Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

01 November 2017

California: Berkeley Cell Phone "Right to Know" Ordinance

UPDATE 1st November 2017:
Yesterday the CTIA [U.S. wireless communications industry] submitted a statement to the federal district court regarding future management of the case. The CTIA indicated that it may petition the Supreme Court for a hearing even though the appeals court denied an en banc hearing.  According to the statement, both parties to the case have agreed that discovery and a trial is unnecessary, and neither party is willing to settle the case. The CTIA has until January 9, 2018 to petition the Supreme Court for a hearing. (Ref. Berkeley Cell Phone "Right to Know" Ordinance - 18 October 2017)
Berkeley’s ordinance which has been in effect since 21 March 2016 requires cellphone retailers in the city to provide consumers with the following notification:

“To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radiofrequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.”

Berkeley Cell Phone "Right to Know" Ordinance
saferemr.com, UPDATE 11 October 2017

The city of Berkeley won a decision in the federal appeals court today. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider its decision in April to uphold a Berkeley ordinance that requires cell phone retailers to warn customers about possible radiation exposure.

The court rejected arguments made by the CTIA--The Wireless Association and the Association of National Advertisers. These two organizations argued for an en banc rehearing of the case by a panel of eleven judges.

The majority opinion stated that upholding the court’s prior decision is consistent with four other circuit courts that have held government's right to compel “purely factual” commercial speech, even in the absence of consumer deception, to serve a compelling government interest.

The minority opinion argued that because the Federal Communications Commission already requires radiation disclosures in new cellphone user manuals, Berkeley’s “misleading” disclosure is “completely unnecessary.”

“The decision of the district court was correct — twice. The decision of the court of appeals was correct — now twice,” Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig, who argued for the city in the case, said in an email to The Recorder. “We are hopeful that this will bring an end to this case, and the City of Berkeley will again be free to govern its citizens as its citizens demand.”

The court's ruling can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/9thCircuitRuling.

To see media coverage about the Berkeley cell phone "right to know" ordinance
and the CTIA's lawsuit: http://bit.ly/berkeleymedia


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