Bill requires radiation warnings


A bill requiring radiation warnings on cellphones passed two committees in the state Senate.

Introduced by Sen. Josh Green, D-Kona, Ka‘u, SB 2571 would require cellphones sold in Hawaii to contain a label covering nearly a third of the back of the device.

The label would state, “To reduce exposure to radiation that may be hazardous to your health, please follow the enclosed safety guidelines.”

The Senate committees on Health, and Technology and the Arts each voted in support of the bill as amended last week.

Green, who chairs the Health Committee, said he introduced the bill because he thinks consumers need to be directed to warnings already listed within the device.

“It’s not alarmist,” he said. “It’s what the companies themselves say.”

Green was speaking via cellphone but said he was using a hands-free device.

“I love my cellphone,” he said. “I don’t even have a landline. I absolutely rely on my cellphone.”

The original version would have required the label to read, “This device emits electromagnetic radiation, exposure to which may cause brain cancer. Users, especially children and pregnant women, should keep this device away from the head and body.”

Green said he took the language from the warning within his iPhone. He said he is open to the size of the label being reduced, adding he sees the warning as being “less of an indictment” than warnings on cigarette packs.

In its written testimony on the bill, CTIA, a wireless trade association, said cellphones sold within the United States must meet regulations regarding radiofrequency energy.

“… all cellphones that comply with those standards are safe for use by the general public,” the group said.

The city of San Francisco adopted a similar cellphone “right-to-know” law several years ago. But the city last year abandoned the law in a legal settlement.

Green said the lawsuit shouldn’t deter the state from seeking similar measures.

The bill doesn’t reference any specific scientific studies that show a risk from cellphone use, but does say consumers should “be made aware of the potential health dangers that have been linked to the electromagentic radiation emitted by cellular telephones.”

The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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