Cell phone cancer warning proposed by Maine state legislator

Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from Network World.

A Maine state legislator wants cell phones in the state to carry labels warning of brain cancer risks due to electromagnetic radiation. And the proposal could come up for debate and vote in early 2010.

Rep. Andrea Boland, a Democrat from Sanford, Maine, is behind the idea, which would require cell phone manufacturers to put the cancer warnings on the phones and their packaging.

Last October, the Maine senate and house voted to allow the bill to be discussed during the legislative session that starts in January. That session is usually reserved for emergency or governor's bills, according to a story from Associated Press.

The new AP story says some countries require such warnings, but not the United States. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom wants the city to require similar labels.

Boland uses a cell phone, but keeps it away from her head by using the speaker. The AP story also says she leaves the phone turned off unless she’s expecting a call.

The labels would recommend users, especially children and pregnant women, keep the devices away from their heads and bodies. The labels would be non-removable, with the word “warning” in large red letters, and an advisory in black type. There would also be a color graphic of a child’s brain next to the warning, according to AP.

The FCC says cell phones in the United States are safe and has set a standard for the “specific absorption rate” of radio frequency energy, but doesn’t require manufacturers to reveal radiation levels, according to AP.

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