For years, Big Tobacco covered up the truth about cigarette smoking and cancer, and now it seems the telecom industry – with arguably even greater reach and power than tobacco – is doing the same about the health hazards of cell phone usage.
Did you know that in March of this year, a peer-reviewed, scientific landmark US government-sponsored study concluded that there is “clear evidence” that radiation from mobile phones causes cancer, specifically, a heart tissue cancer in rats that is too rare to be explained as a random occurrence? You didn’t hear about this study? You are not alone, it received little or no coverage in the mainstream media –whose sponsors are Verizon, T-Mobile, ATT and all of the other giants of the telecom industry.
In fact, not one major news organization in the US or Europe reported this scientific news. But then, news coverage of mobile phone safety has long reflected the outlook and influence of the wireless industry. For a quarter of a century now, the industry has been orchestrating a global PR campaign aimed at misleading not only journalists but also consumers and policymakers about the actual science concerning mobile phone radiation. Indeed, big wireless has borrowed the very same strategy and tactics big tobacco pioneered to deceive the public about the risks of smoking.
Wireless industry CEOs lied to the public even after their own scientists privately warned that their products could be dangerous, especially to children.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of their hazardous nature, in the 1980s, cell phones were allowed onto the US consumer market without any government safety testing. Since then, a significant number of customers and industry workers were being diagnosed with cancer.
The Powerful Wireless Industry and its Disinformation Campaign
In 2011, the World Health Organization classified cell-phone radiation as a “possible” human carcinogen and the governments of Great Britain, France, and Israel issued strong warnings on cell-phone use by children – but in the US – dead silence. That refusal to accept the truth about radiation and cell phones here in the US, has been largely fueled by the industry’s long campaign to make people believe that cell phones are safe.
A campaign that has plainly been a success. 95 out of every 100 adult Americans now own a cell phone; globally, three out of four adults have cell-phone access, with sales increasing every year. The wireless industry is now one of the fastest-growing on Earth and one of the biggest, boasting annual sales of $440 billion in 2016. According to Statista, there are 3.3 billion smartphone users in the world today. That means that in the world of wireless, 42.63%, or nearly HALF of the world’s population have a smartphone today.
Like their Big Tobacco counterparts, wireless executives have chosen not to publicize what their own scientists have said about the risks of their products. On the contrary, the industry—in America, Europe, and Asia—has spent untold millions of dollars in the past 25 years proclaiming that science is on its side, that the critics are quacks, and that consumers have nothing to fear.
This, even as the industry has worked behind the scenes—again like its Big Tobacco cousins—to deliberately addict its customers. Just as cigarette companies added nicotine to hook smokers, so have wireless companies designed cell phones to deliver a jolt of dopamine with each swipe of the screen.
And even as there has so much irrefutable evidence of the many health hazards of smoking, people still smoke and use tobacco products by the millions. Why? Because, industry doesn’t have to win the scientific argument about safety; it only has to keep the argument going – plus through in some high sounding blather about “personal freedoms.”
And right now, that is a page out of Big Tobacco’s playback being used in whole cloth by the wireless industry. And for them, as for tobacco, that amounts to a win for the industry, because the apparent lack of certainty helps to reassure customers, even as it fends off government regulations and lawsuits that might pinch profits.
What do you think of these findings about the health hazards of cell phones? Should the government step in and do something to better ensure their safety? Reply in the comments below.