by Joel Moskowitz | see original article
The Maine House and Senate passed “The Wireless Information Act,” a cell phone radiation label requirement, and then killed it prior to enactment due to cellular industry lobbyists.
On March 11, 2014, the Maine House House of Representatives passed an amended version of “The Wireless Information Act” on a vote of 83 to 56. The bill, LD 1013, requires that any manufacturer’s information relating to radio-frequency exposure must be plainly visible on the outside of the cell phone’s product packaging or the packaging must contain a label with the following warning for all cell phones sold in the state that have manufacturer’s safety warnings:
“RF EXPOSURE: To find information relating to radio-frequency exposure, refer to information supplied by the manufacturer”
and language directing consumers to the page or pages of the owner’s manual or other insert or location where the radio-frequency exposure guidelines or instructions or general information may be found.”
The amended bill specifies that it applies only to cell phones sold at retail in the state, and that the law would take effect only after four other states, in addition to Maine, have adopted legislation requiring labeling of cell phones or cell phone packaging relating to radio-frequency exposure.
Rep. Andrea Boland sponsored the bill.
Prior to the vote, Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig publicly announced at a lecture at the University of Southern Maine that he would help defend the law if the industry sued and the State of Maine did not want to defend it.
On March 18, the Maine Senate passed the amended bill on a 21-14 vote.
Before a bill goes to the Governor for approval in Maine, it is returned to the originating body for enactment, usually a routine matter. However, on March 20, the bill died in the Maine House of Representatives as the House failed to enact it on a 77-60 vote. Cell phone industry lobbyists killed the bill by co-opting the Democratic House leadership to switch their votes from approval to disapproval.Several other states, including California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, have tried to adopt cell phone warning label laws but have been blocked by intense lobbying by the cell phone industry. The industry does not want consumers to read the microwave radiation safety warnings that cell phone manufacturers bury in cell phone user manuals, nor does it want cell phone users to take simple precautions to reduce their risk of harm. The industry has argued before the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that consumers will panic if they are informed about the risks from exposure to cell phone radiation that have been reported in the scientific literature.
Why does the cellular industry continue to hide from the public the RF safety information contained in the cell phone user manuals? Isn’t this short-sighted from the perspective of product liability? Why isn’t this industry concerned about public safety?