San Francisco Can No Longer Warn Cell Phone Customers About Radiation Hazards
May 9, 2013 11:26 AM
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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
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.
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RE: First amendment rights?
5/9/2013 2:42:02 PM
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.
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
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.
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