Joel Moskowitz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Joel Moskowitz
Alma materRutgers University, University of California, Santa Barbara
Known forResearch into health effects of mobile phones and wireless technologies
AwardsJames Madison Freedom of Information Award (2018)
Scientific career
FieldsPublic health
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Berkeley

Joel M. Moskowitz is a researcher on the faculty of the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. He has worked on public health issues that include cell phone risk, tobacco control, and alcohol abuse. Since the mid 2010s, Moskowitz has been repeatedly cited as an expert and quoted in national news media about the health risks of mobile phones, electromagnetic fields (EMFs), and related technologies.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][6][9][10][11] He helped the city of Berkeley, California to draft an ordinance mandating safety warnings on cell phones. In 2018, Moskowitz won the James Madison Freedom of Information Award for his work in bringing to light previously publicly unknown California Department of Public Health guidance documents about cell phone safety.


Moskowitz was educated at Rutgers University (BA in mathematics), University of California, Santa Barbara (MA and PhD in social psychology), and served as a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University in evaluation research and methodology.[12]

As of 2019, Moskowitz is Director and Principal Investigator of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California, Berkeley.[12] Since 2009, Moskowitz has been disseminating research on wireless technology, public health and policy.[13]

Mobile phones[edit]


Moskowitz coauthored a 2009 meta-analysis of 23 studies of mobile phone usage and risk of tumors, which concluded that studies with low bias revealed "possible evidence linking mobile phone use to an increased risk of tumors."[14]:5565 The Los Angeles Times quoted Moskowitz a few days after the publication of the meta-analysis as stating that he "went into this really dubious that anything was going on.... But when you start teasing the studies apart and doing these subgroup analyses, you do find there is reason to be concerned."[15] A few months later, Moskowitz's work was mentioned in the Huffington Post[16] by prominent epidemiologist Devra Davis, who stated his findings concurred with other research, and that "the French are not waiting for further research on this matter, and are taking steps based on the notion that it is better to be safe than sorry",[16] and that she and Moskowitz and "experts from a number of countries"[16] agreed with the French approach. Moskowitz also wrote an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle stating that nine nations had issued precautionary warnings about mobile phones, and arguing that "it is time for our government to require health warnings and publicize simple steps to reduce the health risks of cell phone use".[17]

"Right to Know" law[edit]

In 2015, the city of Berkeley, California, passed a "Right to Know"[18][19] law that mandated electronics retailers to warn customers about cellphone hazards. Moskowitz had been involved in creating the law and had testified in its support, and his views were covered in Mother Jones[19] and CNN.[18] Moskowitz described the law as "a crack in the wall of denial.... Look at what happened in 1977 with Berkeley’s smoking law: Things looked pretty bleak, but that led to a national movement."[19] CNN reported that Moskowitz was involved in creating the new mobile phone law, quoting him as stating that the new law's information disclosure requirement went beyond previous regulations by "stating that children and anyone carrying their phone in a pocket or bra could be at increased risk of radiation exposure."[18]

Guideline disclosure lawsuit[edit]

In 2016, Moskowitz sued the State of California to force disclosure of mobile phone safety guidelines that it had prepared, but never released.[20] Moskowitz's requests for copies of the guidelines had been repeatedly denied in 2014.[20] The two-page guidelines included statements that the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emitted by mobile phones "can pass deeper into a child’s brain than an adult’s,"[20] and that "The brain is still developing through the teen years, which may make children and teens more sensitive to EMF exposure."[20]

The California Department of Public Health released copies of the guidelines on March 2, 2017, after a Sacramento Superior Court judge indicated she would order their disclosure, and after the state was told by the San Francisco Chronicle that it was publishing news coverage of the case.[20] Stanton Glantz, a prominent researcher on the health effects and control of tobacco, described the history of Moskowitz's legal fight on his blog, noting that the presiding Superior Court Judge Shellyanne Chang tentatively "overruled eight of the nine objections submitted by the state,"[21] and directed release of the guidance document. But

before the judge could issue her final ruling, the CDPH [California Department of Public Health] emailed the 2014 version of the cell phone use guidance document, entitled "Cell Phones and Health," to a San Francisco Chronicle reporter... The two-page fact sheet was marked: "Draft and Not for Public Release." In her final ruling dated March 13, 2017,,[22] Judge Chang ruled the document is not a draft, and ordered it to be released to Dr. Moskowitz without the "Draft" markings.[21]

Moskowitz had viewed the stamping of the document, according to KPIX-TV, as "essentially creating a new document rather than producing the document as-is."[23] Moskowitz's legal victory was later noted by media that included the Boston Globe,[3] where he was quoted with reference to the possible withholding of information by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, as well as by The Mercury News,[24] KGO-TV,[7] KCRA-TV,[25] and the Huffington Post.[26]

