New Bill Would Require Health Warning Labels on Cell Phones

Thought warning labels were just for cigarettes? Think again.

A bill introduced by state Sen. Chip Shields (D-Portland) would require warning labels for all new cell phones and cell phone packaging sold in Oregon. Shields filed the bill on behalf of a constituent, David Morrison, over concerns about possible links connecting mobile phone radiation to brain cancer and other health problems.

Morrison, a rare books seller, said he has been researching cell phone safety risks for two and a half years and that he believes radio frequency radiation from cell phones constitutes a "public health emergency." He added that pregnant women and children are at particular risk.

Proponents of such legislation cite studies, mostly out of Europe, showing correlations between cell phone use and health problems. But the scientific evidence remains murky.

The Oregon bill draws on similar legislation proposed in Maine last March. Massachusetts is also expected to propose legislation. Morrison said he hopes the Oregon bill will raise public awareness of the risks of electromagnetic radiation from cell phones.

"Each thing like this chips away a little bit into public consciousness," Morrison said. "Hopefully the publicity around the issue will make people think a little more about this, and other states will pick this up as well."

Shields could not be reached for comment. But his legislative aide, Mary Alecia Briggs, said Shields decided to introduce this bill in order to promote public discussion and protect consumers.

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