Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mobile phone mast targeted by arsonists - customers left 'isolated' for six days

Mobile phone mast targeted by arsonists - customers left 'isolated' for six days

David Bol /  / News

ARSONISTS set fire to a communications mast in west Dorset - leaving mobile phone customers 'isolated' for six days.
Firefighters and police officers were called to the mast at Lyme Regis Golf Club, Timber Hill last weekend and are investigating the incident as an 'arson attack'.
PC Richard Winward from Lyme Regis police, said: "Someone set fire to the mast at the golf club.
"This affected TV and various phone company's signals. The mast at the Charmouth Road car park in Lyme was also attacked, but unsuccessfully.
"Interestingly, another one was apparently attacked in the Sherborne area, and there have, I am told, been several attacked in the Avon and Somerset force area."
Firefighters from Lyme Regis fire station extinguished the blaze.
A Dorset Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson, said: "An antenna mast located within the car park was found to be on fire.
"A crew from Lyme Regis fire station attended and put out the fire using a dry powder extinguisher. Dorset Police attended he scene as the fire was believed to be a possible arson."
Police are continuing to investigate the incident and have urged witnesses to come forward.
A Dorset Police spokesperson, said: "Police were called by Dorset Fire and Rescue Service to reports of an arson attack on mobile phone masts near to Lyme Regis Golf Club.
"Detectives are currently investigating the incident. Anyone with information regarding this incident should contact Dorset Police on 101, quoting incident number 3:20."
The attack wiped out mobile phone coverage for O2 customers in the coastal town.
Becca Overton said: "Apparently somebody was upset with their provider so they decided to set fire to the mast - which is obviously ridiculous and very inconsiderate to everyone else in the town who needs their phone.
"It makes you feel completely isolated. We have a landline, but we use mobiles more because more people have our mobile number.
"They said they cannot guarantee a fault free service and so couldn't give me a refund or any compensation.
"On O2, we can't get 3G in Lyme Regis, but every other phone company provides it. People keep asking them for when it's going to happen, but I have to go to Bridport to get a 3G signal -and I'm paying for a 4G phone."
The signal was restored on Friday after the site was made safe for engineers to carry out repair work.

A spokesperson from O2, said: "As a result of an arson attack, we needed to replace damaged cabling to our mast.
"Engineers worked as quickly as they could after the site was declared safe and our service was restored on Friday afternoon."

Your Cellphone May Be Hazardous To Your Child’s Mental Health

Your Cellphone May Be Hazardous To Your Child’s Mental Health

ConsumerWatch with Julie Watts

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — It seems we’re never without them these days. Cellphones call us, text us, email and entertain us. Now psychologists are telling parents and caregivers to put them down because cellphones may be hazardous to our children’s mental health.
To find out the effect all those cellphone calls have on kids, ConsumerWatch did an informal playground survey.
“How do you feel when your mommy and daddy are on the phone?” we asked.
“Sad,” said one 4-year-old.
“Kinda sad,” agreed her friend.
They’re not alone, and it’s not just preschoolers who feel this way.
Dr. Catherine Steiner Adair is a clinical psychologist and Harvard researcher. She says it’s much more widespread, and the psychological impact is clear.
“Children of all ages use the same adjectives to describe how they feel when they are competing with screens for their parent’s attention,” said Adair. “Angry, sad, frustrating, and lonely were the words used over and over.”
A recent international study confirms her findings. Online security company AVG/Location Labs found a third of children said their parents spend as much or more time with their devices, than they do with them.
“These devices are actually addictive,” says company CEO Tasso Roumeliotis. “They are constructed that way and meant to notify you and trigger a dopamine addictive hit to your brain to react.”
The survey found more than half (54%) of kids feel their parents check their devices too often. More than a third (32%) said they feel unimportant when their parents are distracted by their phones.
Psychologists point out, when parents are looking at their screens they often respond more harshly to their kids. But psychology aside, the technology can be downright dangerous.
“We’ve seen about a 22% spike in preventable accidents with young children and caretakers using their digital devices,” said Adair.
It’s a sobering statistic that may convince some parents to limit their screen time so their kids can do as they say, and as they do — just turn them off.
Psychologists say it’s not a matter of giving your kids your undivided attention. It’s about setting limits, especially during specific times of day, like in the car, at dinner, during bath time and bedtime.
Parents should finish their calls before they walk in the door at night, and really give their undivided attention when they greet their child at the end of a long day.
As one dad said, ‘if you feel like your kids are nagging you when your checking Facebook, then put down Facebook.’

