Former cable and wireless phone lobbyist Tom Wheeler was confirmed Tuesday evening to be the next FCC chairman, according to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller. More about Wheeler here.
Last minute reminder: FCC Comments due on Tuesday!
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking comments on whether its radiofrequency radiation (RF, wireless) exposure guidelines should be “more restrictive, less restrictive or remain the same”.
These comments are due Tuesday September 3.
The FCC request for public comments is in part a response to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) who called for a current review.
The FCC has not updated its RF exposure guidelines since 1996. Meanwhile there has been an explosion of wireless devices in homes across America, and forced deployment (cell towers, smart meters) of RF radiation on the general population.
The FCC exposure guidelines are based on thermal harm from 5 and 30 minute RF exposure. The wireless industry routinely uses the FCC exposure guidelines as proof of safety.
A stated goal of the FCC in requesting public comments includes “…the Commission’s intent is to appropriately protect the public without imposing an undue burden on the industry…”
What do you think? Is the public appropriately protected by the FCC exposure guidelines?
The last day to post Comments is Tuesday September 3, 2013. Comments for this proceeding are closed. Read formal Comments in docket 13-84 filed by EMF Safety Network
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversees the “safety guidelines” for public exposure to radio frequency (RF) radiation (wireless) from a myriad of common devices now in use in many homes and communities. Industry routinely points to these guidelines as proof of safety, however they were only designed to protect from thermal harm, and only for thirty minutes of exposure.
A majority of wireless devices, (cordless phones, cell phones, cell towers, wi-fi routers, baby monitors, smart meters and more) constantly emit RF radiation, 24/7.
The FCC says it’s now taking another look at their guidelines, (See FCC proposal) These guidelines were created in 1996 and they have not been reassessed since then. They also state they “have confidence in the current exposure limits and notes that more recent international standards have a similar basis.”
Phillip Janquart of Courthouse News Service recently wrote an article on this issue and he recognized the BioInitiative 2012 Report, “with over 1800 new scientific studies, indicating current guidelines are inadequate to protect the public from physical harm, which warns that cell phone users, pregnant women and young children are at particular risk.” He further noted the following:
“There is a consistent pattern of increased risk for glioma (a malignant brain tumor) and acoustic neuroma (a tumor near the ear) with use of mobile and cordless phones. Epidemiological evidence shows that radiofrequency should be classified as a human carcinogen,” Dr. Lennart Hardell, of Orebro University in Sweden.
New studies also purportedly link phone radiation to sperm damage, according to the BioInitiative report.
“Even a cell phone in the pocket or on a belt may harm sperm DNA, result in misshapen sperm, and impair fertility in men. Laptop computers with wireless Internet connections can damage DNA in sperm,” according to the BioInitiative report.
The report added there is “strong evidence” that EMFs can increase the risk for autism and alter brain development of fetuses.
“This has been linked to both animal and human studies to hyperactivity, learning and behavior problems,” according to the BioInitiative report.
Dr. David O. Carpenter, co-author of the BioInitiative report, said “there is now much more evidence of risks to health affecting billions of people world-wide. The status quo is not acceptable in light of the evidence for harm.”
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The FCC does not want to impose an “undue burden on industry”, but is seeking comments on whether the limits should be “more restrictive, less restrictive or remain the same,” but purely as a matter of “good government.”
The EMF Safety Network will be submitting comments on this proposal which are are due by Sept. 3, 2013. More on this subject later…
President Obama could not have picked a worse nominee than Tom Wheeler to head the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Wheeler has obvious industry ties and conflicts of interest:
- Wheeler chaired the CTIA, the Wireless Association, which includes Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile;
- Wheeler chaired the National Cable Television Association, which includes Comcast, Time Warner, and others;
- Wheeler is the director of Core Capital Partners LP, a venture capital firm that manages $350 million in the high-growth technology sector- they rely on friendly regulation at the FCC;
- Wheeler raised millions of dollars for Obama’s presidential campaign;
- Wheeler is listed on Fierce Wireless’ top ten list of people who helped shape the wireless industry.
The FCC regulates the nation’s airwaves and all communications plus its accompanying infrastructure. The FCC sets the “safety” standards for radio frequency radiation (RF) used in all wireless devices. The standards are inadequate and obsolete because they do not address long term health effects, and they were created before cell towers, cell phones, wi-fi and “smart” meters.
