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San Francisco requires stores to post cellphone radiation levels

San Francisco on Tuesday became the first U.S. jurisdiction to respond to increased concerns over possible links between cellphone use and cancer, adopting a city ordinance requiring retailers to post the radiation levels of mobile phones.

In a 10-to-1 vote, the city’s board of supervisors passed an ordinance that would require stores to post the specific absorption rates (SAR) of phones. Those rates are the levels at which radio frequencies penetrate body tissue. Mayor Gavin Newsom co-sponsored the measure and is expected to sign off on the ordinance to make it official.

San Francisco’s action casts new attention on the potential link between cellphone use and cancer and other illnesses caused by the radiation emitted from phones. The issue hasn’t gained as much attention in the United States as it has overseas, where Israel, Great Britain, France and Germany are among a growing number of countries that have begun warning cellphones users of potential risks those devices pose for long-term users and children.

The cellphone industry, meanwhile, has successfully fought similar legislation in the California legislature. Its trade groups CTIA and TechAmerica also argued against a bill in Maine this year that would require Maine retailers to brandish warning labels of the effects cellphone radiation might have on children. Both bills were defeated, and the industry argued that both would have caused confusion and gone against some scientific studies that don’t show a link between cellphone use and cancer.

But there has also been a growing body of research that shows a potential connection between long-term cellphone use and brain tumors. And the risks are greater for children, according to some scientists who participated in a 13-nation long-term study on cellphone use and cancer called Interphone.

“It is my hope that today’s vote in San Francisco will spur more research into the possible health effects of radiation emitted by mobile phones, particularly with respect to potential effects on children," said Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), former chairman of the House telecommunications subcommittee. Markey had conducted hearings in the early 1990s into the health impact of cellphones. "No single study is conclusive, and ongoing research is needed to add to the body of knowledge on this important subject. I look forward to following the implementation of the San Francisco ordinance and continuing the work I began in the 1990s when I was chairman of the telecommunications subcommittee, to encourage more scientific studies that advance our understanding in this vital area.”

By Cecilia Kang  |  June 22, 2010; 5:45 PM ET
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Where's Odumbo when you need him? More interested in filing lawsuits that mirror federal law than stopping idiots like those in SF.

Posted by: gmclain | June 22, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

"But there has also been a growing body of research that shows a potential connection between long-term cellphone use and brain tumors."

I don't think that is true. What is the basis for that statement?

"rules on cellphone health safety"

The rules are to disclose cellphone emissions and are not on "cellphone health safety." There can be no rules on cellphone health safety as there is no cellphone health issue, at this time, related to emissions from the phone.

Posted by: Bob_Dobbs | June 22, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

somebody has to push some physics at these people.

You know that saying, about growing up under a power line? You'd have to be 18 inches or closer to those high power lines to experience a greater magnetic field than that generated by the earth.

What's really going on here ...

Posted by: barferio | June 22, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

There is tons of research.These things have problems.
Countries that ban use of cell phones by Children

•· India - No use in children under 16 years of age (also it is an illegal offense for an expecting Mother to use the cell phone)
•· Israel - No use in children under 12 years of age
•· Russia - General limitation; no use under 12 years
•· France - No long calls, no use under 16, banning of advertising to children under 12, mandatory earphones with all cell phones
•· Japan - General limitation under 18 years of age
•· Tajikistan – in Central Asia bans mobile phones from schools and Universities to boost education. If caught carrying or talking on a cell phone, they will be fined.
•· United Kingdom – General limitation under 12 years of age
•· Toronto‘s public health department has recommended children under eight should use a cell phone only in emergencies.
•· Health warnings for children and banning the use of WiFi in the classroom have also recently arisen out of Germany.
To name a few countries.
This is no joke. These are the new cigarettes of the 21st century. Over 4 billion in use worldwide.

Posted by: Weave160 | June 22, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps if the entitlement generation learned to use technology in moderation, rather than walking around every waking hour with a cell phone hanging out their ear, we wouldn't have this problem.

And just think of the drop in their parents phone bills, let alone the cyber bullying that is running rampant these days!

Posted by: sandynh | June 22, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

There probably are long term effects from cell phones...but it's hard to prove. But, there are also long term effects from the sun's rays and that's been proven. Both are beyond anyone's control. People will continue to use cell phones, smoke cigarettes, and get sun tans. These warning labels will not deter people from enjoying their tans, addictions and cell phones.

Posted by: w4vr | June 22, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: gmclain
Where's Odumbo when you need him? More interested in filing lawsuits that mirror federal law than stopping idiots like those in SF."....

Ignorance is bliss,I guess. But I digress. Fifty years ago brain cancers and tumors were exceedingly rare occurrences. Lately a lot of newsworthy people, people one would normally expect to have prolonged exposure to cell phone radiation, such as Sen. Kennedy and columnist Robert Novak, both succumbed to these rare maladies. Far better to prove or disprove a connection and until the final verdict is in, consumers should have as much information as is available.

Posted by: slim2 | June 22, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Tons of research Weave160?

Tons of Bull. It's radiation. You receive it everyday from radio tower. You receive it from wifi routers. You receive it from the sun and the universe. There is no conclusive proof in any of the studies - it's BAD SCIENCE.

If I were the phone companies I would respond to this with two words: ENFORCE IT. The council of San Francisco has no legitimate authority to tell cell phone companies what it can and cannot do; they are an institution created by citizens of the city and nothing more.

Take those attention grabbing idiots down a peg!

Posted by: HokiePokie | June 22, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

This merely confirms for the umpteenth time that the SF Supervisors and by extension the voters of that city are complete ninnies and laughing stocks. Maybe they should be concerned about bums defecating in the street instead of cell phone radiation, immigrant rights or fossil fuels.

Posted by: dan1138 | June 22, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Hokie Pokie
Lloyds of London won't insure these companies because of the potential risk. Asbestos was safe once and almost took Lloyds down because of their wait for further study. No one said stop using them but pay attention. Buried in your cellphone information guide that comes with your phones they even tell you to be careful.

FYI find out how many antennas and towers are near you.

Posted by: Weave160 | June 22, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

If San Fran is passing laws about it, I'm thinking it's a la-la law, like boycotting Arizona.

Posted by: kls1 | June 23, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Slim2, fifty years ago, very few people reached the age of 100 and now many more people do. By the same lack of logic, perhaps that's also the result of cell-phones?

The real problem is of course that science cannot prove a negative. We will never be able to proof that there is no connection between cell phones and cancer, merely that such correlations are statistically insignificant at best as virtually all research shows.

I'm personally not opposed to posting SAR values. At least they are agreed facts and publicly available to those interested anyway. However, signs that note cell-phones as dangerous to ones health because of their radiation have no factual basis, bans out of an overabundance in caution in certain countries notwithstanding.

Posted by: lagging | June 23, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I like how the industry lobbied mightily against health warnings in order to avoid "confusing" consumers.

"Hey, this might kill you, or it might be harmless -- scientists disagree -- but in order to avoid 'confusing' you, let's just say it's harmless."

Yeah, the cellular industry really "cares about the small people."

Posted by: kcx7 | June 23, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Cell phone use is dangerous: Also eating while driving, putting on makeup while driving, etc.

However, brain cancer rates began decreasing in the late 1980s. And Einstein's Nobel Prize was for explaining why cell phones radiation doesn't cause brain cancer.

Posted by: KStreet1 | June 23, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Cancer is an old persons disease; you have to live long enough to get it. Barring some genetic imperfection. And the brain doesn't get cancer, it gets cancer from somewhere else in the body.

Posted by: ronjaboy | June 23, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Is there something in the water there that turns San Francisco residents into complete idiots?
- josephlcooke.blogspot

Posted by: Joseph_L_Cooke | June 23, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Cell phone radiation has been proven to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer's Disease in cell phone users, so there are health benefits to using cell phones.

Posted by: RepealObamacareNow | June 23, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Labels are good. There's no harm in providing consumers information, so the consumers can make their own decisions.... so long as the government doesn't put a limit on radiation while the link to cancer remains unclear.