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Message to Public Schools and Public Libraries about Wireless Devices

A Message to Public Schools and Public Libraries about Wireless Devices

Wireless SymbolRonald M. Powell, Ph.D. [1] has recently distributed two documents related to health concerns about wireless devices.  Although the technical content of each document is almost identical, one is intended as a message to Public Schools and the other is intended as a message to Public Libraries.
From the introduction of the paper(s):
Background: Wireless devices transmit information using radiofrequency/ microwave radiation.  The international biomedical research community has been studying the impact of such radiation on biological systems for decades, but more intensely in recent years.  The vast majority of the thousands of peer-reviewed research publications of this community, when funded independent of the wireless industries, are finding biological effects of concern.  Further, these biological effects occur at levels of radiation far lower than earlier understood.  Simply stated, a worldwide health crisis is emerging and is becoming a hallmark of the 21st Century.  The international biomedical research community is trying to warn us; but, as a society, we are not yet listening.  I hope that this message will help to change that.
As a scientist, I urge you to look into the health impact of the radiofrequency/ microwave radiation produced by wireless devices.  Examples of wireless devices of concern in our environment are Wi-Fi in all of its forms; cell phones and cell towers [especially those located on school grounds]; cordless phones; wireless computers, whether desktop, laptop, or tablet models; wireless baby monitors; wireless smart electricity meters; emerging wireless smart appliances; and microwave ovens (which leak radiation).”
After describing a number of factors contributing to the emerging “worldwide health crisis,” Dr. Powell ends on a positive note with possible solutions:
“Fortunately, many of the services that wireless devices offer can be realized with much safer wired devices.  The wired devices achieve connectivity with fiber-optic, coaxial, or Ethernet cables.  The wired devices are faster, more reliable, and more cyber secure.  They are, however, less mobile, often less convenient, and somewhat more expensive to install.  But those drawbacks pale in comparison to the benefits of good health.
Simply stated, public schools [and libraries] can protect their staff, teachers, and students [and their customers] from the health risks posed by wireless devices, including Wi-Fi, by converting to safe wired connectivity, using shielded Ethernet cable.  Further, students can be taught about the safe use of technology and can take home what they learn to protect their families.”  [For libraries, “customers can learn from the libraries’ example of the safe use of technology and can take that information home to protect their families.”]
To download a complete copy of each document prepared by Dr. Powell that includes an extensive reference list, click on the links below:
Concerned members of the community may desire to help educate their local school officials and public library directors on the possible health effects of radiofrequency/ microwave radiation emitted by wireless devices.  The above papers may help with that endeavor.
[1] Background for Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D.
Retired U.S. Government scientist (Ph.D., Applied Physics, Harvard University, 1975).  During Government career, worked for the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  For those organizations, respectively, Dr. Powell addressed Federal research and development program evaluation, energy policy research, and measurement development in support of the electronics and electrical-equipment industries and the biomedical research community.  Dr. Powell currently interacts with other scientists and with physicians around the world on the impact of the environment – including the radiofrequency/ microwave environment – on human health.

School WiFi Blamed for Child's Symptoms

School WiFi Blamed for Child's Symptoms

WORCESTER, Mass. (CN) - A Boston-area boarding school did not accommodate a 12-year-old student's debilitating sensitivity to the school's WiFi system, according to a lawsuit.
     Three anonymous plaintiffs - 12-year-old "G" and his two parents - sued the Fay School, a private institution about 25 miles from Boston. They claim in federal court that the school has not cooperated with them to reduce the child's exposure to WiFi emissions.
     People with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome, or EHS, suffer from painful reactions to exposure to electronic activity, particularly from devices the emit radio waves, such as cell phone towers and WiFi networks.
     Diagnosis of the disorder is controversial for its lack of scientific research and was portrayed in the AMC series Better Call Saul. The main character's brother suffered from the syndrome, but in his case it was entirely psychosomatic.
     In spring 2013, the Fay School installed an industrial-capacity WiFi network into the school that was accessible in all classrooms. After the new network went live, G began coming home with headaches, itchy skin and rashes that would recede in the evening, and vanish over the weekend and during summer vacation when he was not near the school, the lawsuit claims.
     When the child returned to school for the 2014 academic year, his symptoms got worse, resulting in him having to regularly leave school early.
     The parents found that their child's condition may have been caused by exposure to increased electromagnetic activity after learning that, right before their child began suffering the symptoms, the school had installed a new, industrial-strength WiFi network.
     "Exposure to Wi-Fi emissions at the levels emitted by the type of Wi-Fi to which the children are exposed in Fay classrooms causes, in those persons affected, most notably children, the symptoms of EHS, which include severe headaches, fatigue, stress, sleep disturbances, skin symptoms such as prickling, burning sensations and rashes, muscle aches, nausea, nose bleeds, dizziness and heart palpitations," the lawsuit states.
     After being continually denied access to the school in order to test their student's classroom, and having their request that all classrooms in which their child is present have the WiFi network replaced with a hard-wired Ethernet denied, the parents sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
     "G's continued exposure to the high-density Wi-Fi emissions, without any attempt at a reasonable accommodation by Fay to avoid or minimize them, violates the ADA," the complaint states.
     The science behind EHS is in dispute, with many researchers agreeing that the symptoms are real, but it is unclear what the actual causes are.
     Martin Blank, a Columbia University professor, has researched the issue extensively and wrote a letter of support for the plaintiffs included in their complaint.
     "I can say with conviction, in light of the science, and in particular in light of the cellular and DNA science, which has been my focus at Columbia University for several decades, putting radiating antennas in schools (and in close proximity to developing children) is an uninformed choice," Blank wrote.
     A National Institutes of Health 2009 double-blind study on Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic field found that when both the researchers and the test subjects were not aware whether or not they were actually being exposed to electromagnetic activity, symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity vanished.
     "Despite the conviction of IEI-EMF sufferers that their symptoms are triggered by exposure to electromagnetic fields, repeated experiments have been unable to replicate this phenomenon under controlled conditions," according to the study. "A narrow focus by clinicians or policy makers on bioelectromagnetic mechanisms is therefore unlikely to help IEI-EMF patients in the long-term."
     The World Health Organization also recognizes that while the symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome are real, the actual cause of those symptoms is not clear.
     A representative from the school did not respond to a request for comment.
     The child and his parents are represented by John Markham of Markham & Read in Boston.

