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The city Board of Supervisors voted in favor of a settlement on Tuesday

The city of San Francisco has lost the right to place warnings about cell phone radiation levels in its retail stores.

San Francisco was the first U.S. city to pass an ordinance that required retailers to warn consumers about cell phone radiation before they made the purchase. However, the city lost a court battle with the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) -- which is comprised of companies like AT&T, Verizon, Samsung and Apple -- and will now lift the ordinance from city retailers.

The city Board of Supervisors voted in favor of a settlement on Tuesday, where San Francisco agrees to drop the ordinance. In exchange, the CTIA will waive its claims for attorney fees that would have amounted to about $500,000. 

"I am for pushing the envelope on something as important as this, but I think the legal reality is such that if we do not approve this settlement, we're talking about having to pay half a million in legal fees," Supervisor David Campos said. "It's a very tough situation, but the last thing I want is to have the general fund give half a million dollars to lawyers in this case."

The ordinance went into effect in 2011, where retailers had to tell customers that gadgets like cell phones emit potentially cancer-causing radiation. The city even wanted to post that the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed cell phones "possibly carcinogenic," but a judge blocked this part of the ordinance, since WHO said more research was needed to back that claim. 

The CTIA filed a lawsuit against the city, saying that the ordinance violated the industry's First Amendment rights. 

A ruling in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year said that San Francisco had to prove that scientists agreed with its claims about cell phone radiation. It also had to prove that the FCC no longer believed they were safe for consumers to use.

San Francisco decided to take a settlement offer in the end with the CTIA. 

Sources: NBC News, SF Gate



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First amendment rights?
By OoklaTheMok on 5/9/2013 12:02:11 PM , Rating: 2
How on earth does posting a sign about possible dangers violate the cell phone companies first amendment rights?




RE: First amendment rights?
By Flunk on 5/9/2013 12:40:33 PM , Rating: 3
Because the "possible dangers" have no basis in science. There is no proof at all that they are even remotely dangerous and the FCC regulates the maximum safe radiation output of all cell phones so even if they were it's not up to a city to police this.


RE: First amendment rights?
By Motoman on 5/9/2013 12:45:17 PM , Rating: 3
Wait...so does that mean they can't post information about the dangers of chemtrails either? What about getting autism from vaccines? And I suppose they're going to be banned from distributing tinfoil hats to prevent the federal government from beaming thoughts into your head too.

WHAT ARE THEY HIDING?


RE: First amendment rights?
By Solandri on 5/9/2013 2:42:02 PM , Rating: 5
California passed prop 65 when I was in high school. It requires all businesses which use or house chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects to post a warning about it for customers to see.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Propositio...

The result is that every store everywhere you go has a prop 65 sign, and everyone basically ignores it (except the sue-happy lawyers who make a living leeching money from companies that didn't know they need to also buy a $10 sign to do business in the state). I've always joked that every exterior doorway in every house needs the sign because sunlight is known to cause cancer.

Anyway, prop 65 passed because people thought that knowing was better than not knowing. Unfortunately they forgot to take into account that the threshold at which you're informed is just as important. Prop 65 dropped the threshold so low that the information it conveyed was useless. Same thing for RF from phones. They usually only emit a few milliwatts, with a max of about a watt (and that would only happens if you're barely picking up any signal, at the very lower threshold of 0 bars). If you require everything emitting less than 1 watt to have an RF label, so many things would be labeled that it's useless information.


RE: First amendment rights?
By BRB29 on 5/10/2013 7:26:53 AM , Rating: 2
They're not hiding anything. Other chemicals cause real health issues. Every study so far does not show any health issues except maybe super excessive use over decades. Your chances of receiving any health issues from phone radiation is magnitudes lower than being out in the sun.


RE: First amendment rights?
By LucyDoggie on 5/11/2013 9:07:19 PM , Rating: 2
Not true, BRB29!

The World Health Organization's panel of the top scientists from around the world reviewed all the studies to date. They determined by a vote of 29 to 1 to classify cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen based upon an increased risk of brain cancer after 10 years of use for an average of only 30 minutes a day.

The majority of the published studies done independently of industry's funding DO show increased risk of brain cancer, reduced fertility, DNA damage, acoustic neuroma, malignant salivary gland cancer, etc. etc. etc.

We all love our cell phones and can't imagine life without them now. But, there are safer ways to use cell phones, especially for children - why is the industry suing San Francisco when all they tried to do was to mandate that cell phone retailers disclose the consumer warnings being hidden in all user manuals AND about safer ways to use cell phones, especially with respect to children?

What are they REALLY hiding?


RE: First amendment rights?
By ssobol on 5/9/2013 1:17:02 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't the store (or store management) also have first amendment rights that let them post pretty much anything they want?

