San Francisco Introduces Mobile Phone Radiation Labels

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San Francisco – where composting is compulsory and plastic bags are banned – has passed the first law in the US requiring retailers to display the amount of radiation given off by mobile phones.
The city’s mayor, Gavin Newsom, hailed the law as a victory for the public’s right to know what their mobile phones are doing to them even though some critics say there is no significant scientific evidence that they are hazardous to health.
The city council, known as the board of supervisors, voted 10-1 in favor of the law, which requires retailers to place information on the amount of radio waves absorbed by a mobile phone user’s body next to each device to allow shoppers to choose between them.

“This is about helping people make informed choices,” said Sophie Maxwell, chief sponsor of the legislation.
But the industry says that information may lead consumers to wrongly believe that there are proven dangers from using mobile phones.
“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,” said John Walls, vice president of public affairs for the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. “In fact, all phones sold legally in the US must comply with the Federal Communication Commission’s safety standards for emissions.”

A similar measure proposed in the California legislature this year was killed off amid heavy lobbying by the mobile phone industry. A law in Maine to require health warning labels on mobiles, similar to those on cigarette packets, also failed this year in part because the impact on health of sustained use of mobile phones remains a matter of scientific debate.
The mayor’s spokesman, Tony Winnicker, said that the law was not designed to discourage the use of mobile phones but to make information that is already published by regulatory authorities more readily available. “This is not about telling people not to use cellphones,” he said. “Nobody loves his iPhone more than Mayor Newsom.”

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Are cell phones safe? The mayor of San Francisco believes they are not. Mayor Gary Newsom wants cell phones sold in his city to carry warning labels on the box, similar to those found on cigarette packs. The labels would warn of a possible link to brain cancer, and would include “radiation absorption rate.” Newsom says he wants radiation levels shown next to each phone in a font at least as large as the price. State legislator Andrea Boland of Maine is seeking similar legislation for her state.

Cell phones emit non-ionizing radiation. Non-ionizing radiation is defined as any type of electromagnetic radiation that does not carry enough energy to ionize atoms or molecules. What this means is that low-level EMF radiation does not completely remove an electron from an atom or molecule. When passing through matter, EMF radiation does not produce charged ions. Instead, it has only enough energy to create excitation, or the movement of electrons to a higher energy state. This means that instead of immediately altering DNA, it makes gradual changes to cells over time. In the case of microwave radiation (emitted by wireless LANs, laptops, and cell phones), some heating via induced currents can occur. In other words, microwave radiation from your cell phone causes warming in your brain cells. Health risks of such warming are still being studied. Although the cell phone industry trivializes the potential risk by asserting these fields and effects are quite low, it is important to consider length and frequency of exposure.

One argument is that cell phone radiation is less than that we receive from the sun. Okay, we agree that’s a fact. However, how many people walk around all day with the sun glued to their ears? We’ve all been made aware of the hazards of ultraviolet rays in sunlight, and we limit our exposure or use good sun blocking formulas when we spend time outdoors. Not so for our cell phones.

We rely on our cell phones for more and more these days. Many of us have given up our “land lines” and gone exclusively to cell phones. We get our stock tips and charts on our iPhones and Blackberries. We use our cell phones for email, texting, and video games. Now we can even download and watch movies or play games on these devices. That’s an almost constant exposure to EMF radiation.

Scientific data from multiple sources are beginning to show a link between information-carrying radio frequencies emitted by cell phones, computer, and other devices, and various health effects. These include a higher risk of brain tumors, damage to blood cells, changes in DNA, nerve cell damage, links to autism and Alzheimer’s disease, eye damage, sleep disruption, fatigue, and headaches.

In England, the National Radiological Protection Board suggested in 2005 that children younger than eight should not be given a cell phone, as it risks exposing their developing brains and bodies to harmful radiation. Recently, Toronto’s department of public health issued a similar warning, that due to possible side effects from radio frequency radiation, children under eight should only use a cell phone in emergencies, and teenagers should limit calls to less than 10 minutes.

In Sweden researchers say that cell phone users double the odds of brain cancer, and that users under the age of 20 increase their risk by a factor of five.
Cell phone risk to children is significantly higher. The thickness of their skulls is far less than that of adults. As a result, the potential for damage to the brain is far greater.

EMF Pollution Solutions
Cell phones are here to stay. What can we do to protect ourselves from long-term exposure to cell phone radiation? There are a few common-sense steps everyone should take.
First, don’t hold the cell phone up to your head. Use the speakerphone feature, or use a wired ear bud. Don’t use Bluetooth. It emits the same type of radiation as your cell phone. Wearing a Bluetooth device on your ear is constant exposure to EMF radiation. This is even worse in the long run than holding your phone up to your ear. However, even if you use the speakerphone or a wired ear bud, you are still exposing yourself to EMF radiation if you carry the cell phone on a belt clip, in your pocket, or anywhere else on your body. The device is always sending and receiving signals to and from cell towers.

Second, try to limit the time you spend on your cell phone. Keep the device turned off whenever possible. Don’t give cell phones to your children. They are particularly vulnerable to the effects of EMFs on the brain.
Okay, we hear you. You’re doing business, and you can’t keep your cell phone turned off or limit its use. We also understand that you want your teenagers to have a cell phone, in case of emergencies, and to keep in touch with them.
There are two recommendations we can make to you. With either solution, we still recommend not holding the cell phone directly to your head, but instead using the speakerphone or a wired ear bud.

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