Kucinich wants radiation warnings on cellphones

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) wants warning labels stamped on cellphone packaging in the same way cigarette companies must place warning labels on cigarette containers.

Kucinich on Friday introduced the Cell Phone Right To Know Act, which would require labels to be put on cellphones warning of the radiation levels emitted by the devices.

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Earlier this year, a federal court stuck down a similar rule enacted in San Francisco.

But Kucinich argues that it took decades for scientists to conclude that smoking caused cancer, and he says consumers should get more information now on the possible ill effects of cellphones.

“While we wait for scientists to sort out the health effects of cell phone radiation, we must allow consumers to have enough information to choose a phone with less radiation,” Kucinich said in a statement on Monday. “As long as cell phone users may be at increased risk of cancer or reproductive problems, Americans must have the right to know the radiation levels of cell phones.”

A wireless trade group, CTIA, sued San Francisco last year when the city tried to require warnings on cellphones about radiation risks. A federal court sided with CTIA and blocked the warnings.

A federal appeals court is supposed to rule on the case this week, according to Kucinich’s office.

Kucinich’s bill would also create a research program to study cellphones and would require the EPA to update the Specific Absorption Rate, which is the amount of radiation absorbed in the body when using a cellphone.

Kucinich argues that the current rate is outdated due to recent updates in cellphone technology, including Wi-Fi. The current allowed level of radiation is 1.6 watts per kilogram.

Kucinich’s bill follows an announcement by the FCC in June that it would conduct its own inquiry into the levels of radiation cellphones should be allowed to emit. The FCC last updated its guidelines in 1996.

Recent studies have indicated that radiation from cellphones could increase the risk of cancer, lower bone density or alter brain activity. Numerous other studies have found no harm.