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Florida City Adopts Cell Phone Precautionary Health Warnings
Pembroke Pines in Florida joined a handful of cities when it adopted a resolution on November 20 that warns the public about the health effects of cell phone radiation and precautionary safety measures.
The city's resolution was adopted a month after Jimmy Gonzalez, an attorney and resident of the city, made a presentation to the City Commission about cell phone safety. He also discussed his own battle with cell phone induced cancer. After ten years of heavy cell phone use, Mr. Gonzalez was diagnosed with glioma, a serious and often fatal form of brain cancer on the side of his head where he used his phone. Moreover, he had a tumor in his chest near the breast pocket where he kept his cell phone, and a tumor on the hand which he used to hold his phone during calls.
The City's resolution (1) contains the following five provisions:
"expresses the City Commission's concern for the amount of radiation that cell phones are emitting into users' bodies in light of the scientific debate that cell phone radiation exposure causes cancer;
"strongly urges everyone to carefully read through their cell phone user manuals and user guides and follow all instructions therein as to how to reduce the amount of radiation that will be emitted into their bodies;
"encourages everyone to take all practical steps to keep themselves and their children well informed on the latest and ongoing scientific reports about the possible effects of cell phone radiation;
"resolves that additional scientific and medical research must be conducted by the public health community about the possible effects of cell phones' radiation upon adults, teenagers, and community about the possible effects of cell phones' radiation upon adults, teenagers, and children; and
"encourages that all local, state, and federal government agencies sworn to defend the public's health & safety take all reasonable steps to vigilantly monitor and report publicly the information disclosed by ongoing scientific and medical research about the possible effects of cell phones' radiation upon adults, teenagers, and children."
The resolution directs the city clerk to forward a copy to the League of Cities and County Board of Commissioners and to each municipality within Broward County.
Twelve nations and the European Union have adopted precautionary health warnings, but progress in the U.S. has been slow due to strong industry opposition.
Although the CTIA-The Wireless Association, based on its First Amendment rights, has challenged in court San Francisco's legislation that requires cell phone stores to distribute a court-approved fact sheet (2-4), no legal obstacles prevent communities from adopting legislation to warn citizens about cell phone radiation using public spaces such as public web sites, buildings, parks or streets.
The CTIA has blocked all state-level legislative efforts to date as well as many community-level efforts (5). The organization even refused to support a California bill that would simply remind people to read the warnings in their user manuals. The CTIA has stated in court and in public hearings that people might panic if they learned about the evidence for increased health risks associated with cell phone use. Although the CTIA attends 500 meetings per year with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency that regulates cell phone radiation, a CTIA vice president has argued that the organization merely educates policy makers and does not engage in lobbying. Another vice president has stated in a public hearing that the CTIA has never claimed that cell phones do not cause harm.
This summer the U.S. Government Accountability Office called for a review of the FCC's outdated cell phone radiation regulations adopted in 1996. A bill pending in Congress would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to establish evidence-based standards that would replace the industry-set standards the FCC currently enforces.
(1) Pembroke Pines Resolution: http://ppines.legistar.com/
(2) "Cell phone radiation warning on San Francisco government web site": http://www.prlog.org/
(3) "San Franciscos Cell Phone Fact Sheet is Factual": http://www.prlog.org/
(4) "Big Week for Cell Phone Radiation Legislation":
(5) "Cities and states consider cell phone radiation laws" (Kent German, c|net, August 17, 2011): http://www.cnet.com/
Presentation by Attorney Jimmy Gonzalez at the Pembroke Pines Commission Meeting, Oct 17, 2012:
Pre-2: Pembroke Pines resident Attorney Jimmy Gonzalez gave a presentation about cell phone safety, and described a cell phone use correlation to cancer and to his personal battle with brain cancer. The Commission asked for more information so that they can learn more about this issue.
VIDEO presentation (see 3:05 - 11:50): http://vp.telvue.com/
Cell phone radiation legislation adopted at the Pembroke Pines Commission Meeting (Item 10), Nov 20, 2012:
VIDEO presentation (6:21): http://www.facebook.com/
RESOLUTION (No. 2012-R-41) text: http://ppines.legistar.com/
NEWS COVERAGE about Pembroke Pines resolution:
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley