Study Suggests Wi-Fi Exposure More Dangerous To Kids Than Previously Thought

Study Suggests Wi-Fi Exposure More Dangerous To Kids Than Previously Thought

Most parents would be concerned if their children had significant exposure to lead,  chloroform, gasoline fumes, or the pesticide DDT. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IRIC), part of the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO), classifies these and more than 250 other agents as Class 2B Carcinogens. Another entry on that same list is radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF/EMF). The main sources of RF/EMF are radios, televisions, microwave ovens, cell phones, and Wi-Fi devices.

Uh-oh. Not another diatribe about the dangers of our modern communication systems? Obviously, these devices and the resulting fields are extremely (and increasingly) common in modern society. Even if we want to, we can’t eliminate our exposure, or our children’s, to RF/EMF. But, we may need to limit that exposure, when possible.


Do the benefits of immersive learning applications outweigh the dangers of increased Wi-Fi exposure for children? (Image credit: Intel Free Press via Wikipedia)

That was among the conclusions of a report published in the Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure entitled “Why children absorb more microwave radiation than adults: The consequences.” From an analysis of peer-reviewed studies, the authors argue that children and adolescents are at considerable risk from devices that radiate microwaves (and that adults are at a lower, but still significant, risk). The following points were made:

Children absorb a greater amount of microwave radiation than adults.
Fetuses are even more vulnerable than children. Therefore pregnant women should avoid exposing their fetus to microwave radiation.

Adolescent girls and women should not place cellphones in their bras or in hijabs (headscarf).
Cellphone manual warnings make clear an overexposure problem exists.
Government warnings have been issued but most of the public are unaware of such warnings.

Current exposure limits are inadequate and should be revised.
Wireless devices are radio transmitters, not toys. Selling toys that use them should be monitored more closely, or possibly even banned.

Children and fetuses absorb more microwave radiation, according to the authors, because their bodies are relatively smaller, their skulls are thinner, and their brain tissue is more absorbent.

Do the benefits of immersive learning applications outweigh the dangers of increased Wi-Fi exposure for children?


More generally, the studies cited in the paper found RF/EMF exposure is linked to cancers of the brain and salivary glands, ADHD, low sperm count, and, among girls who keep cell phones in their bra, breast cancer. They also noted that the average time between exposure to a carcinogen and a resultant tumor is three or more decades.

0x600 (1)

Hopefully, more longitudinal studies will be done to verify or contradict the findings so far. In the meantime, are the government’s current regulations adequate? The exposure levels they warn against haven’t seem to have been updatedfor more than 19 years.

0x600 (2)

In a Network World opinion article ominously titled “Is Wi-Fi killing us…slowly?” columnist Mark Gibbs makes the point that “… laws and warnings are all very well but it’s pretty much certain that all restrictions on products that use microwave technology will err on the safe side; that is, the side that’s safe for industry, not the side of what’s safe for society.”

Gibbs then added this ominous closing question, “Will we look back (sadly) in fifty or a hundred years and marvel at how Wi-Fi and cellphones were responsible for the biggest health crisis in human history?”

But, short of that worst-case scenario, the topic certainly merits more scrutiny, and perhaps some common sense limits on what devices our children use, and for how long.
Wi-Fi Exposure Is Dangerous To Kids

Children absorb a greater amount of microwave radiation than adults.
Follow Rob Szczerba on Forbes, Twitter (@RJSzczerba), Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Dr. Robert J. Szczerba ‘s BIO-

I explore the intersection of healthcare, technology, and business. As the CEO of X Tech Ventures, I focus on applying game-changing technologies from multiple, diverse domains to revolutionize healthcare. Previously, I was a Senior Fellow Emeritus and the Corporate Director of Global Healthcare and Life Sciences at Lockheed Martin. I’ve worked on a wide variety of advanced technologies in such areas as autonomous systems, unmanned vehicles, virtual environments, data analytics, artificial intelligence, healthcare, and social networking. I received my doctorate from the University of Notre Dame in Computer Science and Engineering, am a prolific author and inventor, and have served on advisory boards of leading universities and corporations. I tend to look at the world a little differently than others and am an unabashed technology geek. As an advocate for children with special needs, the role I’m most proud of is being the father of a wonderful little boy with autism. Every day is a new adventure.




Dr. Robert J. Szczerba is the Chief Executive Officer of X Tech Ventures, an innovative company focused on solving some of today’s most challenging problems through the integration of technologies from multiple, diverse domains. One of his current initiatives applies game-changing technologies from the aerospace and defense sectors to improve the healthcare industry. Dr. Szczerba is also a columnist for both Forbes and The Huffington Post, where he writes about the intersection of healthcare, innovation, and technology.


Previously, Dr. Szczerba was the Corporate Director of Global Healthcare and Life Sciences and a Senior Fellow Emeritus for Lockheed Martin, the nation’s largest defense contractor. He has a proven track record of strategic planning, program management, and new market exploration with a focus on transformational technology, business innovation and global growth.


Lockheed Martin designated Dr. Szczerba a Senior Fellow Emeritus, the highest technical leadership recognition in the corporation, based on an exceptional record of sustained technical achievement with significant business impact. Responsibilities included providing guidance and direction for Lockheed Martin’s technical vision across multiple, diverse business areas. He served as the Chief Engineer or Program Manager on collaborative programs between government, academia, and industry, and has extensive experience assessing, developing, and adapting emerging technologies and accelerating their transition into practice. These efforts involved many diverse technology domains, including Autonomous Systems, Modeling and Simulation, Data Management and Analytics, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Applied Artificial intelligence, and Social Networking.

Dr. Szczerba has more than 100 publications and 30 patents / patents pending in multiple emerging technology domains with both federal and commercial applications. He has received more than 100 formal awards and recognitions for excellence in program performance, project management, innovation and publication. As an active member of multiple professional societies in the academic, aviation, defense, and healthcare domains, he participates on advisory panels, chairs conference sessions and reviews papers for publication. Additionally, he has served on Advisory Boards for Johns Hopkins Medicine (Armstrong Institute), University of Southern California (Schaeffer Center), Cornell University, Binghamton University, UC Davis Medical Center (School of Nursing), and the Mars Corporation.


Originally from Rochester, N.Y., Dr. Szczerba attended the University of Notre Dame where he earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a Doctorate in Computer Science. While at Notre Dame, he served as a Research Associate, University Instructor, and led post-doctoral research with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. During this time, he founded a successful consulting company providing technical, operational, and venture funding guidance for start-up organizations. Additionally, Dr. Szczerba is personally interested in causes related to special needs children, with a focus on autism spectrum disorders. He currently lives in upstate New York with his wife Ellen and son Andrew.  



ABOUT XTECH:  We provide strategic consulting services and technology incubation/ acceleration capabilities for a variety of businesses, ranging from Fortune 100 companies to start-ups. We evaluate growth opportunities, help companies develop strategic alliances, design and develop new products and shape opportunities where technology can make the biggest impact.


Forbes Magazine Caves to Industry Pressure

Coalition to Stop Smart Meters, Jan 13, 2015

An example of how industry influences news. Two days ago I sent out the original version of an article by Forbes saying that a study showed that wifi could be more dangerous to children than previously thought. Here is the original version of some parts along with the “updates” and a new ending version that is now on the web:”More generally, the studies cited in the paper found RF/EMF exposure is linked to cancers of the brain and salivary glands, ADHD, low sperm count, and, among girls who keep cell phones in their bra, breast cancer….CHANGED TO:

“More generally, the studies cited in the paper seek to link RF/EMF exposure to different types of cancer, low sperm count, and other disorders.”


