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San Francisco | Health, Housing, and Public Services

Health Advocates Affix Health Warning Labels to Cell Phones in San Francisco Verizon Store
by Josh Hart
Tuesday Apr 22nd, 2014 11:27 AM
Health advocates from the California Brain Tumor Association and Stop Smart Meters! have affixed health warning labels on cell phones for sale in Verizon’s Market St. store in San Francisco in defiance of the wireless industry’s legal bullying of cell phone safety ordinances across the nation. Store management removed the labels but did not summon police, possibly out of concern that potential arrests may highlight a health risk the industry would rather keep quiet. Further embarrassing the company, one of its employees stuck one of the labels to his own phone in an apparent act of defiance against his employer’s suppression of health information regarding its products.

Direct Action in Response to Heavy Handed Wireless Industry Crackdown on Democracy- Attacking City Ordinances and Cell Phone Labeling Efforts in Maine, Hawaii, and California

SAN FRANCISCO— Health advocates from the California Brain Tumor Association and Stop Smart Meters! have affixed health warning labels on cell phones for sale in Verizon’s Market St. store in San Francisco in defiance of the wireless industry’s legal bullying of cell phone safety ordinances across the nation. Store management removed the labels but did not summon police, possibly out of concern that potential arrests may highlight a health risk the industry would rather keep quiet. Further embarrassing the company, one of its employees stuck one of the labels to his own phone in an apparent act of defiance against his employer’s suppression of health information regarding its products.

In 2011, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a “right to know” law requiring cell phone retailers in the city to issue at the point of sale a fact sheet to each consumer including the World Health Organization classification and the manufacturer’s own language hidden in the phone or manual instructing phone users to keep phones 5/8 inch away from the body at all times when turned on. The Wireless Association (CTIA) sued the city (saying such “forced speech” represented a breach of the company’s First Amendment rights) and withdrew its annual conferences from San Francisco like whiney cry-babies. According to then Mayor Newsom, “their behavior makes me even more concerned as to what they are hiding.” The City did not lose the lawsuit but under the leadership of tech friendly Mayor Lee the Board of Supervisors was coerced into repealing the law, leaving customers in the dark about the health effects of routine cell phone radiation exposure.

Last month the state of Maine passed a cell phone labeling law. The next day the CTIA swarmed the halls of the Augusta Capitol. When the bill went back for the typical rubber stamping, many legislators changed their votes and the bill that had passed was killed. In Hawaii recently State Senator and Dr. Josh Green got a cell phone labeling bill passed through the state Health Committee. It then went to Sen. Roz Baker of Maui who refused hearing the bill and killed it. She also refused hearing the GMO labeling bill the same week. California State Senator Mark Leno has also tried to enact a cell phone labeling bill in California and has been shut down by industry contributions to state Senators. Many cities and states have attempted legislation and all received threatening letters of litigation from the CTIA.

This radiation has been correlated not only with brain tumors but with breast cancer, leukemia, salivary gland tumors, damage to fetuses, damage to sperm, an increase in autism and electro-hypersensitivity. In 2013 the American Academy of Pediatrics stated “Current FCC standards do not account for the unique vulnerability and use patterns specific to pregnant women and children. It is essential that any new standards for cell phones and other wireless devices be based on protecting the youngest and most vulnerable population to ensure they are safeguarded throughout their lifetimes.” The WHO classification included all wireless radiation including that emitted by smart meters. At least 15 other nations have taken action concerning the negative health implications of wireless radiation while the U.S. does nothing to protect Americans.

In February the U.S. Department of Interior in a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, cited studies showing detrimental effects from cell tower radiation on protected migratory birds and stated“ the electromagnetic radiation standards used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continue to be based on thermal heating, a criterion now nearly 30 years out of date and inapplicable today”. Those same guidelines have been correlated with deleterious health effects in humans.

Ellen Marks, whose husband was diagnosed with a cell phone related brain tumor in 2008 said,

“Cell phones were never pre-market tested for safety. My husband and thousands of others have developed cancer because of industry greed. FCC Chair Wheeler buried the truth about the risks of cell phones and now families are burying the dead. I am outraged that honest legislators throughout the U.S. are being shut down by the majority who put campaign contributions ahead of the health and safety of their constituents concerning a radiation emitting device used daily, even by children. Getting the hidden warnings, which tell people to limit their use and carry them away from their body, to the consumer at the point of sale should not be this difficult! This madness must stop.” Marks has testified to Congress and worked on a federal cell phone Right to Know law and laws in many cities and states which, even when successful, were never enacted.

According to Josh Hart, Director of the grassroots group Stop Smart Meters!:

“Our labeling action is on behalf of the people of the City of San Francisco and those everywhere being harmed by wireless radiation. We will not sit idly by while the wireless industry takes advantage of a population that remains largely unaware of these deadly serious health risks. Placing warning labels on wireless devices is a reasonable and long overdue public health measure delayed by the collusion between government and industry. The cell phone and ‘smart’ grid industries are covering up the health risks from their products and people lack the information necessary to determine safe exposure levels for themselves and their families. Families are not only being evicted by tech-related gentrification, they are increasingly being subjected to serious health risks, even toxically evicted by the tech industry’s microwave radiation. The situation is unacceptable and intolerable, and these actions will continue until the industry ceases fighting reasonable, fact-based health warnings on their products.”

For video of the Verizon store action, go to http://youtu.be/sTCC2R0OVDs Media outlets are free to use footage of this demonstration with credit to StopSmartMeters.Org and the CA Brain Tumor Association. Do-it-yourself cell phone labels available at StopSmartMeters.Org