The US politician spearheading the drive to have cell phones labelled with health warnings has the likeliest of names: Chip Shields. But he is deadly serious about the bill he is driving through the Oregon state legislature.
The Oregon Senate introduced a bill that will require precautionary information on cell phones and cell phone packaging. The bill is the first of its kind requiring non-thermal effects from cell phones to be openly discussed with the public. Cell phones sold in the US and around the world are currently untested for and have no regulations for non-thermal effects. Only thermal effects are recognized by industry and regulating authorities. The legislation was inspired by a brain cancer warning label entitled “The Children’s Wireless Protection Act””, introduced in 2010 in the state of Maine (LD 1706). The Oregon bill will require that a warning label be placed on the phone as well as its packaging by the product retailer. The label will be supplied by the manufacturer. Recognition of non-thermal effects being excluded from current safety standards will raise awareness with the public as to what is causing illness from cell phones which are currently only regulated for thermal effects and on men as opposed to non-thermal effects on men, women and children.
The bi-partisan bill which was introduced by State Senator Chip Shields, LC 1273 (and amend ORS 646.608) in Oregon, is co-sponsored by Health Committee Chair Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson (D), Sen. Alan Bates (D) (co-chair human services subcommittee), Sen. Rod Monroe (D) (co-chair education subcommittee), Rep. Jim Thompson (R) (co-chair health committee), Rep. Ben Cannon (D) (health care, co-vice chair).
The bill is in response to increasing public awareness of many independently funded scientific studies that show a link between cell phone use and brain cancer, DNA and genetic damage, reproductive problems, dementia and other health problems. Cell phones were introduced to market with no pre-market safety testing by the FDA or the FCC. Senator Shields feels that Oregon is obligated to do what it can to protect its citizens from the potential hazards of cell phone use. The need for such legislation is evident when reviewing these conflicting quotes from the FCC and FDA website and from the recently updated Motorola cell phone manuals.
Quotes taken from the FCC and FDA websites as of October 2010:
‚Under the law, FDA does not review the safety of radiation-emitting consumer products such as mobile phones before marketing.‚
‚The Commission has stressed repeatedly that it is not a health and safety agency and would defer to the judgment of these expert agencies with respect to determining appropriate levels of safe exposure to RF energy.‚
Upon request of multiple congressional and senate offices, American Association For Cell Phone Safety sent letters in July of 2010 to chairmen and directors of FCC, FDA, and other Dept. heads such as Kathleen Sebelius and President of the US, Barack Obama, inquiring about the above federal government regulatory agencies and their role in cell phone safety regulations and protecting human health. In response, the following changes appeared in the Motorola cell phone manuals:
4) Use hands-free if available and keep the Blackberry at least .98 in. from your body, ‚INCLUDING THE ABDOMEN OF PREGNANT WOMEN AND THE LOWER ABDOMEN OF TEENAGERS‚
5) A few animal studies, however, have suggested that low levels of RF could accelerate the development of cancer in laboratory animals. In one study, mice genetically altered to be predisposed to developing one type of cancer developed more than twice as many such cancers when they were exposed to RF energy compared to controls.‚
6) ‚When 20 types of tumours were considered separately however, an association was found between mobile phone use and one rare type of glioma, neuroepithelliomatous tumours‚
7) ‚None of these tests showed any effect of the RF except for the micronucleus assay, which detects structural effects on the genetic material. The cells in this assay showed changes after exposure to simulated cell phone radiation‚
8) ‚Some people who have used mobile phones have been diagnosed with brain cancer.‚
9) ‚When tumours did exist in certain locations, however, they were more likely to be on the side of the head where the mobile phone was used.