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Cell Phone Warning Labels?

June 8, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco may become the first city in the nation to require radiation warning labels on cell phones. The Board of Supervisors votes today on a plan backed by Mayor Gavin Newsom to require retailers to disclose the amount of radiation emitted from the various models of mobile phones they sell. The proposal is a response to scientific studies linking long-term cell phone use with brain tumors and other health issues.

Berkeley resident Lloyd Morgan, member of The Bioelectromagnetics Society, co-authored the report on the risks he says are buried in the recent Interphone study.

"The higher the cumulative hours of cell phone use, the higher the risk; the higher the number of years since first use, the higher the risk; the higher the power radiated, the higher the risk."

Morgan says the conclusion of the 13-country Interphone study, that found overall no increased risk of brain tumors, is seriously flawed. He says a risk was found in the group considered to be the heaviest users, which at the time of the study were those using a cell phone for about two hours a month.

Advocates for radiation warning labels on cell phones, like Morgan, say that if we have warnings on clothing and warnings on food, warnings on a radiation-emitting device placed against a child's head is certainly in order.

"One study found a 420 percent increased risk of brain tumors when cell phone use began when they were teenagers or younger."

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce says the ordinance will make it harder for small retailers to do business in the city. The mobile phone industry has been lobbying hard against the warning-label proposal, quoting past studies and some of the recent headlines.

More information is at "Interphone Study Design Flaws" on Vimeo: vimeo.com.
Recent Wall Street Journal analysis: snurl.com.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA