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U.S. Court Ordered Wireless Regulator to Address the Science Showing Harms to Human and Environmental Health

Canadian candidates hitting the campaign trail, glued to their cellphones, should note that the U.S. Court of Appeal just handed down both pause for concern for their health, and an important plank for their platform — to advance safer, faster, greener communications technology.

In the case brought by Environmental Health Trust et al., the Court found that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) failed to respond to “record evidence that exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation at levels below the Commission’s current limits may cause negative health effects …” Further, the agency demonstrated “a complete failure to respond to comments concerning environmental harm caused by RF radiation.”

The court ordered the Commission to: “(i) provide a reasoned explanation for its decision to retain its testing procedures for determining whether cell phones and other portable electronic devices comply with its guidelines, (ii) address the impacts of RF radiation on children, the health implications of long-term exposure to RF radiation, the ubiquity of wireless devices, and other technological developments that have occurred since the Commission last updated its guidelines, and (iii) address the impacts of RF radiation on the environment.”

“The scientific solitudes are starting to crack, between doctors and scientists in the public sphere seeing the harms, and the regulators,” stated Meg Sears, Chair of Prevent Cancer Now. “Options exist to protect public health, not to mention security and the environment. Governments have to require the best for their electorate.”

Radiation carrying signals between cell towers, satellites, Wi-Fi hotspots, phones, computers and innumerable wireless devices and toys interferes with biochemistry, harms health and causes cancer. Safer wired options are faster, more secure, resilient and climate-friendly as they require less energy.

Despite evidence of harms to insects, birds, vegetation and other life forms, there is no assessment or measures to protect the Canadian environment. There is no law explicitly protecting Canada from novel radiation, newly introduced to the ecosphere.

Based on scientific evidence, tens of thousands of Canadians have asked the Government of Canada to suspend 5G, and to choose safe, fast and reliable fibre/cable communications infrastructure. The Environmental Health Trust’s dispositions are even more up to date, extensive and compelling.

The U.S. F.C.C.’s intransigence to revising standards in the face of evolving science is mirrored in Canada. Guidance in both countries is premised on the long-disproved notion that the only harm from RF radiation is tissue heating. Although Safety Code 6 has been revisited, substantial failings detailed in a 2015 Parliamentary Hearing brought no substantive changes. The mounting evidence of human health harms with everyday exposures is not acknowledged, let alone advancing precautionary approaches to protect the young.

In 2011 a panel for the International Agency for Research on Cancer found that RF radiation is a possible human carcinogen based on human studies, but with limited animal studies. Since then, two large, multi-million dollar animal studies covered this gap, and IARC rates RF radiation as a high priority for re-evaluation.

Briefly, these animal studies are:

  1. The U.S. National Toxicology Program reported DNA damage in rats and mice, and cancers in male rats with exposures comparable to cell phones.
  2. Scientists at the esteemed Ramazzini Institute carried out experiments involving 2448 animals and found similar results with even weaker exposures, comparable to Wi-Fi.

With the introduction of 5G and the “Internet of Things,” RF radiation is escalating in terms of sources, applications, energy and complexity. Thousands of Canadians have appealed for the safer, greener, climate-friendly, resilient alternative – fibre to and throughout the premises.

With this historic win, the U.S. F.C.C. is being required to abide by their Administrative Procedures Act and provide substantive consideration of modern science. Canada does not have a comparable Act.