Wireless Radiation and Health

There is an immense amount of research related to WiFi, wireless radiation and child/adult safety. It’s complicated. We will keep an eye on the research and update parents as often as we can. Please reach out with any additional information you may have.

Update: Boston Globe: Could your cellphone’s electromagnetic field make you sick? “A California health activist says the Massachusetts Department of Public Health may be withholding information about possible health risks posed by cellphones and other wireless technologies.”

The NIH National Toxicology Program $30 million dollar study released Jan. ’18 showed ‘causal’ evidence (highest rating) for heart schwannoma and brain glioma cancer with DNA damage. This evidence was reviewed by expert panel in Mar. ’18 confirming original findings. The researchers warn that rats were exposed to higher than typical levels of radiation across than entire bodies. You can learn more here High Exposure to Radio Frequency Radiation Associated With Cancer in Male Rats and here Wireless Radiation Not Safe for Children.

Massachusetts leads the way in US initiatives, with California releasing public health campaigns. France banned wireless from schools in Sept. ’18 and many other European countries have made strides toward keeping children safe. 

  • Legislators lead the nation with nine bills to address wireless radiation and public health in general, and especially for our children in schools; from wi-fi, hand-held devices, utility "smart" meters and high voltage power lines; and to train the health care community to diagnose and treat microwave sickness. Five of those bills progressed out of committee favorably, and the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, upon investigation, wrote their own bill. Legislative work will continue in the new session.

  • The MA Department of Public Health, Bureau of Environmental Health has a series of public health guidance sheets awaiting release to address cell towers, cell phones, wi-fi and high voltage power lines. Contact MA DPH Bureau of Environmental Health Director Jana Ferguson, 617-624-5007 (Dr. Bob Knorr just retired, this is his manager).

  • The MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is awaiting release of the MA DPH fact sheets and has identified channels through which they will disseminate them to protect Massachusetts students and staff from wireless radiation. Contact DESE Digital Learning Director Kenneth Klau, 781-338-3505.

  •  MA Department of Public Utilities is investigating the National Grid Smart Meter Pilot Program in Worcester, MA, which if allowed to continue, would impose a toxic radiofrequency radiation transmitting electrical meter on each home across the Commonwealth. Click here for hearing testimony outlining the health risks and financial corruption of the pilot program. Contact Daniel J. Licata, DPU Hearing Officer, Legal Division, 617-305-3523. 

  • The Town of Burlington, MA released a Small Cell Equipment Policy (5G infrastructure) which includes an annual recertification process to ensure equipment is still viable, and a fee assessed to the vendor to pay for Burlington to hire an independent consultant to oversee the annual recertification. The Verizon lawyer indicated his client did not wish to set a precedent for those requirements, and withdrew seven small cell applications. Contact: Burlington Selectman and Small Cell Committee Liaison James Tigges, 781-910-3303.

  • The Town of Southbourough, MA is investigating Verizon's SMALL WIRELESS FACILITIES MODEL ORDINANCE- MASSACHUSETTS, a by-law Verizon is trying to persuade municipalities to adopt. It would pass the legal risk liability on to the towns (insurance companies are putting in exclusions and won't cover wireless radiation damages), and place restrictions on local control. Contact: Southborough Town Administrator Mark Purple, 508-485-0710, x: 3004.

  • Ashland, MA became the first public school district in the nation to adopt Best Practices for Mobile Devices, and the first town to place a radiofrequency radiation detection meter on loan to its residents via the Ashland Public Library, and to host a six-part documentary film and discussion series on Electromagnetic Radiation and Public Health.

In 2018, the ACS issued a statement on the draft NTP reports noting that the findings were still inconclusive, and that, so far, a higher cancer risk in people has not been seen, but that people who are concerned should wear an earpiece when using a cell phone.

  • Please note: An ACS 2016 press release indicated a much higher level of concern based on partial findings of the NTP study, while the most recent response dramatically downplays the findings.  ACS has a special board of advisors and many of the members are leaders of large corporations that are dependent on wireless radiation being safe. For example, Motorola, IBM, Accenture and Ameren.  

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) states that the weight of the current scientific evidence has not conclusively linked cell phone use with any adverse health problems, but more research is needed.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that studies reporting biological changes associated with radiofrequency radiation have failed to be replicated and that the majority of human epidemiologic studies have failed to show a relationship between exposure to radiofrequency radiation from cell phones and health problems. The FDA, which originally nominated this exposure for review by the NTP in 1999, issued a statement on the draft NTP reports released in February 2018, saying “based on this current information, we believe the current safety limits for cell phones are acceptable for protecting the public health.” FDA and the Federal Communications Commission share responsibility for regulating cell phone technologies.

