Berkeley, California officials are working on legislation that would require retailers to have cell phones sold with sticker warning that the phones may emit radiation that causes cancer.
The Bay Area city would become the first in the U.S. to make the stickers mandatory for devices sold in retail stores, according to SFGate. San Francisco attempted to pass similar legislation in 2010, but it was turned down in federal court two years later.
"Cell phones are a risk, and I believe the public has a right to information that's credible, readable and understandable about the device they're using," said Max Anderson, Berkeley City Councilman and co-sponsor of the ordinance. "I'm not intimidated by the cell phone industry. The legal department might be, but I'm not."
The Berkeley City Council is looking to avoid the same lawsuit that San Francisco received from industry group The Wireless Association, by working with Lawrence Lessig, a professor of law at Harvard University, in order to draft a proposal using language that would keep them out of such a situation, The Daily Californian reported.
Council member Kriss Worthington, who is pushing for the ordinance with Anderson, said the council aims at showing the language in cell phone user manuals as a sticker to make it more visible to customers.
"People need to know these things so they can make wise decisions," Anderson said.
The health warning stickers' violation of the First Amendment has been a main arguing point for the CTIA. The industry group recently sent a letter to the city of Berkeley saying it would violate federal regulations declaring it safe for consumers to use cell phones.
Joel Moskowitz, director of UC Berkeley's Center for Family and Community Health, said over a dozen countries, including the U.K., France, Israel and Belgium, have already issued precautionary health warnings for using cell phones, The Daily Californian reported. He added that children and pregnant women are the most vulnerable to brain cancer.
"We've been engaging in denial as a society for a long time. Other countries, particularly in the European Union, have been alerting citizens and the public," Moskowitz said.
If the ordinance is passed, retailers will have to put stickers on cell phone boxes warning consumers that radiation from cell phones might cause brain cancer, SFGate reported.
The issue is scheduled to be debated among the Berkeley City Council at a meeting on Sep. 9th.