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Berkeley Talks transcript: Joel Moskowitz on the health risks of cell phone radiation

woman talking on cell phone
(Photo via Flickr)

Kim Guess: Hi everybody, welcome. Thank you for attending this keynote presentation, “Cell Phones, Cell Towers and Wireless Safety.” This is part of our Balancing Technology Programs. My name is Kim Guess and I’m a dietician with the Be Well at Work Wellness Program. Balancing technology is a spring theme for all of Be Well at Work so for our UC Berkeley faculty and staff, we have workshops, we have a challenge and all kinds of resources available for you.

Now I would like to introduce our speaker Dr. Joel Moskowitz, director of the UC Berkeley Center for Family and Community Health. He has conducted research on disease prevention programs and policies for more than 30 years. He is an adviser to the International EMF Scientist Appeal signed by more than 240 scientists who publish peer-reviewed research on EMR, or electromagnetic radiation.

Last year, he won a James Madison Freedom of Information Award for his work that culminated in the state of California publishing the cell phone radiation safety guidelines, which are on your handout. There is a stapled handout right on there. You can learn more on his website saferemr.com, and please join me in welcoming Dr. Joel Moskowitz.

Joel Moskowitz: Thank you Kim. I’d like to thank the University Health Services for inviting me to do this keynote presentation. I’d also like to thank the School of Public Health for co-sponsoring the event. And I’d especially like to thank Kim for coordinating the event today. I got involved in this issue by accident in 2009, when my center sponsored a visiting scientist from the National Cancer Center of South Korea who worked with a team of researchers and with us on two meta analyses, which are quantitative reviews of literature, and one of the meta analyses dealt with mobile phone use and tumor risk.

When that was published, he had gone back to South Korea, so I was left with having to field media requests from journalists from virtually all over the world who were very concerned about the findings of our meta analysis at the time. Since then, I’ve been following the literature very closely, studying the literature and writing about it and lecturing about it, and trying to bring reporters up to speed on how to cover this complex topic and set of research, which has evolved considerably since 2009.

I first want to go over some basic information to give you an overview of what the issues are that we’re dealing with. I’m going to focus on the radiation risk. I’m not going to talk about the benefits of cell phones because I think you’re all quite aware of the benefits of cell phones and smartphones. In fact, I’d be surprised if there’s anyone in the audience who doesn’t have one currently. I’m not going to focus on the social problems which range from privacy and security issues, to varieties of inappropriate use or problematic use, including addictive behaviors, which are increasing all the time.

At the national level, we’re increasingly seeing a potential cyber security problem with regard to the infrastructure that the cell phone relies upon and there’s a lot of controversy around the cyber security issues and which technology out of China is safe to use and which is not.

Beginning in 1984, we have fairly inelegant cell phone, which couldn’t actually work very well because it often didn’t get receptivity due to very few cell towers in the country. Over time, the cell phone has become more elegant. It also has evolved from a single function, which was basically operating as a cell phone, to include texting, game playing, music playing, to becoming an internet delivery device. With each of these increases in functions, numerous social problems began to evolve around these different uses.

There is a symbiotic relationship between cell phones and cell towers, at least currently. You can’t have cell phone reception without these cell antennas. Industry is trying to get away I think from using these cell antennas because although we have a love affair with the cell phone, at best people are ambivalent about having these cell towers, especially in their neighborhood, so they’ve been experimenting with things like drones and hot air balloons. There’s even proposals to put up thousands of mini satellites to provide the medium on which your cell phone and your smartphone can operate.

The industry association CTIA — I’ll talk more about their rather nefarious role in all of this later — is the lobbyist group for the wireless or cellular industry in the U.S. They engage in a lot of lobbying. They coordinate the lobbying of the various cell phone companies and manufacturers. The industry as a whole spends about $100 million a year lobbying Congress. They also do lobbying at the state level and occasionally get involved in local level politics and lawsuits. You can see the rapid growth and connections. Not all of these connections are to cell phones, however, because there are other devices that rely on cellular subscriptions, such as tablets.

As you can see, this is a big, big business. It’s also a huge business globally, not just in the U.S. There’s roughly 5 billion subscriber connections worldwide, so this is an industry that’s probably been unparalleled in terms of any other industry in the history of the world in terms of its reach. This is important too: 88 hours per year is what the estimate is from the industry in terms of our average voice use. Over a 10-year period, the typical person would get something like 880 hours of cumulative call time. We’ll get back to that later when we look at some of the epidemiology.

Smartphones became popularized by the iPhone in 2007 and you can see the rapid uptick in terms of use in the United States. The current estimate, or at least the estimate as of 2017, is 273 million smartphones in use in this country. It’s hard to find good prevalence data in terms of use of these devices. This is a survey the Pew Research Center did with parents of teens, and roughly 95% of teenagers in the U.S. 13 to 17 years of age either have a cell phone or have access to a smartphone, according to this survey.

I was unable to find reliable data on use among children under the age of 13, but I suspect the prevalence of ownership there or access to smartphones is also very high. In the industry, particularly CTIA has been pushing parents to give their kids cell phones younger and younger, and there’s a lot of pressure I hear from parents of young children for providing them with access to a smartphone.

Concurrent with the uptick of cell phones, we’ve seen a decline in access to landline phones. In fact, at this point the majority of households in the U.S. as of 2018 are wireless only; they do not have a landline phone. This has changed rapidly since I’ve been following this issue in 2009, the uptick of cell phones and the decline in landline phones. As a result, people have become totally dependent for telecommunications on their cell phone or smartphone.

How does a cell phone call work? I’ll just do this really quickly. Basically when you go to make a call, you’ve got this two-way radio, it’s actually a radio and a transmitter. It’s kind of misleading to call it a two-way radio, but they tend to refer to it as just a radio. It transmits a signal to the nearest cell tower. Each cell tower has a geographic cell, so to speak, in which it can communicate with cell phones within that geographic region or cell. Then that cell tower communicates with a switching station, which then searches for whom you’re trying to call, and it either connects through a copper cable or fiber optics or in some cases, through a wireless connection through microwave radiation with the wireless access point.

Then, that access point then either communicates directly through copper wires through a landline or if you’re trying to call another cell phone, it will then send a signal to a cell tower within the cell of the receiver and so forth. The radiation from your cell phone is going out usually in all directions. In this direction though, it’s being absorbed by your head. This little child is absorbing it, and it’s largely in his brain and neck area — much of the radiation. A lot of the radiation is wasted, so there is an energy conservation issue with regard to all of this that has been not very well studied, but there’s a lot of wasted energy. Then some of that radiation will reach the tower and enable you to make the communication.

What we see here is the electromagnetic spectrum. The spectrum displays all types of electromagnetic fields read by the frequency or the length of the waves. On the far right are the highest frequency waves, which are considered ionizing radiation, for example X-rays. This radiation has sufficient energy to knock electrons out of their orbits causing an atom to become charged or ionized, which can directly cause chemical changes and DNA damage. It can also indirectly cause such damage, and in fact, the estimates are that 50% of the damage is actually indirect. Ionizing radiation is known to be cancer-causing, or carcinogenic, since the 1930s.

On the far left are extremely low frequency waves that oscillate up to 3,000 cycles per second, which is also known as hertz. These waves can produce strong magnetic fields. Radio waves occur at the higher frequencies and the highest frequency radio waves are called microwaves or millimeter waves. Cell phones and cordless phones are two-way radios that transmit microwaves. They will soon also be transmitting millimeter waves.

Cell phones can emit up to two watts of power. In contrast, a microwave oven can emit 1,000 watts. Whereas the oven has sufficient power to significantly heat tissue, wireless phones generally do not except when held next to the body. Cell towers, cell phones and other wireless devices emit microwaves that are modulated or pulsed to encode voice and data. Also, the systems that power these devices emit low frequency electromagnetic fields. With the upcoming fifth generation of cellular technology, known as 5G — you may be seeing a lot of this in the media currently — cell phones and cell towers will employ lower frequency and higher frequency microwaves than current use.