A second EHS compensated by a French court

A second EHS compensated by a French court

The first case dates back to July 2014 according to Le Figaro:

EMF Omega News <> wrote : 

Please, see this sensational news (with photos - down below - of the actual verdict papers) from Ms Marine Richard in France! (I hereby send her my warmest congratulations!)

Marine Richard wrote:
Here is the decision of the French Court about my case : as far as I know, it is the first time in France that a court recognizes EHS as a handicap.

Please tell EHS people from your country that they have to do the same everywhere ! Together we will win, in the end.

With my very warm regards and with all my gratitude for the support and help I received during this 3 years journey :-)

Marine Richard

Bonjour, vous trouverez ci-joint la décision du tribunal du Contentieux de l'incapacité de Toulouse (France) en ma faveur, reconnaissant (pour la première fois à ma connaissance en France) le droit à une allocation pour le handicap "électrosensibilité".

Pour les références complètes du jugement afin d'utiliser cette jurisprudence, merci de me contacter directement.

N'hésitez pas à faire connaître cette décision, elle est là pour l'usage de tous !
Mes sincères remerciements à toutes les personnes qui ont contribué à rendre cette décision possible par leur soutien et/ou leurs témoignages.

En espérant que cela donnera le courage et l'espoir à d'autres personnes électrosensibles de se battre pour une vie digne, fraternellement,

Marine Richard

André Fauteux, Editor/Publisher
La Maison du 21e siècle Magazine 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Berkeley Cell Phone "Right to Know" Ordinance

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Berkeley Cell Phone "Right to Know" Ordinance

Media coverage about the Berkeley cell phone "right to know" ordinance 
and the CTIA's lawsuit: 

August 21, 2015

On August 20, the U.S. District Court in San Francisco held a hearing on the CTIA's motion for a preliminary injunction to block implementation of the Berkeley cell phone "right to know" ordinance.  The presiding judge was Edward Chen. The CTIA was represented by former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, and the City of Berkeley was represented by Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig. 

Judge Chen is likely to issue a decision about the injunction within the next few weeks.

I took six pages of notes at the hearing. In my opinion the following news stories provide the most accurate summary of the hearing:

Bob Egelko, SF Gate, Aug 20, 2015  (This article appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Aug 21, 2015.)
Jessica Aguirre, NBC Bay Area, Aug 20, 2015 
Lance Knobel, Berkeleyside, Aug 21, 2015 

For links to other media coverage about the hearing and the ordinance see

August 18, 2015

Should the City of Berkeley have the right to require 
cell phone retailers to provide the following safety notice to their customers? 
Why is the CTIA trying to suppress this 82-word notice?

July 21, 2015

On July 20, the CTIA filed with the Court its reply to the City of Berkeley. The CTIA wants the Court to issue a preliminary injunction that would block implementation of the cell phone “right to know” ordinance until the lawsuit is resolved. 

The CTIA claims that the ordinance should be subjected to “heightened scrutiny” and does not achieve “any substantial or even legitimate government interest.” Other CTIA claims include the ordinance is “misleading, not purely factual,” and that it is “controversial, “unduly burdensome,” and unlike other consumer disclosures. The CTIA argues that the ordinance is preempted by Federal regulation, and that members of the CTIA will be “irreparably injured if the ordinance is enforced.” Finally, the CTIA claims that the“injunction will not harm the City,” and would serve the public interest.

July 16, 2015

hearing on the CTIA's motion for a preliminary injunction to block implementation of the Berkeley cell phone "right to know" ordinance is scheduled for August 20 in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The hearing will be held in Courtroom 5 at 1:30 PM.  The Honorable Edward M. Chen is the presiding judge. 

The case number is 3:15-cv-02529. Legal filings are available from the U.S. Court ArchivePlainSite, and Law360.

On July 13, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) petitioned the Court for the right to file a "friend of the court" brief in opposition to the CTIA's motion for a preliminary injunction.

The NRDC is a nonprofit environmental and public health advocacy organization with more than 2 million members including 1,244 members who reside in Berkeley. The NRDC is "One of the nation's most powerful environmental groups" according to the New York Times.

