Mark Lerner
Mark Lerner

February 10, 2013

New Report on Precautionary Principle: Late lessons from early warnings

The European Environmental Agency has issued a press release reiterating the importance of the precautionary principle for certain technologies. Among these technologies are those involved in some of the newer technological innovations, including mobile phones.

The second volume of "Late lessons from early warnings" examines specific cases for which warning signals were ignored, in some cases causing death, disease and environmental destruction. The first volume of Late lessons from early warnings (Late Lessons from Early Warnings), published in 2001, was a groundbreaking report detailing the history of technologies that have subsequently been deemed dangerous. This new volume of 750 pages includes 20 new studies cases, and also has profound implications for politics, science and society .

The report recommends greater use of the Precautionary Principle to reduce the potential of innovative technologies and inadequately tested chemicals.

Scientific uncertainty does not justify inaction cases where there is evidence of potentially serious damage plausible.

Abiding by the Precautionary Principle is always a good idea- after analysis of 88 cases of alleged "false alarms", the report could only validate four. The report also shows that precautionary measures can often stimulate, rather than stifle innovation.

In summary, the report, available on the EEA website , for mobile phones in its Part C: it processes all the studies that have examined the health effects of radiation emitted by mobile phones, even if no cause to effect can not be proved scientifically or biologically, the precautionary principle is nevertheless put forward to reduce its exposure to air by the Agency.



Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D is a world reknowned researcher and Director, Center for Family and Community Health School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Moskowitz took exception to the veracity of this report, particulary that it did not highlight some of the limitations of the research so far that has been used to set FCC standards of safety for mobile phones.

Dr. Moskowitz  points out that the report 

  • Only chose to focus on the scientific literature that supports the FCC’s claim that cell phones which comply with the federal standards are safe. 
  • Did not consider the methodologic limitations of this research or the alternative interpretations of the results from these studies
  • Did not review the scientific evidence that strongly suggests the FCC standards which control only for thermal effects do not adequately protect the public from harm due to non-thermal effects of long-term exposure to cell phone radiation.

Dr. Moskowitz points out that, while there is no conclusive evidence that mobile phones are harmful, the FCC cannot sceitifically prove that phones that meet it's federal standards are "safe"

These constructive criticisms make it even more apparent that utilzing the Precautionary Principle is the only way you can make sure to stay safe.

Here are 5 tips to reduce your exposure to radiation emitted by your phone:

  • Set your phone to Airplane mode when you aren't using it
  • Avoid areas where network coverage is poor (elevators etc. ..) where the phone will work at full power to capture network
  • Avoid calling when travelling at high speeds (car, train, etc. ..) which will cause your phone to connect from one cell tower to another, therefore using more power to get a signal 
  • Use a hands-free kit (wired or Bluetooth, much less powerful) or hold the phone away from your body during calls
  • Install the application tawkon free on your smartphone to monitor your exposure in real time, and alert you when radiation spikes

Using a handset accessory is another great way to avoid exposure to radiation from your mobile phone. That is why we recently launched the tawkon retro handset. Our new handset looks cool and it blocks 99% of absorbed radiation from your phone! 

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