Rep. Boland urges legislators to require warning labels on cell phones

March 2, 2010

Photo: Rep. Boland presents cell phone warning label legislation to the Health and Human Services Committee.

AUGUSTA – Rep. Andrea Boland, D-Sanford, wants to require cellular phone manufacturers to affix labels to their mobile devices and packaging, warning users of serious health effects associated with the electromagnetic radiation.

Boland presented her bill, LD 1706, An Act To Create the Children’s Wireless Protection Act, to the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee today at a packed public hearing.

“There is great support for this bill,” said Boland. “The number of national and international scientific experts on cell phones and health issues, in addition to concerned Mainers, who attended this hearing is a testament to the serious nature of this issue.”

According to Boland, D-Sanford, many scientific studies have shown serious health effects associated with electromagnetic radiation emitted from cellular telephones, including cancer and reproductive health issues. Brain tumors have been the most widely researched and reported effects, and studies show young people and pregnant women are most at risk.

“More and more Mainers are using cell phones and recent studies point to dangerous health risks if people don’t take care to keep their phones away from their heads or bodies by using speakerphones or headsets,” said Boland. “Cell phones have become an important part of our lives, but we need to be aware of their safety limitations, and the need to use them carefully.”

Boland’s bill would require manufacturers to affix warning labels to cell phones and their packaging, which would come at no cost to the public and little or no cost to manufacturers. The warning labels would alert users to the risks and advise that children and pregnant women should keep the devices away from their heads and bodies.

In her testimony, Boland argued that the cell phone industry has not performed any premarket safety testing or any post-market surveillance, and that cell phones have not been proven to be safe.

“Decades ago, people stood where I stand today, asking for warning labels on cigarettes,” said Boland. “The tobacco industry made all the same arguments, and was able to delay enactment, to the grief and economic costs of our people. There should be no industry so powerful or so proud as to compromise our health and safety.”

Boland also testified that a warning label was an easy way to alert people to the dangers cell phones can pose.

“No one is suggesting we don’t use cell phones,” said Boland. “We’re only suggesting people use them safely.”

The public hearing was preceded by a news briefing in the State House’s Welcome Center featuring over a dozen national and international scientific experts on electromagnetic radiation and health issues.

The committee work session on Boland’s legislation is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 9 in Room 209 of the Cross State Office Building.

Contact:

Rep. Andrea Boland, 324-4459
Sean Smith, Legislative Aide, 287-1430
Jodi Quintero, Communications Director, 287-1433