The American Academy of Pediatrics is supporting 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 them.
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, Renee Sharp, senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group, said in a statement.
“We are pleased that this well-regarded doctors’ group has joined the mounting calls for legislation aimed at ensuring cell phone safety,” said Sharp. “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.”
The Cell Phone Right to Know Act 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health effects of cell phone radiation, require the Federal Communications Commission to update its limited and outdated safety standards, and mandate better labeling and right-to-know measures.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 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, she said.
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, research is pointing to a new concern – sperm damage.
In a review of scientific literature released in June, the EWG found 10 human studies that have identified a variety of changes in sperm exposed to cell phone radiation. One example: men who carried their phones in a pocket or on a belt were more likely to have lower sperm counts and/or more inactive or less mobile sperm.
In addition to calling for updated safety standards, the EWG has lobbied for more information be available to consumers about cell phone radiation exposure, supported right-to-know initiatives, and recommended steps that individual cell phone users can take to decrease their exposure, such as using a headset and texting rather than talking.
See the EWG’s “Guide for to Safer Cell Phone Use” for more information.