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SF may require cell phone retailers to disclose radiation

June 8, 2010 6:09:20 PM PDT
San Francisco could become the nation's first city to require cell phone retailers to disclose radiation levels. On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors signaled its intention to pass the measure and the protesting has already begun.

San Francisco Supervisor Sophie Maxwell and Mayor Gavin Newsom are behind the measure to make the city the first in the nation to require cell phone stores to post what's called SAR -- the specific absorption rate. That radiation information would need to be displayed for every single make and model of cell phone.

"We're a city that has what's called a precautionary principle, and that is it's better to be safe than sorry and I'm about empowering consumers," said Newsom.

Scientific studies about the health risk of cell phones are inconclusive. CTIA - The Wireless Association is blasting San Francisco's proposal saying, "Rather than inform, the ordinance will potentially mislead consumers... suggesting that some phones are 'safer' than others... In fact, all phones sold legally in the U.S. must comply with FCC, [Federal Communications Commission] safety standards."

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce thinks the city's proposal will hurt businesses.

"It just adds a burden onto a local marketer, that their competitors in Oakland and their competitors in South San Francisco and Daly City don't face," said Rob Black from the Chamber of Commerce.

State Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is trying to make radiation disclosure a statewide requirement, but has not been able to get the votes.


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