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Timeline of Scientific Letters To and From the FDA, FCC and Congress on Cell Phone Radiation Testing

Jan 7, 2020


Timeline of Scientific Letters To and From the FDA, FCC and Congress

There are two timelines I am going to share. They intersect at several points. Scientists have been in communication with the FDA regarding the need to update cell phone test systems for a long time. Then, members of Congress became involved in asking about safety to the FDA and a series of communications was initiated in this regard. 

A Short Timeline of Communications between Scientists and the FDA on the NTP study and on how cell phones exceed FCC limits at close contact. 

2012: Cindy Franklin filed a complaint with the FCC on the issue of cell phone testing positions. The FCC rejected the challenge. See the 2012 FCC response. 

2013 though 2019: EHT has submitted extensive  scientific documents to the FCC regarding cell phone testing, wireless radiation impacts to human health, wildlife and the environment.

March 20, 2018: Dr. Marc Arazi and Dr. Devra Davis write letter to the FCC on cell phone testing compliance tests.

December 2018: Scientists Letter to the FDA inquiring as to why the FDA rejected the NTP study findings and requesting documentation on FDA research reviews of RF. 

Note: the FDA was previously sent information on Phonegate. See  Theodora Scarato communications with the FDA about French Cell Phone Tests showing violations of regulatory limit at body contact and why the FDA is not taking action on recent research. The FDA at one point responded that FCC limits have a large safety factor in response to questions about RF SAR violations. After Scararto asked “at what level of FCC limits will the FDA act” communications ended and the FDA said it needed to be petitioned. 

March 2019: FDA Shuren Letter Responding to the Scientists December letter: The FDA says they disagree with the NTP conclusions, that adverse effects have not been replicated and that the results of research have not linked RF from cell phones to health problems. 

August 26, 2019: Scientist Letter to the FDA in response to the FDA’s Letter From April 

Scientists Respond to FDA Letter from 

September 2019: Scientists Call For a Congressional Hearing in Letters sent to several Members of Congress and the House: See letters sent to Eschoo, Markey and Warren, and Pallone, Wicker, Cummings and Lamar Alexander.  

  • Note: The first signatory is Dr. Jerome Paulson, former Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Executive Council on environmental health, a longtime pediatrician at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., served on the Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee for the US EPA and is Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences Read Bio
  • Read Time article featuring Dr. Paulson talking about the need for RF limits to be reevaluated by the FCC when the AAP sent a letter to the FCC calling for action. 

Timeline of Communications between Congress, the FDA, the FCC and Scientists

July 18, 2019: Eschoo and Merkley Letter to the FDA asking for a  “Summary of the Research” and FDA criteria used to determine which studies the FDA has reviewed because “hundreds of constituents have contacted our offices.” 

September 9, 2019: FDA Letter Responding to Eschoo stating that “the available epidemiological and cancer incidence data continues to support the Agency’s position that there are no quantifiable adverse health effects in humans caused by exposures at or under the current cell phone exposure limits.”

Several Scientists Respond to the FDA Letter 

  • Dr. Devra Davis/  Environmental Health Trust to Eschoo Letter: October 19, 2019 Scientific letter with extensive citations documenting the published scientific evidence with counters statements by the FDA that RF is safe/brain tumors are rising in youth in the USA, Cancer is not only health endpoint showing effects, calls for Congressional hearing. 
  • Bioinitiative Letter to FDA Shuren, September 26, 2019 urging the FDA to rescind the endorsement of the adequacy of RF limits/ no independent review of research/  grossly outdated and incomplete information on FDA website. 
  • CBTA Letter to Eschoo September 30, 2019
  • Physicians For Safe Technology Letter to Eschoo October 1, 2019 documenting a “number of inconsistencies, misstatements and flaws in the research summaries” put forward by the FDA. 

Short Timeline of US Regulatory Action on RF and Human Health

Background: No federally developed safety limits because the EPA was defunded from EMF research: From the 1970s to the 1990s, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was researching and tasked with developing radiofrequency radiation (RFR) limits. See US Science Advisory Board (SAB) Recommendation to the EPA To Develop RF Guidelines and the 1983 letter from FCC Chairman Mark Fowler to the EPA Administrator Kathleen Bennett  which states, “We believe that a definitive federal standard is imperative. Therefore we would like to make clear our support for your guidance development. We encourage the EPA to complete this process as expeditiously as possible so that her uniform federal standard will be available for use by the FCC and other affected agencies.”  

However, in 1996, just as the EPA was set to release their Phase 1 of safety limits, the EPA’s RFR efforts were defunded, halting all EPA research. That year the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted RFR exposure limits based largely on limits developed by industry/military connected groups (ANSI/IEEE C95.1-1992 and NCRP’s 1986 Report). 

Congressional Hearings on Cell Phone Radiation

  • 2008 Hearing CSPAN: Epidemiological studies presented which suggest that heavy cell phone users of 10 years or more have higher risks of developing brain tumors on the same side of their heads as where they used to hold their mobile phones.
  • 2009 Hearing CSPAN: The NTP study and fine print FCC warnings were discussed. 

2008: National Academy of Sciences National Research Council Report documented critical research gaps in the impact of long-term wireless (RFR) exposures to children and pregnant women. Most gaps remain. 

2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report:Exposure and Testing Requirements for Mobile Phones Should Be Reassessed

This Report  calls on the FCC to  formally reassess and, if appropriate, change

  1. FCC current RF energy (microwave) exposure limit 
  2. mobile phone testing requirements “related to likely usage configurations, particularly when phones are held against the body,” because without such a reassessment, the “FCC cannot ensure it is using a limit that reflects the latest research on RF energy exposure.” 

2013: FCC Proceedings opened in response to GAO 202 Report Federal Register Reassessment of Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields Limits and Policies


2018: GAO Lists Status of Their 2012 Report Recommendations to Reassess RF Limits as “Closed – Not Implemented.“ As the FCC has not acted to reassess limits,  the GAO issued this statement in 2018: “Despite many years of consideration, FCC still has no specific plans to take any actions that would satisfy our recommendations. Accordingly, we are closing the recommendation as not implemented.”

Congress Requests and Responses on safety of 5G:

Letters From Congress to the FCC

September 13, 2019: Letter from Rep DeFazio and Rep Suozzi Letter to  the FCC on Chicago Tribune Study 

December 2018: Letter from Senator Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut) and Rep Anna G. Eshoo (California) to the FCC asking about documentation of safety re 5G

In a 2019 US Senate hearing on 5G where Blumenthal asks industry representatives about any research on the human health impact of 5G wireless technology and was told that industry is not supporting such research.

See Senator Richard Blumenthal’s Press Release “At Senate Commerce Hearing, Blumenthal Raises Concerns on 5G Wireless Technology’s Potential Health Risks.”