Berkeley WINS Right to Know cell phone labeling law

Photo credit: Environmental Health Trust

The city of Berkeley California was recently sued by the wireless industry CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) over their Cell Phone Right to Know ordinance.  The ordinance requires retailers to warn customers about cell phone risks.  Berkeley’s advisory at point of sale states: “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. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.”

CTIA argued the ordinance would be misleading, give off an impression of harm, and would violate retailers’ First Amendment rights by forcing them to distribute information they might disagree with.

In September U.S. District Court Judge Chen ruled that Berkeley’s law is not a violation of the industry’s first amendment rights, but did tell Berkeley to remove one controversial line about the risk to children, which they did.

Last week’s hearing was to remove the ban, now that the line has been removed, and allow implementation.  Ted Olson, attorney for the CTIA, sent Judge Chen 25 pages of further argument after his original decision. The Judge agreed to allow further argument last week.  Larry Lessig, Harvard Constitutional Law Professor and Robert Post, Dean of Yale Law School are defending Berkeley pro bono.

Yesterday, less than one week after the court hearing,  Judge Chen removed the ban on the Berkeley law despite CTIA’s numerous arguments. Chen also denied the wireless group’s motion to stay his order dissolving the injunction pending appeal.

Maine Supreme Court smart meter ruling ignores evidence of harm

This week the Maine Supreme Court upheld the finding of utility regulators regarding smart meter safety.  The Court supported this difficult to follow position: “It is one thing to make a finding that evidence is credible regarding potential harm and quite another to find there is a legally credible threat of Riskyharm—that a credible threat of harm is in fact credible: likely and probable to result in harm.”  

The court weighed health and safety precautions with utilities bottom line.  “The Commission, therefore, properly rejected Friedman’s approach because it would require an impractically high threshold for ensuring safety, and as a result would render nearly all utilities unsafe.”

The Court upheld this position, even though they knew there is evidence of risk. “The Commission acknowledged that there had been some evidence presented of potential future risk posed generally by RF exposure,…” 

The key to the ruling is what the court calls, “balancing the potential for harm against the usefulness and pervasiveness of the technology at issue.”

This ruling culminates a four year legal battle in Maine over the health and safety effects of smart meters.  Even though the legal burden was on the utility (CMP) to show smart meters were safe, the Court ignored this and placed the burden on the customer to pay to avoid the risk of pulsed radiation smart meters emit.

Marlboro2Ed Friedman stated: “ The Court has miserably failed the people of Maine.  They ignored independent testimony from international experts on the credible threat of harm RF exposures at smart meter levels pose, and instead chose to believe the “Marlboro Man” that smoking is good for us.”

Maine Supreme court ruling: http://www.mainecoalitiontostopsmartmeters.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2016-ME-19-Friedman-Appeal-Decision-1-26-16.pdf

Captured agency: An expose of the FCC

Norm AlsterInvestigative journalist Norm Alster exposes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a new 59 page paper published by Harvard University.  “Captured agency: How the Federal Communications Commission is dominated by the industries it presumably regulates.”  http://bit.ly/FCCcaptured

Alster calls on the FCC to acknowledge there may be wireless health risks, to back off wi-fi promotion, to acknowledge children and pregnant women may be more vulnerable and more.  Excerpts:

Perhaps the best example of how the FCC is tangled in a chain of corruption is the cell tower and antenna infrastructure that lies at the heart of the phenomenally successful wireless industry.

Personally, I don‘t believe that just because something can be done it should heedlessly be allowed. Murder, rape and Ponzi schemes are all doable but subject to prohibition and regulation. Government regulators have the responsibility to examine the consequences of new technologies and act to at least contain some of the worst. Beyond legislators and regulators, public outrage and the courts can also play a role but these can be muffled indefinitely by misinformation and bullying.  Norm Alster

Reduce EMF’s in public transit says federal disability advisory group

The National Council on Disability Transportation Report addresses chemical and electrical sensitivities and recommends changes in policies and practices to improve access: http://www.ncd.gov/publications/2015/05042015/

This is news you can use!  You can take this to bus, train and airplane companies and ask for accommodation.

“People disabled by environmental barriers experience debilitating reactions from very low-level exposures to chemicals or electromagnetic fields.” p. 207

(Department of Justice) “DOJ should develop standards and guidance on the access requirements for people with chemical and electrical sensitivities.” p. 351

“Transit agencies should eliminate environmental barriers to the greatest extent possible by using nontoxic, fragrance-free products and practices, and by avoiding all nonessential chemical and electromagnetic exposures to enhance access for people with chemical or electrical sensitivities.” p. 351

The National Council on Disability is a federal agency who advises the President, Congress and federal agencies regarding policies, programs, practices, and procedures that affect people with disabilities. This video explains more about their work.

Berkeley passes cell phone ordinance!

Not on your body, not in your pants!

Photo credit: Environmental Health TrustThe City of Berkeley passed a “right to know” ordinance on Tuesday.  Cell phones sold in Berkeley will come with a safety warning:

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.

