Press Statement from Dr. Albert Manville on the FDA Report on Cell Phone Radiation

In a February 13, 2020, news release from MedPage Today, an anonymous, nonscientific review asserts that, according to the FDA, cellphones have …”no quantifiable adverse health effects in humans,” but FDA suggests that further research should be conducted in vulnerable individuals who may be more predisposed to tumors from “short but intense RF exposure” above current limits.

As a certified wildlife biologist and Ph.D. environmental scientist who has studied the impacts of radiation on migratory birds, other wildlife, and humans since the late 1990s, the statement credited to the FDA is preposterous, without any scientific credibility, and at a minimum deserves a retraction by the FDA.

There currently are well over 500 scientific, peer-reviewed papers addressing impacts of non-ionizing, non-thermal radiation on laboratory animals — many of the studies directly applicable to human health and safety.  I’m coauthoring a detailed scientific paper on these impacts. When I worked as a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for 17 years, I collaborated with the late Dr. Ted Litovitz in 2000. Dr. Litovitz and his colleagues studied the impacts of low-level, non-thermal radiation from the standard 915 MHz cell phone frequency on chicken embryos.  In their laboratory studies, control/non-treated embryos suffered no effects, but some of the treated/irradiated embryos died — at levels as low as 1/10,000 the normal level of cell phone radiation exposure to humans. This was an eye-opener! The findings were published by DiCarlo and others in 2002 in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. Meanwhile, I worked closely with collegues from Europe, including Balmori, Hallberg, Everaert, and Bauwens on the impacts of cell towers on wild migratory European birds.  The results of their field research were equally astounding. Where healthy, breeding bird populations had persisted, once cell towers were installed and operating, nest and site abandonment, plumage deterioration, locomotion problems, reduced survivorship, and death were noted in House Sparrows, White Storks, Rock Doves, Magpies, Collared Doves, and other species. This was documentation in the field of some very troubling consequences of the impacts of cell tower radiation on wildlife.

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With these scientific findings, I was instrumental in getting the Department of Interior to convince the First Responder Network Authority, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Department of Commerce, to begin the process of an Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act in early 2014.  This was the first time one federal department had convinced another department to conduct such a review. While the NEPA review was ultimately scuttled, the results of previous studies clearly showed that radiation has impacts on wildlife, and therefore needed extensive further scientific and public review. The consequences to human health and safety were implicit.

The FDA needs to carefully review the existing and growing scientific record.  The current FDA statement is irresponsible, unfounded, and sets a dangerous precedent — especially in this age of “fake news” and “alternative facts.”  It needs to be corrected or retracted.

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Respectfully submitted.

Albert M. Manville, II, Ph.D.; Certified Wildlife Biologist (CWB), The Wildlife

Society; Senior Lecturer and Adjunct Professor, Krieger School of Arts and

Sciences, Advanced Academic Programs, Johns Hopkins University, Wash DC

Campus; and retired Senior Wildlife Biologist, Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Wash. DC HQ Office (17 years);