Also for the first time, this technology will employ millimeter waves, which are much higher frequency than microwaves. Millimeter waves can’t travel very far, and they’re blocked by structures and foliage. In fact, some of the frequencies are blocked by water vapor, fog or rain, so the industry estimates that it’ll need 800,000 new cell antenna sites. Each of these sites may have cell antennas from various cell phone providers, and each of these antennas may have micro arrays consisting of dozens or even perhaps hundreds of little antennas, which will be needed in the near future in the U.S. Roughly two and a half times more antenna sites than in current use we will see deployed in the next few years, unless the wireless safety advocates and their representatives in Congress or the judicial system puts a halt to this.

Millimeter wave radiation is largely absorbed in the skin, the sweat glands, the peripheral nerves, the eyes, and the testes based upon the body of research that’s been done on millimeter waves. In addition, this radiation may cause hypersensitivity, which I’ll talk about more later, and biochemical alterations in the immune and circulatory systems, the heart, the liver, kidneys and brain. Millimeter waves can also harm insects and promote the growth of drug resistant pathogens, so it’s going to have some pretty widespread environmental effects for the micro environments around these cell antenna sites.

Cell phones, cell towers and other wireless devices are regulated by most governments. In 1996, the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, adopted exposure guidelines that limit the intensity of exposure to radiofrequency radiation. These guidelines were designed to prevent significant heating of tissue from short-term exposure to radiofrequency radiation. Our government’s safety guidelines were not designed to protect us from the effects of long term exposure to low intensity radiofrequency radiation. Yet, the preponderance of the research published since 1996 finds adverse biologic and health effects from long-term exposure to low levels of modulated or pulsed radiofrequency radiation, such as produced by cell phones, cordless phones and other wireless devices, including WiFi.

In 2001, based upon the biologic and human epidemiologic research, low frequency magnetic fields were classified as “possibly carcinogenic” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization. This agency is often called by its acronym IARC. In 2011, IARC classified radiofrequency radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based upon studies of cell phone radiation and brain tumor risk in humans. Currently we have considerably more evidence that would warrant a stronger classification.

The crux of the health and safety problem we face today was stated by the FDA in 1999. The FCC regulations are “based on protection from acute injury from thermal or heating effects of radio frequency radiation exposure, and may not be protective against any non-thermal effects of chronic exposure.” Yet, since 1999, the preponderance of thousands of peer reviewed studies have found biological and health effects from chronic exposure to non-thermal levels of microwave radiation and low frequency fields.

To further complicate matters, a smartphone typically has five different types of microwave transmitters, including three different cellular technologies, and soon with 5G, they will be adding another cellular technology, along with WiFi and Bluetooth. Some transmitters operate at multiple frequencies and some transmitters can operate simultaneously with others, exposing the user to a complex mixture of radiation. In the next few years, most new smartphones will emit several types of 5G radiation in addition to some of these earlier forms of cellular radiation. None of these types of radiation has been tested to ensure that long-term exposure is safe.

To reduce the risk of harm, individuals should adopt the following behaviors. First, minimize your use of cell phones and cordless phones; use a landline whenever possible.

Second, distance is your friend. Keeping your phone 10 inches from your body as compared to one-tenth of an inch results not in a 100-fold reduction, but a 10,000-fold reduction in exposure. So, keep your phone away from your head and body. Store your phone in a purse or backpack and text or use a wired headset or speakerphone for calls.

Third, cell phones are programmed to increase radiation when reception is poor. A new study published by the California Department of Public Health in preparation of the guidelines they released already found up to a 10,000-fold increase in exposure when reception was poor — that is one or two displayed bars on your phone. Thus, use your phone only when the signal is strong. For example, do not use it in an elevator or in a vehicle as metal structures interfere with the signal. For additional tips, see my Electromagnetic Radiation Safety handout which you received today, or the guidance published by the California Department of Public Health.

In addition to the vast increase in use of cell phones in our country, we’ve seen a substantial increase over time in cell sites in the country running from roughly 2,300 sites in 1987, to over 320,000 in 2017. Huge growth over the last decade. Cell antennas can vary greatly in terms of their size. As you can see here — here’s a macro cell. This can be anywhere, from 100 feet in this case, and it’s disguised as a pine tree, I think, some kind of evergreen tree, to a macro cell 200 to 400 feet. Fairly new on the horizon are the small cells, which you can see more examples here, which can be mounted on light poles or utility poles.