And while the radiation issue may be moot, you can very easily prove that cell phones are very dangerous to the user and/or others when used improperly.


RE: First amendment rights?
By MozeeToby on 5/9/2013 1:31:43 PM , Rating: 2
"Let them" is very different from "force them".

Legally, the courts are ok with forcing cigarette companies (as an example) to post warnings because those warnings are backed by a huge amount of scientific data. The data on cell phone radiation risks is overwhelming in favor of their being no risk at all.

Forcing someone to say something, especially something that will cause them harm, especially something that is most likely untrue, is a violation of first amendment rights.


RE: First amendment rights?
By Motoman on 5/9/2013 1:32:54 PM , Rating: 2
An individual citizen (like a store owner) can always say pretty much anything they want, regardless of whether or not it's retarded.

If a store owner wants to post a sign saying "The earth is flat - deal with it!" then that's fine...they can be an idiot. The only kind of things that you don't have a right to say are things that cause an immediate sense of harm (or some sort of legalese roughly equivalent thereto) - you can't post a sign that says "Niggers and fags will be shot on sight" even if you want to claim later that it's a joke and you really weren't going to shoot anybody.

This ruling is about the city though - as a governmental agency, they can't just run around posting signs that don't convey factual information. The city can't post a sign that says "Vaccines cause autism" because not only is there no evidence to support that, but all available evidence actually invalidates the assertion. But Jenny McCarthy is free to promote the death and suffering of children by saying such things all she wants to, since she's just an individual citizen.

As for the "danger" of using something improperly - good luck with that. I would argue that a pencil is significantly more dangerous than a cell phone when used improperly.


RE: First amendment rights?
By Motoman on 5/9/2013 1:34:15 PM , Rating: 2
Oops...I think I downrated myself by posting with either or both of "n1gger" and/or "f@g."


RE: First amendment rights?
By Regs on 5/10/2013 4:39:36 PM , Rating: 2
Depends how long they want to stay in business. Merchants usually have strict implied warranties of merchantability which means the product will reasonably conform to a buyer's standards and it is suitable for sale.

And why on earth would a seller want to tell their consumer that the product they want to move out of inventory can cause cancer?



RE: First amendment rights?
By boeush on 5/9/2013 12:42:09 PM , Rating: 2
Forcing someone to say something they do not wish to say, is an affront to freedom of speech. Particularly so when saying such a thing potentially damages the coerced. For instance, how about forcing everyone applying for a job to publically declare that they are a potential liar, thief, sociopath, and mass murderer? Well, it's technically true, isn't it...


RE: First amendment rights?
By NellyFromMA on 5/9/2013 1:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
You mean like when your potential employer insists you provide your social media contact information for review?


RE: First amendment rights?
By MozeeToby on 5/9/2013 1:33:57 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, exactly like that. If someone your employer asks for it and you say no and get punished contact the EFF and/or the ACLU. If you're a good test case they will gladly pay your legal costs.

Of course, in the meantime you're out of a job and that sucks, which is why most people give in, which is why it goes largely unchallenged.


RE: First amendment rights?
By LucyDoggie on 5/11/2013 8:56:34 PM , Rating: 2
Every cell phone manual has consumers warnings hidden in the legal fine print that caution against using a cell phone against the body. Doing so will expose the user to microwave radiation that exceeds the FCC exposure limit. The 2012 GAO report verified this and stated that the FCC's 17 year old standards are outdated and need to be re-assessed.

It is not a 1st amendment violation to mandate that a cell phone retailer tells their customers about safety information hidden in the user manual that no one reads. But, somehow, the inexperienced and outgunned City Attorney failed to effectively argue this point to the Court.

The World Health Organization has reviewed all the science to date and declared that cell phone radiation IS a possible carcinogen due to an increased risk of developing a brain tumor on the same side of the head the phone is typically held. The science is clear now about this - the industry can spin this and make statements that aren't true - but, the facts speak for themselves.

A recent study of brain tumor rates in California determined that brain tumors are increasing in the areas of the brain closest to where a cell phone is held (Zada et al, 2012)

Another FACT (according to court documents) is that the City currently owes zero dollars in attorney fees to the cell phone industry. The City Attorney posed a hypothetical amount of $500,000 IF the city appealed and went to the Supreme Court - and IF they then subsequently lost.

But, money talks. AT&T, Verizon, Apple, etc. own San Francisco - they pressured the Mayor to do whatever it takes to drop the case - and they got their way.


