The American Trial Lawyer
Is Justice for Sale or Has it Been Bought?
Illusion & Escape by Dr. George Carlo
THE CELL PHONE DISEASE QUAGMIRE ARE WE BEING DECEIVED?
The ecological balance of a planet already under siege. It is potentially more serious than global warming – and already claiming lives. So, you say: “If this technology is so dangerous, why isn’t it portrayed that way in the news? Do we not have scientists who study this to make the technology safe? Do we not have regulations and government policing to keep us safe? Do we not have the news media to keep us informed? And do we not have lawyers who will advocate on our behalf to ensure that we are treated fairly?”
Yes, we have all of those protections. But they are not working to protect us. Catastrophic trouble lies ahead if corrective steps are not taken to stem the tide of danger of wireless technology.
FACT CELL PHONES CAUSE DISEASE
How Cell Phones Penetrate
When cell phones were first proposed for consumer use in 1983, the fledgling wireless communications industry convinced the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that pre-market safety testing was not necessary. The rationale: cell phones were like little microwave ovens that operated at power levels too low to cause heating. Thus, because cell phones could not be used to cook food, they were deemed safe by the FDA. This core mistake in1983 became the foundation for a quarter-century public health threat that increases daily.’ By 1993, there were 15 million Americans using cell phones – 25 million people worldwide.
A Florida lawsuit raised public questions about cell phones causing brain cancer, which caught the industry, the FDA, and the media by surprise. This prompted congressional hearings that led to a deal between the cell phone industry and the FDA to research the issue. The supposed goal would be to fill data gaps caused by the 1983 decision to forego pre-market safety testing.
Illustration 1. The degree of penetration of the near-field plume from a cell phone antenna (illustrated in image at left) into the skull varies, based on a number of factors including frequency, wave-length, field-intensity and a person’s age. The MRI models above show radio frequency radiation field penetrations by varying age while other variables are held constant.
Now, fifteen years later, more than 280 million Americans will use cell phone at some point in 2008, with more than four billion users worldwide. The cell phone has become ubiquitous among all demographic groups – including young children.
A cell phone held close to the head (as most are) allows electro-magnetic radiation to penetrate deep into brain tissue. This is where the problem begins. (See illustration I) Indeed, the primary concern 10 years ago was the penetrating near-field plume – the area within six inches of the antenna. However, that concern is now one of many, as ambient radiation has become a very serious problem for those who are electro-sensitive or otherwise symptomatic with conditions involving cell membrane sympathetic stress.
Every cell phone must be connected to a base-station antenna to be functional. Each connection results in a biologically active electromagnetic directional wave, which combines with the waves from other cell phones and wireless devices to form a mesh of information carrying radio waves (ICRW) from which there is little escape for most people. The mechanism of harm perpetrated by ICRWs is biological and therefore carries no threshold for effects – in other words, there is no absolutely safe level of exposure. All cells, tissues and organs in the range of exposure are therefore triggered, and the difference between people who develop symptoms and those who do not is related to factors such as age, state of wellness, gender and genetics.
INCREASES RISK OF TUMORS AND OTHER DISEASES ARE LINKED TO CELL PHONES
Peer-reviewed studies from around the world show cell phones and other wireless technologies ranging from WiFi in schools to transmission towers in neighborhoods, cause adverse biological effects and disease. (See Side-Bar I: Key Cell Phone Disease Causation References). ICRW and other types of electromagnetic radiation can act both as direct causes of disease and as indirect antagonists or synergens, facts already known in the scientific community even as more precise scientific information is gathered.
Cause and effect (a pathological mechanism of harm) are now linked. Cumulative science has laid the groundwork to prove medical causation under stringent Daubert standards. Indeed, scientists and clinicians who study the health effects of wireless technology have shifted the debate from whether cell phones cause health problems (they do) to the urgent need for remedies than can control emerging medical problems affecting millions daily. A profound urgency exists because the most vulnerable are precisely the demographic groups most likely to need assistance: the young, the sick, the elderly and the poor.
Epidemiological studies show significant increased risk of benign and malignant brain tumors, acoustic neuroma, and melanoma of the eye and salivary gland tumors after ten years of cell phone use. Some studies suggest that even short-term use statistically increases cancer risk. Neurological disease and autism have also been linked to wireless radiation exposure.
