Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Berkeley Cell Phone "Right to Know" Ordinance

Scroll to the bottom of the post to see the media coverage about this ordinance.

May 18, 2015

Berkeley's Cell Phone "Right to Know" Ordinance (video)

Kevin Kunze, director and writer of the award-winning film, "Mobilize: a Film about Cell Phone Radiation," prepared a a 6 minute video about the adoption of the nation's only cell phone "right to know" ordinance by the City of Berkeley on May 12, 2015.

http://bit.ly/1Hf23Tq

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May 16, 2015

City of Berkeley to require cellphone sellers to warn of possible radiation risks

Lawmakers vote to highlight the potential dangers of keeping devices close to the body as scientists raise raft of concerns, especially for children 


Anita Chabria, The Guardian (UK), May 16, 2015


Note:

The article in The Guardian refers to EMFscientist.orgOn Monday, May 11th, 190 scientists from 39 nations submitted an appeal to the United Nations, the UN member states, and the World Health Organization (WHO) requesting they adopt more protective exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields (EMF) and wireless technology in the face of increasing evidence of risk.*  

These exposures are a rapidly growing form of environmental pollution worldwide. 

 As of today the petition has been signed by 205 EMF scientists from 40 nations. Seventy non-governmental organizations (i.e. non-profits) have endorsed the Appeal.


*(e.g., power lines, cell phones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi, wireless devices, cell towers, wireless utility meters).

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May 12, 2015 

Berkeley Adopts Cell Phone "Right to Know" Ordinance on Unanimous Vote


This evening the Berkeley City Council adopted the cell phone "right to know" ordinance on a unanimous vote of 9-0.  Berkeley is the first city in the nation to pass a cell phone radiation ordinance since San Francisco disbanded its ordinance after a two-year court battle with the CTIA

Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig helped draft the ordinance and presented it to the Council on behalf of city staff.

The only opposition to the ordinance came from the CTIA--The Wireless Association. The CTIA claims that consumers would be scared if they were directed to read the information that the FCC requires they provide to consumers.  



May 5, 2015

Berkeley residents want, deserve cellphone ‘right to know’

Ellen Marks, Berkeleyside, 

Ellen Marks is Executive Director of the California Brain Tumor Association.

<snip>


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May 1, 2015


Berkeley City Council: May 12, 2015 Meeting Agenda Item on Cell Phones

Action Calendar -- New Business

From: City Manager
Recommendation: Adopt first reading of an Ordinance requiring cell phone retailers to provide a notice with each sale or lease concerning the carrying of cell phones, and adding Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 9.96.
Financial Implications: Staff time

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Excerpt from Proposed Cell Phone Ordinance

CHAPTER 9.96
REQUIRING NOTICE CONCERNING RADIO FREQUENCY EXPOSURE OF CELL PHONES

<snip>

Section 9.96.030 Required notice

A. A Cell phone retailer shall provide to each customer who buys or leases a Cell phone a notice containing the following language:

The City of Berkeley requires that you be provided the following notice: To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. This potential risk is greater for children. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.

B. The notice required by this Section shall either be provided to each customer who buys or leases a Cell phone or shall be prominently displayed at any point of sale where Cell phones are purchased or leased. If provided to the customer, the notice shall include the City’s logo, shall be printed on paper that is no less than 5 inches by 8 inches in size, and shall be printed in no smaller than a 18-point font. The paper on which the notice is printed may contain other information in the discretion of the Cell phone retailer, as long as that information is distinct from the notice language required by subdivision (A) of this Section. If prominently displayed at a point of sale, the notice shall include the City’s logo, be printed on a poster no less than 8 ½ by 11 inches in size, and shall be printed in no small than a 28-point font. The City shall make its logo available to be incorporated in such notices.

C. A Cell phone retailer that believes the notice language required by subdivision (A) of this Section is not factually applicable to a Cell phone model that retailer offers for sale or lease may request permission to not provide the notice required by this Section in connection with sales or leases of that model of Cell phone. Such permission shall not be unreasonably withheld.

http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/Clerk/City_Council/2015/05_May/Documents/2015-05-12_Item_29_Requiring_Notice.aspx

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April 30, 2015

PRESS RELEASE

​​Survey of Berkeley Residents Affirms Need for City to Adopt Cell Phone “Right to Know” Ordinance on May 12

Berkeley, Calif. April 30, 2015. Eighty-two percent (82%) of adults in Berkeley, California reported in a recent survey that they want to be informed when they purchase a cell phone about the manufacturer’s recommended minimum distance that the phone should be kept from the user’s body.

On May 12, the survey results will be officially presented to the Berkeley City Council when the Council votes on a Cell Phone “Right to Know” ordinance.

The proposed Cell Phone Right to Know legislation requires cell phone retailers to provide a city-prepared handout to each consumer at the point of sale that advises them of their phone’s manufacturers’ own directive to never wear or use a cell phone against their body when on (as in a shirt or pants pocket or tucked into a bra). This manufacturer’s separation distance use advisory which is required by the Federal Communications Commission is currently located in the legal fine print of user manuals or on the phone in text menus which are difficult to find. 

 
If the Council adopts the ordinance, Berkeley will become the only city in the U.S. to require retailers to provide consumers with this important safety information.

Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig who helped draft the ordinance will present it to the Council on behalf of City staff. Professor Lessig has offered to defend the ordinance
pro bono should the CTIA—The Wireless Association file a lawsuit against the City.

Other key survey findings:

  • Fully, 70% of Berkeley adults were unaware that the government’s radiation tests to assure the safety of cell phones assume that the phone would not be carried against the user’s body, but instead would be held at least 1 to 15 millimeters from the user’s body.
  • Two out of three (66%) were unaware that cell phone manufacturers recommend that their cell phones be carried away from the body, or used with hands-free devices.
  • Fewer than one in six (15%) have seen the recommendations by cell phone manufacturers about how to best protect against overexposure to cell phone radiation.
  • Almost three out of four (74%) reported that they or their children carry a cell phone against their body—tucked in a shirt or pants pocket while the phone is switched on.

Lisa Bailey, M.D., past president of the California Division of the American Cancer Society and a breast cancer surgeon at Alta Bates Medical Center, strongly supports the ordinance:

“We have had some anecdotal cases in which the woman’s breast cancer develops directly below the area where her cell phone was carried. I believe that the public has the right to know that there may be potential risks and to use their phone in a way to reduce potential harm. I urge the Berkeley City Council to provide such information to their constituents.”

Recent peer-reviewed research has found that cell phone radiation causes sperm damage. The authors of a systematic review and meta-analysis of ten studies on the effects of mobile phone radiation on human sperm quality concluded that, "Our analyses indicate negative associations between mobile phone exposure on sperm viability and motility.” (Adams et al., 2014).

Several peer-reviewed papers have recommended that cell phones should not be carried or used directly against the body as in a pants pocket. For example:
  • “Keeping the cell phone in a trouser pocket in talk mode may negatively affect spermatozoa and impair male fertility” (Agarwal et al. 2009).
  • “Overall, these findings raise a number of related health policy and patient management issues that deserve our immediate attention. Specifically, we recommend that men of reproductive age who engage in high levels of mobile phone use do not keep their phones in receiving mode below waist level” (De Iuliis et al., 2009).

The City Council meeting will be held 7:00 PM on May 12 in the City Council Chambers at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley. Supporters of the ordinance will hold a rally in front of the building at 6:00 PM.

The survey of Berkeley residents was conducted by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, North Carolina from March 6-8, 2015. The survey was funded by the ​California Brain Tumor Association.
Ellen Marks, Executive Director, California Brain Tumor Association

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April 28, 2015

On Tuesday, May 12, the Berkeley City Council will vote on becoming the first city in the nation to enact legislation to give consumers information at the point of sale as to the recommended distance information which is currently hidden in the cell phone or in the manual. Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig helped draft the ordinance and will be at the meeting to present it to the Council.


Advocates for the ordinance will hold a rally in front of City Hall at 6 PM.

For more information see Berkeleyside Events Calendar.

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March 27, 2015

NBC Bay Area aired a four minute news story on the 11:00 news, "Documentary 'Mobilize' Examines Cell Phone Dangers," about the Berkeley cell phone ordinance and the feature-length documentary, "Mobilize: A Film about Cell Phone Radiation."

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March 10, 2015

The cell phone "right to know" ordinance will be on the agenda of the Berkeley City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 12. 

