..concerns about the safety of mobile phones.

7 October 1999



Mr. C. Michael Armstrong

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

AT & T Corporation

32 Avenue of the Americas

New York, New York 100313-2412



Dear Mr Armstrong:



After much thought, I am writing this letter to you, personally, to ask

your assistance in solving what I believe is an emerging and serious

problem concerning wireless phones. I write this letter in the interest

of the more than 80 million wireless phone users in the United States

and the more than 200 million worldwide. But I also write this letter

in the interest of your industry, a critical part of our social and

economic infrastructure.



Since 1993, I have headed the WTR surveillance and research program

funded by the wireless industry. The goal of WTR has always been to

identify and solve any problems concerning consumers' health that could

arise from the use of these phones. This past February, at the annual

convention of the CTIA, I met with the full board of that organization

to brief them on some surprising findings from our work. I do not

recall if you were there personally, but my understanding is that all

segments of the industry were represented.



At that briefing, I explained that the well-conducted scientific studies

that WTR was overseeing indicated that the question of wireless phone

safety had become confused.



Specifically, I reported to you that:



The rate of death from brain cancer among handheld phone users was

higher than the rate of brain cancer death among those who used

non-handheld phones that were away from their head;



The risk of acoustic neuroma, a benign tumour of the auditory nerve

that is well in range of the radiation coming from a phone's antenna,

was fifty percent higher in people who reported using cell phones for

six years or more, moreover, that relationship between the amount of

cell phone use and this tumour appeared to follow a dose-response curve:



The risk of rare neuro epithelial tumours on the outside of the brain

was more than doubled, a statistically significant risk increase, in

cell phone users as compared to people who did not use cell phones;



There appeared to be some correlation between brain tumours occurring

on the right side of the head and the use of the phone on the right side

of the head;



Laboratory studies looking at the ability of radiation from a phone's

antenna to cause functional genetic damage were definitively positive,

and were following a dose-response relationship.



I also indicated that while our overall study of brain cancer occurrence

did not show a correlation with cell phone use, the vast majority of the

tumours that were studied, were well out of range of the radiation that

one would expect from a cell phone's antenna. Because of that distance,

the finding of no effect was questionable. Such mis-classification of

radiation exposure would tend to dilute any real effect that may have

been present. In addition, I reported to you that the genetic damage

studies we conducted to look at the ability of radiation from the phones

to break DNA were negative, but that the positive finding of functional

DNA damage could be more important, perhaps indicating a problem that is

not dependent on DNA breakage, and that these inconsistencies needed to

be clarified. I reported that while none of these findings alone were

evidence of a definitive health hazard from wireless phones, the pattern

of potential health effects evidenced by different types of studies,

from different laboratories, and by different investigators raised

serious questions.



Following my presentation, I heard by voice vote of those present, a

pledge to "do the right thing in following up these findings" and a

commitment of the necessary funds.



When I took on the responsibility of doing this work for you, I pledged

five years. I was asked to continue on through the end of a sixth year,

and agreed. My tenure is now completed. My presentation to you and the

CTIA board in February was not an effort to lengthen my tenure at WTR,

nor to lengthen the tenure of WTR itself. I was simply doing my job of

letting you know what we found and what needed to be done following from

our findings. I made this expressly clear during my presentation to you

and in many subsequent conversation with members of your industry and

the media.



Today, I sit here extremely frustrated and concerned that appropriate

steps have not been taken by the wireless industry to protect consumers

during this time of uncertainty about safety. The steps I am referring

to specifically followed from the WTR program and have been recommended

repeatedly in public and private for and by me and other experts from

around the world. As I prepare to move away from the wireless phone

issue and into a different public health direction. I am concerned that

the wireless industry is missing a valuable opportunity by dealing with

these public health concerns through politics, creating illusions that

more research over the next several years helps consumers today, and

false claims that regulatory compliance means safety. The better choice

by the wireless industry would be to implement measured steps aimed at

true consumer protection.



Alarmingly, indications are that some segments of the industry have

ignored the scientific findings suggesting potential health effects,

have repeatedly and falsely claimed that wireless phones are safe for

all consumers including children, and have created an illusion of

responsible follow up by calling for and supporting more research. The

most important measures of consumer protection are missing: complete and

honest factual information to allow informed judgement by consumers

about assumption of risk; the direct tracking and monitoring of what

happens to consumers who use wireless phones; and, the monitoring of

changes in the technology that could impact health.





I am especially concerned about what appear to be actions by a segment

of the industry to conscript the FCC, the FDA and The World Health

Organization with them in following a non-effectual course that will

likely result in a regulatory and consumer backlash.



As an industry, you will have to deal with the fallout from all of your

choices, good and bad, in the long term. But short term, I would like

your help in effectuating an important public health intervention today.



The question of wireless phone safety is unclear. Therefore, from a

public health perspective, it is critical for consumers to have the

information they need to make an informed judgement about how much of

this unknown risk they wish to assume in their use of wireless phones.

Informing consumers openly and honestly about what is known and

not-known about health risks is not liability laden - it is evidence

that your industry is being responsible, and doing all it can to assure

safe use of its products. The current popular backlash we are

witnessing in the United States today against the tobacco industry is

derived in large part from perceived dishonesty on the part of that

industry in not being forthright about health effects. I urge you to

help your industry not repeat that mistake.



As we close out the business of the WTR, I would like to openly ask for

your help in distributing the summary findings we have complied of our

work. This last action is what always has been anticipated and forecast

in the WTR's research agenda. I have asked another organization with

which I am affiliated, The Health Risk Management Group (HRMG) , to help

us with this public health intervention step, and to put together a

consumer information package for widespread distribution. Because

neither WTR nor HRMG have the means to effectuate this intervention, I

am asking you to help us do the right thing.



I would be happy to talk to you personally about this.



Sincerely yours



















































































































































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