Patients with electro-hypersensit
The tragedy is that most of the suffering is probably avoidable. The problems associated with electromagnetic
radiation health effects have been known for at least three decades, and technological solutions have been available, but not implemented, for at least twenty years. (See Side Bar 5: The Story of J. G. Bradv)
Illustration 2. Disrupted red blood cell intercellular communication occurs within minutes of exposure to Information Carrying Radio Waves. Red blood cells must be able to sense the location of other blood cells to avoid clumping. Slide at left: prior to cell phone exposure – red cells are functional. Slide at right: after five minutes on a cell phone – red cells are clumped and non-functional.
FACT ORCHESTRATED ILLUSIONS HAVE SHAPED PUBLIC OPINION
These devastating and far-reaching effects are not accidents of nature. The expanding telecommunications and internet industries have perpetrated a dangerous fraud upon the public, withholding information that would expose the risk that cell phones pose to humans and the environment, and suppressing technologies that arguably are capable of saving lives. The telecommunications and internet industries have enlisted an army of public relations, marketing and defense law personnel to apply their skills learned in the tobacco and asbestos wars to an even greater, more sophisticated ruse: the orchestrated campaign of deception that assures the public that telecommunications technology is safe. The stakes are huge: Unlike workers exposed to asbestos or those who chose to smoke, far greater numbers of Americans are vulnerable to the debilitating and harmful effects of cell phone usage, the extent of which may not be revealed for decades to come. (See Side-Bar 6: The Cell Phone Industry Playbook: Controlling Illusion)
The cornerstone of the industry approach: Remove any reference to detrimental cell phone health effects from the scientific and medical communities, as well as public relations and political arenas. According to the industry playbook, the sole issue is public perception- not about public health and safety, or scientific truth. To achieve that end, the industry had found it necessary to alter scientific facts to suit the desired outcome.
(See Side-Bar 7: Data Manipulation: Thumbs on the Scales of Science)
The science is complex, which helps the industry promoting safety of its products to the layperson. Professional wordsmiths retained by the industry split hairs over complicated scientific concepts, including differences between thermal and non-thermal mechanisms; biological effects and health effects; replication of studies and corroborative research; and weight of scientific evidence versus proper scientific judgment. Lay journalists cannot hope to investigate such complicated nuances, and public reports of harm are so watered down that readers, listeners and viewers are left with the impression that “the issue is being looked into and so far, there are no problems.” Not surprisingly, consumers continue to buy.
The industry’s most obvious motivation is to maintain sales, as companies work on narrow profit margins. A one or two percent reduction in market share can devastate the bottom line of even the largest players. Raising the specter of health risks would obviously be bad for business.
Moreover, cell phone leaders must now confront another challenge: the insurance carriers’ decision to exclude health risk claims from product liability policies marketed to the wireless industry. Beginning in 2002, major insurers excluded health risks from cell phone usage as a covered loss under policies sold to the industry. (See Side-Bar 8: Chronology of Key Cell Phone Personal Injury Litigation).
Insurers are well aware of potential losses associated with ongoing product liability and personal injury litigation against the cell phone industry, as well as claims of injured workers. (See Side-Bar 9: Workers’ Compensation Cases; Side-Bar 10: Key Legal Precedents)
BLURRING THE WIRELESS LINES
Wireless companies want to avoid exposure as target defendants, preferring to blend into the burgeoning information technology and internet industries. In 1999, the main cell phone industry trade association, the Cellular Telephone Industry Association, changed its name to the Cellular Telephone and lnternet Association, allowing companies such as Microsoft and Apple to join. In 2005, mobile telephone entities moved into the entertainment industry – exemplified by the joint venture between Sprint and the Disney Corporation that brought Disney into the ranks of wireless signal carriers. Cafe companies such as Starbucks Coffee and Panera Bread have formed wireless lnternet partnerships with industry leaders. These moves have diluted the potential liability for cell phone companies. These actions were intended to reduce the potential exposure of cell phone companies, and have spawned an institutional arrogance reflecting an apparent belief in their own invincibility.
