Posted by Will on Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 at 3:09 pm under
Think cellphone radiation can cause cancer, hearing loss, and other adverse health effects? You're not alone. A California man has taken his cellphone radiation health concerns to court, and the lawsuit has been transferred to the federal level.
Michael R. Bennett filed suit against T-Mobile, Motorola, and Samsung over the dangerous radiation emitted by the devices using T-Mobile's network. Bennett claims that he used his Samsung handset on a daily basis between August 2003 and December 2005, and used his Motorola handsets similarly between December 2005 and April 2006. He now claims to have suffered "a sudden hearing loss in his right ear, vertigo, loss of equilibrium, and other personal injuries related thereto, and has continued to suffer the same injuries from said date through and including the present date."
The lawsuit continues to outline the lawsuits thusly:
"Upon plaintiff's information and belief, plaintiff's injuries were caused by electromagnetic radiation emanating from the Samsung cellphone and from the Motorola cellphone during plaintiff's use thereof, resulting from improper and unsafe design, manufacturing and production of the Samsung cellphone by defendant Samsung and of the Motorola cellphone by defendant Motorola, and by said defendants' respective failure to adequately warn of such dangers."
Previous litigation regarding the safety of cellphones has largely failed to result in a decision for the consumer, with many lawsuits being thrown out in light of jurisdictional conflicts. The FCC defines the allowable limit for cellphone radiation, but the safety of mobile phones falls under FDA jurisdiction.
To date, research has shown that mobile phone use has no ill-effects on human health. But, there are studies that point to cellphone radiation causing changes in biological systems. Some experts have warned against extended mobile phone use (especially in children), France has advised its youth to limit cellphone use, and India has even banned cellphone use by children in an effort to prevent exposure of under developed tissues.
August 5 2008 - 1:50 pm EDT | Jeffrey Silva | RCR Wireless News
A new health lawsuit has surfaced in California against T-Mobile USA Inc., Motorola Inc. and Samsung Telecommunications America Inc., the complaint coming after a relative lull in litigation against the wireless industry and amid a resurgence of concern over whether mobile phones pose a hazard to throngs of consumers here and abroad.
The lawsuit, filed by Michael R. Bennett and transferred from state court to federal court last week, states that a Samsung handset serviced by T-Mobile USA was used on a daily basis between August 2003 and December 2005 for work and personal use by Bennett. The Motorola phone, according to the complaint, was operated in similar fashion by Bennett between December 2005 and April 2006.
"On April 28, 2006, plaintiff suffered a sudden hearing loss in his right ear, vertigo, loss of equilibrium, and other personal injuries related thereto, and has continued to suffer the same injuries from said date through and including the present date," stated the lawsuit. "Upon plaintiff's information and belief, plaintiff's injuries were caused by electromagnetic radiation emanating from the Samsung cellphone and from the Motorola cellphone during plaintiff's use thereof, resulting from improper and unsafe design, manufacturing and production of the Samsung cellphone by defendant Samsung and of the Motorola cellphone by defendant Motorola, and by said defendants' respective failure to adequately warn of such dangers."
"Motorola takes the safety of its products and its customers very seriously. Motorola regularly reviews all aspects of product design, operation and performance to ensure that its products are safe. We do not know the specifics of the allegations in this complaint, and obviously have not yet had an opportunity to review and investigate them. Therefore, Motorola cannot comment further about the complaint at this time," Motorola said in a statement. "More generally, we can say that expert scientific panels and health agencies around the world have consistently confirmed the safety of the RF technology used in mobile phones."
T-Mobile USA and Samsung did not immediately respond to e-mails requesting comment.
Only a handful of health-related lawsuits filed against the wireless providers, manufacturers and others over the past decade are still active, with industry prevailing in one case after another. Health litigation to date has been as much — if not more in some instances — about jurisdiction as about the science itself.
Health officials here and overseas say research to date indicates mobile phones do not pose a health threat to users, which number more than 3 billion worldwide, but they support further scientific investigation in light of studies that have shown adverse biological effects from low-level radiation. Some European officials have recommended limiting cellphone use by children as a precautionary measure. Most wireless health research is being conducted overseas, with results of the 13-nation Interphone study possibly due out before year's end.
The Federal Communications Commission's human exposure guidelines for radio-frequency radiation emitted by mobile phones and transmitters have withstood legal challenges in recent years, though controversy continues to swirl regarding coming changes that critics claim will weaken the RF standard. It is the Food and Drug Administration, however, that actually has legal oversight over the safety of cellphones.
The director of a prestigious cancer research center in Pittsburgh recently urged colleagues to limit their use of mobile phones because of potential health risks. Dr. Ronald Herberman's warning, as well as recent attention given to mobile phones and health on CNN's Larry King Live, have reignited a fierce debate that had otherwise calmed down. Indeed, sparks have been flying as result of an Aug. 3 opinion challenging Herberman in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette and a subsequent article in today's paper on the kerfuffle.
Eight years ago this month an $800 million brain-cancer lawsuit was brought in Maryland state court against Motorola and others. The lawsuit was removed to federal court and ultimately thrown out for lack of scientific evidence by U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake in September 2002.