The proposed brief makes the following arguments:
"Part of NRDC’s mission is to protect public health by minimizing human exposure to harmful substances. Regulations like Berkeley’s radiofrequency exposure right-to-know ordinance are important to advancing that goal: after all, an individual cannot choose whether to minimize her exposure if she does not know that it is occurring.
The logic of Plaintiff’s First Amendment claim, if accepted, would undermine not just the Berkeley right-to-know ordinance, but legions of risk-disclosure rules that apprise the public of exposures that they might not otherwise discover. Many rules that NRDC, on behalf of its members, has long supported and advanced could be swept away."   (1)

The NRDC further argues that the Court should not be put in the position of answering questions like "How safe is safe enough? and "How risky is too risky? This task falls within the institutional expertise of legislatures and regulators. Finally, the NRDC argues that "Mandatory disclosure of environmental and health risks is crucial to protecting the public's safety and individuals' autonomy."  (1)


(1) National Resources Defense Council. CTIA v City of Berkeley. "[Proposed] brief of amicus curiae National Resources Defense Council in opposition to plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction." US District Court for Northern District of California. Case No. C15-02529 EMC. July 13, 2015. 

July 6, 2015

The City of Berkeley filed its response to the CTIA's challenge of the City's cell phone "right to know" consumer disclosure ordinance. 

The City makes the following arguments why the Court should not grant the CTIA's request for an injunction that would block enforcement of the ordinance: 
•   the City has a substantial interest in providing the consumer disclosure to inform its residents about proper cell phone use; 
•   the mandated disclosure is accurate, factual and noncontroversial; 
•   the ordinance does not violate the First Amendment and is not preempted by Federal law;
•   the disclosure is not burdensome for cell phone retailers;
•   the CTIA's members will not be harmed if the ordinance is enforced; 
•   and interfering with the ordinance is not in the public interest.
The response was submitted by Berkeley City Attorney Zach Cowan, Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, Yale Law Professor and Dean Robert Post, and Yale Law Ph.D. candidate Amanda Shanor.  Declarations of support for the ordinance were filed by Anthony Miller, Om Gandhi, Tom Jensen, and Sandra Cortesi.

The introduction to the brief summarizes the City's position:
CTIA has launched a war based on a mistake. It labors hard to paint Berkeley’s “right to know” Ordinance as an attack on settled science. It objects with vigor to being “compelled,” as it puts it, to spread a view about cell phone safety that it claims is “scientifically baseless and alarmist,” And it links Berkeley’s motives, as it describes them, to the “unsupported proposition that cell phones are unsafe.”

 But Berkeley has no purpose to engage a scientific debate through political means. Its Ordinance simply reinforces a message that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) itself already requires manufacturers to disseminate.
The FCC has since 2001 encouraged—and now requires—manufacturers to “include information in device manuals to make consumers aware of the need to maintain the body-worn distance —by using appropriate accessories if they want to ensure that their actual exposure does not exceed the [Specific Absorption Rate (“SAR”)] measurement obtained during testing.”
The Ordinance is a response to data demonstrating that Berkeley residents are unaware of the information that the FCC desires them to have. Berkeley residents do not understand that cell phones are tested at a “body-worn distance” and are not aware that carrying a phone against one’s body “might result” in “exposure in excess of [FCC] limits” … The Ordinance also responds to data that a significant proportion of Berkeley residents want this information (82%) and said that it would affect their behavior (80%). The Ordinance thus answers a desire of Berkeley residents to have the information about RF exposure limits that the FCC wants them to have.

Yet on the basis of a single paragraph in a single FCC Notice of Inquiry cited by Plaintiff more than a dozen times, CTIA insists that no government can have any legitimate purpose in making consumers aware of long established RF guidelines—the very instructions and mandates that CTIA’s members must meet and must disclose—because, in CTIA’s view, these precautions are too cautious.

Regardless of how cell phones are used, in CTIA’s view, cell phones must be deemed safe. And any effort to draw the public’s attention to the actual manner in which cell phones were tested to be safe in effect, Plaintiff maintains, slanders CTIA’s members. But a single paragraph in a single FCC Notice of Inquiry cannot establish such an extraordinary proposition. Neither was it meant to. The whole purpose of the FCC Notice  is to initiate an inquiry into whether the FCC should alter its limits for RF radiation, by either strengthening or weakening them. The FCC does not begin an inquiry by announcing its results. FCC mandates about cell phone RF limits and the disclosure of information about those limits are the law. So long as that is true, nothing in the First Amendment blocks Berkeley from requiring retailers to inform customers about those mandates as well. The Ordinance requires the disclosure only of uncontested statements of fact that refer to existing federal requirements ....

Important filings in the case are available on Scribd at

June 9, 2015

On June 8, 2015, CTIA—The Wireless Association filed a lawsuit and a motion for an injunction in the Federal District Court in Northern California against the City of Berkeley to block the city’s cell phone “right to know” ordinance. This model law which was drafted by two of nation's leading legal scholars was designed to withstand legal challenges from industry.

