Monday, May 22, 2017

Suppressed cell phone warnings


Newly released public records show that California public health officials worked for five years on a set of guidelines to warn the public about the potential dangers of cell phones, revising their work 27 times with updated research before abandoning the efforts without ever making their concerns public until ordered by a judge...

Joel Moskowitz, a public health researcher at UC Berkeley who sued the state to force the release of the records, said state officials should never have withheld the warnings from the public. Lawyers for the state had argued in court that release of the warnings could cause unnecessary panic. “It would have to be purely political to deny distributing this,” Moskowitz said. “Science supports this.”

...The Chronicle submitted a public records request to the health department in March, asking for emails or documents related to why the cell phone guidelines were never approved to be made public — and to see whether there was any outside influence. The department refused to release records, saying those that existed were protected by attorney-client privilege.

The little information that is known about the state’s efforts to create and then abandon cell phone guidelines can be gleaned from Moskowitz’s lawsuit and the newly released documents...

The first version also warned: “Do not allow children to use a cell phone, except for emergencies.” The final version said, “Parents may want to limit their child’s cell phone use to texting, important calls and emergencies.”

“I want to know why this was suppressed,” Moskowitz said, referring to information he feels parents should be aware of.

The California Department of Public Health declined an interview request, releasing only written statements.

...Moskowitz said he hopes the state will decide to adopt and post the guidelines its own department created. “It seems to me better late than never to notify the public,” Moskowitz said. “The public has a right to this information paid for with their tax dollars.”

Joel Moskowitz's website: Smart Meter Harm

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