Cell phones have been worrisome for quite some time now because of fears that they cause brain cancer. As a result, Berkeley is attempting to be the first city in the nation to require cell phone packaging carry a warning label. Are cell phones and cancer a real risk?
“Cell phones are a risk, and I believe the public has a right to information that’s credible, readable and understandable about the device they’re using,” said Berkeley City Councilman Max Anderson, who’s co-sponsoring the ordinance and has a background in public health. “I’m not intimidated by the cell phone industry. The legal department might be, but I’m not.”
San Francisco tried without success to pass a similar ordinance back in 2010 warning about the risks between cell phones and cancer. Wary of the failure, Berkeley hired a First Amendment specialty attorney to ensure that the stickers abide by the necessary guidelines. Even still, the telecommunication industry will most certainly be mounting an aggressive legal fight. The cell phone industry has already responded by sending a four page letter to city council outlining how the regulation violates federal regulations.
“Any attempt to place labels on cell phones or their packaging contradicts the clear message of federal regulatory agencies that have carefully considered this issue, which is that devices compliant with the federal standards are safe for consumer use,” wrote Gerald Keegan, senior director of legislative affairs for CTIA – The Wireless Association, an industry group, reported on SFGate.
Joel Moskowitz, head of UC Berkeley’s Center for Family and Community Health says that cell phones are an emerging public health threat and that the research is quite definitive. Cell phone radiation penetrates the skin and skull, damaging brain tissue. It also reduces sperm counts in men that carry them in their pockets. Though other experts contend that there’s uncertainty surrounding much of the research.
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Image: kevin ryder