The CTIA’s lawsuit claims that the ordinance violates the First Amendment rights of cell phone retailers in the City of Berkeley:

“The Ordinance compels retailers of cell phones to issue to their customers a misleading, controversial, and government-crafted statement about the “safety” of cell phones. The statement conveys, by its terms and design, the City’s view that using cell phones in a certain way poses a risk to human health, particularly to children. That compelled speech is not only scientifically baseless and alarmist, but it also contradicts the federal government’s determination that cell phones approved for sale in the United States, however worn, are safe for everyone.”

“…the FCC—consulting with expert federal health and safety agencies and drawing from international standards-setting bodies—has carefully reviewed the scientific studies that have examined cell phones for possible adverse health effects, including health effects from the radio waves—a type of radiofrequency energy (“RF energy”)—that cell phones emit in order to function. The FCC has determined, consistent with the overwhelming consensus of scientific authority, that “[t]here is no scientific evidence that proves that wireless phone usage can lead to cancer or a variety of other problems, including headaches, dizziness or memory loss.” FCC, FAQs –Wireless Phones, available at

“…The FCC’s guidelines are highly conservative: they are set 50 times below the threshold level of RF energy that has been shown to cause potential adverse health effects in laboratory animals, and assume that a cell phone is operating at its maximum certified power setting (even though cell phones rarely use the full extent of their power) … As the FCC recently put it, ‘[t]his ‘safety’ factor can well accommodate a variety of variables such as different physical characteristics and individual sensitivities—and even the potential for exposures to occur in excess of our limits without posing a health hazard to humans.’ …

“Thus, according to the FCC, ‘exposure well above the specified [FCC’s] limit should not create an unsafe condition.’”

“By using words and phrases such as ‘assure safety,’ ‘radiation,’’potential risk,’ ‘children,’ and ‘how to use your phone safely,’ the City’s unsubstantiated compelled disclosure is designed to convey a particular message that will stoke fear in consumers about the dangers of cell phones: ‘Do not carry your cell phone in your pants or shirt pocket, or in your bra, when powered ON and connected to the wireless network, because by doing so, you may absorb more RF radiation than is safe, as determined by the Federal Government. The risk of exposure to unsafe levels of RF energy is greater for children.’”

“But CTIA’s members do not wish to convey that message, because it is not true. As explained above, the FCC has stated that even where the RF emissions limit is exceeded, there is ‘no evidence that this poses any significant health risk.’ It has also concluded that RF energy from FCC-approved cell phones poses no heightened risk to children. Berkeley’s compelled disclosure is misleading because it fails to explain that the FCC guidelines already take account of the fact that consumers may use cell phones in different ways, and that cell phones are used by people of different ages and different sizes. In short, when a cell phone is certified as compliant with the FCC’s guidelines, that phone is safe, however it is worn, even if a particular usage results in exposure ‘well above’ the limit.”

“The City, which concededly lacks any evidence that exposure to RF emissions from FCC-approved cell phones at levels in excess of the FCC’s guidelines presents a safety issue, cannot meet its heavy burden under the First Amendment to justify compelling CTIA’s members’ speech, under any applicable standard of review.”

“Moreover, if the Ordinance is allowed to stand, other local governments will soon follow the City’s lead, resulting in a crazy-quilt of tens of thousands of inconsistent ‘disclosure’ obligations across the country. The result will be more compelled speech (and very likely self-contradictory speech), as well as widespread and unwarranted consumer confusion and anxiety about the safety of cell phones.”

“For these reasons, and as more fully described below, Berkeley’s Ordinance violates the First Amendment because it will require CTIA’s members to convey a message to which they object, and which is factually inaccurate, misleading, and controversial.”
“Berkeley’s Ordinance is also preempted by federal law because it would stand as an obstacle to the careful balance that the FCC has devised between protecting consumer safety and supporting the growth of mobile wireless service.”

The CTIA also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to petition the Court to block implementation of the cell phone "right to know" law:

"... CTIA respectfully requests that this Court preliminarily enjoin all Defendants from enforcing or causing to be enforced Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 9.96 before the Ordinance goes into effect on June 25, 2015, pending final judgment."
The lead attorney for the CTIA is Theodore Olson, a former United States Solicitor General who is best known for representing presidential candidate George W. Bush in the Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore, which ended the recount of the contested 2000 Presidential election. He is currently working for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

Lawrence Lessigdirector of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and professor of law at Harvard Law School, drafted the cell phone “right to know” ordinance along with Robert Post, dean and professor of law at Yale Law School.  Professor Lessig presented the ordinance to the Berkeley City Council on May 11 and offered to defend it pro bono against any legal challenges. 

The CTIA lawsuit is available at

The Berkeley Cell Phone "Right to Know" ordinance is available at: 

The court filings for the lawsuit, "CTIA - The Wireless Association v. City of Berkeley et al." (Case Number 3:150-cv-02529), are available at Law 360.

