Berkeley Wireless Warning Law Challenged

The city of Berkeley faces a constitutional challenge to its law mandating wireless companies tell consumers cell phone radio frequencies could be harmful to their health.

The cell phone Right to Know law is the first in the country requiring firms to tell consumers that they may be exposed to excessive radio frequency (RF) radiation.

Berkeley “may be entitled to its opinions, however unfounded,” states a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court, but the city cannot “conscript” those who disagree with it into disseminating its opinions, it states.

The lawsuit, filed by CTIA, The Wireless Association, calls the mandatory disclosure requirement violates the First Amendment as “coerced speech” based  on information that is “scientifically baseless and alarmist.”

It points out the federal government has found cell phones safe.

The association asks the federal court to declare the Berkeley law a free speech violation that is preempted by federal law.

The group seeks an injunction barring the city from enforcing the law.

The Berkeley city council adopted the Cell Phone “Right to Know” ordinance in May.

It requires notice to consumers that carrying cell phones in a pants pocket, a shirt or tucked into a bra when the phone is on and connected to a wireless network may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation.

Case: CTIA – The Wireless Association v. the City of Berkeley, No. 15-cv-2529


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