RE: First amendment rights?
By FaaR on 5/9/2013 12:43:59 PM , Rating: 2
It's more important to be concerned over the enforced posting of a warning notice which is extremely likely to be 100% bogus. Cancers can only occur as a result of chemical reactions inside cells, induced by things like ionizing radiation, various chemicals, free oxygen radicals and so on. RF waves at these power levels lack the ability to influence chemical reactions in cells, they're far too low-power to do that. All that happens is that the water molecules of the body are (very very slightly) warmed.

There's quite literally zero credible evidence for cell phones causing cancer, and it seems likely that there won't ever be either, because the physics of reality doesn't seem to support it.


RE: First amendment rights?
By MozeeToby on 5/9/2013 1:37:50 PM , Rating: 2
First, and I can't emphasize this enough, I agree with you. Cell phones don't cause cancer. If they did we'd see the rate of brain cancer soaring over the past 30 years as cell phone use went for approximately 0% of people to approximately 100%. There's just no evidence to back up the claim.

However. While the radiation given off by a cell phone cannot directly cause chemical reactions, it can change the temperature (as you mentioned) which can cause a response in the body. Depending on what that response is, it could, conceivably increase the rate of cancer in those areas. A good example is the fact that if you wear a watch for your whole life you are statistically more likely to get skin cancer where the watch rubs on your wrist. The rubbing causes the body to react in certain ways and it's the body's reaction that increases the cancer risk.


RE: First amendment rights?
By Motoman on 5/9/2013 1:59:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A good example is the fact that if you wear a watch for your whole life you are statistically more likely to get skin cancer where the watch rubs on your wrist


A quick search on Google provided not a single link to back up that claim. You have a source for that research?


RE: First amendment rights?
By Argon18 on 5/9/2013 3:38:30 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't you know? Watches cause skin cancer because of the way they touch your skin. Also, socks cause foot cancer, glasses cause face cancer, and underwear causes dick cancer.

The only solution to becoming cancer free, is to be 100% nude all the time. This is a fact, as it's now be posted to the internet.


RE: First amendment rights?
By superflex on 5/9/2013 4:39:42 PM , Rating: 1
Typing stupid shit on a blog forum leads to a greater incidence of finger cancer too.


RE: First amendment rights?
By FaaR on 5/9/2013 8:16:28 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure that cellphones can cause various cancers - it just won't be because of the RF energy transmitted by their antennas. Plastic and synthetic rubber components in their casings may contain additives, PCBs are likely to be laced with flame retardants and so on, and when you use the device while holding it up to your face the heat emitted by the device will make some of these chemicals leak out of the phone as a gas, and you'll breathe it into your lungs, from where it'll disperse throughout your body via the blood. Cue cancer, ten, twenty, fifty years later.

As for the heating, your body will experience far, far, FAR more heating just by you going for a jog. Does that give you cancer? Well, actually, increased metabolic rate in your cells increases damage to DNA, however the body has mechanisms to cope with that, as otherwise life as we know it could not exist. It can't be ruled out however that possibly those coping mechanisms aren't 100% effective all the time; again, cue cancer. From taking a jog.

Lesson to be learned: LIVING IS DANGEROUS. It will kill you! Solution: stop breathing. ;)


RE: First amendment rights?
By AlphaVirus on 5/10/2013 3:02:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Lesson to be learned: LIVING IS DANGEROUS. It will kill you! Solution: stop breathing. ;)

Lmao I'll gladly give up my votes for this article to let you know this post is good but this last sentence kills it!


RE: First amendment rights?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/2013 9:55:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
However. While the radiation given off by a cell phone cannot directly cause chemical reactions, it can change the temperature (as you mentioned) which can cause a response in the body.


That's absurd. Wtf? The entire second paragraph of your post is made up FUD.


RE: First amendment rights?
By BRB29 on 5/10/2013 9:11:13 AM , Rating: 2
He is right that metabolism does cause damage to DNA. But our repair rate will keep up with that. But that's like saying water is harmful.

Take a huge dose of radiation can cause irreparable to DNA. Those cells duplicate and go out of control.


RE: First amendment rights?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/2013 10:02:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How on earth does posting a sign about possible dangers violate the cell phone companies first amendment rights?


Because it's another idiotic California central planning Liberal nanny state asshat regulation that's Unconstitutional and a job killer to boot.

Imagine for a minute that you owned a McDonald's franchise and the local Government passed an ordinance that forced you to put a big sign on your door linking your food with health problems. Hello? It would impact your business!

Except in this case it's much worst, because unlike fast food, there is ZERO provable or even conceivable health risks with cell phones.

So your goddamn right forcing businesses to place warning signs about their own products is against the First Amendment.

I'm personally so tired of California getting away with bullsh#t like this. It's about time someone started slapping down their idiocy over there when it comes to the constant cancer scare-tactics.


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