Advocates fight for cell phone radiation warning labels

The Fresno BeeMarch 8, 2010 

Mindy Brown is on a crusade to warn people about radiation from cell phones.

It started after her husband, Fresno State football coach Dan Brown, developed brain cancer. Before slipping into a coma a year ago, he said "make sure everybody knows," she said. "I promised I would."

Dan was 50 when he died March 13, 2009. Since his death, Brown has flown across the country to keep her word to Dan, the high school sweetheart she married, the father of their six children.

On Tuesday in Maine, she testified for legislation that would require a health warning on cell phones, similar to the "black box" label on cigarette packs. If passed, it would be the first in the country.

And in February, Brown, 51, spoke before an environmental commission in San Francisco in favor of an ordinance that would require radiation levels emitted by cell phones to be printed on packaging. A similar state law has been proposed.

Brown's activism is raising awareness about a controversial issue that has been percolating for years but is now heating up as lawmakers debate whether it's time to act.

Brown has no doubt that cell-phone radiation triggers cancerous brain tumors. "I'm so 100% sure ... I'd bet my life on it," she said.

But the scientific community is divided over health effects of the low levels of electromagnetic radiation emitted by the phones. The cell-phone industry maintains the phones are safe. In the end, researchers say, the safety debate likely will go on for years, while more and more people use the phones.

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