Arthur Robert Firstenberg (born May 28, 1950) is an American activist on the subject of electromagnetic hypersensitivity. He is the founder of the independent campaign group the Cellular Phone Task Force. His 1997 book Microwaving Our Planet: The Environmental Impact of the Wireless Revolution was published by the group. He is the author of The Invisible Rainbow: A History of Electricity and Life (AGB Press 2017).
Born May 28, 1950 in Brooklyn, New York, Firstenberg was a Westinghouse scholar who received a BA in mathematics from Cornell University in 1971 and continued into medical school from 1978 to 1982. Firstenberg did not complete medical school due to illness, which he attributes to electromagnetic hypersensitivity brought on by receiving over 40 diagnostic dental x-rays.
Since 1996, he has argued in numerous publications that wireless technology is dangerous and that "the telecommunications industry has suppressed damaging evidence about its technology since at least 1927." In May 2006, the World Health Organization stated that "[there is] no convincing scientific evidence that the weak RF signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects." The World Health Organization later reversed itself on May 31, 2011, declaring RF radiation a class 2B (possible) carcinogen in the same category as lead and DDT.
In 1997, the Cellular Phone Taskforce was the lead petitioner in a challenge to the Federal Communication Commission's RF radiation exposure limits, which was joined by dozens of other parties including the Ad Hoc Association of Parties Concerned About the Federal Communications Commission Radio Frequency Health and Safety Rules ("AHA"). The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled for the FCC. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which was supported by an amicus curiae brief written by Patrick Leahy and Jim Jeffords, was denied.
In May 2008, he and other groups accused the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico of discrimination against those allergic to EM radiation for having free wireless networks in city buildings.
In January 2010, he filed a lawsuit against his neighbor, seeking damages of $530,000, for "refusing to turn off her cell phone and other electronic devices." He claimed that because of shared wiring, electromagnetic fields from his neighbor's electronic devices were keeping him up at night and destroying his health. He stated that he was made homeless as a result. The First District Court of New Mexico dismissed the case in September 2012, citing lack of sufficient supporting evidence. Firstenberg filed an appeal of the dismissal in the District Court in December 2012. On March 9, 2015, the New Mexico Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal by the district court.
Arthur also is a member of an organization in Santa Fe, New Mexico called "Once a Forest" which promotes fire suppression on public lands. The group opposes forest management policies such as thinning and prescribed fire. Their views are controversial.