Congress may consider bill requiring cancer warning on cellphones

10 07 2010

Kucinich to introduce bill for cell phone radiation research, warning label

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) said Wednesday that he will introduce a bill for a federal research program on the affects of cellphone radiation on users. The bill will also call for a warning label for mobile phones, as a growing body of research around the world indicate potential links between long-term use and cancer.

The bill comes after The Post’s report Tuesday outlining the growing controversy over cellphones and health. The story looks into the lobbying effort against bills across the country that would require warning and radiation data labels for cellphone retailers and San Francisco’s move as the first place in the nation to require retailers to disclose radiation levels of the phones they sell.

“Some studies find links. Some don’t. But studies funded by the telecommunications industry are significantly less likely to find a link between cellphones and health effects. We need a first-class research program to give us answers,” Kucinich said in a statement. “Until we know for sure, a labeling law will ensure that cellphone users can decide for themselves the level of risk that they will accept”

Kucinich, who held a hearing on the topic in 2008, said much of the current research on cellphone radiation is being done outside the United States. Federal regulations on how much radiation devices can emit – such as the Specific Absorption Rate set by the Federal Communications Commission – are outdated.

His bill will call for a fresh look at regulatory standards on how much radiation a cellphone can emit. The FCC’s guidelines for SAR, an absorption limit set at 1.6 watts per kilogram of tissue, were determined in 1997 and were designed around testing for a male adult model. Those standards, according to some epidemiologists, do not take into account other affects of radiation on tissue and do not take into account the fastest-growing segment of cellphone users: children.

Kucinich cited the 13-nation Interphone study (the U.S. did not participate) that found that while there is no conclusive link that long-term cellphone users were more prone to cancer, the heaviest users could be more vulnerable.

“Consumers have a right to know whether they are buying the phone with the lowest – or the highest – level of exposure to cellphone radiation. They also deserve to have up-to-date standards, which are now decades old,” Kucinich said.

Kucinich said in an interview that he will introduce his bill when Congress resumes session in two weeks. He said he has several co-sponsors.

“There is a high degree of interest in this among my colleagues,” he said.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

By Cecilia Kang | June 30, 2010; 2:36 PM ET

Congress may consider bill requiring cancer warning on cellphones..






San Francisco could be first city in US to mandate posting of cell phone emission levels

10 07 2010

Supes back posting of cell phone emission levels

San Francisco moved a step closer Tuesday to becoming the first city in the nation to require that retailers post in their stores notices on the level of radiation emitted by the cell phones they offer.

The Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 to give preliminary approval to the proposal. Final approval is expected next week. Supervisor Sean Elsbernd was the lone vote in opposition. Mayor Gavin Newsom, an early proponent of the legislation, plans to sign it into law when it reaches his desk.

Cast by backers as a pro-consumer measure, the ordinance would not ban the sale of certain cell phones but would require retailers to provide the “specific absorption rate” – a measurement of radiation registered with the Federal Communications Commission – next to phones displayed in their shops. Consumers also would be notified about where they can get more educational materials.

“This is about helping people make informed choices,” said Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, chief sponsor of the legislation.

But a trade group for the cell phone industry said the law could lead to confusion.

“Rather than inform, the ordinance will potentially mislead consumers with point-of-sale requirements suggesting that some phones are ‘safer’ than others, based on radio frequency emissions,” John Walls, vice president of public affairs for the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, said after the vote. “In fact, all phones sold legally in the U.S. must comply with the Federal Communication Commission’s safety standards for (radio frequency) emissions.”

The FCC has adopted limits for safe exposure to radiation. The measurement shows the amount of radio frequency energy people absorb in their bodies when talking on a cell phone.

The potential long-term health impacts of cell phone use, particularly on the brain, is still a matter of scientific debate.

A similar right-to-know measure, carried by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, died in the Legislature this year amid heavy lobbying by the cell phone industry.

Small business advocates in San Francisco also lobbied against the local labeling law, saying they didn’t have an appetite for more government mandates, particularly in this tough economic climate.

“This is not about discouraging people from using their cell phones,” said Newsom spokesman Tony Winnicker. “This is a modest and commonsense measure to provide greater transparency and information to consumers.”