Posted by: antispy | June 23, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

When Big Business uses any tactic to intentionally obfuscate an issue, citizens should beware. An accurately informed consumer scares Big Business.

Posted by: chklbrry | June 23, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

It may very well be dangerous. Why would the industry lobby so much against new labeling?

Posted by: fbutler1 | June 23, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

We absolutely agree that consumer education needs to be addressed and this is a good first step.

SAR levels only show you the maximum possible radiation levels from your phone. The real level of exposure is determined by multiple dynamic factors such as where you’re using your phone, the reception levels, how far away you are from the cellular tower, how you’re using/holding your phone – in fact by using tawkon, you can minimize exposure to mobile phone radiation.
We welcome anyone interested in our practical solution to mobile phone radiation to visit

Posted by: gil4 | June 23, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Thank God. It's been proven that cell phones cause brain damage! The proof is California, no one there has any brains left....

Posted by: ISAYS | June 23, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I think this kind of legislation is critical, as are software tools like Tawkon that help people actual avoid radiation - because whether or not measurable health damage is confirmed decades from now, it's important that individuals are given the transparent information and tools they need to use their phones cleverly... I'd rather be smart now than sorry later.

Posted by: SeanElma | June 23, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Thank God. It's been proven that cell phones cause brain damage! The proof is California, no one there has any brains left....

Posted by: ISAYS | June 23, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Actually all evidence disagrees with you. So you are either a liar or a moron. Which one is it?????

The most significant study of long-term use is the 13-country Interphone study, which is a multinational consortium of case-control studies. Interphone was coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (3). The primary objective of the Interphone study was to assess whether RF energy exposure from cell phones is associated with an increased risk of malignant or benign brain tumors and other head and neck tumors. Participating countries included Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (4).

Interphone researchers reported that, overall, cell phone users have no increased risk for two of the most common types of brain tumor―glioma and meningioma. In addition, they found no evidence of increasing risk with progressively increasing number of calls, longer call time, or years since beginning cell phone use. For the small proportion of study participants who reported spending the most total time on cell phone calls, there was some increased risk of glioma, but the researchers considered this finding inconclusive. The study was published online May 17, 2010, in the International Journal of Epidemiology (5).

Posted by: askgees | June 23, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Laughable junk science, and shame on Cecilia Kang and the Post for buying into it. Here's a starting point: "Radiation" is not the same thing as "ionizing radiation."

Posted by: tomtildrum | June 23, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

This sounds like its being perpetrated by the same group that spawned climate change. LOL Just more BS regulations to feed the out of control political machine. Put an end to this now before we're swallowed up.

Posted by: askgees | June 23, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

You wouldn't put your head in a microwave, but you put a cell phone to your ear for extended periods of time.

Posted by: slim2 | June 23, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

One thing this article fails to mention is that there are far more studies that suggest there is NO link between cellphones and cancer. This new law passed is based on ignorance similar to the bogus connection between vaccines and autism.

Posted by: clutter | June 23, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The Interphone study was partly funded by the cellphone industry. The results of this study were delayed for 6 years.The ages of the users were 30-59 years of age. The results are based on an average person using their phone 2-2.5 hrs per month (the average US user uses their phone 2.5 hours per week). A heavy caller used the phone 30 minutes a day. So an average person who uses the phone for 2-2.5 hrs per month showed no increase. The "heavy user" at 30 minutes was twice as likely to develop a malignant tumor. They also acknowledged that the study did not take into account teenagers or people in there twenties. Since this study was done from 2000-2004 cell phone use has proliferated. We're 10 years in and there over 4 billion phones in use worldwide. More research is needed. Countries are making hundreds of billions of dollars from taxing and erecting phone towers. Your pension is probably invested in one or more of these companies.
So any resistance to these companies is challenged. Oom. It reminds me of cigarettes. Don't stop using them but be smart. A label is a good first step.

Posted by: Weave160 | June 23, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Sure lets disregard all the research & data.
As usual Post readers are some of the stupidest ppl on earth.
the area might have the highest degree per capita but too bad that means squat when it comes to commons sense.

Nice job of supporting your assertion with no links there - clutter.

Dumb ass.

Posted by: Rocc00 | June 23, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

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