Berkeley Eyes Cell Phone Safety Warnings

Well, they’re at it again! The city that just brought us the nation’s first soda tax now wants residents to think twice before using their cellular phones.

In a 7 to 2 vote, the Berkeley City Council recently approved the crafting of a new ordinance requiring health safety warning sheets to be distributed when mobile devices are sold. The pamphlets are meant to inform consumers about the potential safety risks posed by radiation and other emissions from cell phones. In particular, they would remind users to read their manuals prior to use and recommend a “separation distance” to prevent the phones from being held too close to the body.

Prior to the vote, the council heard from ten members of the public who believe cell phone use is inexorably linked to cancer and other ailments. Among the speakers was Professor Joel Moskowitz of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. He called the ordinance a logical next step for the notoriously health conscious city.

Critics of the proposal include Berkeley Chamber of Commerce CEO Polly Armstrong and Dmitri Belser, Executive Director at the Center for Accessible Technology and president of the Ed Roberts Campus. The FDA, they note, is already reviewing the issue extensively. So far, “there 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,” according to the FDA website.

Berkeley’s city council seems to be on some sort of cautionary kick as of late. Last month, the dais voted to place climate change warning labels on the city’s gas pumps.

Read more about the proposed ordinance here.