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California Court Upholds Berkeley Cellphone Warning

by Derrick Broze, Activist Post:

A California court has upheld a law that forces retailers to warn customers about the potential health risks of cellphones. 

On Friday, a Ninth Circuit panel of judges ruled in favor of a Berkeley, California law which requires retailers to display warnings about the possibility of health risks from cellphones. The 2 to 1 decision rejects a legal challenge from the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA), a wireless industry trade group who challenged Berkeley’s so-called “Right To Know” ordinance in June 2015. The group claimed the law violates the First Amendment by forcing retailers to spread a message that they say is misleading.

Circuit Judge William Fletcher disagreed, writing that because Berkeley’s cellphone warning is “purely factual” and is offering protection of public safety, it does not violate the First Amendment.

“Berkeley’s compelled disclosure does no more than to alert consumers to the safety disclosures that the FCC requires, and to direct consumers to federally compelled instructions in their user manuals providing specific information about how to avoid excessive exposure,” Fletcher wrote. “Far from conflicting with federal law and policy, the Berkeley ordinance complements and reinforces it.”

Circuit Judge Michelle Friedland was the dissenting vote. Judge Friedland says the law promotes a “misleading” message that  “carrying a cellphone in one’s pocket is unsafe.”

The Berkeley ordinance informs cell phone users that, “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 [radio frequency] radiation.”  The ordinance also warns that the risk is higher in children. U.S. District Judge Edward Chen originally put a halt to the Berkeley law in September 2015 because of one line of text that was deemed unscientific. The language of the ordinance was later changed and then approved.

Read More @ Activist Post

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