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American Academy of Pediatrics Endorses Cell Phone Safety Bill
Oakland, Calif. - December 20 - The Environmental Working Group applauds the decision by the influential American Academy of Pediatrics to support pending legislation that would require new research into the safety of cell phone radiation, especially for children, require safety standards that protect children and other vulnerable populations, and impose new labeling requirements for the ubiquitous devices.
EWG Senior Scientist Renee Sharp said in a statement that the bill’s endorsement by the nation’s largest organization of physicians specializing in children’s health “should be a wake-up call” to Congress and the public:
“Many people wrongly still regard the question of cell phone safety as a fringe issue. The fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics is officially supporting a bill calling for more research, more protective standards, and better labeling of cell phones’ associated radiation exposure should be a wake-up call that this is an issue that must be taken seriously.
“We are pleased that this well-regarded doctors’ group has joined the mounting calls for legislation aimed at ensuring cell phone safety. The science is not definitive that exposure to cell phone radiation can cause cancer or other health problems, but there is real reason for concern. Given their widespread use by children and adults, the federal government needs to be doing all it can to ensure that cell phones are safe and that consumers are informed. The government’s efforts have fallen woefully short.
“We must demand stronger safety laws such as the Cell Phone Right to Know Act to help consumers make informed decisions and protect the public from potentially harmful consequences for human health.”
The Cell Phone Right to Know Act, H.R. 6358, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, would expand research on the potential health effects of cell phone radiation, require the Federal Communications Commission to update its limited and outdated safety standards and mandate better labeling and right-to-know measures.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is the first physicians’ organization to take a position on the bill. In his letter to Rep. Kucinich, Academy President Thomas K. McInerny, MD, wrote:
"The AAP strongly supports H.R. 6358's emphasis on examining the effects of radiofrequency (RF) energy on vulnerable populations, including children and pregnant women. In addition, we are pleased that the bill would require the consideration of those effects when developing maximum exposure standards. Children are disproportionately affected by environmental exposures, including cell phone radiation. The differences in bone density and the amount of fluid in a child's brain compared to an adult's brain could allow children to absorb greater quantities of RF energy deeper into their brains than adults. In addition, the AAP supports the product labeling requirements in H.R. 6358. These standards will ensure consumers can make informed choices in selecting mobile phone purchases. They will also enable parents to better understand the potential dangers of RF energy exposure and protect their children."
In May 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified cell phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based on evidence linking it to an increased risk of glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer.
Although most scientific and public attention on the issue of the safety of cell phone radiation has focused on evidence suggesting an increased risk of brain tumors, a little-noticed but growing body of research points to a new concern – sperm damage.
In a comprehensive review of the published scientific literature released this past June, the Environmental Working Group found 10 human studies that have identified a startling variety of changes in sperm exposed to cell phone radiation. In the most striking findings, men who carried their phones in a pocket or on the belt were more likely to have lower sperm counts and/or more inactive or less mobile sperm. These findings accord with similar results in laboratory animals.
In addition to calling for updated safety standards, EWG has lobbied for greater transparency in communication cell phone radiation exposure information to consumers, supported right-to-know initiatives and recommended simple steps that individual cell phone users can take to decrease their exposure, such as using a headset and texting rather than talking.