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November 21, 2014

On November 18, the Berkeley City Council adopted a referral to the City Manager on a 7-2 vote. The referral asks the City Manager to draft a cell phone “right to know” ordinance. 

Once this ordinance is enacted, Berkeley will become the first city in the nation to require cell phone retailers to provide those who purchase a new phone an informational fact sheet. Retailers will be required to provide the fact sheet to those who purchase a cell phone which informs them to read the user manual to learn the cell phone’s minimum separation distance from the body.

The FCC requires manufacturers to provide this information to ensure that the consumers’ cell phone radiation exposure does not exceed the amount when the cell phone was tested. Few consumers are currently aware of this safety information because it is buried in their user manual or within their smart phone. Knowledge of this information is an important step in increasing awareness that cell phones should not be used next to the body.

Councilman Max Anderson who sponsored the referral grilled the CTIA representative, Gerard Keegan, about why the industry does not want consumers to see the safety information that the FCC mandates. The CTIA position is that this is between the FCC and the industry, and the FCC is in the process of deciding whether this information is necessary so the City should not act on this issue.

The referral directs the City Manager to ask City Attorney Zach Cowan and Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig to draft the ordinance.

A video of the meeting is now available for streaming (see 01:44:50 - 03:36:25).

Summaries of the meeting have been published by The Daily Californian and the Contra Costa Times.

--

November 10, 2014

The Berkeley City Council postponed discussion of the cell phone "right to know" ordinance until Tuesday, November 18, 2014.
City Manager Referral: Cell Phone Ordinance Referral to City Manager (Continued from October 28, 2014)
From: Councilmember Anderson
Recommendation: Refer to City Manager for the creation of an ordinance to have cell phone retailers give to consumers who purchase a phone, a factual, informational handout referring the user to their cell phone manufacturers' disclosure regarding the recommended separation distance for use against the body.
Financial Implications: See report
Contact: Max Anderson, Councilmember, District 3, 981-7130
http://bit.ly/1EvJvPz

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October 15, 2014

Press Release: Berkeley's Proposed Cell Phone "Right to Know" Ordinance

http://www.prlog.org/12383163

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October 10, 2014

This cell phone "right to know" ordinance is on the consent calendar for the Berkeley City Council meeting to be held on Tuesday, October 28, 2014. The referral and briefing document are available at http://bit.ly/BerkeleyReferral.

City Manager Referral: Cell Phone Ordinance Referral to City Manager
From: Councilmember Anderson; Councilmember Worthington
Recommendation: Refer to City Manager for the creation of an ordinance to have cell phone retailers give to consumers who purchase a phone, a factual, informational handout referring the user to their cell phone manufacturers' disclosure regarding the recommended separation distance for use against the body.
Financial Implications: See report
Contact: Max Anderson, Councilmember, District 3, 981-7130
The advisory will be in the form of an informational handout to be handed to consumers by the retailer at the time of purchasing a cell phone. The proposed wording is as follows:  
"The Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. Don't carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is turned ON and connected to a wireless network. This will prevent exposure to RF levels that may exceed the federal guidelines."
"Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for the recommended separation distance."

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Precaution or Paranoia? Berkeley May Require Cancer Warning Stickers for Cell Phones

Sabin Russell, California Magazine, August 19, 2014

[An indepth article about the science and  politics underlying the proposed Berkeley cell phone ordinance--research on cancer risk and fetal effects on neurological development is discussed.]

Just as the world supply of mobile phones is reaching one unit for every human being on Earth, here comes Berkeley, with a warning: These things could be hazardous to your health ...
Stakes in this argument are extraordinarily high. Cell phones are radio transmitters that are not only ubiquitous, they are close at hand: We press them against our ears. We store them in our pants pockets. Women slip them into their bras. Teens sleep with them under their pillows. With the adult market nearly saturated, the big growth opportunity for mobile devices is children.
“In our so­ci­ety, the pre­cau­tion­ary prin­ciple does not res­on­ate well. We want to see a body count first.” 
The CTIA statement builds a case that the “scientific consensus” is firmly in their camp. In fact, the two-word term appears 28 times in their filing. They quote numerous federal agencies asserting a lack of evidence that cell phone radiation can cause harm. Among them is the FCC itself, the FDA, and most notably, the National Cancer Institute, which states on its web site that “there is no evidence from studies of cells, animals, or humans that radiofrequency energy can cause cancer.
Moskowitz dismisses the endorsements. “Industry and government agencies seem to be in denial, and have been in that frame of mind for decades,’’ he says.
... Cell-phone makers in their fine print do advise keeping these devices about a half-inch away from your body, although there is no mention of it in an industry-written parents’ guide to cell phone safety.
And meanwhile, let’s face it: We just love these little appliances. They are changing the way we live. If they are changing the way we die, we’ll find out, eventually.
http://bit.ly/1p7158O

