Saturday, August 11, 2012
NOBODY'S WATCHING THE STORE EXCEPT THE TELECORPORATIONS--SAN FRAN LEADS THE FIGHT:
CITY ATTORNEY NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2012
CONTACT: MATT DORSEY
PHONE: (415) 554-4662
On eve of key Ninth Circuit hearing, GAO raises questions about cell phone
Oral arguments in wireless industry challenge to City Cell Phone Ordinance:
Thursday at 9 a.m., 9th Circuit Courthouse, 95 7th Street
SAN FRANCISCO (July 26, 2012) -- On the eve of a key federal appeals court
hearing in the mobile phone lobby's legal challenge to San Francisco's cell
phone consumer information ordinance, the U.S. Government Accountability
Office today released a report expressing concern that the Federal
Communications Commission has failed to keep up with scientific developments
on the possible link between cell phone radiation and cancer. The report by
the GAO -- the independent, nonpartisan auditing agency that works for
Congress -- was commissioned a year ago to review FCC standards after a
panel of 31 leading scientists from the World Health Organization concluded
that the radiofrequency energy exposure from cell phones is "possibly
carcinogenic." The report is titled, "Exposure and Testing Requirements for
Mobile Phones Should be Reassessed."
City Attorney Dennis Herrera's office is defending San Francisco's cell
phone ordinance in an oral argument before the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals on Thursday, Aug. 9, at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom One of the James R.
Browning Courthouse, at 95 7th Street in San Francisco. The hearing is open
to the public. Deputy City Attorney Vince Chhabria will be available to the
news media following the hearing to answer questions.
San Francisco's ordinance, first adopted in July 2010, directed the San
Francisco Department of the Environment to develop disclosure materials to
inform consumers about possible health risks associated with cell phones,
and actions users could take to minimize their exposure to the devices'
radiofrequency energy emissions. These materials, which cell phone
retailers must provide to people who are purchasing phones, advise consumers
that the World Health Organization has classified cell phone radiation as a
possible carcinogen, and that although studies are ongoing to assess this
issue, simple precautionary measures can be taken to reduce exposure, such
as maintaining a distance between the cell phone and the body. CTIA sued
the City in federal court on the theory that the ordinance violates the
wireless industry's First Amendment rights and is preempted by federal law.
The district court rejected most of CTIA's arguments, but enforcement of the
ordinance is on hold pending appeal.
"The GAO report supports what San Francisco's policymakers concluded two
years ago: we need to stay on top of this issue, because alarming new
information is coming in about cell phone radiation, and in the meantime
consumers should be informed about simple measures they can take to reduce
exposure if this concerns them," Herrera said. "But that common sense
principle is under attack by the cell phone industry. Incredibly, the cell
phone lobby is arguing that they have a First Amendment right to keep their
own customers in the dark until there is absolute scientific proof that
their products are dangerous to human health."
The World Health Organization made the following statement when it concluded
in 2011 that cell phone radiation is a possible carcinogen in 2011: "Given
the potential consequences for public health of this classification and
findings, it is important that additional research be conducted into the
long-term, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such
information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure
such as hands-free devices or texting." WHO's press release is available
The following are some excerpts from the GAO report released today:
"Though mobile phones operate at power levels well below the level at which
this thermal effect occurs, the question of whether long-term exposure to RF
energy emitted from mobile phones can cause other types of adverse health
effects, such as cancer, has been the subject of research and debate." (P.
"Also, epidemiological studies to date have been limited in their ability to
provide information about possible effects of long-term RF energy exposure
because the prevalence of long-term mobile phone use is still relatively
limited and some tumors, including some cancerous tumors, do not develop
until many years after exposure." (PP. 9-10)
"FCC's current RF energy exposure limit for mobile phones, established in
1996, may not reflect the latest evidence on the thermal effects of RF
energy exposure and may impose additional costs on manufacturers and
limitations on mobile phone design. FCC regulates RF energy emitted from
mobile phones and relies on federal health and safety agencies to help
determine the appropriate RF energy exposure limit. However, FCC has not
formally asked FDA or EPA for their assessment of the limit since 1996,
during which time there have been significant improvements in RF energy
research and therefore a better understanding of the thermal effects of RF
energy exposure. This evidence has led to a new RF energy exposure limit
recommendation from international organizations. Additionally, maintaining
the current U.S. limit may result in additional costs for manufacturers and
impact phone design in a way that could limit performance and functionality.
Reassessing its current RF energy exposure limit would ensure that FCC's
limit protects the public from exposure to RF energy while allowing industry
to provide telecommunications services in the most efficient and practical
manner possible." (P. 27)
The full text of the GAO's report is available here:
The case is: CTIA-The Wireless Association(r) v. City and County of San
Francisco, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Nos. 11-17707 and
TIME IS SHORT
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking comment on their proposal for upgrading smart meters. Their proposal, in spite of particularly identifying customers as people they wish to hear from, does not address safety concerns either with the switch-mode power supplies or public health concerns related to the chronic radiofrequency radiation exposure that the various transmitting meters cause. These issues are ignored entirely. They should not be.
They seem to be trying to address security concerns. I would encourage experts in the area of computer security to comment on whether these concerns are adequately addressed. My feeling is that they are probably not, but others with greater knowledge and experience in that area should read their draft and comment. If, in your opinion, they are not adequately addressed, it would be reasonable to ask for a moratorium on the smart meter program while security issues are addressed.
A testing protocol, which this is, should include testing for problems with the switch-mode power supplies so experts able to comment on that are encouraged to file comments.
Consumers are encouraged to file comments asking that a standards and testing protocol address the issues of concern to them, such as testing to ensure that the switch mode power supply is not putting high frequency signals on their wiring, that the smart meters not be transmitting meters, that appropriate security protocols be in place to ensure that data is not hackable and is not for sale, and that consumer privacy is fully protected. Those who have experienced health problems, please include a brief synopsis (remember these are public comments) and ask for a moratorium on the smart meter program for water, gas, and electrical services while safety problems are addressed. You may want to include a couple of references.
Comments can be filed by mail or email. To file by email send comments to:
Electronic comments should be sent to: Michaela Iorga at firstname.lastname@example.org,
with a Subject line: NISTIR 7823
See below for additional instructions and for a link to the draft document.
Thank you, Catherine