After sidestepping the cell phone health controversy for many years, the FDA announced yesterday that it had asked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to hold a symposium and to advise what additional research needs to be done. It's déjà vu all over again.
This is the same do-nothing strategy that George Carlo so successfully pursued for the CTIA, the wireless trade association, in the 1990s to make sure that very little health research got done. Over a six-year period, Carlo held meetings and wrote literature reviews. In the end, he spent $25 million of CTIA's money and had practically nothing to show for it. Neither Carlo nor the CTIA has ever accounted for where all that money went.
Now, the CTIA and the FDA are planning to replay the same charade, albeit on a much smaller scale. (The CTIA will pick up the tab for the NAS contract.) According to a statement posted on the joint FDA-FCC Web site, the NAS will host an "open meeting of national and international experts to discuss the research conducted to date, knowledge gaps, and additional research needed to fill those gaps." It's a waste of time and money.
Anyone who has been paying the least bit of attention knows what has to be done. We need to better understand how and when RF radiation induces DNA breaks, causes leakage through the blood-brain barrier and disturbs sleep. Each of these effects has been documented in multiple labs but remains controversial. They all need to be resolved once and for all. And most importantly, we must find out as soon as possible whether the elevated incidence of brain tumors and acoustic neuromas after ten years of cell phone use —which has now been reported by two independent research groups— is in fact a real long-term risk.