“Don’t carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is turned on and connected to a wireless network.” This is part of the text of a unanimously approved city ordinance in Berkeley, CA that requires a notice regarding radio frequency exposure on all cellphones.
The label tells users that they may be exposed to radio frequencies at levels exceeding FTC guidelines and that actually contradict the agency’s warning. CTIA-the Wireless Association has taken umbrage at this ordinance and filed a suit in federal court alleging that Berkeley is violating cell companies’ First Amendment rights by requiring them to label products with information the industry thinks is false.
The complaint states that the label’s warning is “misleading, controversial, and government-crafted,” and will “stoke fear in consumers about the dangers of cell phones.” CTIA also points out that the ordinance is in conflict with federal regulations.
CTIA is not a stranger to taking cities to federal court because of ordinances. It sued San Francisco in 2011 when the city passed an ordinance requiring fact sheets about the potential health risks of using cellphones to be handed out with all new purchases. In the end, the City by the Bay took the ordinance off its books.
Berkeley representatives were not available for comment.