However, it remains to be seen whether Microsoft, Apple, Disney, Starbucks and others will agree to carry the burden of the industry’s self-inflicted liability. Another part of the corporate strategy encourages manipulation of the consumer market, such as the effort to convince parents and teachers that WiFi wireless access at school will improves education – with no evidence These companies prey on ill or poorly informed consumers to support the claim. Ironically, the pathology associated who can be swayed by unscientific and improbable personal with ICRW is consistent with learning deficiencies linked testimonials and other wild claims about miracle cures. Cell phones as personal safety devices also fraud perpetrated by these ‘helpful’ companies is a selling point, despite the absence of data proving ing to public health as the ruse promoted by the wireless that any personal security provided by cell phones out- weighs the associated health risks.
BOGUS REMEDIES EXACERBATE THE DANGER
Manipulating science for profit is not new to the wireless industry. A gamut of marketing companies and other
“grass roots” participatory businesses sell numerous products, including pendants and stick-on tabs, with unsupportable claims to protect consumers against the dangers of cell phones and other electro-magnetic radiation emitting devices.
The science of prevention and therapeutic intervention regarding cell phone-related diseases is still in its infancy, but one aspect is abundantly clear: no panacea yet exists to address the problem. Recent studies indicate that desperate consumers are being deceived to purchase bogus protective devices that not only give a false sense of security, but also improper use of sham products and may lead to serious disease relapses. Because these businesses are person to person, they escape regulation by the Federal Trade Commission or other agencies.
FACT THE INDUSTRY HAS ESCAPED ACCOUNTABILITY
Thus far, the cell phone industry has avoided accountability for the health and environmental damages caused by their devices and supportive infrastructure, leaving the injured without recourse. The system is not working.
Because the FDA granted the industry a variance on the requirement for premarket safety, it is unlikely that that the FDA will take further steps at protecting the public. Moreover, with respect to radiation-emitting devices, the FDA has very narrow regulatory authority: they can require pre-market testing; they can pursue post-market surveillance; they can ban products if post-market surveillance identifies problems. With upwards of 280 million Americans using cell phones, a cell phone ban is politically infeasible.
Consumers cannot look to the FDA, which is not directly involved in the safety regulation of cell phones at all. What about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)?
The wireless industry controls it. The revolving door between the FCC and the wireless industry has not stopped. Indeed, both industry and the FCC cite the lap between the two as a major reason for the tremendous growth and “success” of the wireless communications. They look after each other’s back.
In a recent cell phone-brain cancer suit in the District of Columbia Superior Court, the FCC entered an amicus brief in support of the cell phone industry’s motion for dismissal. The FCC had never before become involved in state or federal court proceedings regarding cell phone dangers; the amicus brief signals a new level of bold interference by the federal agency to advance the agenda of an industry it is suppose to oversee. Further, the cell phone industry routinely misrepresents as safety standards” the
emission guidelines for wireless radiation promulgated under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and administered through the FCC. The FCC has no safety authority. Thus, no safety standards exist to protect consumers from the dangers of cell phones and other wireless devices.
To date, the cell phone industry has responded to litigation by raising the shield of federal preemption, preventing fact finders from hearing scientific and medical causation testimony based on data generated after 1999. “IN the ABSENCE of sound FEDERAL GUIDELINES or vigilant regulation, LITIGATION is the ONLY option to COMPENSATE victims and deter the continued disingenuous and DANGEROUS behavior of the WIRELESS industry.”
FACT LEGAL AND LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS ARE NECESSARY
In matters of public policy involving consumer protection, litigation and legislation has sometimes lagged in addressing rapid technological advances. Such is the case with wireless technology. To date, remedial options short of these “last resorts” have failed.
For half a century, questions have been raised about the safety of wireless devices, and for the past fifteen years, the debate has occurred in public. The passage of time has only exacerbated the public health threat, as exposure to dangerous electromagnetic fields has dramatically increased the risks with no corresponding mitigation. Instead, many consumers now face mounting medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering attributable to wireless technology.
In the absence of sound federal guidelines or vigilant regulation, litigation is the only option to compensate victims and deter the continued disingenuous and dangerous behavior of the wireless industry. Medical science supports personal injury litigation for cell phone-related brain tumors, parotid gland tumors, acoustic neuroma, eye cancer, neurological disorders, electro-hypersensitivity and autism.
Product liability actions will achieve several goals: compensate injured consumers; stop detrimental industry practices that victimize consumers; and put an end to fraudulent promotion of products that do not protect consumers from various types of electromagnetic radiation.
