Bridlewood Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) Information Service

Obituary - A Tribute to John Goldsmith

Written by Libby Kelley
Executive Director
Council on Wireless Technology Impacts
John Goldsmith passed away on October 21, 1999 in Israel. For the past few years, he had been in declining health due to a heart condition. Since December 1998, he was cared for at a nursing home and his wife Naomi was his constant companion.

Dr. Goldsmith was born on January 5, 1922 in Portland Oregon, He was married to Naomi F. Goldstein, PhD. They had four children. At the time of his death, on October 21, 1999, he and his wife were living in Israel.

Until ill health forced him to retire, Dr. Goldsmith was a professor of Epidemiology at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, in the Department of Epidemiology and Health Services Evaluation, Faculty of Health Sciences. Prior to that time, he had a long career with the California State Department of Health Services and he directed the State Office of Air Quality Research.

Dr. Goldsmith was a founder of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. He was a consultant to the World Health Organization and spoke at many conferences and public gatherings. He received his medical training in internal medicine while serving in the U.S. Navy and through Harvard University. He also earned a masters' degree in public health. Dr. Goldsmith published more than one hundred twenty-five studies during his professional career.

We all owe him a huge debt of gratitude for being our teacher. As an environmental epidemiologist, he taught us how non-ionizing radiation can affect man and the environment. He showed great courage in standing with this unpopular view against great opposition from his professional peers in public health, medicine and epidemiology on this issue. He encouraged us all to work together to ensure our homes, workplace and communities are protected against potential harm due to the proliferation of transmitting antennas and use of hand-held wireless devices using non-ionizing radiation.

Dr. Goldsmith was the featured speaker at the "End Of Innocence" Public Forum held in San Francisco in August 1998. Chris Beavers, Nancy Evans and I led this forum which was co-sponsored by Noe Valley Families, The Ad Hoc Association/CWTI, the Breast Cancer Fund and other groups. We have some materials from that conference and are working to them, along with some of his published papers, on the CWTI web site. This material is an essential piece on the RF health issue and should be on the required reading list for all.

In one of his papers, Dr. Goldsmith made this statement: "The notion that non-ionizing radiation was harmless the assumption of innocence is no longer tenable...These findings suggest that radiofrequency exposures are potentially carcinogenic and have other health effects. Therefore, prudent avoidance of unneeded exposures is recommended as a precautionary measure."

Marjean Curtis's article, "Low Frequency, High Tension", which was published on Alternet, discussed Dr. Goldsmith's comments at that forum:

"Dr. John Goldsmith, a noted epidemiologist and former director of air-quality research for the State of California Health Department is one of many scientists who disagree that FCC standards are safe and based on the best science. Goldsmith, who is evaluating the potential health effects of radio frequency radiation from cell phones, cell-phone towers and television transmitting towers, has been collaborating with the AHA to raise public awareness about the potential dangers of these sources of radio-frequency radiation."

"In the 1950s, Goldsmith claims, the U.S. government decided that it was safe to chronically or repeatedly expose humans to radiation that didn't generate heat -- such as low-level microwaves and radio waves and extremely low frequency (ELF) radiation from powerlines. Goldsmith contends that most of the conclusions about the safety of radiation were reached right after WWII, when winning wars, not determining the safety of new technology designed to help win those wars, was the priority. As a result, similar technology has moved into the mainstream before the effects of use have been thoroughly studied. The AHA, Goldsmith and others are convinced that the FCC is operating on this outdated information and cavalierly perpetuating that information to a gullible public."

This man really cared and was generous with his time and his knowledge. We will all miss him greatly.