November 15th, 2011
Golden Gate Stays Open For Right to Know
Judge William Alsup upheld San Francisco’s right to “require disclosure of accurate and uncontroversial facts … alerting the public to a possible health risk and to its interest in suggesting precautionary steps to mitigate this risk.” The court noted “the FCC has never found that cell phones are absolutely safe.”
The court’s confusion over which group really speaks for the WHO is understandable, as there are two quite distinct groups involved. WHO established the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as its expert advisory group on carcinogens. This past May, after an exhaustive review, the IARC concluded that cell phone and other wireless radiation should be regarded as a possible carcinogen. Contrary to the court’s presumption, the category of possible carcinogen is one that merits very serious concern and cannot be dismissed as inconsequential.
There’s nothing on the IARC WHO list of possible carcinogens that anyone would ever let their kids play with. It includes many compounds for which major regulatory actions have been taken: Carbon Tetrachloride and carbon black, persistent chlorinated pesticides that have been banned from Bulgaria to Sweden, such as chlordane, heptachlor, kepone, DDT, Mirex, and moth balls (napathalene); agents used in warfare such as nitrogen mustard (poison gas), and a host of well recognized workplace hazards including PBBs, styrene, jet fuel, diesel fuel, mercury, and gasoline. The U.S. spends billions trying to prevent exposure to Human Papilloma Virus, another 2B possible carcinogen.
In dismissing the characterization of cellphone radiation as a potential hazard, the court relied on the website statement of the other voice of WHO, the Electromagnetic Field (EMF) group. WHO also has a separate program on electromagnetic fields which has been heavily influenced by industry. An intense battle is underway as we write this within the WHO for which voice should be heard, the IARC view or that of the EMF group. The Court cited the WHO/EMF group without appreciating that there is an ongoing intense discussion within WHO regarding what their site should say in light of the IARC determination that cellphone radiation is likely to be tied with cancer risk.
Finally, missing altogether from any discussion in this matter is the fact that evidence is mounting that cell phone radiation has a host of non-cancer impacts, including impeding male reproductive health. Istanbul Highlights.