The posting requirements would be phased in, beginning in February. Violators would face fines of up to $300. City officials still need to educate retailers and figure out how the law would be enforced, when and if it is finally adopted. Hundreds of stores in San Francisco sell cell phones.

Renee Sharp, director of the California office of the Environmental Working Group, a national nonprofit research and advocacy group, lauded San Francisco for its “leadership in protecting the public’s health and right to know, and we hope it’s the beginning of a movement that won’t stop until everybody shopping for a phone has easy access to this information.”

E-mail Rachel Gordon at rgordon@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page A – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Supes back posting of cell phone emission levels.





Scientists warn US Congress of cancer risk for cell phone use

26 09 2008

The potential link between mobile telephones and brain cancer could be similar to the link between lung cancer and smoking — something tobacco companies took 50 years to recognize, according to US scientists’ warning.

Scientists are currently split on the level of danger the biological effects of the magnetic field emitted by cellular telephones poses to humans.

However, society “must not repeat the situation we had with the relationship between smoking and lung cancer where we … waited until every ‘i’ was dotted and ‘t’ was crossed before warnings were issued,” said David Carpenter, director of the Institute of Health and Environment at the University of Albany, in testimony before a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform.

“Precaution is warranted even in the absence of absolutely final evidence concerning the magnitude of the risk” — especially for children, said Carpenter.

Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute — one of the top US cancer research centers — said that most studies “claiming that there is no link between cell phones and brain tumors are outdated, had methodological concerns and did not include sufficient numbers of long-term cell phone users.

Many studies denying a link defined regular cell phone use as “once a week,” he said.

Read Entire Article Here:

Scientists warn US Congress of cancer risk for cell phone use





Power lines link to cancer in new alert

20 04 2007

Power linesPower lines link to cancer in new alert

By Nicholas Cecil, Evening Standard 20.04.07

Homes and schools could be banned from being built near power lines

A secret report has raised fresh fears of a link between power lines and cancer.

The confidential study, obtained by the Evening Standard, urges ministers to consider banning the building of homes and schools close to overhead high-voltage power cables because of possible health risks.

It says a ban is the best way to reduce significantly exposure to electromagnetic fields from the electricity grid system.

The report was drawn up by scientists, electricity company bosses, the National Grid, government officials and campaigners over two years after the Health Protection Agency accepted there was a weak statistical “association” between prolonged exposure to power fields and childhood leukaemia.

But the 40 members of the panel have clashed over the final details and conclusions.

It stops short of specifically recommending a ban on new homes and schools within 60 metres of power lines, or vice versa, which could wipe a total of £2 billion off property prices across Britain and limit land for housing developments.

But the report concludes that the Government should consider such a move, stating: “We urge government to make a clear decision on whether to implement this option or not.”

The report, to be signed off by panel members next week, has sparked conflict at a series of hearings, according to a Whitehall source.

Two members of the panel, regulator Ofgem and Scottish & Southern Energy, are understood to have quit.

Some members of the panel took the view – adopted by the Government’s health advisers and the World Health Organisat ion – that childhood leukaemia is the only adverse health effect where evidence is strong enough for precautionary measures to be considered.

According to this view, if there is a link, the building ban would cut just one case of childhood leukaemia every year or two and the costs would outweigh the benefits by a factor of at least 20.

The second group generally backed views highlighted by the California Department of Health Services which suggested electromagnetic fields are “possibly carcinogenic” in terms of childhood leukaemia and placed four other health effects in this risk category. They were adult leukaemia, adult brain tumours, miscarriages and a form of motor neurone disease, although some scientists believe there are links with more diseases.

“The advice to government from following this ‘California’ view would therefore be to tend to favour implementing the ‘ corridors for new build’ option,” SAGE added, stressing that in this scenario the costs and benefits would be at least comparable.

The panel is set to recommend that the Health Protection Agency should issue more information about how to reduce the impact of exposure to electromagnetic fields. It will also call for a change to the working of overhead lines to reduce the radius of intense electromagnetic fields.

Nicholas Cecil
London Evening Standard
Friday April 20, 2007