CDC June 2014 Guidance: “We recommend caution in cellphone use.” … and the Story behind the Backtracking.

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions

Cell Phone Exposure to BrainIn June 2014, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revised its webpage for “FAQ About Cell Phones and Your Health” to state the following [1]:

“Along with many organizations worldwide, we recommend caution in cell phone use.”

This precautionary language went almost unnoticed until about two months later.  It was noticed, however, by a Judge preparing to issue an Order regarding expert witness admissibility for a cell phone-related lawsuit.  On August 8, 2014, Judge Frederick H. Weisberg wrote the following [2]:

“Although not cited by any party, the Centers for Disease Control (‘CDC’) also takes a neutral, cautious position on the carcinogenicity of cell phone radiation.  ‘There is no scientific evidence that provides a definite answer to that question.  Along with many organizations worldwide, we recommend caution in cell phone use.  More research is needed before we know for sure if using cell phones causes cancer.’  Frequently Asked Questions about Cell Phones and Your Health, CDC, June 9, 2014.19

19  CDC also states ‘We don’t know for sure if RF radiation from cell phones can cause health problems years later’ and ‘It’s too soon to know for sure [if cell phones cause health problems in children]’.”

At this point a number of news sources and other organizations began to notice the updated CDC language that represented the first time that a U.S. Federal agency had publicly recognized the potential health risks of using cell phones.

However, then came August 20th, 2014, at which time the CDC website was abruptly revised to state,Some organizations recommend caution in cell phone use.”  The specific reference to “we,” being the CDC, had been eliminated from the FAQ webpage. [3]  There were also a number of other changes to the CDC FAQ webpage that further softened its language.

The CDC website revision was reported at Public News Service on August 24th, 2014 as, “Say What? CDC Flip-Flops on Cell Phone Danger.” [4]

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently became the first federal agency to acknowledge health risks from cell phone use. Then, without any explanation, the agency suddenly backtracked on its findings.”

Here is the full audio version of that news cast.

It was quite apparent at the time that there must have been tremendous pressure on the CDC to remove the language that recommended “caution” with regard to cell phone use.  Did the pressure originate from the FCC and the wireless industry?  This was a matter of some speculation, but recently the New York Times has provided some additional insight.

On January 1, 2016, the New York Times published a story, “At C.D.C., a Debate Behind Recommendations on Cellphone Risk,” indicating it had gained access to more than 500 pages of internal records, along with interviews with former agency officials, revealing a debate and disagreement among scientists and health agencies about what guidance to provide the public regarding the safety of mobile devices.  Here are some selected quotations from that investigative reporting [5]:

“The C.D.C.’s internal email traffic shows a lengthy revision process for the agency’s recommendations.  After the announcement by the I.A.R.C. in 2011, one agency official wrote that there was ‘outdated information on our current website’.  Some changes were made within days, though they did not mention the I.A.R.C. determination.”

“That would take another three years.  It coincided with the C.D.C.’s effort to use clearer language on its website, a bureaucratic process that led to tension between the communications staff and the agency’s Radiation Studies Branch.”

“The vetting process for the revised guidelines posted in June 2014 included an outside expert, James M. Smith, the former head of the Radiation Studies Branch.  ‘I certainly had no intention of suggesting a policy change, since there was no overriding science to justify that,’ Mr. Smith said.”

“The change aroused alarm within the agency, and concerns from some outside experts.  An official from the Vermont Health Department forwarded a letter he had received asking about the state’s legal liability for allowing wireless technology in public schools and libraries.”

C.D.C. officials began debating how to back away from their recommendation of caution, internal emails show.  One official proposed saying instead that other countries — ‘specifically the United Kingdom and Canadian governments’ — recommended caution.  Others suggested pointing to determinations by agencies in Finland, Israel and Austria.  Ultimately, though, no other country was mentioned.”

“In emails, Robert C. Whitcomb Jr., head of the Radiation Studies Branch, began assuring colleagues at other agencies and universities that the new guidelines were ‘not an official policy’.”

“Another C.D.C. official called it ‘a teachable moment,’ while a third said she had ‘an incredible guilt complex’ for her role in the guidelines published in June 2014.”