A few months after Moskowitz's legal victory, on 13 December 2017, the California Department of Public Health released an official guidance document about cellphone radiation,[27] characterized in Huffington Post as an "updated version of the documents the public health department released under pressure."[26] With regard to the new official guidance document, CNET quoted Moskowitz as stating that "although California's new cell phone warnings underplay the state of the science, many people consider this action by the largest state public health department to be a significant development," and that he "would like to thank the current leadership of CDPH for their courage to stand up to a powerful industry."[27] Moskowitz stated that "one area there is a great improvement is there is a sidebar where it says, 'What about children?'"[25]

James Madison Freedom of Information Award[edit]

For his work on cell phone radiation, the Northern California branch of the Society of Professional Journalists gave Moskowitz a 2018 James Madison Freedom of Information Award.[28][29] On its website, the jounalists' Society noted that "Moskowitz... successfully sued the state under the California Public Records Act, securing the release of a report on cell phone radiation commissioned by California’s Department of Public Health."[28] The University of California reported that Moskowitz was "grateful to more than 200 journalists in 48 countries who reported on the CDPH cell phone safety guidance,"[29] and quoted him as stating that

The release of this document by CDPH and the ensuing worldwide news coverage has helped to raise awareness about a major global public health problem--exposure to cell phone and wireless radiation has contributed to increased risk of male and female infertility, neurologic disorders, and cancer.[29]

Other activities & coverage[edit]

During the 2010s,[4] and especially since the mid-2010s, Moskowitz's opinions have frequently been quoted in local[10][11][30][31][32][33][34] and national media. Time magazine quoted Moskowitz saying as a society, "we're basically flying blind"[1] with regard to our cumulative long-term exposures from our wireless gadgets, and Reader's Digest quoted Moskowitz's opinion that "currently, we’re not doing a good job in regulating radiation from these devices. In fact, we’re doing an abysmal job."[6] Healthline has quoted Moskowitz's concerns about wireless Bluetooth devices, which "because of the proximity... to the body or the head" can result in exposures "half as much or a third as much as you might get from your cell phone".[35] The Epoch Times has quoted Moskowitz's concerns about 5G technologies.[36] Bloomberg News has quoted Moskowitz's appraisals of the implications of new research studies,[2] the Chicago Tribune, Reader's Digest and various other media note Moskowitz as an expert,[37]

[5][6][7][8][9] and he has been quoted on media platforms such as Psychology Today.[38]

Moskowitz has helped circulate a petition expressing concern about the rollout of new 5G (5th Generation) wireless technologies, as reported by media that include The Observer[39] and The Nation.[40] In March 2019, the British tabloid Daily Mail ran a headline that misleadingly implied that the scientists' petition had singled out potential dangers from a specific product, "Apple's Airpods".[41] Later that month, the fact-checking website Snopes[42] published an investigation that cited Moskowitz as a source of information for reliably understanding the origins and partial inaccuracy of the Daily Mail story.

In 2017, the American Council on Science and Health, which is regarded as an "industry-friendly" group,[43] published a profile of Moskowitz describing him as a "Cell Phone, Wi-Fi 'Truther'".[44] In July 2019, the Office of Communications and Public Affairs of the University of California, Berkeley, published an audio podcast plus transcript of Moskowitz's talk, "Cell Phones, Cell Towers and Wireless Safety".[45][46]


Moskowitz has also been quoted in media coverage of cigarettes and health, one area in which he has done research. The Daily Californian quoted his statement that "the whole movement toward changing norms within our society with regards to tobacco use has been driven by people acting at the community level, creating laws."[47]

Publications (selected)[edit]

  • Myung, Seung-Kwon; Ju, Woong; McDonnell, Diana D.; Lee, Yeon Ji; Kazinets, Gene; Cheng, Chih-Tao; Moskowitz, Joel M. (November 2009). "Mobile Phone Use and Risk of Tumors: A Meta-Analysis". Journal of Clinical Oncology. 27 (33): 5565–5572. doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.21.6366.
  • Sagar, Sanjay; Adem, Seid M.; Struchen, Benjamin; Loughran, Sarah P.; Brunjes, Michael E.; Arangua, Lisa; Dalvie, Mohamed Aqiel; Croft, Rodney J.; Jerrett, Michael; Moskowitz, Joel M.; Kuo, Tony; R??sli, Martin (May 2018). "Comparison of radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure levels in different everyday microenvironments in an international context". Environment International. 114: 297–306. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2018.02.036.
  • Moskowitz, Joel M.; Lin, Zihua; Hudes, Esther S. (May 2000). . American Journal of Public Health. 90 (5): 757–761. doi:10.2105/AJPH.90.5.757. PMC 1446239.
  • Moskowitz, J M (January 1989). "The primary prevention of alcohol problems: a critical review of the research literature". Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 50 (1): 54–88. doi:10.15288/jsa.1989.50.54.


