Thursday, February 8, 2018

Massachusetts Cell Phone & Wireless Safety Legislation

Update on Massachusetts Cell Phone & Wireless Safety Bills

Two wireless safety bills were reported out of committee favorably, and two were granted an extension for the committee to examine further. The other bills were sent to study which means they could be reintroduced during the next legislative session.

  • S.1268 Resolve creating a special commission to examine the health impacts of electromagnetic fields will examine non-industry-funded science and recommend public protections. This bill was reported out of committee favorably on February 2, 2018. Click here for updates.

  • H.2030 An Act relative to best management practices for wireless in schools and public institutions of higher education requires the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish wireless technology standards to protect the health and safety of public school students and staff. After a public hearing this bill was discharged to the Joint Committee on Public Health, which reported it out of committee favorably on February 7, 2018. Click here for updates.

  • S.2079 An Act reducing non-ionizing radiation exposure in schools.  Originally referred to the Joint Committee on Education. After a public hearing on September 5, 2017, the bill was discharged to the Joint Committee on Public Health which sent it to study on February 7, 2018. Click here for updates.
  • S.107 An Act relative to disclosure of radio frequency notifications requires manufacturer warnings be prominently displayed on product packaging of wireless radiation-emitting devices. On February 7, 2018, the committee filed an extension to April 9, 2018 to allow time to form a commission with EMF scientists and doctors. Click here for updates.

  • S.108 An Act relative to the safe use of handheld devices by children requires specific language be included on product packaging. On February 7, 2018, the committee filed an extension to April 9, 2018 to allow time to form a commission with EMF scientists and doctors Click here for updates.
  • S.1864 An Act relative to utilities, smart meters, and ratepayers’ rights gives utility customers the no-fee choice of retaining non-wireless radiation-emitting water, gas and electrical meters and refusing installation of “smart” utility meters.The committee sent this bill to study on February 7, 2018. Click here for updates. 
  • S.2080 An Act increasing medical awareness and insurance coverage of non-ionizing radiation injury and reliance upon credible independent medical research. The committee sent this bill to study on February 7, 2018.  Click here for updates. 

March 22, 2017

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.