Mark Goldberg

Mobile service is safe and saves lives

The CRTC’s Mobile Wireless Review hearing wrapped up a couple weeks ago with appearances from the fringe, groups expressing concerns about mobile safety.

I addressed these issues on this blog 7 or 8 years ago, but it seems nearly impossible to halt the circulation of junk science, based on flawed studies, promoted by modern day snake oil salesmen and amplified across social media channels.

Let’s look at the facts. The groups like to claim that mobile wireless safety standards are outdated. That simply isn’t true. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US has recently published its most recent review of the scientific evidence, concluding “there is no consistent or credible scientific evidence of health problems caused by the exposure to radio frequency energy emitted by cell phones”.

The FDA is very clear in repudiating the oft-cited 2018 National Toxicology Program (NTP) Studies on High Dose Radio Frequency Radiation – sometimes called “The Rat Study”. Those experiments were conducted with high levels of radio frequency radiation over the bodies of experimental rodents. The radio frequency energy was delivered in intervals of 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off for 18 hours and 20 minutes, every day for 2 years. “The conclusions relating to public health risks reached by the FDA’s scientists differ from those of the NTP, and the FDA determination is that the study did not demonstrate that cell phones cause cancer.”

5 Facts About the Rat Study

  1. Rats received radiation over their entire bodies.
  2. Rats received this whole-body radiation for 9 hours per day for their entire lives.
  3. Rats received levels of radiation that were up to 75 times higher than the whole-body exposure limit for people.
  4. The study found no health effects on female rats or mice (both male and female) exposed to these extreme conditions that passed a test for statistical significance.
  5. Exposed rats lived longer than the control group rats.

Many cite the IARC classification of electromagnetic frequency radiation as a ‘Class 2B’ possible carcinogen, without a proper understanding of what these categories mean. The FDA clarifies that this “is an indication that more research is probably justified.” As the BBC recently observed, “That puts it in the same category as pickled vegetables or talcum powder but not as dangerous as alcohol or processed meat.”

The FDA said:

The 2013 IARC classification was based on limited evidence in humans which were from a few case-control epidemiological studies.

The IARC committee acknowledged that those studies were susceptible to certain limitations such as recall errors by the participants and the selection criteria for participation.

The FDA emphasizes “Time trends in cancer of the brain have not shown evidence of a trend that would indicate a promptly acting and powerful carcinogenic effect of mobile-phone use.”

Recently, people have raised the spectre of 5G as a new threat. The FDA says “5G cell phones will use frequencies covered by the current FCC exposure guidelines (300 kHz-100 GHz), and the conclusions reached based on the current body of scientific evidence covers these frequencies.” It is also worth noting that BBC recently reported that the UK regulator, Ofcom, found radiation levels at “tiny fractions” of safe limits in its first UK safety tests of 5G base stations. “The highest result they found for the 5G band was 0.039% of the recommended exposure limit.” Let’s clarify that number. That means exposure would need to be more than 2500 times stronger than the highest level observed, before it even begins to approach the safety limits.

Our federal agencies are aware of the public concerns and are monitoring the scientific evidence. Once again, it is important to keep in mind, mobile services are safe. Indeed, as I have written before, “Cell phones save lives”.

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