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radiation devices can emit – such as the Specific Absorption Rate set by the Federal Communications Commission – are outdated.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..