“Today, the agency’s guidelines include a sidebar explanation noting that they were changed, and then changed again.  ‘During this process, revisions were introduced which inadvertently led some visitors to the web page to believe that a change in position had occurred’.”

“‘Some organizations recommend caution in cellphone use,’ the agency’s guidelines now say.  But the C.D.C. is not one of them.”

The New York Times article also quoted Christopher J. Portier, Ph.D., former director of the National Center for Environmental Health, the CDC division that made the website changes.  In an interview, Portier said that he would have not retracted the June 2014 changes.  Portier left the CDC in 2013 before the changes were made but said, “I would have been happy with the original revision.”

The Times article provides confirmation of at least some of what I suspected happened back in 2014, but the article is still short on details.  Who were the “outside experts” that expressed concern on the precautionary language?  Why can’t the United States be one of those countries where governmental agencies recognize the potential hazards in using wireless devices?

The above documented saga of events demonstrates the barriers that exist for members the public to be provided with common sense precautions to protect themselves from wireless emissions.

At this website, we have already written about how the FCC is a ‘Prime Example of Institutional Corruption’.  We have also shown in the article, “Microwaves, Science and Lies” Documentary Reveals a Product Defense Strategy, that the World Health Organization (WHO) has demonstrated its own level of corruption in the way it dismisses its own agency’s 2011 Group 2B cancer classification for radiofrequency fields.

Since 2011, the evidence has continued to mount that RF emissions are more likely harmful than not.  For example, there was the game changing type study released early last year, written about at this website as, RF Fields Promote Tumors Below Human Exposure Limits. [6]  As stated in the study, the results were “worrying” and the lead author stated, “Our results show that electromagnetic fields obviously enhance the growth of tumors.”

Another important event was the release of the French CERENAT case-control study in 2014 that supported “previous findings concerning a possible association between heavy mobile phone use and brain tumours.” [7]

So while the officials at the CDC worry about liability and having “an incredible guilt complex” regarding the use of the word “caution” on a CDC webpage, they appear to have little concern about protecting the public they serve.  I suggest they actually objectively study the available mounting scientific evidence regarding RF induced adverse health effects and then think about real people for a change, like Jimmy Gonzalez, for example, who died in November 2014, very possibly from a cell-phone induced brain cancer. [8]

The motto of the CDC as shown on its website appears to be “CDC 24/7: Saving Lives. Protecting People.”  Do the CDC officials take this motto seriously?


Updated Information, January 13, 2016:

NCRP Pressured CDC to Remove Cell Phone Safety Advice

You Say “Caution,” We Say “Precaution,” Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

The NCRP was the driving force behind the removal of cautionary advice on the CDC’s use of cell phones.  Senior officials at the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements pressured the Centers for Disease Control into deleting the cautionary language in August 2014.  … More at:

Source Material and References for this Article

[1] “Frequently Asked Questions about Cell Phones and Your Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Screen Capture of Webpage, dated June 9, 2014,

[2] Memorandum Opinion and Order on Expert Witness Admissibility, in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, Judge Frederick H. Weisberg, August 8, 2014, page 16 of Court document available through

[3] “Frequently Asked Questions about Cell Phones and Your Health,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Archived Webpage, dated August 20, 2014, available at:

[4] “Say What? CDC Flip-Flops on Cell Phone Danger,” Public News Service, August 24, 2015, unavailable at

[5] “At C.D.C., a Debate Behind Recommendations on Cellphone Risk,” New York Times, January 1, 2016, archived at

[6] SkyVision Solutions Blog Article, “RF Fields Promote Tumors Below Human Exposure Limits,” at, which references the study “Tumor Promotion by Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields Below Exposure Limits for Humans” at doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2015.02.151.

[7] “Mobile phone use and brain tumours in the CERENAT case-control study,” by Gaëlle Coureau,; Occup Environ Med; 71: 514-522; Published Online First 9 May 2014; refer to and

[8] SkyVision Solutions Blog Article, “Cell Phones Cause Cancer,” said Jimmy Gonzalez (1972-2014) at

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About SkyVision Solutions

Raising public awareness and finding solutions for smart grid issues related to invasions of privacy, data security, cyber threats, health and societal impacts, as well as hazards related to radiofrequency (RF) radiation emissions from all wireless devices, including smart meters.
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