Also see:
Eric Schultz. Killer App: A Berkeley researcher weighs in on cell phones and cancer. California Magazine. Winter 2010.  http://bit.ly/1kSu5z5

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Berkeley pushes for cancer warning stickers on cell phones

Carolyn Jones, SFGate, Jul 15, 2014 (updated)

Print version: "CELL PHONE ORDINANCE: Berkeley will fight for cancer warnings," San Francisco Chronicle, Jul 15, 2014, pg. A - 1

Berkeley, undaunted by abandoned efforts in San Francisco, is attempting to become the first city in the nation to require retailers to put stickers on cell phone packaging warning people that the devices may emit cancer-causing radiation ...
Joel Moskowitz, head of UC Berkeley's Center for Family and Community Health, has no such indecision. He's been studying the issue since 2009, and has concluded that cell phones are "one of the top emerging public health risks." 
Studies cited by the cell phone industry are outdated, he said. Newer and more complex wireless technology, coupled with people spending increasing amounts of time on their phones, is almost certain to lead to an uptick in brain cancer, he said.
"It's just a matter of time," he said. "The evidence is a lot more compelling than it has been."
Radiation from cell phones penetrates the skin and skull and absorbs into the brain tissue, having an adverse affect on cells, he said. Phone radiation can also affect sperm count among men who carry phones in their pockets, he said.
Consumers should wear headsets, use the speaker feature and otherwise keep phones away from their bodies, he said.
"With cell phones, distance is your friend," he said.
Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable, he said.
A warning sticker should advise consumers that some studies link cell phones to rare but serious cancers, and they should take precautions, he said ...

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Media coverage about the ordinance
Bayvoice.net (in Mandarin) (July 14, 2014)
Berkeley High Jacket (Dec 20, 2014)
Berkeleyside  Op-Ed  (Oct 17, 2014)
Berkeleyside (Nov 18, 2014)
Berkeleyside (Nov 26, 2014)
Berkeleyside Op-Ed (May 5, 2015)
Berkeleyside (May 13, 2015)
Bloomberg News Radio (mp3: 0:06:55 - 0:08:35) (Jul 15, 2014)
Bloomberg Politics (Nov 26, 2014)
Breitbart News (Jul 15, 2014)
Business Insider (Jul 15, 2014)
Business Insider Australia (Jul 16, 2014)
Business Insider India (Jul 15, 2014)
California City News (Dec 1, 2014)
California Healthline (Jul 16, 2014)
California Magazine (Aug 19, 2014)
CBS News (May 12, 2015)
CBS News (May 13, 2015)
CBS SF Bay Area TV News (KPIX) (Aug 22, 2014)
CBS SF Bay Area TV News (Jul 16, 2014)
CBS SF Bay Area TV News (May 13, 2015)
CBS SF Bay Area (May 20, 2015)
Chico Enterprise-Record (Nov 21, 2014)
Contra Costa Times (Nov 21, 2014) (Oakland Tribune, Nov 24, 2014)
Contra Costa Times (May 14, 2015)
CTV News video (Canada) (May 17, 2015)
CTV News story (Canada) May 17, 2015)
The Daily Beast (May 13, 2015)
The Daily Californian  (Jul 16, 2014)
The Daily Californian (Nov 19, 2014)
The Davis Enterprise  (Jul 22, 2014)
East Bay Express (Jul 15, 2014)
ecosalon (Jul 18, 2014)
Epoch Times (May 12, 2015)
GSMA (Nov 24, 2014)
The Guardian (London, UK) May 15, 2015)
Headlines and Global News (Jul 17, 2014)
Healthcare Global (Dec 1, 2014)
KALW  Crosscurrents   (audio - Sep 24, 2014)
KGO ABC 7 TV News (San Francisco) (Jul 15, 2014)
KGO 810  Radio News (San Francisco) (Jul 15, 2014)
The Kirk Show
KKSF AM Talk 919 (San Francisco) (audio) (Jul 15, 2014)
KPFA (May 13, 2015)
KQED Forum (Lawrence Lessig interview: 48:00 - 50:00) (Jan 8, 2015)
KQED Forum (Joel Moskowitz & Allan Balmain, 9:30 - 10 AM) (May 18, 2015)
KTVU (Fox News) (May 13, 2015)
Mother Jones (May 11, 2015)
Mother Jones (May 13, 2015)
NBC Bay Area TV News (Mar 28, 2015)
NBC Bay Area TV News (May 12, 2015)
News Inferno (Jul 16, 2014)
PAN Swiss Newsroom
Public Health Watchdog (Jul 17, 2014)
RT (May 12, 2015)
RYOT News (May 14, 2015)
San Jose Mercury News (May 13, 2015)
San Francisco Chronicle  (Jul 15, 2014)
Science Times (May 13, 2015)
Seattle Times (Jul 14, 2014)
SoundofHope.org (Beijing; in Mandarin)  (Jul 15, 2014)
Sputnik News (May 17, 2015)
TIME Magazine (May 12, 2015)
WCVB News (ABC5 Boston)  (Jul 15, 2014)
WDTV News (CBS5 West Virginia) (May 12, 2015)
WFMY News (CBS2 Greensboro, NC) (May 12, 2015)
WREQ News (CBS3 Memphis,TN) (May 12, 2015)
Yahoo! News (CBS) (Jul 16, 2014)
Yahoo! News (CBS) (May 12, 2015)
YourLawyer.com  (Jul 17, 2014)

