It takes a little extra work to get in touch with Andrea Boland. The Maine state representative answers e-mails and lists her business and home phone numbers on the Web. But unlike many politicians surgically attached to their BlackBerrys, she keeps her cell switched off unless she’ expecting a call. And if she has her way, everyone in Maine — and perhaps, eventually, the rest of the U.S. — will similarly think twice before jabbering away on their mobiles.
In March, Maine’s legislature will begin debating a bill she submitted that would require manufacturers to put a warning label on every cell phone sold in the state declaring, “This device emits electromagnetic radiation, exposure to which may cause brain cancer.” Her warning would continue, “Users, especially children and pregnant women, should keep this device away from the head and body.” (See a report card on cell phones’ radiation.)
For those of you now eyeing your cell phones suspiciously, it’s worth noting that both the National Cancer Institute and the World Health Organization say there isn’t evidence to support the assertion that cell phones are a public-health threat. But a number of scientists are worried that there has been a dangerous rush to declare cell phones safe, using studies they feel are inadequate and too often weighted toward the wireless industry’s interests. An analysis published by University of Washington neurologist Henry Lai determined that far more independent studies than industry-funded studies have found at least some type of biological effect from cell-phone exposure