  1. ^ a b Heid, Markham (2 November 2018). . Time. Retrieved 23 March 2019. (Updated from version originally published 28 September 2016)
  2. ^ a b Shields, Todd; Cortez, Michelle (1 November 2018). . Bloomberg News. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b Bray, Hiawatha (17 January 2019). . Boston Globe. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b Roan, Shari; Gabler, Ellen (1 June 2011). . Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b Marotti, Ally (1 May 2019). . Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Nelson, Brooke (31 December 2017). . Reader's Digest. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Melendez, Lyanne (4 March 2017). . ABC7 San Francisco. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  8. ^ a b Severson, Gordon (22 April 2019). . KARE. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  9. ^ a b Marotti, Ally (3 May 2019). . Government Technology. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  10. ^ a b Ho, Catherine (25 September 2017). . (San Francisco Chronicle). Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  11. ^ a b Purchia, Robyn (7 May 2019). . The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  12. ^ a b Faculty page for Joel Moskowitz at UC Berkeley School of Public Health (accessed 23 March 2019)
  13. ^ No author specified (24 May 2017). . Physicians for Safe Technology. Physicians for Safe Technology. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  14. ^ Myung, Seung-Kwon; Ju, Woong; McDonnell, Diana D.; Lee, Yeon Ji; Kazinets, Gene; Cheng, Chih-Tao; Moskowitz, Joel M. (November 2009). "Mobile Phone Use and Risk of Tumors: A Meta-Analysis". Journal of Clinical Oncology. 27 (33): 5565–5572. doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.21.6366.
  15. ^ Roan, Shari (14 October 2009). . Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  16. ^ a b c Davis, Devra (22 May 2010). . HuffPost. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  17. ^ Moskowitz, Joel M. (28 April 2010). . San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  18. ^ a b c Storrs, Carina (28 July 2015). . CNN. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  19. ^ a b c Harkinson, Josh (13 May 2015). . Mother Jones. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  20. ^ a b c d e Gutierrez, Melody (3 March 2017). . San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  21. ^ a b Glantz, Stanton A. (19 March 2017). . UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education (blog). University of California, San Francisco. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  22. ^ Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento (13 March 2017) DR. JOEL MOSKOWITZ, an individual, Petitioner and Plaintiff, v. CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH, a California State Agency, Respondent and Defendant (retrieved 26 April 2019)
  23. ^ Albarazi, Hannah (2 March 2017). . KPIX-TV. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  24. ^ Seipel, Tracy; Lochner, Tom (16 December 2017). . The Mercury News. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  25. ^ a b KCRA Staff (14 December 2017). . KCRA. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  26. ^ a b Almendrala, Anna (19 December 2017). . HuffPost. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  27. ^ a b German, Kent (16 December 2017). . CNET. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  28. ^ a b SPJNCFOI (21 February 2018). . Society of Professional Journalists. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  29. ^ a b c University of California (8 March 2018). . UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  30. ^ Wang, Amy (14 November 2011). . The Daily Californian. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  31. ^ Link to articles Daily Californian that cite Joel Moskowitz (accessed 27 April 2019)
  32. ^ Mahavni, Sabina (22 September 2018). . The Daily Californian. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  33. ^ Google search for Moskowitz within UC Berkeley's School of Public Health website (accessed 27 April 2019)
  34. ^ Stone, Ken (14 May 2019). . Times of San Diego. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  35. ^ Ries, Julia (24 March 2019). . Healthline. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  36. ^ Harding, Lee (4 August 2019). . The Epoch Times. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  37. ^ Roe, Sam (21 August 2019). . Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  38. ^ Maxwell, Robert; Miller, Toby (9 October 2018). . Psychology Today. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  39. ^ Hertsgaard, Mark; Dowie, Mark (14 July 2018). . The Observer. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  40. ^ Hertsgaard, Mark; Dowie, Mark (29 March 2018). . The Nation. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  41. ^ Rahhal, Natalie (12 March 2019). . Daily Mail. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  42. ^ Palma, Bethania. . Snopes. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  43. ^ Eggen, Dan (7 January 2010). . The Washington Post. pp. A01. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  44. ^ Berezow, Alex (28 February 2017). '". American Council on Science and Health. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  45. ^ UC Berkeley Public Affairs (19 July 2019). . Berkeley News. UC Berkeley Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  46. ^ UC Berkeley News Public Affairs. . Oakland Post (27 July 2019). Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  47. ^ Kim, Ivy (10 March 2014). . The Daily Californian. Retrieved 23 March 2019.

External links[edit]