Monday, May 11, 2015

International Scientist Appeal on Electromagnetic Fields & Wireless Technology



May 16, 2015 Update


On Monday, May 11th, 190 scientists from 39 nations submitted an appeal to the United Nations, the UN member states, and the World Health Organization (WHO) requesting they adopt more protective exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields (EMF) and wireless technology* in the face of increasing evidence of risk.These exposures are a rapidly growing form of environmental pollution worldwide. 

*(e.g., cell phones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi, wireless devices, cell towers, wireless utility meters).

The “International EMF Scientist Appeal” asks the Secretary General, UN affiliated bodies and all member nations to encourage precautionary measures, to limit EMF exposures, and to educate the public about health risks, particularly to children and pregnant women.

To date, the petition has been signed by 200 EMF scientists from 40 countries -- each has published peer-reviewed research on non-ionizing EMF and biology or health -- about 2,000 scientific papers in all. 

The EMFscientist.org web site launched last Monday has been visited by people in 119 countries attesting to the global reach of this emerging public health crisis. The site contains information about this "wake up call" from the scientific community including a 3-minute video announcing the Appeal by Dr. Martin Blank, a past president of the International Bioelectromagnetics Society who has had over 30 years of experience conducting EMF research at Columbia University.

The International EMF Alliance has begun to collect endorsements of the Appeal from non-governnmental (i.e., non-profit) organizations around the world.]


May 11, 2015


PRESS RELEASE


International Scientists Appeal to U.N. to Protect Humans and Wildlife from Electromagnetic Fields and Wireless Technology


WHO’s conflicting stance on risk needs strengthening, says 190 scientists


New York, NY, May 11, 2015. Today 190 scientists from 39 nations submitted an appeal to the United Nations, UN member states and the World Health Organization (WHO) requesting they adopt more protective exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields (EMF) and wireless technology in the face of increasing evidence of risk. These exposures are a rapidly growing form of environmental pollution worldwide.

The “International EMF Scientist Appeal” asks the Secretary General and UN affiliated bodies to encourage precautionary measures, to limit EMF exposures, and to educate the public about health risks, particularly to children and pregnant women.

The Appeal highlights WHO’s conflicting positions about EMF risk. WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified Radiofrequency radiation as a Group 2B “Possible Carcinogen” in 2011, and Extremely Low Frequency fields in 2001.  Nonetheless, WHO continues to ignore its own agency’s recommendations and favors guidelines recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). These guidelines, developed by a self-selected group of industry insiders, have long been criticized as non-protective.

The Appeal calls on the UN to strengthen its advisories on EMF risk for humans and to assess the potential impact on wildlife and other living organisms under the auspices of the UN Environmental Programme, in line with the science demonstrating risk, thereby resolving this inconsistency.

