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Maine to Vote on Health Warnings for Cell Phones and Cell Phone Packaging

AUDIO INTERVIEW with Rep. Andrea Boland of Maine: [audio:Rep-Boland-FINAL-on-2010-01-17.mp3]

 

Letter from Olle Johansson, PhD at Karolinska Institute

 

NEW Hearing Date – March 2nd at 1:00pm
Vote & Work Session – March 9th

 

Radio News Story (12/21/09) – Listen Here

 

Draft Language for the Maine CHILDREN’S WIRELESS PROTECTION ACT put forward by Rep. Andrea Boland (D) is found below. The legislation, to be voted on in early 2010, would make Maine the first state in the nation to take a firm stand for children’s health with regard to the hazards of wireless technologies, requiring warning labeling on cell phones and their packaging. The CHILDREN’S WIRELESS PROTECTION ACT recommends users, especially children and pregnant women, keep cell phones away from the head and body.

 

The Legislative Council in Maine, composed of Democratic and Republican leadership in both houses, which, in the second session, must approve new legislation as “emergency” or critical to the budget for it to be entered into the legislative process, voted unanimously that this proposed legislation deserved “emergency” status.

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:
Sec. 1. 22 MRSA c. 261-B is enacted to read:
CHAPTER 261-B
CHILDREN’S WIRELESS PROTECTION ACT

 

§1537. Warning labels for cellular telephones
1. Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
A. “Cellular telephone” means a device used to access a wireless telephone service.
2. Warning label required. A manufacturer of cellular telephones may not sell at retail in this State, to a retailer in this State, or for use in this State a cellular telephone unless the cellular telephone and its packaging bear a warning label that is legible, nonremovable, is located in a prominent place that is conspicuous and not obscured by other written matter, contrasts with the type, layout and color of the other printed matter, includes a color graphic symbol, appears on both the front and back of the packaging, takes up at least 30% of the back surface of the cellular telephone and contains the following statement:
“WARNING, 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.”
The requirements of this subsection may not result in a cost to the retailer or distributor of cellular telephones.
3. Violation. A violation of this section is a violation of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act.
4. Rulemaking. The department shall adopt rules to implement this section, including, but not limited to, rules establishing requirements for uniform warning labels for cellular telephones and cellular telephone packaging under this section. Rules adopted under this subsection are routine technical rules as defined by Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.
Sec. 2. Rulemaking; requirements. In adopting initial rules establishing requirements for uniform warning labels pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 22, section 1537, the Department of Health and Human Services shall adopt rules requiring that warning labels:

1. Be a permanent non-removable advisory of risk, in black type, except for the word “warning,” which must be large and in red, capital letters, all on a field of white, with a narrow red border; and

 

2. Include a color graphic of “Brain of 5-year-old” depicted by O.P. Gandhi et al., in IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, “Electromagnetic Absorption in the Human Head and Neck for Mobiletelephones at 835 and 1900 MHz,” 1996 44(10): 1884-1897, which must be positioned beside the words of warning using small red arrows labeled “cell phone” and “radiation area,” pointing to those respective areas of the graphic and containing beneath the graphic the label, “Brain of 5-year-old,” with attribution in tiny print as appropriate, the entire graphic taking up 30% of the label.

SUMMARY

 

This bill provides that a manufacturer may not sell at retail in this State, or to a retailer in this State or for use in this State a cellular telephone unless, at no cost to the Maine retailer or Maine distributor, the cellular telephone and its packaging bear a warning label relating to the potential for brain cancer associated with electromagnetic radiation of the form emitted from cellular telephones, with the recommendation that users, especially children and pregnant women, keep the device away from the head and body. A violation of this provision is a violation of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act.

 

Rep. Andrea Boland Contact Information
Office: (207) 324-4459
State House E-Mail: [email protected]
Legislative Web Site: www.maine.gov/legis/housedems/aboland

 

AP Story: Maine to consider cell phone cancer warning

 

Proposed Warning Label for Cell Phones
Warning Label for Cell Phones