The new generation of cell phones or cellular technology is going to rely very heavily on these small cells, because they’re going to need so many of these to support the fifth generation or 5G. In most of these sites, you’ll probably see somewhere on the pole a warning sign that the FCC has approved that if you get any closer than where this sign is, you will actually exceed the FCC exposure guidelines, which in my opinion and the opinion of many scientists are completely inadequate anyway, and we’ll talk more about that.

Now let me just give you a real brief overview of what the research looks like, first focusing on the cancer risk. Over here you can see a glioma. This is a section of the brain. This is the tissue, glial cells, which are the supporting cells for the neurons in the brain. This is a meningioma, which is the outer covering of the brain. These are tumors we’re looking at. Much of the research has focused on animal models, particularly rats, to a lesser extent mice and other species, because they’re a good analog for humans and you can actually do experimental studies on animal models, which you cannot do really with humans.

As I mentioned, IARC in 2011, an expert working group consisting of 31 experts from around the world, including members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute concluded at the end of a meeting and review of the literature that radiofrequency radiation is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Many scientists today feel that it’s time for IARC to re-review the literature given all the research that’s been published since 2011 to upgrade this to at least “probably carcinogenic to humans,” if not actually “carcinogenic to humans.”

There have been some major human epidemiologic studies that have looked at the brain cancer risk that have been published in recent years. The Interphone study was actually reviewed as part of the IARC review. Interphone found in its main body of the paper, a 40% increase in brain tumor risk, glioma risk, brain cancer risk that is for a group with 1,640 or more hours. Buried in the appendix where they control for one of the problems with the study, a participation bias, the estimates actually grew to about an 80% increased risk. This got buried in a second appendix with some text saying why you shouldn’t even pay attention to this analysis.

Subsequent analyses of the Interphone data done by researchers found, making different assumptions about the data, found that these conclusions are quite robust. Furthermore, they found that the risks are much greater on the side of the head where people predominantly use their cell phone and in some of the analyses, they found that the people who’d used the phone for fewer than 1,640 hours also had a significantly increased risk of glioma.

This was a 13 nations study by the way, the Interphone study. It was partially funded by the WHO and much of the funding came from industry in these 13 nations. The group of researchers tended, well the paper, the paper with pooled data tended to downplay the findings, shifting the focus to brain tumor registry data, which was really misguided because there were problems with the brain tumor registry that they were citing. Lennart Hardell has done a number of studies. He’s actually the pioneer in this field.

He did some re-analysis of a couple of his studies using similar assumptions in terms of the age groupings and the cutoffs, and found very similar findings from his data that pretty much corresponded with what the Interphone Study showed. This is a French study with four sites in France, and they found a much higher risk estimate, roughly a three-fold risk from fewer cumulative hours of cell call time.

Now, glioma, fortunately, is a fairly rare form of brain cancer in terms of annual incidence. However, if you live to age 70, you’re talking about a lifetime risk somewhere between one in 200 to one in 250. If we double the risk, it’s cutting that estimate then down to 100 to 125 people, so one person would be getting a glioma.

Focusing on children a little, some of the modeling research has shown that the child’s brain absorbs twice as much radiation as the adult brain. The radiation guidelines for handset use in the U.S. or internationally don’t take into account differences in anatomy. There’s one size fits all, regardless of whether you’re a 250-pound male, or a 25-pound child, yet the skull of the 5-year-old child will absorb about 10 times as much radiation as the skull of the adult.

There’s one completed brain tumor risk study with children. A case-control study, like the Interphone study, looked at 7- to 19-year-old children from four countries. Overall, they did not find a significant risk: It was elevated at 36%. The risk estimates were higher in three of the four countries but for some reason in Norway, they actually had a lower risk assessment as compared to the control group.

