For seven years, California’s Department of Public Health (CDPH) kept information and a set of guidelines, meant to inform the public about the health risks associated with cell phone radiation, well-hidden from the public. While invisible to the naked eye, high-tech devices including your mobile phone, laptop, and tablet all emit electromagnetic fields (EMFs) which may be silently harming your health.
While cell phone companies and the government usually don’t talk about the dangers of cell phone radiation, they can no longer keep it a secret that there may be a problem. In fact, most user manuals of high-tech devices warn not to keep these devices too close to the body. Furthermore, it was recently found that Health officials in California drafted a secret document that contained concerns about cell phone radiation as early as 2010.
Last year, Joel Moskowitz, the director of the Center for Family and Community Health at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, sued the public health department after his requests to publish the guidelines were repeatedly denied. Though the instructions are dated April 2014, Joel Moskowitz said that the document was actually created seven years ago, periodically updated, but never released to the public. The secret report was finally released earlier this month under a court order.
The two-page document, titled “Cell Phones and Health,” summarizes scientific studies that suggest long-term use of cell phones may increase the risk of brain cancer and cause fertility problems, among other health issues. It explains that frequent use of EMF emitting cell phones kept close to the head and body can negatively effect nearby cells and tissues.
In the fact sheet, state health officials inform the public how to reduce the exposure to the radiation emitted from cell phones. They suggest to increase the distance between you and your phone by using a headset, the speaker phone function, and text messaging. They also recommend to keep phones away from your sleeping area and not carry them in your pockets or close to your body, unless they are switched off.
Furthermore, they note that EMFs can penetrate deeper into a child’s brain than in an adult brain, underlining the importance to limit cell phone use for kids to an absolute minimum. Pregnant women and their unborn babies are also at greater risk.
Even though the cellular industry continues to insist there’s nothing to worry about, with some in Silicon Valley saying the science doesn’t support the fact sheet, Moskowitz isn’t giving up his fight. While the release of the document is a step in the right direction, Joel Moskowitz said the CDPH has violated the Public Records Act by not following the judge’s original ruling. The document was not released as instructed, but rather had new lettering stamped across the front, essentially creating a new document.
Moskowitz said, “that lettering states that the document is a ‘draft and not for public release’ when the judge’s tentative ruling stated exactly the opposite — that the document was not a draft, and must be publicly released.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the guidelines were never released out of fear of creating unnecessary panic. Joel, however, told the newspaper that they could have saved some lives if they had been published by the department seven years ago. Given the clear health risks associated to EMFs, he added that it is disconcerting that it has taken so long to make the guidelines available to the public. Especially if you know that the World Health Organization declared cell phone radiation a possible carcinogen in 2011.
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