Martin Blank, PhD, of Columbia University, says, 

"International exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields must be strengthened to reflect the reality of their impact on our bodies, especially on our DNA. The time to deal with the harmful biological and health effects is long overdue. We must reduce exposure by establishing more protective guidelines.”

Joel Moskowitz, PhD, of University of California, Berkeley, says, 

“ICNIRP guidelines set exposure standards for high-intensity, short-term, tissue-heating thresholds. These do not protect us from the low-intensity, chronic exposures common today. Scientists signing the Appeal request that the UN and member nations protect the global human population and wildlife from EMF exposures.”


International EMF Scientist Appeal, Description of the Appeal and Spokesperson Quotes:  EMFscientist.org

Video Statement (3 min.) by Spokesperson Martin Blank, PhD:  EMFscientist.org
     (An HD version of the video statement is available on request.)


Contacts:

Elizabeth Kelley, MA, Director              Joel Moskowitz, PhD               
EMFscientist.org                                  School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
info@EMFscientist.org                         jmm@berkeley.edu
                                                                             

Friday, May 8, 2015

Oregon: Cell Phone & Wi-Fi Safety Warning Legislation


The bill would prohibit retailers from providing a consumer with a cell phone unless the phone and its packaging contained a specific label. 
"(2) A retailer may not willfully or knowingly sell or lease, offer for sale or lease or otherwise distribute a cellular telephone in this state unless the cellular telephone bears a label that: 
(a) Is conspicuous, legible and nonremovable; 
(b) States in bold letters:
“WARNING: This is a radio-frequency (RF), radiation-emitting device that has nonthermal biological effects for which no safety guidelines have yet been established. Controversy exists as to whether these effects are harmful to humans. You may limit your exposure to RF radiation by limiting your use of this device and keeping it away from the head and body.”; 
(c) Is affixed to both the front and back of the packaging of a cellular telephone; and 
(d) Is affixed to the back of a cellular telephone and occupies at least 30 percent of the back surface of the cellular telephone." 
For more information: 
https://legiscan.com/OR/bill/HB3350/2015


Oregon House Bill 3350

Oregon State Representative Alissa Kenyguyer has proposed House Bill 3350 which directs the Oregon Department of Education to prepare a statement that would disclose the potential health risks of wireless technology. 

The bill requires public and private schools to distribute the statement annually to school employees and to parents of students. The bill declares an emergency stating that such an act is necessary for the immediate preservation of public peace, health and safety. 


The bill was introduced on February 27, 2015 and was referred to the Health Care Committee on March 6. 

If the bill is adopted, it would take effect on July 15, 2015.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Brain Tumor Rates Are Rising in the US: The Role of Cell Phone & Cordless Phone Use

Hardell and Carlberg (2015) recently reported that brain tumor rates have been increasing in Sweden based upon the Swedish National Inpatient Registry data.

What about brain tumor rates in the United States?

Using national tumor registry data, a recent study found that the overall incidence of meningioma, the most common non-malignant brain tumor, has significantly increased in the United States in recent years (Dolecek et al., 2015). The age-adjusted incidence rate for meningioma significantly increased from about 6.3 per 100,000 in 2004 to about 7.8 per 100,000 in 2009. Brain tumor incidence increased for all age groups except youth (0-19 years of age).

The incidence of glioma, the most common malignant brain tumor, has also been increasing in recent years in the United States, although not across-the-board. The National Cancer Institute reported that glioma incidence in the frontal lobe increased among young adults 20-29 years of age (Inskip et al., 2010). The incidence of glioblastoma multiforme, a highly cancerous glioma, increased in the frontal and temporal lobes, and in the cerebellum among adults of all ages in the U.S. (Zada et al., 2012). 

Risk of meningioma from cell phone and cordless phone use

A new study by Carlberg and Hardell (2015) adds to the growing body of evidence that heavy use of wireless phones (i.e., cell phones and cordless phones) is associated with increased risk of meningioma in Sweden. Heavy cordless phone users (defined as more than 1,436 hours of lifetime use) had a 1.7-fold greater risk of meningioma (OR = 1.7; 95% CI = 1.3-2.2). The heaviest cordless phone users (defined as more than 3,358 hours of lifetime use) had a two-fold greater risk of meningioma (OR = 2.0; 95% CI = 1.4 - 2.8). The heaviest cell phone users had a 1.5-fold greater risk of meningioma (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 0.99 - 2.1). 

