Cell Phone Radiation Warnings Ok’d by San Francisco Supervisors

San Francisco might become the first city in the United States to mandate retailers post notices about radiation levels emitted by the cell phones they offer, said the SFGate. There are concerns that exposure to cell phone radiation could increase <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/diseases">cancer risks.

In a nearly unanimous 10-to-1 vote, the Board of Supervisor gave initial approval for the proposal, with final approval expected in about one week, said the SFGate. Sean Elsbernd, Supervisor, wad the only nay; however, Mayor Gavin Newsom intends on signing the proposal into law.

While the ordinance does not ban cell phone sales, it does mandate sellers to indicate the so-called “specific absorption rate”—a radiation measurement that is registered with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)—adjacent to phones displayed in their stores, said the SFGate. The proposal also requires that consumers be notified as to where educational materials can be received.

“This is about helping people make informed choices,” said Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, quoted the SFGate. Maxwell is a lead proponent of the legislation. Regardless, an industry trade group said the law could confusion consumers.

“Rather than inform, the ordinance will potentially mislead consumers with point-of-sale requirements suggesting that some phones are ‘safer’ than others, based on radio frequency emissions,” John Walls, vice president of public affairs for the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, said after the vote, reported the SFGate. “In fact, all phones sold legally in the U.S. must comply with the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) safety standards for (radio frequency) emissions,” he added.

The FCC measurements indicate how much radio frequency energy is absorbed when speaking on cellular telephones, noted the SFGate.

There have been countless studies conducted on links between cell phone usage and cancer, with seemingly conflicting results. Although, Reuters recently reported that results point more to research confusion, with some blaming how research is conducted.

This October we wrote that a preliminary analysis of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) groundbreaking Interphone study found a “significantly increased risk” of some brain tumors “related to use of mobile phones for a period of 10 years or more.” While the study was not definitive, and limited because it depended on subjects’ memories to determine cell phone use frequency, preliminary findings caused concern.

In 2008, we wrote that the head of one of the country’s top cancer centers warned his staff that cell phones could be dangerous to their health. Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, the director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC Cancer Centers, issued an internal advisory memo to about 3,000 faculty and staff members advising them to take precautions to avoid the possible cancer risks of cell phones.

If passed, the posting requirements would be phased in, starting next February, said the SFGate. Stores in violation of the mandates would be charged fines up to $300. Adoption of the proposal is expected to lead to widespread education as city officials still have to teach sells about the law and will have to determine law enforcement, said the SFGate.

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