Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Massachusetts Cell Phone & Wireless Safety Legislation

Five Cell Phone & Wireless Safety Bills introduced in Massachusetts Legislature

In 2017, the Massachusetts state legislature introduced five bills to address wireless radiation and public health:

S.107 would require manufacturers’ RF safety information to be plainly visible on cell phone product packaging or direct customers to safety notifications within the user manual including information pertaining to RF radiation exposure, compliance with RF regulatory requirements, and the minimum separation distance between the device and the person’s body.

S.108 would require the following language to appear on cell phone product packaging: 
"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 pocket or the phone is otherwise in contact with your body when the phone is on and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely." 
This notification is required by the model cell phone “right to know” ordinance that was adopted in 2015 in Berkeley, California. The Berkeley ordinance allows the retailer the option to post the notice in the store or provide it to the customer. It does not require the notice to be placed on the cell phone product packaging.

S. 1268 would create a commission to study the health impacts of electromagnetic fields (EMF). The commission will review non-industry funded science on the health impacts of all sources of EMF on reproductive systems, brain function including memory loss, diminished learning, performance impairment in children, headaches and neurodegenerative conditions, melatonin suppression and sleep disorders, fatigue, hormonal imbalances, immune dysregulation such as allergic and inflammatory responses, cardiac and blood pressure problems, genotoxic effects like miscarriage, cancers such as childhood leukemia, and childhood and adult brain tumors.

The commission will study whether EMF has a disparate impact on potentially vulnerable subgroups including children, fetuses, pregnant women, the elderly and those with pre-existing illnesses or impairments. The commission will investigate whether children are more vulnerable.

The commission will file a report by July 31, 2018, and recommend legislation needed to protect public health including a recommendation on whether children’s EMF (including Wi-Fi) exposure in schools should be eliminated or reduced. No commission member shall have a financial conflict of interest.

S.1864 would give residents the right to keep non-RF-emitting water, gas and electrical meters instead of "smart" utility meters without having to pay extra fees. Ratepayers will have the right to request that utility companies remove wireless meters and install electromechanical analog meters that emit no RF radiation. 

H.2030 would require the state government to develop best practices and guidance for the purchase and installation of wireless internet service in public schools, colleges and universities. The guidelines would prioritize practices that protect the health and safety of students and staff.