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A revamped law that requires cell phone retailers to inform consumers about radiation levels in the devices they sell will again be voted upon by San Francisco officials. The debate around the law encapsulates present arguments about the link between mobile handsets and cancer.
If the law is passed by the San Francisco Board of Directors, carriers and wireless retailers is obliged to offer notices and information data sheets to any cell phone customers who might request them. The City Operations and Neighborhood Services committee of the San Francisco board approved unanimously last week the new version before they sent it out for today’s vote.
Leaders in San Francisco denied they are trying to make a statement about the controversy surrounding cell phones and cancer in the ordinance. They said they just wanted the information to be made available to consumers so that they would be able to make an informed decision when purchasing the items.
The ordinance on cell phones in San Francisco has been in works for quite some time now. In fact, the revamped “Right to Know Ordinance” is just a scaled-back version of another legislation, which the San Francisco board passed last year. In the original law, cell phone retailers are required to post information regarding radiation and its specific absorption rates next to every mobile phone sold in the city.
CTIA, a wireless industry lobby group, filed a lawsuit against San Francisco over the original ordinance. The suit claimed that the ordinance was misleading to customers and is also in violation of the First Amendment rights of the retailers. Board officials eventually put the ordinance on hold as they worked on a newer version.
However, this new cell phone radiation ordinance, while scaled back, could still face a legal challenge from CTIA.