Is Safer Wireless on the Way?
Federal Bill would mandate radiation warning labels on all cell phones in the U.S.
U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced new, groundbreaking legislation recently to address concerns about the public's health from cell phone radiation.
This comes soon after 62% of DeKalb County residents voted "NO" on a telecommunications tower referendum that asked whether the school board should place or operate telecommunications towers on any independent, public or charter school property.
The federal bill is something that the countywide opposition group in DeKalb County, Get the Cell Out – Atlanta, and others, including The Center for Safer Wireless, The Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, the Mount Shasta Research Center, Moms of Merrick, and Get the Cell Out (California) have been anticipating. According to a press release from Congressman Kucinich's office, the federal bill calls for:
1. Placing warning labels on cell phones
2. A national research program
3. A scientific investigation into the adverse health effects reported by cell phone users
Read HR. 6358, introduced and referred to the US House Energy and Commerce Committee.
What's in the Bill? HR 6358 directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to work together to develop a research and public information program to determine whether there are biological and health effects from wireless digital products. The bill language seeks to protect against conflicts of interest by participating federal agencies and within the scientific community.
Importantly, wireless device usage data would, for the first time in the U.S., be used in performing scientific studies and would result in more accurate and reliable findings. The bill would also charge the EPA with setting the maximum permissible safety limits, governing exposure to radio frequency radiation. When reviewing research, the EPA would be required to take into account whether the study was funded by an organization that could stand to profit from the research outcome, so it allows for independent research.
EPA would also be required to consider health-specific outcomes such as insomnia, anxiety, headaches, tinnitus, fatigue, tremors, dizziness, visual disturbances; longstanding concerns raised by the Federal Interagency Work Group; vulnerable sub-populations, including children, developing fetuses and persons who are functionally impaired due to electromagnetic hypersensitivity; non-thermal mechanisms and effects; effects of modulation and pulsing, etc.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be responsible for implementing and enforcing human exposure standards. The FDA would issue regulations requiring local retail and internet based sales operations to provide labels on mobile communication devices. Labeling information would compare each device's exposure rating to the maximum permissible safety limit. These changes would help consumers make informed choices when purchasing wireless devices.
With the EPA acting as the lead federal agency, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would increase the number and size of grants for scientists interested in exploring how electromagnetic fields affect human health, including $15 million dollars to be available in research funds during fiscal year 2013 and each subsequent year.
Finally, the bill would remove the federal preemption provision enacted with the Federal Telecommunication Act of 1996 and restore state and local government's traditionally held authority to consider the health and welfare of the people in the siting and management of wireless antennas and towers.
What’s Next? Several DeKalb County Schools are still on a short list of approved sites, but no construction has been spotted to date. The communities are awaiting the final decision by Burrell Ellis, the county’s CEO. Many say they are holding out hope that this major announcement, together with the results of the referendum will be enough to convince him that any attempts by T-mobile to file for administrative permits should be denied.
To add your voice to those who have already expressed concern, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Can I Help? Communicate your support of the Cellphone Right to Know Act by contacting your Congressional leaders. Here's how:
• Send this suggested letter to all members of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee.
• Use this suggested letter regarding HR 6358 to send to your Congressional Representative.
• Show your support for the bill here.
To locate YOUR Congressman and Senator, click here.
What’s the 411 in DeKalb? Keep tabs on the latest developments with The Cellphone Right to Know Act as well as the efforts of Get the Cell Out – Atlanta to keep DeKalb schools free from the dangers and risks of cell towers. Jim McMahan, who won the District 4 (Tucker) seat on the DeKalb School Board in July's runoff election, has spoken publicly against the placement of cell towers at schools.
Do you think this bill would be a help or a hindrance? Tell us in the comments below-