However, it is important to note that studies such as these need to be taken in their proper context. This particular study is one group’s perspective. It was published in a relatively new and minor journal with limited data sets. They also note that the average time between exposure to a carcinogen and a resultant tumor is three or more decades, thus making it difficult to arrive at definitive conclusions.

This is not a call to throw out all electronic devices. However, at the very least, it should open up the discussion about different safety levels for adults versus children.

Here is the link to the industry changes in the

Time to start writing a few more letters and one of them to FORBES magazine!

–Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
  1. #1 by nut job on January 13, 2015 - 2:21 pm

    And your point is? So what do we do, ban cell phones and WiFi? Keep dreaming. Better yet, why don’t you move to Benghazi?

    • #2 by anonymous on January 14, 2015 - 2:52 pm

      It’s time for your nap, nut job. Put your head down and go back to sleep.

  2. #3 by Anonymous on January 13, 2015 - 9:07 pm

    Finally, mainstream coverage of an issue that affects us all. Joe, the truth marches on. Thank you for all you do.

  3. #4 by Anonymous on January 14, 2015 - 10:01 am

    This guy has some credentials behind him and cites peer reviewed sources. Have you sent this to your school board members? I forwarded this to ours in my town. Lets hope the media blackout is coming to an end on this finally.

    • #5 by anonymous on January 15, 2015 - 4:33 pm

      “media blackout”, yes that is exactly what it is.

  4. #6 by George Orwell Reborn on January 14, 2015 - 1:43 pm

    Nut job your ignorant comments provide levity to a very serious subject.

    There are alternatives right now to reduce our exposure to cell phones and other EMF emitting devices without banning them outright. But again you show your total ignorance on the subject.

    It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant people like you have no problem showcasing for the world your total lack of understanding on just about any subject you comment on.

  5. #7 by Infowarrior on January 14, 2015 - 4:12 pm

    Hey Joe, Forbes had the author rewrite the article today-did you know that? They changed it up.

  6. #8 by Anonymous on January 15, 2015 - 9:56 am

    FYI and for future reference: copying and pasting an article and/or photos from another publication or website without permission from that source is highly unethical. This site does it all the time. Shame!

  7. #9 by Anonymous on January 15, 2015 - 10:54 am

    You do realize that the article on Forbes has been pulled, watered down and re posted don’t you? It is a good thing Joe did what he did. Now there is a permanent record of what was originally released. By the way, don’t you care about the kids?

    • #10 by Anonymous on January 15, 2015 - 12:18 pm

      Of course I care about children. That’s not the issue. Was just pointing out that when websites, or any source of information for that matter, post articles from another publication, it is customary to get permission from the publication before posting it. If the publication (in this case, Forbes) finds out that their stories are being posted on other sites, they can make life difficult for you and even sue you if they feel strongly enough about it. Same goes for photos. That’s all I’m saying.

      • #11 by back paige on January 15, 2015 - 12:37 pm

        I cant believe you actually said what you just said. Kids are not the issue? Are you kidding me? What are you doing on this website?

        • #12 by amateur night on January 15, 2015 - 3:28 pm

          Just another establishment goon wiping the fecal matter off of their nose for a few moments.

      • #13 by a mom on January 15, 2015 - 12:57 pm

        The link to the article was provided and credit for the author’s work was clearly given. I can assure you that Mr. Imbriano is more concerned about the destruction of children than getting sued. I think you should be too. Where is your outrage over what is being done? Do you have any children? The fact that Forbes scrubbed the article, does that concern you?

  8. #14 by Anonymous on January 15, 2015 - 10:53 pm

    Never mind. Copy and paste away Don’t get permission. All is good!

    • #15 by Joe Imbriano on January 16, 2015 - 12:06 am

      You do likewise. Take this message to the ends of the earth and save our children from being brain damaged, sterilized and given cancer. Thank you for your support.

  9. #16 by Forbes retraction comments on January 21, 2015 - 8:25 pm

    Follow Comments
    steve steve 1 day ago
    Hi Steven,

    I appreciate you desire to promote good science and call attention to badly written science articles.

    I would like though to say something about my own experience with wifi, which is something that I now try to avoid as much as possible. After about 5-10 minutes in a wifi field I will get a headache and find it harder to focus and concentrate. It is very unpleasant and gets worse as time goes on. Exposure for more than an hour will sometimes take around 4-6 hours to clear from my system, which if it happens in the evening means poor sleep and waking up tired.

    I have found this ever since wifi became common around 5 years ago. Some would say that this is psychosomatic, but my reaction is highly consistent and happens whether I know about the wifi field or not. There were specifically 3 occasions when I was sure there was no wifi around and the symptoms still appeared, only to discover a nearby hidden wifi router. So I am sure that wifi is a direct causal factor.

    Ok, this is only one anecdote, but I having spoken to others I know many, many people who have the same reactions.

    The science can be read both ways, but I know for myself that whether wifi causes cancer or not, it is very bad for my health, and of many people I know. I can extrapolate from that that there will be a significant number of children who are being affected, their nervous systems and developing brains being far more delicate than mine.

    Called-out comment
    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 1 day ago
    Steve, I am sorry you are suffering from health issues. Your anecdotes, however, do not make sense. Microwaves have been used for point to point communications links since the early 1950s, and for wide area paging and radio communications systems as well as TV broadcast since the 1960s. Cellular networks since the early 1980s. All of these technologies would cause field strengths similar similar or higher than Wifi. Thus, you should have been experiencing health effects for decades, and in the present day, pretty much everywhere in the developed world.

    Also, science cannot be extrapolated. It must be demonstrated. And health standards *do* take into account children, who in fact are struck by fewer radio waves than adults as they are smaller and have less surface area to strike.

    Called-out comment
    Vince Alfait Vince Alfait 17 hours ago

    Please describe your educational background and publications in refereed journals in the area you are commenting as an authority. I so see you sell wireless communication equipment for Motorola, though that not only does not qualify you as an expert, but raises the issue of bias based on economic or personal factors

    Called-out comment
    steve steve 14 hours ago
    Don’t be sorry Robert, as long as I stay away from microwave fields with a power density of more than 0.1mW/m2 then my health is perfectly fine.

    Your comment does not make sense for the following obvious reasons:

    1. a health condition can appear in someone’s life at any time even though they may have been exposed to the causal factor for a long time before that.
    2. Mobile communication has expanded massively in the last ten years and the sources of radiation are much closer to the general public, now inside their own homes in the case of most people.
    3. The inverse-square law means that power density is massively higher than in the 50′s,60′s and 80′s. Using wi-fi means that the user is usually within a few feet or even inches of the source (laptops and ipads).
    4. different forms of microwave communication work at different frequencies and patterns of modulation. My experience is that wi-fi is the worst of these for my symptoms, although bluetooth is pretty bad too. The way these frequencies interact with the subtle electrical processes in human cells is far more complex than just lumping them all together and imagining that they would have the same effects. I don’t enjoy mobile phone frequencies and avoid as much as possible, but they don’t seem as harmful to me, even if the power level may be higher, as wi-fi is.

    I take your point about extrapolation, but your comment about children is absurd, the tissues in their body will absorb the same amount of radiation per square inch as an adult, but with a child the radiation will penetrate deeper into their body and so the more delicate organs as their bodies are proportionally smaller.

    Called-out comment
    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 13 hours ago
    Vince, you need to clarify about whom you are speaking. I note, however, that you are attacking someone’s person, the ad hominem fallacy, rather than addressing their arguments or offering a substantive argument of your own.

    Called-out comment
    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 13 hours ago
    Steve, thanks for your comments.

    1. Yes, a health condition can appear at any time. However, in the case of electromagnetic waves, health effects either are immediate (usually at higher power) or long term effects causing cancer. Neither is the true in your case (I am assuming), nor is any mechanism for any effects outside these tow well-known paths known for microwaves. That makes it highly unlikely.