Interestingly, buried in this paper to was a finding where they actually had cell phone company records on a subgroup of the children. Largely in the bulk of the paper, they relied on parental reports of child’s use. In that subgroup, they found that children with 2.8 or more years of cell phone use had roughly a doubling of cancer risk. That was significant, and that gets ignored in the discussion and in the abstract of the paper. There’s just a lot of pressure on these scientists, I think in large part because of their funding source, industry — least in part, if not wholly, to downplay any risks that they find and divert attention from their own data when they do find risks.

There is another study called MOBI-Kids, which is actually the parallel study to the Interphone study. The data were collected in 2009 to 2014. We’re still waiting for final results on that study. That should shed greater light. It’s a larger sample than CEPHALO on what the risks are to children in terms of brain tumors. This study was originally called for in 1999 by the FDA. They nominated to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences that the National Toxicology Program, or NTP, studied in an experimental study using animal models, the effects of long-term exposure to cell phone radiation.

What they ultimately concluded, which largely came from a group of independent experts was — here again, the government experts tended to downplay the findings when they first came out — but the expert group upgraded the findings. So in the final report, they’re reporting “clear evidence” of tumors in the hearts of male rats. These tumors are malignant schwannomas. Schwann cells are also a site for tumor risk in humans, but in humans, the increased risk is in the head. It’s called vestibular schwannoma. It’s a tumor on the main nerve from the ear to the brain. Scientists, I don’t believe looked at these cells in the rats. I listened to virtually all of the three-day peer review and I think that question came up. They don’t have data on whether it affected that nerve in the rats.

This is “clear evidence,” this is the highest standard that the NTP provides. This is not “possibly” or “probably.” This is evidence. They also found “some evidence” of tumors in the brains of male rats. This also corresponds to what we’re seeing in humans, malignant gliomas, which we looked at just previously. Interestingly, and nobody’s made too much of this, both of these types of cells, the Schwann cells and the glial cells produce myelin, which is a fatty substance that occurs on the nerves within our body. The Schwann cells are in the peripheral nervous system; glial cells in the central nervous system.

We have some strong coincidences between what we’re seeing in the male rats and what we’re seeing in humans. Also in talking to a biophysicist, he had a theory that myelinated nerves serve as antennas, and so this could be concentrating the radiation that comes from these (wireless) devices in specific parts of the body. We’ll come back to myelination a little bit when we talk about hypersensitivity.

They also found “some evidence” of tumors in the adrenal glands of male rats. For the mice and the female rats, they found some evidence, but they considered it “equivocal” because the patterns didn’t match what they expected to see. They sort of downplayed the findings in terms of direct application, but not as much as the FDA did, to try and totally dismiss this $30-million study that we’ve been waiting for, that the FDA has been waiting for, since 1999. Normally, this study should’ve taken maybe five to 10 years at the very most but they ran into a number of obstacles, including funding and then finding a contractor who could do this study, and then they sat on the data, I think, for a number of years before finally releasing it.

Other findings in the study, which are critical include DNA damage in the brains of the male and female mice and rats, increased degeneration in the hearts of the male and female rats, and decreased birth weights in the rats exposed prenatally.

This is a finding that you have to dig through the appendix to find, but I was looking for it because of an early Air Force study looking at microwave radiation exposure to much lower levels than used in the (NTP) study. This was pre cell phones. The military had a big interest in this because of the use of radar, found a three-fold increase in overall tumor risk in the animals exposed long term to microwave radiation.

So, digging through the appendices — and I suggested to them in the final report, they actually put this analysis in the main body of the paper but they ignored my suggestion — you find the highest overall cancer incidence was in the middle exposure groups, not the highest exposure group. You can see fairly substantial differences there that were indeed statistically significant, 42% to 46% in the two middle exposure groups compared to 27% in the control group. They also found that in the lowest exposure groups, a significantly greater nonmalignant tumor incidence versus the sham control.

Nobody’s paying much attention to these findings. I think they’re extremely critical. Part of the criticism of the study is that they use exposures, full body exposures that were much higher than you would typically get from a cell phone. They’re more comparable of the partial body exposure, the head or the body exposures you get from the cell phone, but this was a full body exposure.

