D.C. NOTES

The cellular industry joined Ellen and the Clinton administration last week, volunteering to come out as a consumer advocate.

That’s right, CTIA joined the fight against aggressive driving-this coming from the people who champion the car phones that irresponsible drivers cradle between head and shoulders while zig-zagging all over the road.

But the party was short lived. CTIA suffered a relapse and jumped back into the closet upon learning that an Australian telecom industry-funded study found a possible cancer link from exposing transgenic mice to GSM digital phone radiation.

The industry urged caution, noting it was just one data point; that results conflicted with previous RF studies and could not be extrapolated to humans; and there was no need to worry.

Cathy Bergman, president of the EMR Alliance, accused the industry of being in denial.

As for myself, upon hearing all this industry spin and psycho-babble, came to the conclusion that cellular lobbyists and RF tree-huggers-like the zapped mice-are transgenic. That is, there is an extra gene or a missing gene in lobbyists and environmentalists that tends to promote selective interpretation of RF bioeffects studies and to block out objective assessment of scientific data.

CTIA tends not to second guess studies, like Ross Adey’s analog and digital RF rat exposure experiments and others-which found zippo in terms of cancer. Industry boasts those studies prove phones safe and vindicate its unshakable conviction in that regard.

Similarly, environmentalists and consumers groups immediately dismiss Adey’s work because he’s paid by Motorola Inc. It’s the `war-game’ thing.

As such, there appears to be a real need for an objective, third party-say, the government. Things are moving that way. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) is waiting for overdue answers from FDA on oversight of the industry-funded WTR program. Why, in the time he’s given to FDA, Markey could have shuttled between D.C. and Boston to catch a handful of Red Sox games. Or even interview for head coach of his beloved Celtics. Sorry, the job’s been filled.

Freshman Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) flirted with the idea of suspending the RF antenna siting provision in the ’96 telecom act in response to health concerns about cell sites on school property. But upperclassmen on Capitol Hill gently dissuaded him from tampering with the fragile bill, which has produced some nifty Bell mergers but little competition. Wexler subsequently turned his attention to Floridian complaints of price gouging by the matzoh cartel at Passover.

It must be sweeps week.

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