San Francisco to Pass First Cell Phone Radiation Law
In a worldwide first, the city of San Francisco looks set to enact a law requiring retailers to display the amount of radiation emitted by cell phones.
The city's Board of Supervisors preliminarily approved the measure in a 10-to-one vote on Tuesday. Final approval and then signing by the Mayor Gavin Newsome into law is expected next week.
The posted figures represent the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), or the level of radiation absorbed by the human body . Cell phone manufacturers calculate SAR for their products and provide this data to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The FCC mandates that cell phones cannot emit the equivalent of more than 1.6 watts per kilogram of flesh.
The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that has been pushing for the legislation, keeps a list of the levels produced by most available handsets, and about a dozen emit more than 1.5 watt per kilogram, but under the 1.6 watts per kilogram limit.
Scientific studies have not conclusively shown radio frequency radiation from cell phones to be dangerous to human health by leading to greater risk of cancers or other illnesses. Yet fear of cell phone radiation is widespread.
Backers of the legislation have said that the information of cell phone radiation levels will be beneficial to consumers. Without a demonstrated risk, however, cell phone makers and retailers worry that people will view those phones with lower levels as somehow "safer."
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