    2 & 3. Mobile communication has expanded, but field strengths from wide-area systems don’t typically rise, because cell systems by infill sites that have lower power levels to maintain coverage without interfering with adjacent systems. And, their level is still thousands of times below safety standards at the closest approach, Adding more carriers is adding miniscule power levels together IE nothing. Wifi and bluetooth are at such low power levels that their effect on field strengths is negligible. And, not sure you meant to write about the inverse square law, as that doesn’t make sense?

    4. You are assuming what is unproven and highly unlikely, given our knowledge of electromagnetic waves and that microwaves are not energetic enough to cause issues. Not impossible, but highly unlikely. There are no accepted effects of radio waves, or as a result of different modulation schemes (wifi, LTE, CDMA, GSM, TETRA, P25, etc.), with human chemical or electrical biology.

    Human children are smaller, hence likely to be intersected by fewer fields. There is no evidence to suggest that children are affected by microwaves more than adults, and safety standards include a margin specifically to address the old, young and infirm. Campaigners against radio waves appear to have switched from focusing on adults (where the battle is lost) to children to try to make appeals to emotion to a general public unfamiliar with logic or science. However, it is a logical fallacy and will not prevail.

    Level at which you personally experience no health effects
    I cannot accept the level you cite. It is roughly a million times below safety standards, and would be regularly reached everywhere. As noted previously, modulation scheme has no effects, so field strength is the only measurement that counts. I will suggest that if you carry a field meter (and many are toys), then you are conducting an unblinded study with sample size one. We are easily fooled under such circumstances. That says nothing about your intelligence, likeability, mental state or rationality: it is simply a fact that we — myself included — try to find patterns where none exists. Heck, even Linus Pauling won a Nobel Prize but also believed in vitamin C quackery. I regret such “evidence” cannot sway any scientific debate.

    Best of luck with your continued good health.

    Called-out comment
    Vince Alfait Vince Alfait 12 hours ago
    Sorry Robert, I am referring to you, a manager for Motorola in the area of wireless communication devices.

    Called-out comment
    Vince Alfait Vince Alfait 12 hours ago
    Sorry for my oversight David. I am addressing this question to Robert Quickert

    Called-out comment
    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 12 hours ago
    Since I do not work for Motorola, you will be factually incorrect and engaging in ad hominem. In both cases, this will leave my true arguments untouched. An excellent example of why the RFScare campaign movement has failed, and that every official scientific panel examining radio waves and health has concluded they do not cause health effects.

    Called-out comment
    – collapse comment
    Vince Alfait Vince Alfait 10 hours ago
    Funny thing, this morning your Linkedin resume said you had worked for Motorola in the Wireless communication area and now work part-time looking for antennae sites.


    Robert Quickert 9 hours ago
    Worked my good man, worked. In the controversial role of radiocommunications training. No, I am not involved in antenna siting. And even then, these points are addressing me and not my argument, poor debate form. Please try a substantive reply.

    steve steve 8 hours ago
    Thanks for the response, Robert:

    1. I honestly don’t know what the trigger for the onset of electro-sensitivity is, I imagine it may be different from person to person. I know for myself that it began around 5-6 years ago and as I say that fits with the advent of wifi routers becoming commonplace in homes, offices and public buildings. The health effects are immediate in my case and the power levels where I am affected are much, much lower than current safety standards.

    2. You were comparing today’s microwave radiation levels with the 50s, 60s and 80s, when there were no mobile phone towers. But you missed my main point which is that the sources, rather than being in remote towers where the power levels are much reduced by the time they reach you, are now in the home. The field strength in the homes where I measure it is usually around 50-100x higher with the wifi router on than without it (if mobile phones are switched off). Have you taken readings yourself? You can verify this if you want to.

    The inverse square law is absolutely relevant here. it means that if you get 10x closer to the source of radiation, the power density of the field increases by 100x. Hence the huge difference between now, with all these devices in the home and previous eras with distant sources.

    4. You obviously believe that microwaves of all frequencies and modulation patterns up to the acknowledged safety levels are harmless. Fair enough. If you are not personally affected by them then that is great, you can live happily in the modern world.

    I don’t really care whether you accept the level that I cite or not. It may sound unbelievable to you, but that is the threshold where my symptoms kick in, and they worsen in direct correlation to the increase in readings. I know that you think this must be some sort of psychosomatic condition and of course, you have no reason to accept my testimony, so I may be wasting my breath here, but I am trying to get this across to put some sort of dent in the cast iron surety you seem to have that you really know the facts and have all the answers on this issue. You don’t.

    I hope you can see that I am no stranger to logic and science, my degree is in Mathematics and I have an active interest in all science. Of course that doesn’t make me an expert in the specific areas of science involved in this debate, but I am pretty sure you are not either so neither of us can take that stance.

    I am writing from a more personal point of view here because this issue affects me deeply in a way that if you don’t have electrosensitivity you could never understand. Every trip into the modern world has to be considered carefully, public transport is a nightmare as levels are now too high for me to take more than a 10 minute journey. My work life is severely limited as working in most modern work environments woud be impossible. Large gatherings of people are uncomfortable as the high density of mobile phones in one place ramp up radiation levels to where I will suffer for hours afterwards.

    Despite that I have made my life work and I work round this and my health is good, but can you imagine the pain in the ass it all is?! Why would anyone want to fool themselves into all of this?

    I am curious about you, what makes you leap on these forums so readily and so passionately? It is hard to believe that you would be doing this without some vested interest. What is driving your interest in this topic?

    Paul Doyon Paul Doyon 7 hours ago
    Robert Quickert
    Telecommunications Professional
    Toronto, Canada
    2005 – 2007
    Training Manager – Motorola, Inc.
    Responsible for analyzing needs for, as well as planning, implementing and evaluating learning and development in the areas of product knowledge and sales skills for Motorola’s radio communications group sales associates in the Americas. Acted as lead for the Americas radio communications sales learning council and liaised with contacts in other regions. Learning team lead on implementation of new webcast and rapid elearning development tools. Based in Schaumburg, IL, USA (Chicago area).
    2003 – 2005
    Employee Training Manager – Motorola Ltd
    Responsible for analyzing needs for, as well as planning, implementing and evaluating learning and development in the areas of product knowledge and technical, sales, compliance and management skills for Motorola’s EMEA radio communications group associates in field technical, development engineering, marketing, finance, support and sales roles. Acted as global lead for the radio communications sales learning council. Coordinated learning for technical associates outside EMEA on EMEA products and systems. Based in Basingstoke (Hampshire), United Kingdom.
    1996 – 2003
    Manager, Training & Development – Motorola Canada Ltd.
    Responsible for analyzing needs for, as well as planning, implementing and evaluating learning and development in the areas of product knowledge and technical, sales, compliance and management skills for Motorola’s Canadian radio communications group associates in field technical, marketing, finance, support and sales roles. Also responsible for addressing the sales, product and management learning needs of Canadian channel partner associates. Based in Toronto, ON, Canada.

    Planewired Planewired 5 hours ago
    Way to go Paul…I knew I smelt a rat.

    Planewired Planewired 5 hours ago
    Oops, had fish on the brain…smelled

    Nancy Baer Nancy Baer 1 day ago
    Well, there is evidence of harm from the two most lethal frequencies employed by wireless devices invented by the military as weaponry and the media and government are doing a good job of suppressing it. “Microwave sickness” was discovered a scant 84 years ago by Dr. Irwin Schleiphake. There are something like 6000 plus scientific papers on the health effects of exposure to these microwave and electromagnetic frequencies. See and http://www.emf-wise.php/Science and decide for yourselves what is the truth so you can act accordingly.

