Politics & Government

California state lawmaker wants radiation labels on cell phones

State Sen. Mark Leno said he's one of an estimated 4 billion cellular phone users worldwide — and loves it.

But because of emerging international health studies, Leno said Thursday, he has introduced a bill that would require all cell phones sold in California to include information about their radiation emissions on sales boxes, instructional materials and model displays in stores.

"I think that what we're proposing here today is very modest," Leno, a San Francisco Democrat, said at a Sacramento news conference.

Cell phones, Leno said, "have enriched our lives. They have bettered our lives in ways we are only beginning to understand. They also emit radio-frequency radiation, which does have human health effects."

Leno noted that a joint study by researchers in European countries suggested recently that people who use cell phones for more than 10 years face a greater risk of developing a brain or gland tumor.

The U.S. maximum allowable level of cellular phones' "specific absorption rate" of radiation, known as SAR, was set by the Federal Communications Commission in 1992.

Manufacturers are not required to disclose to consumers the various rates that cell phones have, although some include it in materials inside boxes or on Web sites.

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