Photo credit to Environmental Health Trust.  For more info and updates go to: http://bit.ly/berkeleycellordinance

Structure Report: Smart meter conflict of interest and cover up

www.briannarelle.com

Emails between utility giant PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) expose conflict of interest and cover up of skyrocketing smart meter bills.  The consultant the CPUC hired in 2010 to investigate the complaints, Structure, had worked for PG&E for the previous five years, and was not “independent” (as claimed in CPUC and PG&E’s misrepresentations).  CPUC President Peevey knew the results of Structure’s investigation long before it was complete, and shared that information with PG&E.  CPUC’s Peevey was aware smart meters were overcharging through personal experience.

The coordinated propaganda campaign between the CPUC, PG&E and marketing firms that resulted in the smart meter deployment couldn’t tolerate news such as the fact that 500,000 smart meters were at risk for overcharging in hot weather.  Peevey’s own bill doubled when a smart meter was installed on his vacation home, causing  him to joke about making The Sea Ranch a smart meter free zone.

The CPUC and PG&E used the Structure report to cover up smart meter problems, and to defend the deployment at the customers’ expense.  These emails suggest that returning to the tried and true analog meters is a viable remedy to avoid future skyrocketing utility costs, and that observant meter readers are a cost-effective way to ensure public and environmental safety.

READ MORE:  http://emfsafetynetwork.org/smart-meters/structure-report-smart-meter-conflict-of-interest-and-cover-up/

Use a cell phone? Must Watch Film: Mobilize

MOBILIZE is an explosive investigative documentary that explores the potential long-term health effects from cell phone radiation, including brain cancer and infertility.
In 2011 the World Health Organization stated, “The electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The cell phone industry has vigorously disputed these findings.

This thought-provoking film examines the most recent scientific research and the harsh challenges politicians face trying to pass precautionary legislation. Featuring interviews with expert researchers, mobile phone industry representatives, and prominent politicians, MOBILIZE illuminates how industry’s economic and political influence can corrupt public health.

CDC recommends caution on cell phones, then removes the warning

Can you hear me now?
Can you hear me now?

In response to questions about cell phone radiation and cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a FAQ about Cell Phones and Your Health,

On August 13, 2014 Dr. Joel Moskowitz reported the CDC called for caution on cell phones stating, “Along with many organizations worldwide, we recommend caution in cell phone use.” (see screen shot of original page)

Dr.Louis Slesin of Microwave News also reported on the recommendation.  The statement  was a significant step in acknowledging the health threat of wireless radiation from cell and cordless phones, (and by extension other wireless devices such as baby monitors; wi-fi routers; computers; and smart meters.)

A week after Dr. Moskowitz reported on the FAQ, the CDC removed and substantially changed the language. 

Can using a cell phone cause cancer?
August 13: There is no scientific evidence that provides a definite answer to that question. Along with many organizations worldwide, we recommend caution in cell phone use. More research is needed before we know for sure if using cell phones causes cancer.

August 20:  There is no scientific evidence that provides a definite answer to that question. Some organizations recommend caution in cell phone use. More research is needed before we know if using cell phones causes health effects.

Two other sections were also changed to dumb down the language:

Should people stop using cell phones?
August 13: “Scientific studies are ongoing. Someday cellphones may be found to cause health problems we are not aware of at this time. However it is also important to consider the benefits of cell phones. They can be valuable in an urgent or emergency situation – and even save lives.”

August 20: “At this time we do not have the science to link health problems to cell phone use. Scientific studies are underway to determine whether cell phone use may cause health effects. It is also important to consider the benefits of cell phones. Their use can be valuable in an urgent or emergency situation – and even save lives.”

Do cell phones cause health problems in children?
August 13: “It’s too soon to know for sure. Children who use cell phones – and continue to use them as they get older – are likely to be around RF for many years. If RF does cause health problems, kids who use cell phones may have a higher chance of developing these problems in the future.”

August 20: “It’s not known if cell phone use by children can cause health problems.”

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Alice Hamilton imageI started to wonder if there might be evidence for the recommended caution by the CDC, so I searched their website and found a 2012 Alice Hamilton Award (see Exposure and Risk category/ honorable mention) that went to this study: “Risk of brain tumours in relation to estimated RF dose from mobile phones: results from five Interphone countries”

The award description language is strong on the association between cell phone radiation and cancer, especially compared to the CDC FAQ.  For example:  “…a significant dose-response was found with gliomas for phone use of more than 7 years.”;  “…RF emissions from cell phones could be a causal factor in brain cancer.”; “In addition to providing evidence for cell phone carcinogenesis, the findings of these two papers also help identify preventive measures.”

So why did the CDC take back their public health warning? Dr. Moskowitz comments, “Knowing how much administrative oversight CDC typically provides its media relations unit, we doubt that the CDC’s new policy statements were simply a mistake.”

Dr. Louis Slesin writes, “CDC decided it had overstepped —or, more likely, someone held its feet to the fire.” 

More on this story at: microwavenews.com See also: Say What CDC Flip Flops on Cell Phone Danger