Berkeley Can Require Warning That Carrying Your Cell Phone in Your Pants or Bra is Dangerous
Court upholds ‘Right to Know’ ordinance.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reaffirmed on July 2 that the City of Berkeley can continue to require phone retailers to warn customers that carrying cell phones next to their bodies, i.e. in pants pockets or bras, can expose them to dangerous levels of radiation.
CTIA, the wireless industry’s powerful trade organization, had asked the court to overturn the city’s “Right to Know” ordinance, which came into effect in 2016, on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment, blocking retailers’ freedom of speech by requiring them to post “inflammatory” messages.
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The required warning reads:
“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.”
Previously, the CTIA prevented the City of San Francisco from requiring phone radiation messages in 2013 after a three-year battle.
Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR) is anything emitted in the electromagnetic spectrum, from microwaves to x-rays to radio waves to light computer monitors or the sun. We all know from “Better Call Saul” about the strange condition called electromagnetic hypersensitivity, in which some people exhibit debilitating symptoms in the presence of radiation like cell phones and Wi-Fi. Researchers have been studying the condition for three decades and have yet to come up with an explanation except there is no evidence that it is actually caused by radiation.
The advent of 5G, the next generation of cellular technology, which is much more powerful, has revived the concerns about the link between cell phones and radiofrequency radiation which opponents claim can damage DNA and lead to cancer; cause premature aging; disrupt cell metabolism and potentially lead to other diseases through the generation of stress proteins.
Beyond the phones themselves, critics claim that due to the lower power of 5G transmitters, there will be many more of them. The Environmental Health Trust says that “5G will require the buildout of literally hundreds of thousands of new wireless antennas in neighborhoods, cities, and towns. A cellular small cell or another transmitter will be placed every two to ten homes according to estimates.”
Decades of studies have found no link between cell phones and cancers like brain tumors but that has not convinced everyone. At least in Berkeley, you can’t say you haven’t been warned.