In addition to compensating victims, there is an urgent need to apply political pressure to the legislative and executive branches of government, which will result in long term solutions that ensure the health and safety of future generations. Laws should be enacted to place health warnings on cell phones and wireless devices, as well as warning signs in public spaces that carry WiFi and other wireless signals.
The Telecommunications Act must be amended to include victims’ compensation provisions; incentives for the development and commercialization of technologies to promote users from harmful electromagnetic radiation; and civil rights provisions to promote environmental and health risk protection for homeowners in communities where cell phone base stations and other wireless infrastructure are constructed.
THE CELL PHONE INDUSTRY PLAYBOOK: CONTROLLING ILLUSION
The mobile telephone industry has been successful in manipulating scientific data, public opinion and public
information to protect their interests, promote the unbridled sale of their technologies and create the illusion of safety – all to the detriment of public health.
Here is how they do it.
Public relations “hit squads’ are permanently in place in trade associations and corporate offices to monitor scientific, medical and consumer information for consistency with industry i n t m s .
When “problems” are identified, the public impact of detrimental information is altered first through public statements and written press. The media are ‘managed’ by advertising dollars. Second level ‘management’ is achieved through control of scientific research and scientific organizational channels.
Key watch words that signal industry manipulation:
o Expert panel reports say.. …
o Third party opinions are….
o The ‘weight of scientific evidence indicates …..
o The studies need to be ‘replicated’ before …..
o The ‘safety guidelines’ are being met
o More research is needed before.. …
o Scientists around the world agree that …..
Industry institutions collaborates:
o The Word Health Organization
o The American National Standards Institute
o The IEEE – Institute for Electronics and Electrical
o The International Commission on Non-Ionizing
o The American C a m M i y
o The Bioelectromagnetic Society – BEMS
o The Federal Communications Commission
o The Food and Drug Administration
Industry consultants who publicly support industry
o Dr. William Balky – Exponent Consultants
o Dr. Linda Erdreich – Exponent Consultants
o Dr. John MwMer – University of Wisconsin
o Dr. Mickwl Repachioli – University of Rome (Italy)
o Dr. Bernard Veyret – University of Bourdeax (France)
o Dr. Michael Thun – American Cancer Society
o Dr. Joseph Roti Roti – Washington University (St. Louis)
o Dr. John Boice – International Epidemiology Institute
o Dr. h d o Vmchia – International Committee on Nonionizing
Studies funded by the mobile phone industry are more than six times more likely to find “no problem” than studies funded by independent sources. This difference is statistically significant – suggesting the occurrence is not by chance. The following is an example.
In 1995, a young epidemiology student was working as an assistant to a senior scientist when their organization was contracted by an independent group to conduct a case-control study of brain tumors and cell phone use. When the lead investigator passed away before the study was completed, the work continued with the student and was completed in the fall of 1998. The results were peer-reviewed and the report submitted in compliance with the research contract revealed a statistically significant doubling in risk of rare neuro-epithelial brain tumors among cell phone users.
Between 1999 and 2000, the student forged a relationship with a cell phone industry epidemiologist who had been hired to assist in ‘peer review’ of studies prior to publication.
In late 2000, a paper describing the case-control study was submitted to the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). In that paper, three cases of cancer that had been part of the previous analyses had been eliminated. That change in the number of cancer cases included in the study – a breach of the protocols that had been in place since the study began in 1995 — eliminated the statistical significance
of the link between brain tumors and cell phones.
In the original peer-reviewed report, he also detailed a statistically significant correlation between the side of the head where tumors were located and the side of the head where people reported using their cell phones. Another study from Sweden that same year showed a similar significant risk increase with ipsilateral phone use. The new finding was very damaging to the mobile phone industry, especially since there was another corroborative study. With the three cases of cancer eliminated the statistically significant correlation between the side of the head where the phone was used and the side of the head where the tumor was located also conveniently disappeared. The peer-reviewers at JAMA had no way of knowing about the data manipulation.
In the end, manipulated data were published in a highly reputable peer-reviewed journal. The industry was able to use the paper as a public relations tool. Today, the paper remains prominent in the data package the industry uses advance its position that cell phones pose no health risk.