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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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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?

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