  • Please note: Despite the FDAs claim that “studies…have failed to be replicated,” the NTP study AND the Ramizzini Institute study found the same rare tumor growth.

  • The FDA also lists “lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform” as similarly risky to EMFs. Would you expose your child to these things all day long?

  • Despite comments for the FDA claims that the dose the rats received is not comparable to human exposure, Ronald Melnick, PhD, who designed the study, confirms that the dose was chosen to as closely simulate human exposure as possible with an animal model.  He addresses some of these comments here

  • Unfortunately, the FDA has not issued a follow up statement since the NTP study was peer-reviewed. You can read about that peer-review here. Panel confirms findings and recommends elevated conclusions.

  • FDA comments “we have not seen an increase in events like brain tumors.” Unfortunately, the CDC announced they found rates of pediatric cancers increasing, including brain tumors.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that no scientific evidence definitively answers whether cell phone use causes cancer. However, the CDC does confirm that “cell phones and cordless phones use radiofrequency radiation (RF) to send signals…The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified RF radiation as a “possible human carcinogen.” (A carcinogen is an agent that causes cancer.)”

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concludes that currently no scientific evidence establishes a definite link between wireless device use and cancer or other illnesses.

California Department of Public Health

Berkeley, California, to Require Cellphone Health Warnings: “The Federal Communication Commission recommends keeping your phone 5 to 25 millimeters away, depending on the model, to limit radio frequency (RF) exposure to safe levels….'If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF [radio frequency] radiation," the Berkeley safety notice reads. "This potential risk is greater for children. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.’

Learn more about the How to Reduce Exposure to Radiofrequency Energy from Cell Phones.

In May 2016, the US National Toxicology Program, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), released partial findings from a two-year study that exposed rats to the types of radio frequency radiation that cell phones give off and compared them with a non-exposed group: "The findings of brain tumors (gliomas) and malignant schwann cell tumors of the heart in the NTP study, as well as DNA damage in brain cells, present a major public health concern because these occurred in the same types of cells that have been reported to develop into tumors in epidemiological studies of adult cell phone users," stated Ronald L. Melnick, PhD, the National Institutes of Health toxicologist who lead the NTP study design and senior advisor to the Environmental Health Trust. "For children, the cancer risks may be greater than that for adults because of greater penetration and absorption of cell phone radiation in the brains of children and because the developing nervous system of children is more susceptible to tissue-damaging agents. Based on this new information, regulatory agencies need to make strong recommendations for consumers to take precautionary measures and avoid close contact with their cell phones, and especially limit or avoid use of cell phones by children."

In response to this study, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report, you can find it here.

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a component of the World Health Organization, appointed an expert Working Group to review all available evidence on the use of cell phones. The Working Group classified cell phone use as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” based on limited evidence from human studies, limited evidence from studies of radiofrequency radiation and cancer in rodents, and inconsistent evidence from mechanistic studies (4).

The Working Group indicated that, although the human studies were susceptible to bias, the findings could not be dismissed as reflecting bias alone, and that a causal interpretation could not be excluded. The Working Group noted that any interpretation of the evidence should also consider that the observed associations could reflect chance, bias, or confounding rather than an underlying causal effect. In addition, the Working Group stated that the investigation of risk of cancer of the brain associated with cell phone use poses complex methodologic challenges in the conduct of the research and in the analysis and interpretation of findings.

In 2011, the American Cancer Society (ACS) stated that the IARC classification means that there could be some cancer risk associated with radiofrequency radiation, but the evidence is not strong enough to be considered causal and needs to be investigated further. Individuals who are concerned about radiofrequency radiation exposure can limit their exposure, including using an earpiece and limiting cell phone use, particularly among children.


AAP Healthy Children.org Cell Phone Radiation & Children's Health: What Parents Need to Know

AAP responds to study showing a link between cell phone radiation, tumors in rats May 27, 2016

2012 AAP Letter in Support of the Cell Phone Right to Know Act

2013 AAP Letter to the FCC calling for a review of RF guidelines

Environmental Health Trust - Overview of AAP Recommendations

Leading Websites:

Physicians for Safe Technology

Environmental Health Trust

The Baby Safe Project

Canadians for Safe Technology

Wireless Education

Cece Doucette’s personal website