    Called-out comment
    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 1 day ago
    Military weaponry has nothing to do with telecommunications. It is a bogeyman, but not scientifically relevant.

    As for the BioInitiative, it is not considered serious science by health authorities, a fact easy determined by a perusal of the Wikipedia article on the topic.

    Called-out comment
    – collapse comments
    Nancy Baer Nancy Baer 15 hours ago
    Wow. Someone with no knowledge about this subject would be inclined to believe your denouncement of the 2007 and 2012 BioInitiative Reports compiled by 29 international scientists and physicians if you hadn’t then referenced Wikipedia as your resource. For military studies on this subject, go to

    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 13 hours ago
    Someone with no knowledge might be inclined to believe anyone; that’s why I post solid arguments and evidence. If you had taken the trouble to read the Wikipedia article, you will note it cites solid sources, like the German and French health authorities who essentially called the Bioinitiative Report “crap” (I paraphrase). Please rebut the points, which hand-waving does not do.

    Ms. Havas posting of ancient archives long superseded by more recent research and panel reports is fun reading. It does not impact the bottom line that scientific panel after panel in recent years has said there are no health issues with radio waves.

    Nancy Baer Nancy Baer 13 hours ago
    Microwave radiation frequency is not properly referred to as “radio waves,” Mr. Motorola troll.


    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 12 hours ago
    No, microwaves is sufficient. Using “radiation” is just an attempt to conflate microwaves with deadly nuclear radiation. Unless you call the light switches in your home luminous radiation switches, or you adjust the radiation detection level when wanting to listen to a different programme, you exhibit transparent hypocrisy.

    And calling me a Motorola troll is name calling. A young child could tell you that carries no weight in argumentation.

    Robert Riedlinger Robert Riedlinger 1 day ago
    You had better do your home work before making a rediculus statement like you have.There are msany scientific studies that show harm from WiFi.

    Called-out comment
    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 1 day ago
    Mr. Riedlinger, telling a “Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, and Biostatistics in the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine” (from Prof. Salzberg’s bio) to learn about this topic from a YouTube video is an insult. They are as far away from scientific proof as a gnat is from the space shuttle.

    Called-out comment
    – collapse comment
    biron biron 4 hours ago
    There are studies that CLAIM harm — they do not SHOW it.

    Vince Alfait Vince Alfait 1 day ago

    Your reporting in this article is irresponsible at best. If indeed you are familiar with the methods of science, especially the science of wireless radiation harm, please review for us the recent critical review of the wireless radiation area published in”Psychophysiology”. If you are unable to negotiate and provide your analysis of a critical review of the wireless radiation/health harm literature, you owe Forbes and its readers an apology and retraction.

    Called-out comment
    Vince Alfait Vince Alfait 1 day ago

    Called-out comment
    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 1 day ago
    Suggesting a “Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, and Biostatistics in the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine” (from Prof. Salzberg’s bio) needs to learn about science if the height of irony. It also is a logical fallacy.

    You cite Ms. Davis et al’s article in Pathophysiology. It is a derivative article, that states the same evidence as stated in this article and rests primarily on Hardell’s work in Sweden showing large increase in certain cancer risks. Problem ius, only Dr. Hardell’s work shows such effects. When his evidence was pooled with other studies as part of the multinational INTERPHONE study, an effect was barely detectable. Removing his results showed no effects. Working on his evidence alone, unreplicated, as should be obvious to anyone who knows the scientific method, wrong.

    Called-out comment
    – collapse comments
    Vince Alfait Vince Alfait 17 hours ago
    1). Steven Salzberg has no demonstrated evidence of expertise through publication history of wireless radiation health outcome research with human subjects. He is an academic focusing on human genome research.
    2) though you belong to a fringe science group, “Association for Science and Reasoning” you demonstrate little understanding of science. Specifically, including studies seemingly designed so poorly to show no effect will dilute the effect of well-designed case controlled studies as the Interphone compilation has done. Perhaps you might actually read the reference I provide to appreciate the shortcomings of the Interphone compilation and the strength of existing well-executed research demonstrating an association of cell phone use and cancer. I assume you are aware that you cannot prove the null hypothesis, both due to the design issues I note and the basis of hypothesis generation in the scientific method. Applied to wireless radiation, you cannot prove wireless radiation is safe. You can produce poorly designed studies that fail to show an effect as has been demonstrated.

    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 13 hours ago
    1. Mr. Szczerba has a doctorate in computer engineering and works in venture capital. Mr. Salzberg in computer engineering and works in health care research. Who is more qualified? You didn’t seem to have much trouble with the former… Even still, focusing on the person instead of the argument is a logical fallacy.

    2. (a) No, I am not a member of such a group, which is more ad hominem anyway.
    (b) “seemingly designed so poorly” & “produce poorly designed studies” is a conspiracy theory for which you present no evidence. Fail. And, if you think the INTERPHONE is poor, you do not get the IARC Class 2b ruling. If you rely only on Mr. Hardell’s research, you rely on an outlier that is not replicated, a red flag for any scientist. Either way, your argument suffers.
    (c) “you cannot prove the null hypothesis” & “you cannot prove wireless radiation is safe”. I say *again* that this implies nothing, zero, zip, zilch, about the hypothesis that there is a health effect from radio waves. This *is* a fundamental point of the scientific method. If you cannot understand this point, you are projecting your lack of knowledge in this method.

    Devra Lee Davis Devra Lee Davis 1 day ago
    In the hopes of stimulating an appropriate exchange on the science, here is a copy of the letter that was sent to Steven Salzberg that contrary to his quick read of it in fact included NEW references. Dear Prof. Salzberg,

    Given the press of his clinical responsibilities, my colleague Dr Santosh Kesari has asked that I respond to your recent query. There is a growing highly specialized literature regarding both the increased exposure of the young brain and body to RF as well as the biological impacts of this exposure. This literature has been developed by industry and academic experts and published in journals that you may not commonly read.

    To assist you in understanding this matter, I have pulled a few illustrative examples. After you have had a chance to review these, I would be happy to address specific questions you might have.

    The attached pdf provides an earlier report from studies carried out on behalf of the Telecom Orange in France led by Joe Wiartt of brain modeling with findings similar to those produced by the Swiss national institute on information technology (IT’IS) relying on three-dimensional models of a virtual family.—that we cite in our article. I should note that the IT’IS Virtual Family is used by the FCC in estimating impacts of medical devices.

    Both these investigations have shown that children aged 5 absorb twice as much radiation as adults, with the bone marrow of the skull absorbing 10 times more.

    No data are available on RF absorption in infants and toddlers— a group in which exposures are growing dramatically, despite the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics that children under age 2 should have no screen time. Prof. Martha Herbert MD, PhD of Harvard Medical School has also expressed this view in several publications.

    Studies on whole body averaged RF exposure of the young compared to adults include this recent report published by specialists from UK Health Protection Agency in the Journal Physics in Medicine and Biology relying on anatomically based phantoms of younger children. They reported that: “The ICNIRP reference level does not provide a conservative estimate of the whole-body-averaged SAR restriction for 5 year and 1 year old models.”

    As to the biological impacts of exposures to cell phones and other wireless transmitting devices, the IARC/WHO determination from 2011 that such radiation is a “possible human carcinogen” merits serious consideration. Studies produced since that evaluation have strengthened the case for concluding that such radiation is a “probable human carcinogen”—a position we have expressed with Dr. Kesari in another recent paper on the topic written with WHO expert advisor Anthony B. Miller and others. Governments in Israel, Belgium and France are taking steps to reduce exposures especially for children in light of these findings.