Two earlier case-control studies conducted in other nations have found significant evidence of increased risk for meningioma among heavy cell phone users:

(1) In France, Coureau et al. (2014) found a two and a half-fold greater risk of meningioma for heavy cell phone users (defined as 896 or more hours of lifetime use) (OR = 2.57; 95% CI = 1.02 to 6.44). 

(2) In Australia, Canada, France, Israel and New Zealand, Cardis et al. (2011) found a two-fold greater risk of meningioma for heavy cell phone users (defined as 3,124 or more hours of lifetime use) (OR = 2.01; 95% CI = 1.03 to 2.93). 

The two prior studies did not assess cordless phone use so it's likely they underestimate the meningioma risk from cell phone use.

Thus, we now have three independent, case-control studies which find that wireless phone use is a risk factor for meningioma.

Risk of glioma from cell phone and cordless phone use

Three independent, case-control studies have found that long-term use of cell phones increases risk for glioma (Interphone Study Group, 2010; Hardell et al, 2013; Coureau et al, 2014). The only research to examine cordless phone use also found increased glioma risk with long-term use (Hardell et al, 2013). These studies include data from 13 nations: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the UK. After ten years of wireless phone use (i.e., cell phone plus cordless phone use), the risk of glioma doubles and after 25 years, the risk triples (Hardell et al, 2013).

Although the U.S. does not conduct research on wireless phone use and tumor risk in humans and does not participate in any of the international studies, there is no reason to believe that Americans are immune to these potential effects of wireless phone use.


In sum, the peer-reviewed research on brain tumor risk and wireless phone use strongly suggests that we should exercise precaution and keep cell phones and cordless phones away from our heads. Moreover, the research calls into question the adequacy of national standards and international guidelines that limit our exposure to radiation from wireless phones.

Heavy Use of Cell Phones & Cordless Phones Increases Brain Tumor Risk

Pooled analysis of Swedish case-control studies during 1997-2003  and 2007-2009 on meningioma risk associated with the use of mobile and cordless phone

Michael Carlberg, Lennart Hardell. Pooled analysis of Swedish case-control studies during 1997-2003  and 2007-2009 on meningioma risk associated with the use of mobile and cordless phone. Oncology Reports. 33:3093-3098. 2015. DOI: 10.3892/or.2015.3930


Abstract

A pooled analysis of two case-control studies on meningioma with patients diagnosed during 1997‑2003 and 2007-2009 was conducted. Both genders were included, aged 20-80 and 18-75 years, respectively, at the time of diagnosis. Population-based controls, matched according to age and gender, were enrolled. Exposure was assessed by questionnaire. In the entire study, cases with all brain tumor types were included. The whole reference group was used in the unconditional logistic regression analysis on meningioma, with adjustments for gender, age, year of diagnosis and socioeconomic index (SEI).

In total, 1,625 meningioma cases and 3,530 controls were analyzed. Overall no association with use of mobile or cordless phones was found. In the fourth quartile of use (>1,436 h) somewhat increased risk was found for mobile phones yielding an odds ratio (OR)=1.2, 95% confidence intervals (CI)=0.9‑1.6 and cordless phones OR=1.7, 95% CI=1.3-2.2. Higher risk was calculated in the highest decile (>3,358 h), OR=1.5, 95% CI=0.99-2.1 and OR=2.0, 95% CI=1.4-2.8, respectively. In addition, the longest latency time gave somewhat increased risk for both phone types although the result was not statistically significant. There was no association for ipsilateral use or anatomical tumor location.

The present study showed a somewhat increased risk among heavy users of mobile and cordless phones. Since meningioma is generally a slow-growing tumor, longer latency period is necessary for definitive conclusions.


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Excerpts

Meningioma is most common among middle-aged and elderly individuals. The incidence is approximately 2-fold higher in women than in men (1,2). It accounts for approximately 30% of intracranial tumors (3) and develops from the pia and arachnoid membrane that cover the central nervous system. Meningioma is a benign, encapsulated, well-demarked and seldom malignant tumor. It is slow growing and presents with neurological symptoms by compression of adjacent structures. Headaches and seizures are common symptoms.

