California Cautions Cell Phone Users: Keep Your Distance

Under a court order, last week California public health officials released draft guidelines advising cell phone users to keep phones away from their bodies, use speaker phone and limit use. The guidelines, first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, advise Californians that scientific studies have linked electromagnetic radiation from long-term cell phone use to an increased risk of brain cancer and other health problems. The advice itself is not surprising. Eight years ago, EWG published a review of the science on cell phone radiation, reporting studies by the World Health Organization that linked cell phone radiation to brain cancer, and other studies that linked cell phone radiation to diminished sperm count and sperm damage. EWG also published its own Guide to Safer Cell Phone Use, which you can find here.

The California Department of Public Health had to be forced to release the guidelines by a lawsuit from a University of California, Berkeley, researcher and says the guidelines don’t constitute its official position, but this is a major development in the debate over cell phone safety. Public health officials in the nation’s largest state and largest cell phone market are acknowledging the need for caution, even as the cellular industry continues to insist there’s nothing to worry about and fights efforts to inform the public.

... California’s draft guidelines were written and revised over the last seven years, but were never approved and released because the Department of Public Health feared “releasing them to the public would cause unnecessary panic.”

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