BLOG: IS SAFER WIRELESS ON THE WAY?

Dennis-Kucinich-Image1 BLOG: IS SAFER WIRELESS ON THE WAY?U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced new legislation recently to address concerns about the public’s health from cell phone radiation.

According to a press release from Congressman Kucinich’s office, the federal bill calls for:

1.  Placing warning labels on cell phones
2.  A national research program
3.  A scientific investigation into the adverse health effects reported by cell phone users

What’s in the Bill?

HR 6358 directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to work together to develop a research and public information program to determine whether there are biological and health effects from wireless digital products. The bill language seeks to protect against conflicts of interest by participating federal agencies and within the scientific community.

Importantly, wireless device usage data would, for the first time in the U.S., be used in performing scientific studies and would result in more accurate and reliable findings. The bill would also charge the EPA with setting the maximum permissible safety limits, governing exposure to radio frequency radiation.  When reviewing research, the EPA would be required to take into account whether the study was funded by an organization that could stand to profit from the research outcome, so it allows for independent research.

EPA would also be required to consider health-specific outcomes such as insomnia, anxiety, headaches, tinnitus, fatigue, tremors, dizziness, visual disturbances; longstanding concerns raised by the Federal Interagency Work Group; vulnerable sub-populations, including children, developing fetuses and persons who are functionally impaired due to electromagnetic hypersensitivity; non-thermal mechanisms and effects; effects of modulation and pulsing, etc.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be responsible for implementing and enforcing human exposure standards. The FDA would issue regulations requiring local retail and internet based sales operations to provide labels on mobile communication devices. Labeling information would compare each device’s exposure rating to the maximum permissible safety limit. These changes would help consumers make informed choices when purchasing wireless devices.

With the EPA acting as the lead federal agency, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would increase the number and size of grants for scientists interested in exploring how electromagnetic fields affect human health, including $15 million dollars to be available in research funds during fiscal year 2013 and each subsequent year.

Finally, the bill would remove the federal preemption provision enacted with the Federal Telecommunication Act of 1996 and restore state and local government’s traditionally held authority to consider the health and welfare of the people in the siting and management of wireless antennas and towers.

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