June 4, 2015

The Berkeley cell phone "right to know" ordinance takes effect on June 25th, 30 days after its second reading.

May 26, 2015

The Berkeley City Council adopted the Cell Phone "Right to Know" Ordinance after a second reading this evening.
From: City Manager

Recommendation: Adopt second reading of Ordinance No. 7,404-N.S. requiring cell phone retailers to provide a notice with each sale or lease concerning the carrying of cell phones, and adding Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 9.96.
First Reading Vote: All Ayes.

Financial Implications: Staff time
Contact: Zach Cowan, City Attorney, 981-6950
Action: Adopted second reading of Ordinance No. 7,404-N.S.
Excerpt from the Ordinance:

A Cell phone retailer shall provide to each customer who buys or leases a Cell
phone a notice containing the following language:

"The City of Berkeley requires that you be provided the following notice:
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."

The entire text of the Ordinance is available at:


May 18, 2015

Berkeley's Cell Phone "Right to Know" Ordinance (video)

Kevin Kunze, director and writer of the award-winning film, "Mobilize: a Film about Cell Phone Radiation," prepared a a 6 minute video about the adoption of the nation's only cell phone "right to know" ordinance by the City of Berkeley on May 12, 2015.


May 16, 2015

City of Berkeley to require cellphone sellers to warn of possible radiation risks

Lawmakers vote to highlight the potential dangers of keeping devices close to the body as scientists raise raft of concerns, especially for children  

Anita Chabria, The Guardian (UK), May 16, 2015


The article in The Guardian refers to On Monday, May 11th, 190 scientists from 39 nations submitted an appeal to the United Nations, the UN member states, and the World Health Organization (WHO) requesting they adopt more protective exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields (EMF) and wireless technology in the face of increasing evidence of risk.*  

These exposures are a rapidly growing form of environmental pollution worldwide. 

 As of today the petition has been signed by 200 EMF scientists from 40 nations. Seventy non-governmental organizations (i.e. non-profits) have endorsed the Appeal.

*(e.g., power lines, cell phones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi, wireless devices, cell towers, wireless utility meters).


May 12, 2015 

Berkeley Adopts Cell Phone "Right to Know" Ordinance on Unanimous Vote

This evening the Berkeley City Council adopted the cell phone "right to know" ordinance on a unanimous vote of 9-0.  Berkeley is the first city in the nation to pass a cell phone radiation ordinance since San Francisco disbanded its ordinance after a two-year court battle with the CTIA

Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig helped draft the ordinance and presented it to the Council on behalf of city staff.

The only opposition to the ordinance came from the CTIA--The Wireless Association. The CTIA claims that consumers would be scared if they were directed to read the information that the FCC requires they provide to consumers.  

May 5, 2015

Berkeley residents want, deserve cellphone ‘right to know’

Ellen Marks, Berkeleyside, May 5, 2015

Ellen Marks is Executive Director of the California Brain Tumor Association.


May 1, 2015

Berkeley City Council: May 12, 2015 Meeting Agenda Item on Cell Phones

Action Calendar -- New Business

From: City Manager
Recommendation: Adopt first reading of an Ordinance requiring cell phone retailers to provide a notice with each sale or lease concerning the carrying of cell phones, and adding Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 9.96.
Financial Implications: Staff time
Contact: Zach Cowan, City Attorney, 981-6950


Excerpt from Proposed Cell Phone Ordinance


Section 9.96.030 Required notice

A. A Cell phone retailer shall provide to each customer who buys or leases a Cell phone a notice containing the following language:

The City of Berkeley requires that you be provided the following notice: 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.

B. The notice required by this Section shall either be provided to each customer who buys or leases a Cell phone or shall be prominently displayed at any point of sale where Cell phones are purchased or leased. If provided to the customer, the notice shall include the City’s logo, shall be printed on paper that is no less than 5 inches by 8 inches in size, and shall be printed in no smaller than a 18-point font. The paper on which the notice is printed may contain other information in the discretion of the Cell phone retailer, as long as that information is distinct from the notice language required by subdivision (A) of this Section. If prominently displayed at a point of sale, the notice shall include the City’s logo, be printed on a poster no less than 8 ½ by 11 inches in size, and shall be printed in no small than a 28-point font. The City shall make its logo available to be incorporated in such notices.

C. A Cell phone retailer that believes the notice language required by subdivision (A) of this Section is not factually applicable to a Cell phone model that retailer offers for sale or lease may request permission to not provide the notice required by this Section in connection with sales or leases of that model of Cell phone. Such permission shall not be unreasonably withheld.


April 30, 2015


Survey of Berkeley Residents Affirms Need for City to Adopt Cell Phone “Right to Know” Ordinance on May 12

Berkeley, Calif. April 30, 2015. Eighty-two percent (82%) of adults in Berkeley, California reported in a recent survey that they want to be informed when they purchase a cell phone about the manufacturer’s recommended minimum distance that the phone should be kept from the user’s body.

On May 12, the survey results will be officially presented to the Berkeley City Council when the Council votes on a Cell Phone “Right to Know” ordinance. 

The proposed Cell Phone Right to Know legislation requires cell phone retailers to provide a city-prepared handout to each consumer at the point of sale that advises them of their phone’s manufacturers’ own directive to never wear or use a cell phone against their body when on (as in a shirt or pants pocket or tucked into a bra). This manufacturer’s separation distance use advisory which is required by the Federal Communications Commission is currently located in the legal fine print of user manuals or on the phone in text menus which are difficult to find.  

If the Council adopts the ordinance, Berkeley will become the only city in the U.S. to require retailers to provide consumers with this important safety information.

Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig who helped draft the ordinance will present it to the Council on behalf of City staff. Professor Lessig has offered to defend the ordinance pro bono should the CTIA—The Wireless Association file a lawsuit against the City.

Other key survey findings:

•   Fully, 70% of Berkeley adults were unaware that the government’s radiation tests to assure the safety of cell phones assume that the phone would not be carried against the user’s body, but instead would be held at least 1 to 15 millimeters from the user’s body.
•   Two out of three (66%) were unaware that cell phone manufacturers recommend that their cell phones be carried away from the body, or used with hands-free devices.
•   Fewer than one in six (15%) have seen the recommendations by cell phone manufacturers about how to best protect against overexposure to cell phone radiation.
•   Almost three out of four (74%) reported that they or their children carry a cell phone against their body—tucked in a shirt or pants pocket while the phone is switched on.

Lisa Bailey, M.D., past president of the California Division of the American Cancer Society and a breast cancer surgeon at Alta Bates Medical Center, strongly supports the ordinance:

“We have had some anecdotal cases in which the woman’s breast cancer develops directly below the area where her cell phone was carried. I believe that the public has the right to know that there may be potential risks and to use their phone in a way to reduce potential harm. I urge the Berkeley City Council to provide such information to their constituents.”

Recent peer-reviewed research has found that cell phone radiation causes sperm damage. The authors of a systematic review and meta-analysis of ten studies on the effects of mobile phone radiation on human sperm quality concluded that, "Our analyses indicate negative associations between mobile phone exposure on sperm viability and motility.” (Adams et al., 2014).

Several peer-reviewed papers have recommended that cell phones should not be carried or used directly against the body as in a pants pocket. For example:
•   “Keeping the cell phone in a trouser pocket in talk mode may negatively affect spermatozoa and impair male fertility” (Agarwal et al. 2009).
•   “Overall, these findings raise a number of related health policy and patient management issues that deserve our immediate attention. Specifically, we recommend that men of reproductive age who engage in high levels of mobile phone use do not keep their phones in receiving mode below waist level” (De Iuliis et al., 2009).

The City Council meeting will be held 7:00 PM on May 12 in the City Council Chambers at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley. Supporters of the ordinance will hold a rally in front of the building at 6:00 PM. 

The survey of Berkeley residents was conducted by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, North Carolina from March 6-8, 2015. The survey was funded by the  California Brain Tumor Association.

Ellen Marks, Executive Director, California Brain Tumor Association


April 28, 2015

On Tuesday, May 12, the Berkeley City Council will vote on becoming the first city in the nation to enact legislation to give consumers information at the point of sale as to the recommended distance information which is currently hidden in the cell phone or in the manual. Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig helped draft the ordinance and will be at the meeting to present it to the Council.

Advocates for the ordinance will hold a rally in front of City Hall at 6 PM.

For more information see Berkeleyside Events Calendar.


March 27, 2015

NBC Bay Area aired a four minute news story on the 11:00 news, "Documentary 'Mobilize' Examines Cell Phone Dangers," about the Berkeley cell phone ordinance and the feature-length documentary, "Mobilize: A Film about Cell Phone Radiation."


March 10, 2015

The cell phone "right to know" ordinance will be on the agenda of the Berkeley City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 12. 


November 21, 2014

On November 18, the Berkeley City Council adopted a referral to the City Manager on a 7-2 vote. The referral asks the City Manager to draft a cell phone “right to know” ordinance. 

Once this ordinance is enacted, Berkeley will become the first city in the nation to require cell phone retailers to provide those who purchase a new phone an informational fact sheet. Retailers will be required to provide the fact sheet to those who purchase a cell phone which informs them to read the user manual to learn the cell phone’s minimum separation distance from the body.

The FCC requires manufacturers to provide this information to ensure that the consumers’ cell phone radiation exposure does not exceed the amount when the cell phone was tested. Few consumers are currently aware of this safety information because it is buried in their user manual or within their smart phone. Knowledge of this information is an important step in increasing awareness that cell phones should not be used next to the body.

Councilman Max Anderson who sponsored the referral grilled the CTIA representative, Gerard Keegan, about why the industry does not want consumers to see the safety information that the FCC mandates. The CTIA position is that this is between the FCC and the industry, and the FCC is in the process of deciding whether this information is necessary so the City should not act on this issue.