Importantly, the FCC is set to update these RF “safety” standards soon. With trillions of wireless products in use today, babies, children, adults, animals, the environment, and future generations are all at risk from chronic exposure to wireless radiation based on inadequate safety standards.
With a wireless industry leader as the head of the FCC there’s little chance for safe oversight. These crucial decisions will threaten us for decades to come.
- Authors of the BioInitiative Report, science and public policy experts signed a letter to US Senators urging them to reject Wheeler stating, “Mr. Wheeler should not be in charge of the nation’s safety standards and deployment for a technology he promotes without regard to public health and safety…” http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?p=9964
- The World Health Organization classifies wireless as a possible carcinogen, same as DDT and lead! http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?p=4386
- Read B. Blake Levitt’s commentary, ” Why the Senate Should Reject Tom Wheeler- Another Industry Crony at the FCC?” http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/10/another-industry-crony-at-the-fcc/
Last week, President Obama nominated Tom Wheeler, the founder of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), the wireless lobbyist group to head the FCC. Wheeler is also a venture capitalist and a fund-raiser in Obama’s presidential campaign.
Authors of the BioInitiative Report signed a letter to US Senators urging them to reject Wheeler stating,
“Mr. Wheeler should not be in charge of the nation’s safety standards and deployment for a technology he promotes without regard to public health and safety, the integrity of the national electric grid or homeland security.
The FCC has recently announced a review of radiofrequency health and safety limits. This process must not be carried out under a new chairman who has shown antipathy toward public safety, and who puts industry economic considerations ahead of the protection of children and pregnant women.”
Blake Levitt, award-winning medical/science journalist writes in Counterpunch.org, “Why the Senate Should Reject Tom Wheeler- Another Industry Crony at the FCC?
“President Obama’s nomination of Tom Wheeler to head the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the height of cynical cronyism and industry-pandering. He should not be confirmed. Obama, in fact, could not have found a worse nominee than Tom Wheeler to head this most significant regulatory agency – one with long tentacles into all our lives whether we know it or not. Wheeler is the last person who should have his hands on the levers of the FCC, though he’s been aching to do just that for decades.”
“Wheeler has far too many conflicts of interest and industry biases to head the FCC. The FCC, regulates the nation’s airwaves and all communications plus its accompanying infrastructure, including all broadcasters, cable companies, telephone-service providers both wired and wireless, satellite communications and the Internet. FCC is at a crucial juncture regarding decisions on new airwave auctions, further media consolidation, net neutrality, and most importantly the updating of the nation’s obsolete exposure standards for radiofrequency radiation. The stakes are high. These decisions will affect all U.S. citizens for decades to come in ways great and small….”
Read the full article at Counterpunch.org
From The EMRadiation Policy Institute (EMRPI): US workers and families are at risk of overexposure to RF at hazardous levels. Hundreds of wireless industry-operated antenna sites from Maine to California have been tested by EMRPI and found to be in gross violation — up to and in excess of 600% — of the FCC’s public exposure limits. These sites include rooftops as well as locations where the general public, including children, can gain access, and where workers are on the job. (See video below.)
Wireless Radiation Can Harm Health.
Public health is threatened by wireless radiation exposure at current FCC lawful limits as they are among the least protective in the world. FCC safety limits do not acknowledge current science, nor the 2011 World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer’s classification of wireless radiation as a 2B carcinogen. The FCC does not even enforce its own inadequate radiation limits.
FCC Fails to Enforce Its Own Wireless Radiation Limits.
EMRPI informed FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in December 2011 of widespread FCC rules violations. Despite detailed complaint letters sent to FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief P. Michele Ellison, of RF safety violations in 23 states across all regions of the US, EMRPI has received no response that the FCC has taken any enforcement action against any noncompliant site. EMRPI’s investigation re-tested sites and found violations still occurring months after EMRPI’s initial filings with the FCC. The FCC responded to a US Senator’s inquiry on sites in her state with misleading information about the safety of the Senator’s constituents.
Are the FCC and the Wireless Industry Turning a Blind Eye to RF Violations?
FCC policy allows wireless companies to self-report their compliance with the lawful RF limits. The FCC website provides no information or procedures for either the public or workers to report potential or actual violations. Despite hundreds of thousands of wireless antenna sites across the US, since 1996 the FCC has issued only one wireless Notice of Violation, and not until 2010. Is FCC policing site violations and are violations hidden from the public?