    Regarding biological impacts of pulsed RF the growing applications of nonthermal levels of RF in medicine offers prima facie indications. Of course, thermal applications have been around for more than a quarter century—including for cardiac ablation. Recent FDA approved efforts are relying on non-thermal pulsed RF to treat a wide array of syndromes ranging from pain and edema, chronic wounds, and bone repair to depression and cancer. These technologies can vary in terms of their electric and magnetic field energies as well as in the pulse length, duty cycle, treatment time and mode of delivery.

    This year’s annual meeting of the Bioelectromagnetic Society in Asiloma, June 14-19 will feature a number of presentations that are relevant to this matter. I am chairing a workshop where the latest anatomically based modeling will be presented. You would be welcome to attend if you have the time to do so.

    Based on the above considerations, we believe that it’s appropriate to reduce exposures to children while research continues to evaluate the matter. As a former Johns Hopkins NCI Senior Post-Doctoral Fellow–ages ago– who received my MPH in 1983– I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about these matters. I will be in the Washington DC area April-June and would be delighted to meet with you to discuss our work further.
    end of letter.

    As a point of information, as Dr. Salzberg asks to what the term “Orange” refers, Orange refers to the French Telecommunications giant that separated from the government in 1990 and is now recognized as one of the most successful telecom brands in the world–”Orange.”

    has been used since the company was separated from the state in 1990, making the move symbolic within the group and, in particular, for employees in France.
    Orange was first created as the name for a UK mobile operator owned by Hong Kong’s Hutchison in the early 1990s, before it was acquired by France Telecom from Vodafone in 2000.
    Marketing experts see it as one of the successful brands in history, having established itself as the French group’s main brand for internet, mobile and TV services since 2006.

    Called-out comment
    I once again welcome Ms. Davis to the conversation. I regret she has no credibility, however, unless she can answer a question put to her before.

    Ms. Davis, you constantly mention — including in this latest “journal” article that radio waves are in the same Class 2b carcinogen category as DDT. You are trying to conflate the harms of DDT and radio waves to an public uniformed in science, and unaware that DDT was regulated because it is an endocrine disruptor, not because of its carcinogenic status. Similarly you always conflate radio waves with lead, which is regulated because it is a neurotoxin. You have been called out before for this misleading approach, yet you use it unabated. You use it in the the Pathophysiology article (2013) that Mr. Alfait mentions in a comment above. Here is the quotation: “This is the same category as the pesticide DDT, gasoline engine exhaust, burning coal and dry cleaning chemicals, and jet fuel—compounds that are subject to serious regulation and control around the world today.” In fact, you use it everywhere, even with the lay public, unqualified. *This is flat out deceit.* Why? Why do you bring your reputation, and the reputation of your alma mater into disrepute? Why can you not be complete and honest?

    I invite you again to answer. If you cannot, then you are not worthy of any “appropriate exchange on the science”.

    Called-out comment
    Betty Betty 18 hours ago
    Your comment doesn’t make a lot of sense. Its the WHO that makes the designation. Not Dr. Davis. Please post your credentials Mr. Quirkert. ” If you cannot, then you are not worthy of any “appropriate exchange on the science”. You sir sound like the ramblings of the Tobacco industry and days gone by. Its time to wake up to the mounting evidence. I have a suspicion that you may make your living in the wireless industry.

    Called-out comment
    – collapse comments
    Vince Alfait Vince Alfait 16 hours ago
    According to his CV he posted on Linkedin David works for Motorola as a manager in a wireless communication device division. He also is a member of pseudoscience group, Association of Science and Reason. Google it, it is worth a look.

    Fiona Hook Fiona Hook 13 hours ago
    He’s a troll, fol-de-rol.

    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 13 hours ago
    Betty, Ms. Davis is suggesting that radio waves are as bad as DDT because they are both in Class 2B. But DDT is not banned because it is in Clasa 2b: it is banned because it is an endocrine disrupter. Ms. Davis deliberately fails to clarify that point, hoping to confuse the issue with an unschooled general public. You were confused, and I sincerely do not mean that as a cheap shot. 🙂

    My credentials or whether or not I work for the wireless industry are irrelevant: they attack my person (ad hominem) rather than my arguments.

    Invoking the tobacco gambit is also a logical fail. Health authorities responded quickly after then evidence was clear. With microwaves, six decades have passed with no such clear evidence, and thus health authorities the world over are not concerned.

    Called-out comment
    biron biron 4 hours ago
    “As a former Johns Hopkins NCI Senior Post-Doctoral Fellow–ages ago..”

    Yeah, post doctoral Philosopher, not scientist.

    Called-out comment
    Lloyd Morgan Lloyd Morgan 1 day ago
    The level of Salzberg’s ignorance is profound.

    Here are the Conclusions in the paper that disturbs him so deeply:
    The risk to children and adolescent from exposure to microwave radiating devices is
    considerable. Adults have a smaller but very real risk, as well.
    (1) Children absorb greater amount of microwave radiation (MWR) than adults;
    (2) MWR is a Class 2B (possible) carcinogen as is carbon black, carbon tetrachloride,
    chloroform, DDT, lead, nickel, phenobarbital, styrene, diesel fuel, and gasoline. It
    seems clear that we would not expose children to these other agents, so why would
    we expose children to microwave radiation?
    (3) Fetuses are even more vulnerable than children. Therefore pregnant women
    should avoid exposing their fetus to microwave radiation.
    (4) Adolescent girls and women should not place cellphones in their bras or in hijabs.
    (5) Cellphone manual warnings make clear an overexposure problem exists.
    (6) Wireless devices are radio transmitters, not toys. Selling toys that use them
    should be banned.
    (7) Government warnings have been issued but most of the public are unaware of
    such warnings.
    (8) Exposure limits are inadequate and should be revised such that they are

    The paper is not about Wi-Fi per se, but does cite one paper which report an adverse effect from a laptop computer connnect to a Wi-Fi signal . The paper states “A study of temperature controlled human sperm placed 3 cm beneath a laptop computer connected to Wi-Fi for 4 h reported, ‘Donor sperm samples, mostly normozoospermic [normal sperm], exposed ex vivo during 4 h to a wireless internet-connected laptop showed a significant decrease in progressive sperm motility and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation.’ The study concluded ‘Ex vivo exposure of human spermatozoa to a wireless internet connected laptop decreased motility and induced DNA fragmentation by a nonthermal effect.’”

    Wi-Fi is a modulation technique used to attached information to a carrier frequency. There are many other modulation techniques. For example GSM, UMTS, LTE. They are all used by cellphones in a range of frequencies called Radio Frequency (RF). Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR) was declared a Group 2B (possible) Carcinogen by the World Health Organization in May 2011.

    The level of Salzburg ignorance, who claims to be an expert about cellphone radiation is clear when he does not understand that Orange is the name of a major cellphone company in Europe. He may not even know that Apple is a major cellphone company in the U.S.

    Salzberg declares “Just a few months ago I wrote an article explaining that high-voltage power lines do not cause cancer.” Again his ignorance is profound. The World Health Organization declared in 2002 that magnetic fields field from electricity referred to as ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) magnetic fields is also a Group 2B (possible) Carcinogen.

    Perhaps his profound ignorance is because his field of expertise is Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, and Biostatistics?

    L. Lloyd Morgan

    Called-out comment
    – collapse comments
    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 12 hours ago
    Mr Morgan, thanks you for joining the dicussion. I regret, that you have spent most of your words simply restating the article under examination, rather than making any cogent argument. You do say that Mr. Salzberg didn’t know what Orange was, which I give you, but I think we would both agree that does not say anything about his arguments for or against the hypothesis that radio waves cause health effects.

