US legal victory on radiation standards

US legal victory on radiation standards

The US public has won a landmark victory on federal safety standards for wireless radiation.

On 13 August, the US Court of Appeals released its judgement on a legal case in which the Environmental Health Trust (EHT) and other community organisations challenged the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] on the adequacy of its standards for radiation protection.

This followed a decision by the FCC in 2019 to retain its 1996 standard for radiation protection, rather than update it.

The FCC radiation standard, like the Australian radiation standard, has been widely criticised for addressing only the short-term, heating effects of radiation and not the harmful, long-term, biological effects not caused by heating—such as DNA damage, oxidative stress and effects on calcium ion channels—that could lead to unpleasant symptoms and serious health problems.

The petitioners maintained that the FCC’s decision to retain the 1996 standard was ‘arbitrary and capricious’. They also argued that, by failing to update the standard, the FCC had ignored thousands of pages of research and expert testimony showing harmful effects from wireless radiation to humans, wildlife, and the environment.

‘The Commission failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its assertion that its guidelines adequately protect against the harmful effects of exposure to radiofrequency radiation,’ said Edward B Myers, attorney for the EHT.

The court ruled in favour of the plaintiffs in a number of regards. It said that the FCC failed to respond to ‘record evidence that exposure to RF radiation at levels below the Commission’s current limits may cause negative health effects unrelated to cancer.’ The court also said that the FCC showed ‘a complete failure to respond to comments concerning environmental harm caused by RF radiation.’

Professor Devra Davis, founder and President of the EHT, said, ‘We are delighted that the court upheld the rule of law and found that the FCC must provide a reasoned record of review for the thousands of pages of scientific evidence submitted by Environmental Health Trust and many other expert authorities in this precedent setting case.’

In its judgment, the court ordered the FCC to ‘(i) provide a reasoned explanation for its decision to retain its testing procedures for determining whether cell phones and other portable electronic devices comply with its guidelines, (ii) address the impacts of RF radiation on children, the health implications of long-term exposure to RF radiation, the ubiquity of wireless devices, and other technological developments that have occurred since the Commission last updated its guidelines, and (iii) address the impacts of RF radiation on the environment.’

‘This was a ground-breaking, historic win for our children and the environment to have the federal court call out the FCC, FDA and other federal agencies for having NEVER done an assessment of the biological science showing great harm from wireless radiation. Their public radiation limits are thus unfounded and unprotective so we should stop deferring to the FCC and industry for safety assurances,’ said Cece Doucette of Massachusetts for Safe Technology.

Should the FCC, as a result of this judgment, consider the non-heating biological effects of radiation in its standards-setting process, this could set a precedent for other standards-setting bodies, including the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

The court judgement can be seen at

You can see more information here:

What you can do

  • Limit your family’s exposure to wireless radiation. Take a look at our products for reducing exposure here

  • Check out your family’s exposure to wireless radiation from your family’s digital devices with one of our wireless meters. 

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