as the cell phone switches from tower to tower. The CDPH also warns EMFs pass deeper through a child’s brain than an adult’s. As a result, the guidance document also suggests parents limit their children’s cell phone use. The full guidance document can be found here.