Big Week for Cell Phone Radiation Legislation

A "cell phone right to know" bill was just introduced in the Congress, and the City and County of San Francisco will defend its "cell phone right to know" ordinance against a CTIA lawsuit in a federal appeals court.
 
 
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Aug. 6, 2012 - PRLog -- A "cell phone right to know" bill was just introduced in the Congress, and on Thursday, the City and County of San Francisco will defend its "cell phone right to know" ordinance against a CTIA lawsuit in the 9th District Court of Appeals.*

Although the text for the newly proposed federal legislation is not yet available from the Library of Congress,** a press release appears below. I plan to analyze the bill when the text becomes available.  

Two years ago, I published an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle about cell phones that called for community health education, government-funded research independent of industry to avoid conflicts of interest, and more protective regulatory standards and warning labels. See below for a link to my op-ed and additional concerns I have raised more recently.

The federal legislation appears to address a major concern I raised on June 15 (link below).  Namely, that an FCC review of the current inadequate cell phone radiation standards would rubber stamp the 16-year old standards.  The proposed legislation would require a different agency with the appropriate expertise to conduct the review -- the Environmental Protection Agency.

The only major cell phone radiation health effects research our federal government currently funds is a study of the effects of 2G (GSM and CDMA) on mice and rats by the National Toxicology Program. The preliminary results from this study should be available by 2014. However, 2G technology will likely be obsolete in the US by the end of 2016.***  To date, little research has been conducted on the health effects of 3G, and some research suggests that this carrier technology damages DNA at much lower exposure levels than 2G. No research that I am aware of has been conducted on 4G.

* Thursday, Aug 9, 9:00 a.m. Courtroom 1, 3rd Floor; 11-17707; 11-17773) CTIA - The Wireless Assoc. v. City & County of SF Federal N. Cal.;
http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/calendaring/2012/07...

** Bill Summary & Status; 112th Congress (2011 - 2012); H.R.6358; http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:h.r.6358:

*** "AT&T to Shutter 2G Network by Jan. 1, 2017"; http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2408067,00.asp



Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.
August 6, 2012

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Cell Phones and Brain Cancer? Until We Know for Sure, Kucinich Urges Cell Phone Right-to-Know Act

Federal Appeals Court Hearing on San Francisco Labeling Law This Week

Press Release, Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich, August 6, 2012

Nathan.White@mail.house.gov  (202)225-5871

Washington D.C. (August 6, 2012) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has introduced H.R. 6358, the Cell Phone Right to Know Act, a bill to grant a consumer’s right-to-know by providing for warning labels on cell phones. It would also create a new national research program to study cell phones and health and require the Environmental Protection Agency to update the outdated Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). A federal appeals court in San Francisco is expected to consider a local right-to-know ordinance this week.

“Consumers have a right to know the radiation levels of cell phones and whether they are buying the phone with the lowest or the highest level of exposure to cell phone radiation. They also deserve to have up-to-date exposure standards that are put together by health professionals without conflicts of interest,” said Kucinich.

When Kucinich first called a hearing on the issue as Chair of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee on September 25, 2008, Dr. Ronald Herberman, then Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, testified to the Subcommittee, “I cannot tell this committee that cell phones are dangerous, but I certainly can't tell you they are safe.”

Last year, the World Health Organization finished its assessment of the evidence about the links between exposure to radiation from cell phones and health problems. They concluded that there was enough evidence of a link to classify it as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” placing it in the same category as lead and mercury.

The long-awaited Interphone study, a major inquiry into the potential links between cell phone use and tumors, concluded that when taken as a whole, there was not a link. However, when the data was broken down, more risk was found and the picture became clearer. Those using their cell phones typically only 30 minutes per day or more were found to have a 40% increased risk of a type of brain tumor called glioma, when compared to someone who had not used a cell phone. If the phone is used mostly on one side of the head, the risk is 96% more than someone unexposed to cell phone radiation.

“It took decades for scientists to be able to say for sure that smoking caused cancer. During those decades, the false impression created by industry supporters was that there was no connection between smoking and cancer, a deception which cost many lives. While we wait for scientists to sort out the health effects of cell phone radiation, we must allow consumers to have enough information to choose a phone with less radiation,” said Kucinich. “As long as cell phone users may be at increased risk of cancer or reproductive problems, Americans must have the right to know the radiation levels of cell phones.”

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the SAR is “the amount of radio frequency energy absorbed by the body when using a mobile phone.” The current SAR sets a maximum level of radiation emission at 1.6 watts per kilogram. The current SAR does not take into account vulnerable populations like kids or pregnant women.  It also assumes a person’s only exposure is from the phone in use, but with WiFi, “smart phones,” and Bluetooth technologies, exposure to only one wireless device is increasingly rare, especially in urban environments.  A Government Accountability Office report on cell phones and health is expected to be released soon.

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Government Must Inform Us of Cell Phone Risk

Joel M. Moskowitz, Open Forum, San Francisco Chronicle, April 28, 2010

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/04/28/EDMB1D58TC.DTL

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Does The FCC Plan To Rubber Stamp Outdated Cell Phone Radiation Standards?

More research on cell phone radiation is needed before we replace our outdated guidelines. In the interim the US should disseminate precautionary health warnings. A $1 annual fee per cell phone would generate $300 million for research and education.

Joel M. Moskowitz, PRLOG, Jun 15, 2012

http://www.prlog.org/11901340

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Cell phone radiation warning on San Francisco government web site

San Francisco recently updated its web site to include precautionary health warnings about cell phone radiation. Other cities throughout the nation may wish to adopt this strategy to educate their citizens about cell phone safety.

Joel M. Moskowitz, PRLOG, May 18, 2012

http://www.prlog.org/11879000

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Cell Phones: Assessing and Preventing Risks

A Q&A that Dr. David Katz, Director of the Yale Prevention Research Center, did with me.

David Katz, MD, Huffington Post, May 31, 2011

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/cell-phone-health-risks_b_869241.html

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Russian Cell Phone Standards Offer Better Protection than American Standards

Unlike the U.S. radiofrequency standards that regulate cell phones, the Russian standards are based on the precautionary principle. Moreover, they are designed to protect the public from all risks due to cell phone radiation, not just from heating.

Joel M. Moskowitz, PRLOG, Jul 5, 2012

http://www.prlog.org/11916029

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Cell Phone Radiation Damages Sperm

Scientists from the Environmental Working Group publish a review of 10 studies that found cell phone radiation damages sperm.

Joel M. Moskowitz, PRLOG, Jun 28, 2012

http://www.prlog.org/11911996
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