But interestingly, the Ramazzini Institute in Italy basically replicates the key NTP result in terms of the heart schwannoma, and they used much lower exposures. In fact, they found it at 0.1 watts per kilogram compared to exposures ranging from 1.5 to six watts per kilogram in the NTP study. This study has yet to receive a whole lot of attention in the media. Actually, neither study got a whole lot of attention in the media, believe it or not. The New York Times report on the NTP study, I think, totally missed the boat. And yet, reporters from the New York Times and other papers had interviewed me and other people, and then they just ignored what we had to say about the study.

There are other health risks that have been found in humans. The evidence generally is not as strong. I mentioned glioma, acoustic neuroma or the Schwann cells on that nerve from the ear to the brain. Meningioma, which is the outer covering the brain. Parotid gland, which is the largest salivary gland. Pituitary gland, and most recently the thyroid gland. A study out of Yale University School of Medicine and the Connecticut Department of Public Health found not quite significantly increased risk, but almost, it was marginally significant increased risk, particularly in the males of thyroid gland tumors.

We’re seeing an epidemic of thyroid gland tumors, which this may be partially responsible for. There is one case series of four women who had breast cancers, multifocal tumors in the location of the breast, where they stored their cell phone for significant periods of time. I’ve heard the researchers have been accumulating, the research has been accumulating other cases, but there hasn’t been much since that first report in the literature that I’m aware of.

The strongest evidence, probably even more so than the brain tumor risk is for sperm damage in males — male infertility. In females — miscarriage and preterm birth, there’s lesser evidence, but there is definitely a body of research that’s accumulating. With regards to children, there hasn’t been a lot of studies. What they tend to find is from prenatal and early childhood exposures, increased headaches, hearing problems, impaired memory. And recent studies replicated a finding in adolescence in terms of figural memory for kids who used the phone on the right ear, — also increased incidence of ADHD.

There’s actually animal model studies suggesting this as well, for the animal analog of ADHD, attention deficit, hyperactivity. There’s a couple of papers by a researcher at Harvard who says that this may be at least a co-factor for autism, if not a direct cause. One of the phenomena with very low exposure to microwave radiation is increased penetration, or opening of the blood brain barrier, which can then allow chemical toxins into the brain that are in the circulatory system.

Electro-hypersensitivity. There’s a range of symptoms that people experience and attribute to their exposure, either to microwave radiation or power line frequencies, which includes headaches, fatigue, insomnia, ringing in the ears or tinnitus, heart palpitations. This is an interesting table from a paper comparing the symptoms of electro-hypersensitivity to the symptoms of demyelination. The most common form of that is multiple sclerosis. There’s quite a bit of overlap in the symptoms. Here, too, we’re talking about the myelin producing cells, so there’s recent thinking that there may be a connection between these diseases. We can talk more about that in the Q&A session.

The cell tower studies — there’s been roughly a dozen epidemiologic studies showing associations between proximity to a cell tower over a long period of time, and various kinds of effects, mostly neuro-behavioral. In some cases, (increased) cancer incidence. All of these studies — because they’re ecological observational studies and not experimental studies — have alternative explanations. It’s hard to control for confounding. There’s an excellent review by Blake Levitt and Henry Lai. You’ll have to rely on the animal model studies, the experimental studies showing all kinds of adverse effects from oxidative stress due to low intensity exposures to radiofrequency fields, particularly microwaves.

The International EMF Scientist Appeal calls for stronger regulation of electromagnetic fields and health warnings. It’s been signed by 247 scientists who have all published peer reviewed research on electromagnetic fields. I did a search in an archive —EMF Portal — and I found 2,000 unduplicated count of papers that these scientists have published on electromagnetic fields and biology or health. These scientists come from 42 nations and they’ve made a very strong statement, which I won’t read now. When you look at the slide regarding the effects that the literature documents that they feel calls for warning the public and stronger regulations.

You’d think given this large body of researchers, we’d have no problem with getting governments to adopt stronger regulations and health warnings. Unfortunately, as with many other issues, like tobacco, or asbestos, or various chemicals, or global warming, for that matter, there is a body of researchers who are basically defending the industry-promoted guidelines that have been adopted by the FCC and by the ICNIRP, which is the international equivalent of the FCC, which the WHO relies upon.

