The right to know re cell phones

The right to know re cell phones

Dr. Weeks Comment: Six or seven years ago I came out against cell phones being placed against head and wrote “Do you mind if I cell phone?”  (harkening back to  “DO you mind if I smoke?”) and also “Do you mind if I WIFI?”  Now we have a right to know about cell phones – the risk and the addiction.

 

Berkeley passes cellphone ”˜right to know’ law

May 13, 2015 1:00 pm by Lance Knobel

Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig and Devra Davis from the Environmental Health Trust at Berkeley City Council. Photo: Lance Knobel

Berkeley City Council on Tuesday unanimously passed the first reading of a “Right to Know” ordinance to require cellphone retailers in Berkeley to provide consumers with information that warns them to keep a minimum safe distance between their bodies and their phones.

“The world is watching what you do tonight,” said Devra Davis, president of the Environmental Health Trust. “And you have the opportunity to do the right thing.”

The ordinance would require cellphone retailers to provide consumers with every sale or lease of a phone with a notice on radio frequency (RF) radiation exposure guidelines, warning that carrying the phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra could result in exceeding federal guidelines. City staff had assistance from Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Harvard, and Robert Post, dean of Yale Law School, in drafting the ordinance. Lessig has offered to defend the city pro bono if the law is challenged, as expected, by cellphone manufacturers. 

San Francisco passed a so-called “Right to Know” ordinance in 2010, but a lengthy legal battle led its Board of Supervisors to withdraw the law in 2013, after a federal appeals court blocked implementation on First Amendment grounds.

“This ordinance is fundamentally different from what San Francisco passed,” Lessig told the City Council. “The San Francisco ordinance was about getting people to use their cellphone less.”

The drafted Berkeley ordinance, Lessig said, purely provided information. Questioned by Mayor Tom Bates, Lessig admitted that he did not follow the guidelines for carrying his phone.

“How I carry it is how people should not carry it,” Lessig said. “I carry it in my back pocket.”

The only speaker at the meeting against the ordinance was Gerald Keegan, from CTIA ”” The Wireless Association.

“All of the agencies that have looked at this issue have determined that there are no harmful effects,” Keegan said, which elicited a chorus of boos and hisses from a crowded council chamber. “This proposal would irresponsibly alarm consumers.”

Numerous speakers provided public comment in support of the ordinance, many talking about what they said were health risks from RF radiation. Mayor Bates hurried many speakers on, pointing out that the council had requested the draft ordinance.

“As soon as we get through this discussion, we can vote,” he said.

Cellphone manufacturers are currently required to provide information on FCC testing and guidelines, but proponents of the ordinance argue that the information is hidden in manual small prints or buried in a series of menus on phones.

“The singular, only thing on which we’re legislating here today is on the consumer right to know,” said Councilman Kriss Worthington. “We’re not telling the consumers what to do.”

Councilman Max Anderson, who initiated the council’s efforts on the ordinance four years ago, also stressed that the ordinance is not about scientific issues, but about information.

“The issue before us tonight is not the science itself,” he said. “The real issue before us tonight is whether or not citizens have the right to information which they can rely on to make decisions. You see a hunger for this information.”

The notice that the ordinance would require reads:

“To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. This potential risk is greater for children. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.”

It requires that the notice is provided on paper not less than 5-by-8 inches, in at least 18-point type. If the notice is “prominently displayed” at a point of sale, it must be on a poster not less than 8-1/2-by-11 inches in at least 28-point type.

http://www.berkeleyside.com/2015/05/13/berkeley-passes-cellphone-right-to-know-law/

Berkeley Passes Nation’s First Radiation Warning For New Cellphones

May 13, 2015 10:22 AM
The Federal Communication Commission recommends keeping your phone 5 to 25 millimeters away, depending on the model, to limit radio frequency (RF) exposure to safe levels. (Getty Images)

The Federal Communication Commission recommends keeping your phone 5 to 25 millimeters away, depending on the model, to limit radio frequency (RF) exposure to safe levels. (Getty Images)
BERKELEY (CBS SF) ”” The city council of Berkeley voted to pass a cellphone “right to know” law Tuesday, making it the first safety ordinance of its kind in the country.
The City Council approved the approved the proposal by a vote of 9-0, requiring health warnings with the purchase of a cellphone.
Cellphone retailers will be required to include a city-prepared notice along with the purchase of a cellphone, informing consumers of the minimum separation distance a cellphone should be held from the body.
The Federal Communication Commission recommends keeping your phone 5 to 25 millimeters away, depending on the model, to limit radio frequency (RF) exposure to safe levels.
“If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF [radio frequency] radiation,” is part of the proposed language. Retailers would be prohibited from selling phones that do not bear the warning: “This potential risk is greater for children. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.”
The new law could take effect in July, but may face legal challenges. The Cellular Telephone Industries Association says the law violates the First Amendment because it would force wireless retailers to disseminate speech they may not agree with.
In a letter to the council members Tuesday, Gerard Keegan with the CITA said, “The forced speech is misleading and alarmist because it would cause consumers to take away the message that cell phones are dangerous and can cause breast, testicular, or other cancers.”
Berkeley is not the first place to try and pass this type of law. Health groups and consumers have been campaigning for cellular safety regulations for years now.
Maine, Hawaii, New Mexico, CaliforniaOregon and Pennsylvania have also considered warnings to address cellphone radiation concerns.
The city of San Francisco came closer on this front, approving regulations in 2010 that mandated cellphone retailers display the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) ”” or the amount of radio frequency (RF) energy absorbed by the body ”” for each phone sold. The Cellular Telephone Industries Association immediately sued the city,claiming the law would confuse consumers by implying that lower radiation levels are safer, and the ordinance was thrown out.
Now the Berkeley proposal seeks to address concerns that even as cellphones become ubiquitous in our lives, many people remain unaware of basic safety recommendations.
An April 30th survey funded by the California Brain Tumor Association (CABTA) found that 70 percent of Berkeley adults did not know about the FCC’s minimum separation distance. And 82 percent said they would like information about how far the phone should be kept from the user’s body.
In the last seven months, Berkeley has passed first in the nations laws, from an ordinance requiring climate change labels at fuel dispensing facilities to a tax on soda.

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“Our prime purpose in this life is to help other” (beings). “And if you can’t help them,” (at least don’t zap them with your cell phone). – Dalai Lama
 
“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.”  – George Orwell
 
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Dr. Weeks Comment: Six or seven years ago I came out against cell phones being placed against head and wrote “Do you mind if I cell phone?”  (harkening back to  “DO you mind if I smoke?”) and also “Do you mind if I WIFI?”  Now we have a right to know about cell phones –…
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