The American Public Is Not Protected.
Congress must act to hold the FCC accountable. If not, Americans will remain at risk from unlawful RF radiation exposures at antenna sites across the country. The American people have a right to know and a right to be protected. EMRPI urges the American people to demand that the FCC enforce its own RF safety limits to protect all Americans.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct a formal review of the U.S. cell phone radiation standards according to a Bloomberg news report: “FCC. Wireless Devices and Health Concerns.”
An FCC spokesperson emailed a statement to a Bloomberg reporter that is truly alarming. Her message suggests that the FCC has already decided that the current standards are fine, and will conduct a review to rubber stamp the 1996 FCC guidelines:
“Tammy Sun, a spokeswoman for the agency, said in an e-mailed statement. The notice won’t propose rules, Sun said.
‘Our action today is a routine review of our standards,’ Sun said. ‘We are confident that, as set, the emissions guidelines for devices pose no risks to consumers.'”
The Bloomberg article cites a major review of the literature conducted by our research center in which we found an association between mobile phone use and increased brain tumor risk especially after 10 years of cell phone use:
“There is possible evidence linking mobile-phone use to an increased risk of tumors, according to a study of scientific studies and articles that was published in 2009 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.”
The research we reviewed and subsequent research strongly suggest that the current standards for cell phone radiation are not adequate to protect us from health risks associated with exposure to cell phone radiation. A year ago, a 31-member group of experts convened by the World Health Organization agreed with our conclusions and classified cell phone radiation a “possible carcinogen.”
The FCC standards were established in 1996 at a time when few adults used cell phones. Today, children and most adults are exposed to far more cell phone radiation than the FCC-approved test models are subjected to when new cell phones are certified. Moreover, the test assumes that cell phones can harm us only by heating tissue. This is not true as there are numerous studies that demonstrate non-thermal effects from cell phone radiation including increased glucose metabolism in the brain, generation of heat shock proteins, free radicals, and double-strand DNA breaks; penetration of the blood-brain barrier, damage to sperm and increased male infertility.
The FCC admits on its web site* that “there is no federally developed national standard for safe levels of exposure to radiofrequency (RF) energy.” “The FCC’s guidelines and rules regarding RF exposure are based upon standards developed by IEEE and NCRP and input from other federal agencies.”
I have grave concerns if the FCC continues to rely on industry-funded expert groups because our research found that industry-funded epidemiologic research was generally of lower quality and biased against finding harmful effects. Dr. Henry Lai at the University of Washington has come to a similar conclusion in his analysis of the toxicology research.
In my opinion, it is premature to adopt new safety standards because we need more research that is independent of the wireless industry’s influence. The Federal government needs to sponsor a major research initiative on the health effects of electromagnetic radiation. Martin Blank and Reba Goodman from Columbia University recently published a paper in the journal, Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, calling for the development of a biologically-based measure of electromagnetic radiation (abstract below).
In the interim, to protect cell phone users we must adopt and disseminate precautionary health warnings that promote safer cell phone use. Although The FCC web site provides some simple steps to reduce exposure to cell phone radiation, it “does not endorse the need for these practices.” A dozen nations and the city of San Francisco have issued precautionary warnings about cell phone use to its citizens. It is time for our Federal government to do so.Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D. Director Center for Family and Community Health The UC Berkeley Prevention Research Center School of Public Health University of California, Berkeley
In a recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) letter to Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, Julias Knapp, the FCC Chief of Office of Engineering and Technology, responds to an inquiry from the EMF Safety Network. The letter downplays the need for FCC oversight and regulation of their own installation RF safety conditions stating, “The grants of equipment authorization routinely list the four conditions cited by EMF [Safety Network] for the broad class of transmitters that include most Smart Meters….adherence to those conditions is not necessarily required for Smart Meters to achieve compliance with our RF exposure guidelines….the utility is responsible for ensuring compliance with any installation conditions listed on the grant of equipment authorization .”
In addition the FCC falsely claims, “the devices normally transmit for less than one second a few times a day and consumers are normally tens of feet or more from the meter face…”
See the following video about Smart Meter radiation. Listen to the clicks to see how often the meters are transmitting, and compare that to the FCC claims.