San Francisco Retailers Will NOT Have to Warn of Cellphone Radiation

Posted on May 9, 2013

It may have been a move that many were expecting, but that hasn’t eased the disappointment faced by safety advocates concerned about the impact that cellphone usage could have on consumers’ health:  on Tuesday, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted to revoke an ordinance that would have forced cellphone retailers to stipulate the radiation danger posed to consumers by cellphones.  In doing, they essentially hammered the final nail in the coffin for the matter.

The writing had been on the wall.  Issued in 2011, the law almost immediately drew the furor of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, which took issue with the ordinance on free speech grounds.  Representatives argued that the law ran contrary to the Federal Communications Commission’s assessment that cellphones do not endanger consumers.

A judge prevented the law from being enacted shortly after passage, and the aforementioned trade group filed a lawsuit seeking its permanent disavowal.  The ongoing court battle ended with an appeals court taking the side of the cellular industry, putting San Francisco in a tough place.  In order to get the law back on track, they essentially would have had to prove that cellphones are inherently dangerous.

Given the difficulties of such a tactic, the Board of Supervisors elected to settle the lawsuit, putting a stamp on a permanent injunction against the ordinance.  The Environmental Working Group and other safety advocates decried the move.

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