A Bay Area-produced documentary about the possible dangers of cellphone use has people in Berkeley dialed in to the issue, and the Berkeley City Council is joining the debate.
People in Berkeley are powering down their cell phones and tuning in to a documentary called "Mobilize." The filmmaker wanted to know if his beloved smartphone could be dangerous.
Ellie Marks has been talking about cellphone dangers since 2008. That is when her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
"My husband was early adopter of cell phone," Marks said. "He used one for 20-some years upon diagnosis, and he always held it to his right ear. The tumor was right here, a glioma."
Marks has testified before Congress, and she appears in "Mobilize." She said she is happy to show people how to find the radio frequency exposure warning on their phones.
Joel Moskowitz at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health said there is a reason that warning tells you to hold you phone 10 millimeters away from your head.
“It’s microwave radiation various forms of microwave radiation particularly in modern smart phone,” Moskowitz said.
With more than 6 billion cell phones around the world Moskowitz said the possibility of a risk has huge implications. He said independent studies indicate there is danger.
“Now, it looks highly probable that cell phone radiation is increasing tumor risk, especially brain cancer tumors of head and neck, tumor on the nerve from ear to brain,” Moskowitz said.
While scientists continue research, there is an effort to inform consumers about possible dangers. The city of Berkeley is drafting “right to know” legislation, requiring retailers to give customers information about RF exposure when they buy a phone.
San Francisco passed similar legislation when Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom was mayor. But the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA) sued the city, and San Francisco eventually gave up the right.
"Shouldn’t people be aware? Even children are using these daily, and they're growing up with only cellphones, and a child's brain and body absorbs far more than adults," Marks said.
Marks said she is hoping Berkeley will be the first city in the nation to pass the "right to know" legislation -- and have it stand. The Berkeley City Council will consider that legislation in May.
In April, there will be screenings of "Mobilize" at UC Berkeley.