    You so say that power lines are a Class 2B carcinogen, which is correct. But that is a long way from Class 1. As many including the WHO have pointed out “Regarding long-term effects, given the weakness of the evidence for a link between exposure to ELF magnetic fields and childhood leukaemia, the benefits of exposure reduction on health are unclear.” [Note for the reader: childhood leukaemia is the primary cancer concern as regards electricity transmission].

    You conclude by throwing an ad hominem at Mr. Salzberg. I note the hypocrisy of not having done the same with Mr. Szczerba, with similar credentials bet weaker experience, whose article prompted Mr. Salzberg’s article here.

    biron biron 4 hours ago

    I see you too are in the business of deceiving the public by conflating the established risks of children’s exposure to gasoline and lead with the “possible group 2b carcinogen risk.”

    “Cellphone manual warnings make clear an overexposure problem exists.” Do you have evidence to suggest that there is a problem? What affect does this distance have on the alleged risk of cancer? I’m not convinced.

    – collapse comment
    Paul Doyon Paul Doyon 1 day ago
    This is obviously industry-sponsored damage control. This guy is not interested in the truth. He is only interested in winning the argument. I call it “Trickle-down psychopathy.”

    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 12 hours ago
    If it is obvious, you should easily be able to cite evidence of how Mr. Salzberg was paid off, by whom, copies of the transaction records, the emails asking him to write the article.

    Or your argument could be the pharma shill gambit logical fallacy that is complete nonsense.

    – collapse comments
    Dave Dave 21 hours ago
    I’d like to make a few points about this article, which I believe to be
    offensive, and almost criminally irresponsible.

    Firstly, I think it’s unedifying to see this columnist attacking what I
    thought was a reasonable and balanced article by a fellow Forbes writer,
    on a hugely important issue.

    I think that this columnist ought to apologise to Robert Szczerba, who
    was bravely covering an issue that what I call “Big Wireless” would like to bury. He
    might also like to apologies to the scientists, health professionals and
    the journal he has implicitly or explicitly defamed in this article.

    Next, this columnist makes a number of astonishing and irresponsible
    claims, which bear some scrutiny.

    These include:

    “Wi-Fi Exposure Isn’t Killing Your Kids”.
    “High voltage power lines do not cause cancer”.
    “Wi-Fi is not more dangerous than previously thought, and it’s not going
    to give your kids cancer”.
    “Numerous studies (show) Wi-Fi to be harmless”.

    Wi-Fi operates at either 2.4 GHz or at 5 GHz frequencies, which means
    that it emits microwave radiation, as this columnist concedes (although
    various different terms are used throughout the article – to confuse? –
    such as “Wi-Fi exposures”, “microwaves”, “microwave radiation” and

    Strangely, the writer didn’t mention that the whole Radiofrequency
    portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which includes microwave
    radiation, was classified by the World Health Organisation/the
    International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as Group 2B Possibly
    Carcinogenic to Humans in 2011.

    This is the radiation which this writer is suggesting is harmless, and
    isn’t killing kids or giving them cancer.

    At least two of the experts who were involved in the IARC process have
    called for the classification to be tightened still further – Dariusz
    Leszczynski has called for it to be listed as Group 2A Probably
    Carcinogenic to Humans, and Lennart Hardell, the world-famous oncologist
    who has spent decades investigating the link between mobile phone
    radiation and brain tumours, has called for a Group 1 Carcinogenic to
    Humans classification.

    Just the stuff to be exposing your kids to, eh?

    The writer says that numerous studies say that Wi-Fi is harmless. Where
    are these studies? Please list them, and indicate any conflicts of
    interest that may be linked to the researchers, so that we know that
    they are truly independent and unbiased.

    Where is the evidence of independent, biologically-based pre-market testing?

    Anyone who imagines that man-made microwave radiation passes harmlessly
    through them, and yet magically enables the wireless communication of
    vast amounts of digital data, clearly either hasn’t looked at the
    independent science, or has chosen, for reasons of their own, to dismiss

    I call on the writer of this piece to declare any conflicts of interest
    that may have caused him to launch such a vitriolic attack on good,
    independent science, and on the common sense of Forbes readers.

    The only “pseudoscience” exposed here is , in my opinion, on the part of this writer.

    Stella Sae Stella Sae 20 hours ago
    I am very sorry but saying a paper where professor Devra Davis is one of the authors is bad science is very strange. She is a very well respected scientist, advisor to the government, the european union and many other nations on environmental issues that could be causing cancer. She has won the beast cancer awareness awards and the United nations woman’s award and so forth. Her foundation managing informational website on cancer possible “risks” is irrelevant. Her cv is one of the most impressive you could ever see, her papers are well respected and she is co-author of Ohm Gandhi’s papers on how radiation is more absorbed by younger bodies than adults. Ohm Gandhi is well respected and was a government advisor in FCC regulations regarding cell phone exposure, the WHO acknowledges this vulnerability for children as well for radiation. You just do not have the background to understand the paper, the reference to the rise in brain tumors in Australia is there because Hardells et al papers are showing a risk for tumors again and again as well as other studies, after 10-15 years of cell phone use and then incidence trends are relevant, even though brain cancer can also take more than 10-20 years to appear so trends are still probably not on as sharp a rise as they will be in the next years. Even so brain cancer is the cancer that is killing most people over 40 in the countries like UK, Kanada and Australia as well as having surpassed leukemia in children. IARC/WHO has classified microwave radiation from these devices as a possible carcinogen based on review of studies on humans, cells and rats. Brain cancer risk was higher if you used a cell phone, that is the conclusion of the 28 IARC elite scientists that classified this radiation as 2b…should I expose my child to a wifi connected ipad because of your article, can you guarantee that my kids organs will not be adversely affected after hours with wifi radiating ipad on the lap ? Do you know that many tablets are not safe according to the FCC unless used 20 cm from the body. Your responsibility is indeed huge if parents read this and do not at least choose to be careful with these devices, better to be safe than sorry or…
    You will maybe be interested to know that other countries are setting laws that ban wifi around young children and also banning cell phones for young children…belgium, france, israel, germany becouse of the scientific literature.
    Also I do not know why you say magnetic fields fro power lines do not cause cancer, that is not something to be said at all even though one study did not find a link, it is as you have not read the INTEROCC study. A new study, the largest ever made, that found much higher risk of cancer when exposed to magnetic power fields. Power-frequency magnetic fields can promote brain tumors, according to the largest epidemiological study of its kind ever undertaken. The new results, published online by the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, come from INTEROCC, an international project with seven participating countries designed to investigate occupational health risks from chemicals and EMFs. The project is directed by Elisabeth Cardis at CREAL in Barcelona with $1.5 million from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

    The INTEROCC team found that those who were exposed to elevated EMF exposures at work during the five years prior to diagnosis had significantly higher rates of glioma compared to those who were least exposed during that time on the job. The greater the exposure, the greater the tumor risk.

    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 12 hours ago
    It is hard to rebut the volume of incorrect arguments you make. I will take a stab at a few.

    Ms. Davis was perhaps once respected, but now that is gone, especially since she continues to conflate DDT and radio waves in a duplicitous fashion. That is behaviour undeserving of respect.

    Brain cancer is not the number one cancer in the countries you cite. It is lung cancer.

    Belgium, France and Germany (I do not know for Israel) have not banned cell phones for young children. Please provide a hard source (like a government ministry link).

    Here is what the WHO says about power lines and cancer: “Regarding long-term effects, given the weakness of the evidence for a link between exposure to ELF magnetic fields and childhood leukaemia, the benefits of exposure reduction on health are unclear.”

