Wednesday, April 13, 2011


When North Coast Holistics rented office space in the Jutila Center, our door included a sign asking, "Please turn off cell phones before entering." We hoped this precaution would help raise awareness about the electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones. We also encouraged people to use corded landlines to avoid the electromagnetic fields associated with cell phones and digital cordless phones.

Now, the future existence of landlines is at risk. In a recent rulemaking, the Federal Communications Commission is proposing to take the first steps toward phasing out traditional circuit-switched landlines.

The FCC proposes to shift monies from the Universal Service Fund to broadband, which could make landline phone service uneconomical.

This is problematic for several reasons, as analog landlines continue to have several benefits over cell phones and digital communications:

• Landlines continue to be important in emergencies; when the power grid goes down, cell phone service can be disrupted while traditional circuit-switched landlines continue to operate. Cell phone companies rely on landline circuits during such times to complete and route calls.

• Landlines do not have the lack-of-privacy problems associated with cell phones.

• Landlines do not interfere with medical implants; some people have experienced interference with implant operation due to wireless signals from cell phones and other wireless devices.

• Landlines do not have the same health risks which a growing body of evidence attributes to use of cell phones, such as increased risk of salivary gland tumors, acoustic neuromas, decreased sperm quality, and possibly some cancers.

• Landlines are currently the only telecommunications option for many electrically sensitive individuals who cannot use cell phones or other wireless devices without getting sick. An estimated 10 million U.S. residents have such sensitivities and would be left without options if landlines were eliminated.

In our household, we are especially concerned about the health issues. We don’t use cell phones, and my electrically sensitive spouse cannot use wireless devices of any kind without suffering symptoms.

If landlines are phased out, households like ours will no longer have healthy choices for telecommunications. And given the growing body of scientific literature demonstrating that wireless devices do affect living cells, often detrimentally, eliminating landlines seems risky for public health in general.

If you would like to keep landlines as a telecommunications option, PLEASE COMMENT BY APRIL 18TH.

You can do this online by going to!submitComment;D=FCC-2011-0078-0001

This gets you to a form with spaces to fill in your name and contact info, as well as comments of up to 2,000 characters (including spaces). You can also attach additional documents with your comments.

Here is a suggestion of what you can say in the comments field:

Please continue to maintain the analog circuit-switched telephone network, our system of traditional landlines. This system continues to play an important role in U.S. communications, including during times of emergency. In addition, it is the only telecommunications system that many electrically sensitive people are physically able to use. Estimates suggest there could be 10 million Americans affected by such electrical sensitivities. Traditional landlines must be maintained to continue providing truly universal phone service.

If you wish to write longer comments, here are some additional opinion pieces that offer ideas:
Blog post by Steen Hviid, who is chemically and electrically sensitive
Scroll down to find the letter to the editor by Charyl Zehfus of Sheboygan, Wisconsin
A conservative blogger’s rundown of reasons to maintain landlines - several good links to further information in this one

For those who wish to delve more deeply, the FCC’s complete 289-page rulemaking proposal is available as a pdf file at .

You can also find a link to excellent commenting instructions on the action alert page of the EMR Policy Institute, at

Thank you to all who comment on this important issue!

Sources of information used for this post include the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, the Cellular Phone Task Force, the Center for Safer Wireless, and the links listed above.