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San Francisco Passes Cell Phone Radiation Levels Law

As previously discussed in a prior post, San Francisco authorities have been considering whether or not to pass a city ordinance requiring cell phone retailers to post information for the public about which cell phones emit the most radiation. As of June 16, the city is one step closer to putting that ordinance into effect.

According to a report by the Associated Press, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 to give preliminary approval to the proposed ordinance. Specifically, all cell phone retailers within San Francisco would be required to post the "specific absorption rate" (SAR) for each phone they offer for sale.

The FCC, along with the FDA, has already determined what it says are safe limits for exposure to radiation. These limits are calculated in terms of the SAR. That rate signifies the amount of radio frequency energy a person absorbs into his or her body and brain when talking on a cell phone. Currently, the FCC requires that cell phone manufacturers ensure their phones are at or below a SAR level of 1.6 watts per kilogram of body tissue.

The AP reports that Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, chief sponsor of the legislation, says it's about "helping people make informed choices." However, representatives for the cell phone industry say it will merely confuse consumers, possibly misleading them into believing some phones are safer than others.

The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, a trade group representing cell phone companies, has said in the past that they believe the current scientific evidence shows that cell phones do not pose any health risk to users.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign the legislation into law after a 10-day public comment period.

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