    Called-out comment
    Nancy Baer Nancy Baer 13 hours ago
    Mr. Quickert I recommend you read Robert C. Kane’s book, “Cellular Telephone Russian Roulette: A Historical and Scientific Perspective.” He worked for Motorola.

    Called-out comment
    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 12 hours ago
    Hundreds of thousands of people have worked for Motorola. Citing one is gross cherry picking. I worked for Motorola. I believe the evidence does not show that radio waves are harmful. There. We’re even. How did I form my belief? Every official scientific panel that has examined the issue has come to that conclusion. I think I am on safe ground, and Mr. Kane is not.

    Called-out comment
    Robert Quickert Robert Quickert 12 hours ago
    Saying “Big Wireless” is trying to bury something is a conspiracy theory. It defies logic, as it implies dozens of official scientific panels that have concluded radio waves do not cause health effects are in on the game. All the hundreds of panel members are in on it. All the administrative staff. All the politicians. All the journalists. All the industry and scientific associations and all their members and staffs. This kind of logical fallacy can only be termed *unbelievable*.

    Called-out comment
    – collapse comments
    Vince Alfait Vince Alfait 10 hours ago
    This is long, but informative to all. Robert, you seem to have plenty of time to read it:

    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.
    Below are 12 good reasons why the U.S. Senate* should reject Tom Wheeler:
    1. Wheeler’s financial conflicts. As the managing director of Core Capital Partners LP in Washington, D.C., Tom Wheeler helps manage a $350 million venture capital firm that invests primarily in the high-growth technology sector – all with potential business involving the FCC. Founded in 1999, Core Capital has invested in over 45 companies and partnered with over 100 others with a focus on wireless information technology, communications, infrastructure, security, cloud-based software, digital media and technology-enabled service areas. Examples of Core Capital’s investments include PureWave Networks, which develops outdoor base stations for the 4G wireless networks; Twisted Pair Solutions, which makes mobile communications software interfaces, BridgeWave Communications, an outdoor gigabit wireless infrastructure/interface company, among many others. (See: for portfolio information.) Nearly all of Core Capital’s clients rely on friendly FCC regulation, lax radiofrequency radiation exposure standards, or more importantly no regulation at all. In 2008, FierceWirelessincluded Tom Wheeler in their top ten all-time list of people who helped shape the wireless industry. Wheeler is on a mission and it goes way beyond regulating the quality of our connectivity.
    2. Wheeler’s professional conflicts/bullying. Wheeler headed two major industry trade groups: the National Cable Television Association from 1979 to 1984, which includes the largest US cable companies — Comcast, Time Warner, and Charter Communications; and the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, now called CTIA – the Wireless Association, which includes the four biggest wireless companies — Verizon, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile USA. CTIA, founded in 1984, includes not only wireless carriers, but their suppliers, service providers, and manufacturers of wireless data services and products. CTIA advocates at all levels of government and claims to coordinate the industry’s voluntary best practices and initiatives. Their behaviors indicate otherwise, however, and Tom Wheeler set their tone years ago. In 2010, CTIA sued the city of San Francisco over that city’s first-in-the-nation law that point-of-sale information regarding a cell phone’s radiofrequency radiation level, and its specific absorption rate (SAR) be made available prior to sale. It also required a handout be made available saying that the World Health Organization determined radiofrequency radiation to be a 2B possible carcinogen. It was a simple right-to-know law containing the same radiation exposure information buried in company literature deep within the box, available only after purchase. (Increasingly that information is now available only online.) CTIA sued on First Amendment grounds. Apparently making them tell the truth goes against their right to obscure. The 9th Circuit Federal Court agreed with CTIA and on May 7, 2013, the San Francisco City Board of Supervisors revoked the law because they did not want to open taxpayers to a potential $500,000 penalty in attorney’s fees for CTIA. They were also humiliated into accepting a permanent injunction against the right-to-know ordinance just to make sure they didn’t come back with anything similar in the future. Despite scores of letters and petitions from across the country encouraging San Francisco to stay the course, CTIA’s bullying worked. And for good measure, CTIA not only sued but also moved CTIA’s annual conference, traditionally held in San Francisco, to Texas, thereby taking significant revenues out of the California economy. These are all punitive tactics, honed under Wheeler while at CTIA and continued by his predecessors. Other states are considering similar legislation. On May 2, 2013, Rep Andrea Boland (D) Maine reintroduced The Children’s Wireless Protection Act. It would require that retailers provide a flyer stating the same information about the World Health Organization’s classification, require that manufacturers’ manuals provide language to avoid direct cell phone contact with the head and body, as well as information on how to reduce excessive exposure, if one chooses, such as limiting use by children, keeping a phone away from reproductive organs, and operating it with a wired headset. The bill would also require retailers to label cell phones at point of purchase with stickers stating the following: “This device emits radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Avoid direct contact.” (Full text: : Rep. Boland says it’s time to give Maine constituents fair warning of the serious, potentially lethal ramifications of cell phone use, now associated with gliomas – the deadliest form of brain cancer, among other problems. But the ruling in San Francisco has had a chilling effect, just as intended by CTIA. Boland’s bill was tabled until further notice on May 8th . Pennsylvania, Oregon, New York and others are also considering such legislation. Hopefully these other states will have more pluck than San Francisco. CTIA’s aggressive behaviors are well documented and were considerably ramped up under Tom Wheeler’s long tenure. He will institute those behaviors in favor of industry if affirmed at the FCC. Expect an FCC ruling that makes point-of-sale information illegal at the state level, a lot more litigation, and bullying.
    3. Wheeler’s political conflicts. Tom Wheeler was a top fundraising bundler for President Obama, raising more than $500,000 in 2012, and from $250,000 to $500,000 for the 2008 campaign. Wheeler has made at least $172,524 in campaign donations since 2007, all to Democratic candidates and party committees. He donated the maximum allowed to both of Obama’s presidential campaigns, and the maximum $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee in 2011 and 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Time Business & Moneycalled Wheeler a “true believer,” noting that Wheeler and his wife went door-to-door for Obama in Iowa. ( His nomination reeks of a quid pro quo.
    4. Wheeler would increase radiofrequency radiation exposures. After decades of unchecked wireless exposures, continued concern about safety, and three law suits, the FCC is finally reviewing their obsolete radiofrequency (RF) safety standards, instituted in 1996 — 17 years ago — but which even back then did not take any studies past 1986 into consideration. Thousands of studies have come out since that time, many indicating adverse effects. (See This FCC review affects all aspects of modern life, from broadcast to broadband, cell phones, wifi, smart metering — virtually all wireless products and infrastructure. The CTIA recently released its 2012 year-end survey. There are now more wireless subscriber connections (326.4 million) in the U.S. than people, and more than 300,000 cell tower sites. That is a tremendous amount of RF exposure to the population that simply did not exist as little as 15 years ago. Concerns over the safety of this area of the electromagnetic spectrum precede the CTIA and were long known in the science community. Wheeler, as director of CTIA, oversaw a $25 million research debacle that ended in more – not less – controversy, with virtually no research produced. The project was widely considered in the press to have been a “manufactured doubt” program, intended to contaminate the database with negative studies, prevent clearer understanding and therefore better regulation. Today increasing research from all over the world indicates possible cancer risks among many other physiological problems from mobile-phone use, accompanying infrastructure, and myriad consumer wireless products. In 2012, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency radiation as a 2B possible carcinogen along with lead, formaldehyde, mercury and DDT. Many European countries and professional organizations now recommend the precautionary principle regarding these ubiquitous exposures, especially for children. Wheeler’s entire professional career rests on the assumption that the exposures at current levels are safe, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. The current FCC standards are based on a high-intensity, short-term tissue heating model that does not reflect today’s long-term, low-level, chronic non-tissue-heating exposures found to be every bit as biologically active. In addition to the FCC’s