Two Major Organizations Sue FCC over Wireless Radiation Exposure Limits

Children’s Health Defense (CHD) founded and chaired by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., former Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and founder of the Waterkeeper Alliance, and the Environmental Health Trust (EHT) directed by Nobel co-laureate Dr. Devra Davis have both filed lawsuits against the FCC, in general for the agency’s failure to promulgate safe exposure guidelines to radiofrequency radiation. The FCC opened a docket in 2013 to reevaluate obsolete exposure guidelines developed after WW II, that protected only healthy adults from thermal injury and that were last issued in 1996. Since 2013 the FCC basically did nothing with the docket and despite thousands of pages of studies suggesting otherwise, recently released a decision that there would be no substantive changes to the exposure guidelines. Plaintiffs each filed Petitions for Review and among other things contend the FCC ignored “peer-reviewed scientific studies showing that radiation from cell phones and cell phone towers and transmitters is associated with severe health effects in humans, including cancer, DNA damage, damage to the reproductive organs, and brain damage (including memory problems).”

Key attorneys involved for CHD besides Kennedy include Dafna Tachover, CHD’s Director of Stop 5G & Wireless Harms program and also founder of We Are the Evidence who noted  “This action represents the first time in 25 years that we finally can expose the FCC fecklessness in court, and give those who have been injured by the FCC’s disregard for human health a voice” and, W. Scott McCollough with a great deal of experience at the legal intersection of technology and regulation and part of the Irregulators independent telecom team.

Primary counsel for EHT is Edward Meyers who in cooperation with NRDC intervened in the recent historic case brought by the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, et. al against the FCC for violating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in failing to consider environmental impacts while rushing to issue permits for wireless spectrum frequencies associated with 5G. This case resulted in a successful ruling for the plaintiffs in federal court.

The CHD and EHT lawsuits specifically accuse the FCC of violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and appeal the agency’s prior order denying to revisit cellular phone standards. 

On August 13, 2021 the D.C Circuit Court issued their decision finding 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.” Further, the agency demonstrated “a complete failure to respond to comments concerning environmental harm caused by RF radiation.”

The Court found the court found the FCC failed to address these issues:

  • impacts of long term wireless exposure
  • impacts to children,
  • the testimony of people injured by wireless radiation,
  • impacts to wildlife and the environment
  • impacts to the developing brain and reproduction.

The Court remanded this issue to the FCC to resolve the above problems but as of 2/24/2023 the FCC has not responded. More can be read about this case on these EHT and CHD web pages.