And very recently, a team of investigative journalists identified 14 scientists, actually named them, who defend these obsolete exposure guidelines and they do so by preparing biased reviews of the literature for various health agencies around the world. At least eight of these individuals have had industry research funding. There may be another dozen EMF scientists around the world who take a similar position as these researchers, but mostly in the U.S. we’re hearing from non-EMF researchers, people who’ve never published EMF research — typically physicists, engineers, sometimes oncologists, who are defending the FCC guidelines saying the only risks are short-term and due to heating.

Let’s touch a little bit on policy. In 1996, Congress adopted the Telecommunications Act. It has a section that basically says that no state or local government entity may regulate the placement, construction or modification of personal wireless service facilities, ie. cell towers on the basis of environmental effects of radiofrequency emissions to the extent that such emissions comply with FCC regulations. This causes a great deal of problems for communities that are trying to fight cell towers because the courts have interpreted environmental effects to be health effects. You can’t argue it on health grounds, you have to basically argue it on aesthetic grounds if you don’t want a cell tower in front of your home or in your backyard.

The government, our government, has really been disingenuous and irresponsible on this issue. Like most governments in the world, they do have a huge conflict of interest in that they sell licenses for the spectrum. One small piece of spectrum that they just sold, they netted in the auction $700 million and they were disappointed because they thought they could get $1 billion for it. Also, state and local governments collect on average 19% of your cell phone bill, and then of course there’s all the jobs it creates and the money that comes in terms of corporate taxes. I assume some of these companies paid taxes, but you never know in this day and age. So, the government has a huge conflict of interest here. Both parties are complicit in protecting this industry and are heavily lobbied by this industry.

On the one hand, they say we need more evidence, but then they don’t fund the research or they delay the production of the one study they did fund. We’ve had some agencies, the cities of Boston and Philadelphia who’ve submitted to the FCC complaints that basically there’s no leadership in the government, there’s a complete pass-the-buck attitude. The FCC doesn’t have any health expertise and it’s been irresponsible on this issue. Senator Blumenthal in a recent exchange in a Commerce Committee hearing, where industry officials presented concluded the hearing, saying, “So there really is no research ongoing. We’re kind of flying blind here as far as health and safety is concerned with regard to 5G.” We can go beyond that and we could also say with regard to 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G, we’ve been flying blind.

A couple years ago, I tried to find experts within our federal health agencies. I found basically one person and he’s retired now. The person I interviewed at the FDA who’s supposedly the most knowledgeable and supposed to be advising the FCC was a complete denialist with regard to long-term risks. He was the head of a unit that was responsible for this topic — turned out later when I searched him on LinkedIn, he was a nuclear engineer. He’s since moved on, and I suspect his successor isn’t any more knowledgeable.

The interview lasted two hours. Essentially, we got down to the point where we were debating studies, and it showed to me that he clearly didn’t understand how medical or biologic research works or epidemiologic research worked, and was just looking to dismiss studies. That’s how he was able to maintain his sanity I guess, by just ignoring the whole issue. There’s an interesting monograph looking into the FCC, and how it’s been captured by industry, and this has gone on even before the cellular problem — earlier it was the broadcast industry that controlled the FCC. It was the perfect example of regulatory capture.

These other agencies (FDA, EPA, NIOSH, etc.) are supposed to be involved in a work group. The work group turned out to be a sham when I investigated it. It has no official functions. They would meet over phone for one hour, three times a year. The prior session was five people. There’s been a variety of actions at the local level. All of this information is on my saferemr.com website in greater detail.

Most recently, Montgomery County, Maryland, is suing the FCC over the exposure guidelines, or wants to sue. They petitioned the court to allow the suit. We’ll see if it happens. It’s in the Ninth Circuit.

A number of organizations have also called for changes in the FCC’s RF limits or testing procedures. The FCC opens up requests for public input. They did one in 2003, another in 2013, and then they never do anything with the filings. The most recent filing has over 1,000 submissions, many thousands of documents and studies submitted, and they just ignore it. Maybe I should stop since time is up. I can finish this in the beginning of the Q&A session.

Thank you.