narrow, ineffective focus, today’s standards do not take cumulative exposures from myriad wireless sources functioning at the same time, such as in the average home or workplace. Plus the FCC categorically excludes whole swaths of technology from review if those products meet certain exposure thresholds. The entire model is completely inadequate to protect the public health. Industry is pushing to make the standards more lenient. In 2012, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report after spending a year researching the health aspects of cell phone usage that stated the radiation limit needed to be reevaluated. At the time of the report, the FCC had the SAR (specific absorption rate) set at 1.6W/kg (the amount of energy absorbed by a unit of tissue). The FCC reevaluated the radiation limit after the GAO report was published, and recently published its own response. FCC states that the SAR limit will stay the same. However, the outer part of the ear has been reclassified as an “extremity,” a designation that legally allows it to absorb more radiation under current specifications. This is going in the wrong direction. In 1999, a cheery-picking Wheeler said “responsible scientific studies hadn’t found a connection.” He will likely maintain that stance and the public health could be in serious jeopardy, given the popularity of wireless products. Wheeler would have the ability to not only relax the standards further and grant more categorical exclusions to the very industries he has promoted, funded, and made a fortune from, he would also control any future recommendations for cell phone exposures, especially among children who are known to be more susceptible to such damage. These factors alone should disqualify Wheeler for the chairmanship. While at the CTIA, Wheeler lobbied hard to make sure Congress would set no limits on cell phone use of any kind. He’s not about to stop now.
    5. Wheeler would erode local cell tower siting rights and endanger public health. When Wheeler was at CTIA, he was among the industry architects who wrote Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that prohibited state and municipalities from siting towers based on the environmental effects of radiofrequency radiation – a health and safety jurisdiction long exercised at the local level. He asked FCC to preempt all local rights in cell tower siting; make illegal temporary moratoriums on tower construction while communities created effective zoning regulations; make it illegal for communities to require that cell providers prove they are in compliance with FCC exposure standards; make it illegal to even mention health or environmental concerns at public hearings – against First Amendment rights to free speech – and he pushed back communities seeking legal redress in federal courts. Wheeler’s appointment would be a blow to what little power is left regarding state and local rights in their time-honored legal zoning responsibilities to protect public health, safety, and welfare. Wheeler would give the telecoms the right to site infrastructure anywhere, anytime, without local or state review. His appointment could open new areas of litigation. Unsafe infrastructure siting potentially endangers public health and property values and constitutes an illegal taking against the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
    6. Wheeler would abandon landline networks. This is a critical time for FCC decisions that will affect wired v. wireless networks and all information/entertainment/voice delivery choice for consumers. Despite Congress’s desire for more diversity in communications services, Wheeler in 2011 advocated for total deregulation and to let AT&T buy the smaller wireless competitor T-Mobile USA Inc. Both the FCC and the U.S. Justice Department opposed the merger and AT&T abandoned the plan. It is well known that AT&T wants to abandon its entire landline network in favor of an all-wireless network – this at a time when safety issues are on the table regarding wireless exposures. FCC granted them permission to do that and AT&T is currently trying to enact that plan in numerous states now, despite the fact that 1-in-5 Americans rely on landline networks for voice, DSL Internet, and 911 emergency provisions. Landline networks, proven time and again, are far more reliable and secure than wireless networks. Wheeler’s appointment would accelerate, and greatly favor the wireless industry over the harder, safer landline system. The U.S. should be favoring fiberoptic networks like countries throughout Europe and Asia for primary connectivity at all levels.
    7. Wheeler would increase media consolidation. Further media consolidation could erode press diversity. As president of the CTIA, Wheeler in 2001 pushed to eliminate limits on how many airwaves a company can hold in a given city. The FCC is currently considering whether to revise the limits again. Wheeler’s confirmation could further damage media diversity and reduce the number of independent voices intended by Congress.
    8. Wheeler would decrease consumer choice. Wheeler has a decades-long track record of favoring wireless over wired networks. He will bring that bias to the critical balance in today’s entertainment/communications market between cabled networks and wireless companies. He will decrease, rather than increase, consumer choice – Congress’s clear intent — and push for deregulation at all levels, using the federal cudgel over state decision-makers. All wired networks will likely suffer under his bias.
    9. Wheeler would oversee huge spectrum auctions. If appointed, Wheeler would oversee 120 megahertz of spectrum auctions of airwaves to be voluntarily relinquished (at a price) by television stations after those stations went to digital formats. These are the public’s airwaves. Originally, that frequency spectrum was promised to local emergency first responders. But it will now be auctioned to the major telecoms for 4-G high-speed wireless Internet service and mobile broadband. This will bring an increased layer of radiofrequency radiation to the environment/public at a time when safety concerns are paramount and the FCC is reviewing its standards. Wheeler would oversee almost one quarter of the airwaves that Obama set as a national goal and a huge swath of spectrum would be in the hands of a consummate industry insider who has fought against the public interest at every step.
    10. Wheeler is known for cronyism. On his blog in 2011, he called AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President Jim Cicconi, one of the smartest, shrewdest policy mavens in the capital and added that merger deliberations could create a new era of wireless policy according to Cicconi’s ideas. Wheeler will bring this bias and years of insider relationships to the FCC – against the public’s best interests.
    11. Wheeler’s appointment would further lower the bar on the ‘revolving door.’ Reed Hundt, the former FCC Chairman during the Clinton Administration, serves on Wheeler’s Core Capital Partners board of advisers – the man whom Wheeler once repeatedly petitioned for more lax standards and regulations when Wheeler headed the CTIA. Now both men stand to profit from Wheeler taking the helm at the FCC and relaxing regulations further.
    12. Wheeler’s conflicts perfectly match FCC’s authority.At a time when the FCC has pushed for increased wireless broadband in rural areas, and Congress has awarded tax payer dollars as incentives to large communications companies to serve those areas, Wheeler would be in the position not only to affect the nation’s infrastructure and radiation exposure standards but to direct all regulatory power to financially benefit friends and former clients. FCC regulates broadcasters, cable companies and telephone-service providers – all of which intersect with Wheeler’s background.
    Voters should urge the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to reject Tom Wheeler. If Wheeler’s nomination gets out of committee, voters should petition their Senators to vote against this cynical power-grab by a longtime industry insider and find a more suitable candidate. President Obama needs to get the message that our regulatory agencies are off-limits to conflicted industry insiders once and for all. Wheeler has long had his camel’s nose under the tent at the FCC by being on an important FCC’s advisory panel. But it’s one thing to ask industry insiders what their opinions/preferences are. It’s another to hand the whole kittenkaboddle over to them.
    Mignon Clyburn, senior Democrat on the FCC commission, will serve as acting chairwoman until a permanent chair is appointed. Thirty-seven U.S. Senators in a letter urged President Obama to nominate FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel as chair. She would be the first woman to head that agency. Rosenworcel has nearly two decades of experience in telecommunications and media policy in both the public and private sector and received wide bipartisan support during her confirmation to the FCC last year. She carries none of the overt conflicts or insider cronyism that Wheeler does and unlike Wheeler, has a solid background in communications law. She is acceptable to industry and public interest advocates alike and would likely be confirmed. Those 37 senators should be urged to stick to their guns and to enlist their colleagues to support her. The first step is to reject Tom Wheeler. We can — and should — do better than this.
    B. Blake Levitt is an award-winning medical/science journalist, former New York Times contributor; author, Electromagnetic Fields, A Consumer’s Guide to the Issues and How to Protect Ourselves; and editor, Cell Towers Wireless Convenience? Or Environmental Hazard?(
    *Wheeler’s nomination must first pass the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, chaired by S

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