The referral directs the City Manager to ask City Attorney Zach Cowan and Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig to draft the ordinance.

video of the meeting is now available for streaming (see 01:44:50 - 03:36:25).

Summaries of the meeting have been published by The Daily Californian and the Contra Costa Times.


November 10, 2014

The Berkeley City Council postponed discussion of the cell phone "right to know" ordinance until Tuesday, November 18, 2014.

From: Councilmember Anderson
Recommendation: Refer to City Manager for the creation of an ordinance to have cell phone retailers give to consumers who purchase a phone, a factual, informational handout referring the user to their cell phone manufacturers' disclosure regarding the recommended separation distance for use against the body.
Financial Implications: See report
Contact: Max Anderson, Councilmember, District 3, 981-7130


October 15, 2014

Press Release: Berkeley's Proposed Cell Phone "Right to Know" Ordinance


October 10, 2014

This cell phone "right to know" ordinance is on the consent calendar for the Berkeley City Council meeting to be held on Tuesday, October 28, 2014. The referral and briefing document are available at

City Manager Referral: Cell Phone Ordinance Referral to City Manager
From: Councilmember Anderson; Councilmember Worthington
Recommendation: Refer to City Manager for the creation of an ordinance to have cell phone retailers give to consumers who purchase a phone, a factual, informational handout referring the user to their cell phone manufacturers' disclosure regarding the recommended separation distance for use against the body.
Financial Implications: See report

Contact: Max Anderson, Councilmember, District 3, 981-7130
The advisory will be in the form of an informational handout to be handed to consumers by the retailer at the time of purchasing a cell phone. The proposed wording is as follows:  

"The Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. Don't carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is turned ON and connected to a wireless network. This will prevent exposure to RF levels that may exceed the federal guidelines."
"Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for the recommended separation distance."


Precaution or Paranoia? Berkeley May Require Cancer Warning Stickers for Cell Phones

Sabin Russell, California Magazine, August 19, 2014

[An indepth article about the science and  politics underlying the proposed Berkeley cell phone ordinance--research on cancer risk and fetal effects on neurological development is discussed.]
Just as the world supply of mobile phones is reaching one unit for every human being on Earth, here comes Berkeley, with a warning: These things could be hazardous to your health ...

Stakes in this argument are extraordinarily high. Cell phones are radio transmitters that are not only ubiquitous, they are close at hand: We press them against our ears. We store them in our pants pockets. Women slip them into their bras. Teens sleep with them under their pillows. With the adult market nearly saturated, the big growth opportunity for mobile devices is children.

“In our so­ci­ety, the pre­cau­tion­ary prin­ciple does not res­on­ate well. We want to see a body count first.” 

The CTIA statement builds a case that the “scientific consensus” is firmly in their camp. In fact, the two-word term appears 28 times in their filing. They quote numerous federal agencies asserting a lack of evidence that cell phone radiation can cause harm. Among them is the FCC itself, the FDA, and most notably, the National Cancer Institute, which states on its web site that “there is no evidence from studies of cells, animals, or humans that radio-frequency energy can cause cancer.

Moskowitz dismisses the endorsements. “Industry and government agencies seem to be in denial, and have been in that frame of mind for decades,’’ he says.

... Cell-phone makers in their fine print do advise keeping these devices about a half-inch away from your body, although there is no mention of it in an industry-written parents’ guide to cell phone safety.

And meanwhile, let’s face it: We just love these little appliances. They are changing the way we live. If they are changing the way we die, we’ll find out, eventually.

Also see:
Eric Schultz. Killer App: A Berkeley researcher weighs in on cell phones and cancer. California Magazine. Winter 2010.

Berkeley pushes for cancer warning stickers on cell phones
Carolyn Jones, SFGate, Jul 15, 2014 (updated)

Print version: "CELL PHONE ORDINANCE: Berkeley will fight for cancer warnings," San Francisco Chronicle, Jul 15, 2014, pg. A - 1

Berkeley, undaunted by abandoned efforts in San Francisco, is attempting to become the first city in the nation to require retailers to put stickers on cell phone packaging warning people that the devices may emit cancer-causing radiation ...

Joel Moskowitz, head of UC Berkeley's Center for Family and Community Health, has no such indecision. He's been studying the issue since 2009, and has concluded that cell phones are "one of the top emerging public health risks." 

Studies cited by the cell phone industry are outdated, he said. Newer and more complex wireless technology, coupled with people spending increasing amounts of time on their phones, is almost certain to lead to an uptick in brain cancer, he said.

"It's just a matter of time," he said. "The evidence is a lot more compelling than it has been."

Radiation from cell phones penetrates the skin and skull and absorbs into the brain tissue, having an adverse affect on cells, he said. Phone radiation can also affect sperm count among men who carry phones in their pockets, he said.

Consumers should wear headsets, use the speaker feature and otherwise keep phones away from their bodies, he said.
"With cell phones, distance is your friend," he said.

Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable, he said.
A warning sticker should advise consumers that some studies link cell phones to rare but serious cancers, and they should take precautions, he said ...