Berkeley to implement radiation warning in all city cellphone retailers

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Rachael Garner/File

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A U.S. district judge authorized a disputed city ordinance — which requires cellphone retailers to post a warning against cellphone radiation in their store — to go into effect in Berkeley this past Wednesday.

The warning, which can be no less than 5-by-8 inches, notifies customers of the risk of a powered-on, wireless cellphone releasing radio frequency exposure that may exceed federal guidelines.
Berkeley City Council passed the original ordinance in May 2015, which ignited a lawsuit between the city and CTIA–The Wireless Association, a nonprofit organization representing the wireless communications industry.

By allowing the law to go into effect, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen rejected the CTIA’s request for the ordinance to be stalled during legal proceedings.

In an email, the CTIA stated that it will be appealing Chen’s ruling, which it believes “dramatically weakens First Amendment protections,” hinging the majority of its argument on the fact that the Ninth Circuit previously invalidated a similar cellphone ordinance in San Francisco.

“The overwhelming scientific evidence refutes Berkeley’s ill-informed and misleading mandatory warnings about cellphones, according to the (Federal Communications Commission) and other experts. With these realities on our side, we are confident that we will prevail in our appeal,” a CTIA spokesperson said in an email.

Some, however, disagree with the CTIA’s claim that scientific evidence does not back up reports that radio frequencies can do extensive damage to the human body.

Joel Moskowitz, director of the campus Center for Family and Community Health, said the current regulations from the Federal Communications Commission on health notices regarding radio frequencies are outdated.

Moskowitz has studied the effect of radio frequencies on human health since 2009 and has read hundreds of studies showing compelling evidence that low-intensity thermal exposures to radio frequencies are harmful to various systems in the body.

“This could become the most wide-sweeping problem worldwide, but it often is not defiling because it can be reduced by limiting exposure to cellphone use,” Moskowitz said.

Berkeley will be one of the first cities in the country to pass such a law. Other countries, however, such as Israel, have been researching the negative effects of radio frequencies for years.

The Israeli Ministry of Health indicated in a 2014 report based on previous research findings that a link has existed between cellphone use for more than a decade and the development of tumors in the salivary glands.

In light of scientific findings, some businesses believe posting the warning is necessary in order to inform consumers.

Nibun Eagmani, a sales representative from the University Avenue branch of MetroPCS, likened the warning about radio frequencies to the precautions printed on cigarette cartons.

“I don’t think (the ordinance) is going to impact our business,” Eagmani said. “People will buy what they want to buy, even if they know it’s bad for (them).”

Brenna Smith covers business and the economy. Contact her at [email protected].

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  • Bravo brave Berkeley! NAFTA permitted the Trans Canada corporation to sue our federal gov’t for billion$ due to cancelling the Keystone Pipeline and thus decreasing TCC’s potential profits. If the TPP is adopted, such corporate lawsuits against local and national governments will become more common, so Berkeley could be sued for potentially impeding Verizon’s future profits. It may not matter that Verizon’s profits are not impacted by the safety notice requirement. The suit would be heard and determined by a tribunal of corporate lawyers with no requirement that they are free of conflicts of interest, no representation for Berkeley, and no possibility for appeal. So, keep adopting important ordinances like Berkeley’s, but also PROTEST the TPP nationwide and in SF Thurs noon because the TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP would be THE biggest CORPORATE POWER GRAB ever.

    National Action Day THURS, FEB 4 @ NOON
    outside Senator Feinstein’s office (Because she voted with Republicans for Fast Track.)
    1 POST St., SAN FRANCISCO
    near the Montgomery St. BART station exit between Post/Market, rain or shine.

    Whether or not the TPP is signed by then, we’ll protest, because Congress will still have to pass enabling legislation, so enough public outcry CAN still stop it!
    Please click “going” or “interested” now:
    https://www.facebook.com/events/461850570682429/

    Codifying corporate greed over human needs, the TPP would further WAR on
    the POOR, on labor and 99% of the People, on the PLANET, and on
    democracy!

    co-sponsors: MOVE to AMEND, BFUU Social Justice Committee, Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Task Force on the Americas, Bay Area Women’s Peace Action Circle, Occupy SF Action Council, Flush the TPP, Nicaragua Center for Community Action, Transcend, Food & Water Watch, Code Pink Women for Peace, BCA Steering Committee, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Label GMOs SF, ANSWER Act Now to Stop War & End Racism, Solar Justice, Gray Panthers East Bay, Alliance for Democracy, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, Ecological Options Network, Sunflower Alliance, SF Green Party, SF Living Wage Coalition, Haiti Action, Lake Merritt Neighbors for Peace, more

    speakers: Phoebe Sorgen of Move to Amend, Electronic Frontier Foundation global policy analyst Maira Sutton, Ella Teevan of Food & Water Watch, Ingrid Stephan of BAWPAC, Susan Harman for public banks, spoken word artists Dee Allen & Dolores Hellman, poet Karen Melander, singer gg Winter, musician Doug Chambers

    http://www.flushthetpp.org/san-francisco-tpp-is-betrayal-rally/

    serfs UP!

  • Mr.Microcurries

    Speaking of excess radiation, ………. Its amazing how many household
    items are radioactive. This is a great video to show some items that
    are surprisingly radioactive, with NUCLEAR RADIATION! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTIvoTiTTSU