BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”

                                                                SB 932

                        Senator S. Joseph Simitian, Chairman
                              2011-2012 Regular Session
           BILL NO:    SB 932
           AUTHOR:     Leno
           AMENDED:    April 25, 2011
           FISCAL:     No                HEARING DATE:     May 9, 2011
           URGENCY:    No                                  CONSULTANT:    
               Rachel Machi                                Wagoner   

            SUMMARY  :    
            Existing federal law  requires the Federal Communication 
           Commission (FCC) to regulate the cellular phone industry, 
           radio and other media-related fields.
           This bill  :  

           1) Requires cellular telephone retailers to prominently 
              display a notice: a) adjacent to the purchase price at the 
              retail location, b) on the retailers' website, and c) on 
              the exterior packaging of the phone.

           2) Requires the following notice:

              "This device emits radiofrequency energy.  Do not hold or 
              carry it directly against the body when connected to a 
              network or you may be exposed to levels greater than the 
              safety limit established by the Federal Communications 
              Commission.  Consult the user's manual for additional 
              information on safe use."

            COMMENTS  :

            1) Purpose of Bill  . According to the author, SB 932 simply 
              requires cell phone retailers and manufacturers to post the 
              following notice on display materials, internet website and 
              product packaging: "This device emits radiofrequency 
              energy. Do not hold or carry it directly against the body 
              when connected to a network or you may be exposed to levels 


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              greater than the safety limit established by the Federal 
              Communications Commission. Consult the user's manual for 
              additional information on safe use."

           The author contends that cell phones emit a form of radiation 
              called radiofrequency energy, or RF energy.  Further, the 
              author argues that in order to prevent possible health 
              effects from this source of energy, the Federal 
              Communications Commission (FCC) has established maximum 
              exposure limits for this RF energy.  The author states that 
              because of the way the federal regulations are structured, 
              consumers who put their phone in their pocket or otherwise 
              hold the phone directly against their body when the phone 
              is in use, will typically be exceeding the FCC's exposure 
              limits for RF energy. The information that consumers need 
              to safely use their phone is usually buried deep in the 
              user manual. A few representative sample notices are:

                      Palm Pixi: "To ensure compliance with RF exposure 
                  guidelines the phone must be used with a minimum of 1.5 
                  cm (0.6 in.) separation from the body. Failure to 
                  observe these instructions could result in your RF 
                  exposure exceeding the relevant guideline limits." 
                      HTC Droid Incredible: "To comply with RF exposure 
                  requirements, a minimum separation distance of 1.5 cm 
                  must be maintained between the user's body and the 
                  handset, including the antenna."
                      LG Quantum: "This device was tested for typical 
                  body-worn operations with the back of the phone kept 
                  0.79 inches (2cm) between the user's body and the back 
                  of the phone. To comply with FCC RF exposure 
                  requirements, a minimum separation distance of 0.79 
                  inches (2cm) must be maintained between the user's body 
                  and the back of the phone." 

                The author argues that while some manufacturers place 
                safety information in the user's manual, the information 
                often is not available to the consumer when it matters 
                most - at the point of sale - because it is sealed in the 
                retail packaging.  The author further states that  most 
                people are completely unaware of these basic instructions 
                on safe use since few consumers read their cell phone 
                user manuals thoroughly, if at all.  The author believes 


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                that SB 932 will help bring this information to the 
                attention of the consumer at the time of purchase and 
                will help people utilize this convenient technology in 
                the safest possible manner.   

            1) Arguments in Support  .  According to the proponents, "more 
              than 4 million people around the globe use cellular phones. 
               But, worldwide, government agencies, public health 
              experts, and university researchers have raised concerns 
              about possible effects of cell phone radiation on human 
              health.  While the scientific evidence is not conclusive 
              and more research is needed, several major studies now link 
              cell phone use to cancer and other adverse health effects.

           Supporters contend that SB 932 does not require any kind of 
              warning label; rather it would simply require retailers to 
              better provide notice to consumers about the safe and 
              proper use of their phone.  This information is already 
              disclosed in the user manual of the phone.  SB 932 simply 
              directs consumers to be aware of the information in the 
              user manual at the time they are purchasing their phones.  
              Better information will give consumers the freedom to make 
              informed decisions.  The bottom line is a basic 
              right-to-know issue for consumers.  
            2) Argument in Opposition.   The opposition believes that SB 
              932 is unnecessary because the federal standard ensures 
              that wireless consumer safety is thoroughly protected by 
              incorporating a 50-fold safety factor.  No wireless device 
              can be marketed or sold in the United States unless the 
              device has been authorized in accordance with the FCC's 
              radio frequency standards.  According to the opposition, 
              health organizations, scientific panels and government 
              agencies throughout the world conduct ongoing reviews and 
              update information in consideration of new scientific 
              evidence.  By requiring this type of noticing, the 
              opposition argues that SB 932 is implying a safety risk 
              that is not supported by the extensive body of scientific 
              review in this area.  The opposition further contends that 
              to provide the warnings that this bill requires is based on 
              no scientific data or scientific conclusions that are 
              credible.  Additionally, the opposition states that the FCC 


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              already occupies this field and sets the minimum exposure 
              levels for handsets.  The opposition further argues that SB 
              932 has serious implications for the First Amendment by 
              forcing businesses to carry out speech that is false and 

           3) Wireless Phones and Radiofrequency  .  Wireless telephones 
              are hand-held phones with built-in antennas, often called 
              cell, mobile, or PCS phones. When you talk into a wireless 
              telephone, it picks up your voice and converts the sound to 
              radiofrequency energy (or radio waves).  The radio waves 
              travel through the air until they reach a receiver at a 
              nearby base station.  The base station then sends your call 
              through the telephone network until it reaches the person 
              you are calling.

           When you receive a call on your wireless telephone, the 
              message travels through the telephone network until it 
              reaches a base station close to your wireless phone.  Then 
              the base station sends out radio waves that are detected by 
              a receiver in your telephone, where the signals are changed 
              back into the sound of a voice.

           The human body absorbs some of those radio frequency waves.  
              The level of radiation emitted from a cell phone and 
              absorbed by the human brain and body is called the Specific 
              Absorption Rate (SAR).  The SAR values range in cell phones 
              from 0.2 to 1.6 W/kg (watts of energy absorbed per kilogram 
              of body weight).  

           4) The FCC wireless regulations  .  Since 1996, the FCC has 
              required that all wireless communications devices sold in 
              the United States meet minimum guidelines for safe human 
              exposure to radio frequency (RF) energy.  The FCC relies on 
              the expertise of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and 
              other federal health, safety and environmental agencies to 
              help determine safe levels for human exposure to RF energy. 
               In adopting its guidelines for RF exposure, the FCC 
              considered opinions from these agencies as well as limits 
              recommended by two non-profit, expert organizations, the 
              Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 
              and the National Council on Radiation Protection and 
              Measurements (NCRP).


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           The FCC's guidelines specify exposure limits for hand-held 
              wireless devices in terms of the Specific Absorption Rate 
              (SAR).  The SAR is a measure of the rate that RF energy is 
              absorbed by the body.  For exposure to RF energy from 
              wireless devices, the allowable FCC SAR limit is 1.6 watts 
              per kilogram (W/kg), as averaged over one gram of tissue.

           The FCC approves all wireless devices sold in the US.  If the 
              FCC determines that exposure from an approved wireless 
              device exceeds its guidelines, it can withdraw its 
              approval.  In addition, if the FDA determines that RF 
              exposure from a device is hazardous, it can require the 
              manufacturer of the device to notify users of the health 
              hazard and to repair, replace, or recall the device.

           Several US government agencies and international organizations 
              work cooperatively to monitor the health effects of RF 
              exposure.  According to the FDA, to date, the weight of 
              scientific evidence does not show an increased health risk 
              due to radio frequency energy from mobile devices.  

              Recent reports by some health and safety interest groups 
              have suggested that wireless device use could be linked to 
              cancer and other illnesses.  These questions have become 
              more pressing as more and younger people are using the 
              devices, and for longer periods of time.  According to the 
              FCC, no scientific evidence currently establishes a link 
              between wireless device use and cancer or other illnesses.

            5) Cell Phone Radio Frequency Studies  .  The body of scientific 
              evidence to date does not show an association between radio 
              frequency from cell phones and health outcomes.  However, 
              recently published peer-reviewed studies suggest that 
              long-term heavy use of cell phones may lead to an increased 
              incidence of brain and salivary gland tumors as well as 
              other health impacts.

           The positions of the FDA, the FCC, the Centers for Disease 
              Control and Prevention, and the National Cancer Institute 
              are that the weight of the current scientific evidence has 
              not linked cell phones with health problems.  However, 
              additional data is needed.


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            6) INTERPHONE Study  . An epidemiologic study called INTERPHONE 
              was funded by the European Union and health agencies in 13 
              countries.  From 2000 to 2005, INTERPHONE interviewed 
              14,000 adults about their cell phone use, other exposures 
              to RF radiation, and other factors conceivably related to 
              brain cancer.  With this information, the INTERPHONE 
              epidemiologists have been testing whether indicators of the 
              phone's RF radiation correlate with increased cancers in 
              the head.

              After five years of debate, the INTERPHONE epidemiologists 
              recently published their findings on brain cancer, 
              concluding:  Overall, no increase in risk of ›brain cancer] 
              was observed with use of mobile phones. There were 
              suggestions of an increased risk... at the highest exposure 
              levels... However, biases and errors limit the strength of 
              the conclusions we can draw from these analyses and prevent 
              a causal interpretation... The possible effects of 
              long-term heavy use of mobile phones require further 

             7) Other nations  .  Because of the recent studies concerning 
              long-term exposure to cell phone radio frequency and 
              indications that children absorb more of the radiation 
              emitted than adults, many nations have independently issued 
              additional warning to consumers about SAR levels and use of 
              cell phones by children.  Among those countries are France, 
              the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the European Union member 
              states, Germany, Israel, Finland and Russia.

            8) San Francisco  .  In 2010, San Francisco passed an ordinance 
              requiring cellular telephone retailers to post materials 
              (in at least 11-point type) next to phones, listing their 
              specific absorption rate (SAR), which is the amount of 
              radio waves absorbed into the cell phone user's body 
              tissue.  The San Francisco ordinance is currently being 
              litigated.  The cellular phone industry is suing, 
              contending that the ordinance is unconstitutional under the 
              Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution and that 
              San Francisco is preempted from regulating an aspect of 
              cellular telephones by the authority of the FCC.


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            9) Previous Legislation  .  SB 1212 (Leno) from 2010 required 
              specific language relating to the SAR, as defined, to be 
              included at the point of sale on the Internet Web site of a 
              phone service provider or manufacturer, on the exterior 
              packaging, and in the instruction manuals of cellular 
              telephone devices, as defined, that are sold in the State 
              of California.  SB 1212 failed on the Senate Floor (16-14).

            10)Amendment Needed  .  California only has the ability to 
              regulate businesses that have a presence in the State of 
              California.  An amendment is needed to clarify that this 
              applies to retailers in California.

            SOURCE  :        Environmental Working Group  

           SUPPORT  :       California Brain Tumor Association
                          Environmental Health Trust
                          5 individuals
           OPPOSITION  :    AT&T
                          California Manufacturers and Technology 
                          California Grocers Association
                          California Retailers Association
                          Consumer Electronics Association
                          T Mobile
                          Tech America
                          Verizon Wireless



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