US Court Rejects Calls For Mobile Phone Cancer Labelling

Industry pressure forces changes to a proposed law that would have required cell phone makers to put labels on their devices warning consumers of possible brain cancer

The Maine House of Representatives has voted to reject an alternative version of a law to require a cancer warning on cell phones. Under the proposal, Maine state officials would have been required to add links to their Websites about the connection between cell phones and brain cancer.

The original proposal would have required cell phone makers to affix labels to their devices warning consumers of possible brain cancer risks due to electromagnetic radiation. Industry pressure and the opposition of Maine Gov. John Baldacci forced the changes.

The World Health Organisation and National Cancer Institute have said there is little clear evidence to prove a linkage between cell phones and cancer. The Federal Communications Commission says cell phones are safe and maintains a standard for the specific absorption rate of radio frequency energy, but doesn’t require manufacturers to reveal radiation levels.

Maine State Rep. Andrea Boland said she is convinced warning labels are needed based on what she had read about the possible linkage between cell phones and cancer. “The main thing is that the warning labels get on there, and when people go to purchase something, they have a heads-up that they need to really think about it,” Boland told the New York Times. “This is a big important industry, and it’s a small modification to assure people that they should handle them properly.”

More than 270 million people currently subscribe to cellular telephone service in the United States, according to industry trade group CTIA. “With respect to the matter of health effects associated with wireless base stations and the use of wireless devices, CTIA and the wireless industry have always been guided by science and the views of impartial health organizations,” CTIA spokesperson John Walls told the Associated Press. “The peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk.”