Cell Phone Exposure: “It’s Something of Grave Concern”

Dr. Devra Davis, PhD., MPH, is an award-winning, internationally renowned scientist who also was the founding director of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the U.S. National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences.  Dr. Davis is currently Founder and President of Environmental Health Trust.   On April 4, 2012, she gave a presentation on the hazards of exposure to RF  emissions from cellphones at a meeting of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Davis PresentationBased upon the credentials of Dr. Davis and the presentation she gave, if you are a skeptic of whether RF emissions from a cellphone might be harmful to health, your review of this website posting and the presentation materials for Dr. Davis should be at least enough to question the wisdom of the statements of our governmental agencies when they declare that: “currently no scientific evidence establishes a causal link between wireless device use and cancer or other illnesses.”  Also, is it wise for the FCC to state that while “some parties recommend taking measures to further reduce exposure to RF energy, … the FCC does not endorse the need for these practices, …”?

Presentation materials are provided on this webpage in various formats:

  • First, there is a 4 1/2 minute audio clip which represents an excerpt of Dr Davis’s full presentation.
  • Second, there is a written summary of some key statements.
  • Third, there is a link for a PDF file which represents a full transcript of the presentation which you could download or print.
  • Fourth, there is a YouTube Video of the full one-hour presentation by Dr. Davis.

Audio Clip:

If you do not have time to view the entire video presentation, the audio clip might be your best option.  Just click on the link/play button shown below.  While listening to the audio clip, there will be a point where Dr. Davis will refer to the slide shown beneath the audio link.


Impact of Waves

Summary of Key Statements (all of which are included as a portion of the audio clip):

“So, I want to tell you how I came to be concerned about this issue.  And I want to explain, as I said informally a few moments ago, like most of you in this room, when I first heard there could be a problem with cell phones, I just did not believe it.  At the time, I had three phones, and I was kind of proud of my ability to keep up with all my grad students.  Well, I began to look, and I learned that I was mistaken in my assumption that if there were a problem I would know about it, because after all I’d worked at some of the most important scientific institutions in the world.”

“Now, just to set the context, the electromagnetic spectrum goes all the way from the things that drive our radios to the ones that are in outer space that are clearly very damaging: x-rays, gamma rays, UV.  The microwave spectrum … includes cell phones, microwave ovens, cordless phones and Wi-Fi.  …  They all use a similar frequency, namely the frequency of about 800 megahertz to 2400 megahertz, or .8 gigahertz to 2.4 gigahertz.  The power of a microwave oven is 1000 watts.  That can boil a cup of water in a minute.  The power of a cell phone is much less than 1 watt, and it was thought for a long time that therefore it had no biological impact.  That is not the case.  The biological impact of cell phone radiation is not related to its power.  It’s not related to its power.  It is, in fact, quite weak. It is related to its erratic nature of the signal and its ability to disrupt resonance and interfere with DNA repair.  And I’m going to show you some of the reasons why scientists believe that that is the most plausible theory for understanding the wide array of health impacts that pulsed digital signals from cell phones can have today.”

“So we are, in fact, conducting an experiment right now on all of you. …  We are, in fact, conducting an experiment right now with 5.5 billion cell phones. …  I thought there was nothing to it, really.  And I really thought I would know if there was anything important.  And I realize that although I didn’t recognize it at the time, I could be just as arrogant as other people, and I was wrong.  I was quite wrong, and now I’m going to show you why.  But think about this:  if we go through with cell phones, what we have just gone through with tobacco, and asbestos, and vinyl chloride, and bisphenol A, and obesogens, and other things that we’re now identifying, what this will mean for our planet.   It’s something of grave concern.”

“… the reality is we have information here that suggests that we have a big problem.  And we need to figure out how to study it better, and how to develop responsible public policies, while we continue to do that.”

Transcript for Dr. Davis’s Presentation, April 2012

YouTube Video of Full Presentation:


Background for Dr. Devra Davis:

The career of Dr. Devra Davis has spanned all areas of academia, public policy, and scientific research.  President Clinton appointed the Honorable Dr. Davis to the newly established Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, (1994-99) an independent executive branch agency that investigates, prevents, and mitigates chemical accidents.  As the former Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, she has counseled leading officials in the United States, United Nations, European Environment Agency, Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization, and World Bank and served as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the U.S. National Toxicology Program, 1983-86.

Dr. Davis holds a B.S. in physiological psychology and an M.A. in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh, 1967.  She completed a Ph.D. in science studies at the University of Chicago as a Danforth Foundation Graduate Fellow, 1972 and a M.P.H. in epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University as a Senior National Cancer Institute Post-Doctoral Fellow, 1982.  She has also authored more than 190 publications in books and journals ranging from the Lancet and Journal of the American Medical Association to Scientific American and the New York Times and elsewhere.

Honored for her research and public policy work by various national and international groups, she has been a Fellow of both the American Colleges of Toxicology and of Epidemiology.  She was honored by the Betty Ford Comprehensive Cancer Center and the American Cancer Society with the Breast Cancer Awareness Award, commended by the Director of the National Cancer Institute for Outstanding Service, and appointed a Global Environmental advisor to Newsweek Magazine.

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