"How to cover an issue when the stakes for human health seem so high, scientific questions still linger, and passions run so deep?"
"Does electromagnetic radiation from cell phones pose a public health risk? To some people, the question seems paranoid. To others, convinced that their devices are proven hazards, the question seems dangerously naïve. And therein lies a vexing challenge for science journalists: How do you cover an issue when the stakes for human health seem so high, scientific questions still linger, and passions run so deep?
At issue here is the low-energy radiation emitted by cell phones and other personal electronics. These kinds of electromagnetic fields don’t directly damage bonds in DNA, and the Federal Communications Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and other government agencies generally consider them safe at the levels associated with cell phones. “The majority of studies published have failed to show an association between exposure to radiofrequency from a cell phone and health problems,” the FDA states unequivocally on its website.
It’s true, of course, that some individual studies have suggested potential links between this sort of radiation and a range of health problems. And in the next few weeks, the U.S. National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, is expected to release the final results of a $25 million study of the effects of cell phone radiofrequency radiation on rats. Preliminary results from the study, released in May of 2016, suggested a link between cell phone radiation and tumor formation."