A federal judge says Berkeley cannot require cell-phone retailers to warn customers about possible radiation dangers from holding phones close to their bodies, a ruling based on the Federal Communications Commission’s assessment that the warnings are unneeded and would hurt business.
Courts had previously rejected arguments that the Berkeley ordinance, which took effect in 2016, violated cell-phone companies’ freedom of speech by requiring them to post a message with which they disagreed. But the outcome changed after the FCC, whose members were appointed by President Trump, filed arguments supporting the industry’s challenge to the ordinance.
In a ruling Thursday, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen of San Francisco deferred to the commission’s conclusion that Berkeley’s law would harm the public by promoting unwarranted fears about cell-phone radiation.
“The FCC is tasked with balancing the competing objectives of ensuring public health and safety and promoting the development and growth of the telecommunications network and related services,” Chen said. He said the commission “could properly conclude” that the ordinance “over warns” consumers, and that Berkeley was interfering with federal oversight of the industry.
Federal judge rules Berkeley can’t require extra radiation warning on cell phones https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Federal-judge-rules-Berkeley-can-t-require-15578987.php
Federal Judge Rules Against City’s Cellphone Radiation Warning Law https://www.courthousenews.com/federal-judge-rules-against-citys-cellphone-radiation-warning-law/amp/
Background: Electromagnetic Radiation Safety – Berkeley Cell Phone “Right to Know” Ordinance https://www.saferemr.com/2014/11/berkeley-cell-phone-right-to-know.html