Doctors and Scientists Call For Protective Policy After Historic Court Ruling on Wireless Radiation

August 16, 2021, Washington, D.C.:
In a press conference now posted online, doctors and scientists are calling for action after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s August 13, 2021, decision found the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) failed to explain why it ignored science showing harmful effects from wireless radiation.



In a landmark ruling in the case brought by Environmental Health Trust against the FCC, the court ruled that the commission acted capriciously, arbitrarily and without evidence when it refused to update its 1996 human exposure limits and failed to explain why it ignored longer term health effects and environmental impacts from 5G and wireless technologies.

The Environmental Health Trust press conference is now available to watch online at this link.

The Court’s Decision

The historic ruling in the case of Environmental Health Trust et al. v. the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) found the FCC violated the Administrative Procedure Act because the FCC’s 2019 decision not to update its 1996 exposure limits failed to address impacts of long-term wireless exposure, failed to address unique impacts to children, failed to address the testimony of people injured by wireless radiation, failed to address impacts to wildlife and the environment, and failed to address impacts to the developing brain and reproduction.

The court remanded the issue back to the FCC for reasoned decision making on numerous issues. The court specifically ordered the FCC to do the following:

“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.”
“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.”
“Address the impacts of RF radiation on the environment.”

Expert participants in the press conference include:

Devra Davis, PhD, MPH, EHT President
Dr. Hugh Taylor, MD, Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Yale School of Medicine and Yale-New Haven Hospital; president of American Society of Reproductive Medicine
Edward B. Myers, EHT Attorney
Theodora Scarato, MSW, EHT Executive Director
Frank Clegg, CEO of Canadians for Safe Technology and Former President of Microsoft Canada
Cindy Franklin, Founder of Consumers for Safe Cell Phones
Elizabeth Barris, The People’s Initiative Foundation
Paul Ben Ishai, PhD, Professor of Physics at Ariel University, Israel

Full biographies are below.

The FCC Failed to Provide a Reasoned Explanation

“The Commission’s failure to provide a reasoned explanation for its determination that exposure to RF radiation at levels below its current limits does not cause negative health effects unrelated to cancer renders inadequate the Commission’s explanation for its failure to discuss the implications of long-term exposure to RF radiation, exposure to RF pulsation or modulation, or the implications of technological developments that have occurred since 1996, including the ubiquity of wireless devices and Wi-Fi, and the emergence of ‘5G’ technology. … We find the Commission’s order arbitrary and capricious in its complete failure to respond to comments concerning environmental harm caused by RF radiation.” — U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, August 13, 2021, Ruling

The Case

The case EHT et al. v. FCC centers around the FCC’s safety limits for human exposure to radiofrequency radiation — the wireless radiation emitted from 5G, cell towers, cell phones, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and wireless technologies. These exposure guidelines developed by industry-connected groups were adopted in 1996 by the FCC just after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was fully defunded from working on wireless radiation and non-ionizing electromagnetic fields. Until being defunded, EPA had been tasked to develop human exposure limits for wireless radiofrequency (RF) radiation (See EPA slide presentation, letter updating the FCC on guidelines, and US Science Advisory Board recommending the EPA develop guidelines). FCC limits on human exposure have remained unchanged since 1996.

In 2013, the FCC asked the question in a formal Inquiry: Should these 1996 limits be changed? Do children need more protections? Should the FCC change the way companies radiation test cell phones at a distance from the body?

Over the course of almost seven years, the FCC received thousands of responses to its inquiry, all of which were put on the 18-34 record. However in 2019, the FCC issued a decision refusing to change its 1996 exposure limits for wireless radiation. EHT took the FCC to court because the record contained hundreds of peer-reviewed published studies showing harm from wireless radiation at levels that were very low, lower than FCC thresholds. In addition, hundreds of scientists and organizations representing thousands of medical doctors were on the FCC’s record recommending public exposure be reduced due to this mounting evidence. The vast majority of submissions said loudly and clearly, “Wireless radiation is harmful. FCC limits do not protect us.”

Yet, the FCC ignored most of the science and expert recommendations to update the 1996 safety limits submitted to the record of the 2019 Order Docket 19-226. The FCC then declared that it would retain its existing 1996 wireless RF radiation standards and terminated the inquiry. FCC limits are based on the premise that overheating is the only harm that can be caused by wireless radiation. So long as tissue is not overheated, safety can be assured. The FCC even further asserted — without evidence — that the same approach would prove relevant to the higher frequencies to be used in 5G networks.

The Environmental Health Trust and our scientific advisors had submitted thousands of pages of evidence to the FCC and met numerous times to brief FCC staff. When the FCC clearly ignored the science, we took legal action.

Environmental Health Trust, Consumers for Safe Cell Phones, Elizabeth Barris, and Theodora Scarato’s case was joined by Children’s Health Defense, Michelle Hertz, Petra Brokken, Dr. David Carpenter, Dr. Toril Jelter, Dr. Paul Dart, Dr. Ann Lee, Virginia Farver, Jennifer Baran, and Paul Stanley.

Amicus Briefs

The Natural Resources Defense Council filed an amicus brief in the petitioners’ case on the need for environmental review. It was signed onto by mayors and councilmembers from Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, California, and Hawaii.

Telecom attorney Joe Sandri also filed an amicus brief quoting Dr. Linda Birnbaum, former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health and former director of the National Toxicology Program (NTP). Birnbaum stated, “Overall, the NTP findings demonstrate the potential for RFR to cause cancer in humans.”

The Building Biology Institute and Kleiber family filed critical briefs on people injured by wireless exposures allowed by FCC exposure guidelines.

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