The only well-established risk factor is ionizing radiation with a long latency period (time from first exposure until diagnosis) encompassing decades (4,5). Sex hormones may be of importance due to the female predominance, yet the role is unclear and has been suggested not to fully explain the higher incidence in women (6).

During recent years, the use of wireless phones has been discussed as a risk factor for brain tumors. When used they emit radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs).

The Nordic countries were among the first in the world to widely adopt this technology. Analogue phones (NMT; Nordic Mobile Telephone System) were introduced in the early 1980's ...

The digital system (GSM; Global System for Mobile Communication) using dual band, 900 and 1,800 MHz, started to operate in 1991. The third generation of mobile phones, 3G or Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS), using 1,900/2,100 MHz RF fields has  been introduced worldwide in recent years, and in Sweden in 2003 and currently dominates the market.

Desktop cordless phones (DECT) have been used in Sweden since 1988, first using analogue 800-900 MHz RF fields, but since the early 1990's using a digital 1,900-MHz system. The cordless phones are becoming more common than traditional telephones connected to landlines. In addition, these phones emit RF-EMF radiation similar to that of mobile phones.


[In 2011,] ... Regarding meningioma, the IARC Working Group found that the available evidence was insufficient to reach a conclusion on an association with mobile phone use (7). The only studies that provided results for a 10-year latency or more were those from the Hardell group (9,13) and the Interphone study group (12).


Cumulative use. ... Cordless phone use gave statistically significant increased risk in the fourth quartile to OR=1.7, 95% CI=1.3-2.2 (p-trend <0.0001). Total use of wireless phones >1,486 h gave OR=1.3, 95% CI=1.1‑1.6 (p-trend =0.01). We also analyzed the >90th percentile corresponding to >3,358 h cumulative use. Mobile phones of the digital type (2G and 3G) gave a borderline increased risk with OR=1.5, 95% CI=1.0005-2.3 (p-trend =0.045) and cordless phone gave OR=2.0, 95% CI=1.4-2.8 (p-trend <0.0001; data not shown). The results for analogue mobile phones were based on only 6 exposed cases and 8 exposed controls yielding OR=2.1, 95% CI=0.7-6.3 (p-trend =0.65). Somewhat increased risk was found for the different phone types per 100-h cumulative use (Table II). Mobile phone use in total gave OR=1.005, 95% CI=1.001-1.009 and cordless phone use OR=1.010, 95% CI=1.005-1.014.



Multivariate and conditional logistic regression. ... The risk increased with statistical significance for cordless phone use with OR=1.009, 95% CI=1.004-1.013 per 100-h use ...

A modest increased risk was found in the fourth quartile >1,486 h of cumulative use for mobile phones. The result was statistically significant for cordless phones with a statistically significant trend (p<0.0001). We also analyzed the >90th percentile of cumulative use which gave support for an association with use both of mobile and cordless phones. In the multivariate analysis, only cordless phone use remained as a statistically significant risk factor per 100 h of cumulative use. The risk increased somewhat per year of latency for all phone types but was not statistically significant. Thus, taking together the results for mobile phones and cordless phones, an increased risk cannot be excluded among the heaviest users.

In the French case-control study including the time period 2004-2006, an increased risk was found among the heaviest mobile phone users (18). Thus cumulative use >896 h gave OR=2.57, 95% CI=1.02-6.44 for meningioma (p-trend =0.06). Time since first use >10 years yielded OR=1.57, 95% CI=0.64‑3.86 (p-trend =0.52), whereas no increased risk was found for shorter time of use. Use of cordless phones was not assessed. The study provided some support of an increased risk for heaviest cumulative use of mobile phones but less clear for latency. Thus, there are some similarities with our findings.

In conclusion, in the present study, no conclusive evidence of an association between use of mobile and cordless phones and meningioma was found. However, an increased risk was noted among heavy users of mobile and cordless phones, especially in the highest decile of cumulative use. The risk increased somewhat with latency, although the result was not statistically significant. Meningioma risk was not associated with tumor localization or ipsilateral use. However, taking the long latency periods that have been reported for the increased meningioma risk associated with exposure to ionizing radiation it remains too early to make a definitive risk assessment. Results for even longer latency periods of wireless phone use than in this study are desirable.