San Francisco fires back over cell phone radiation lawsuit

San Francisco is actually a hotbed of smartphone activity with multiple mobile startups and everyone and their mom rocking an Apple iPhone, but the city is in a war with the mobile industry over the issue of cell phone radiation.

The industry’s trade association, the CTIA, recently filed a lawsuit against San Francisco’s ordinance which requires vendors to publicly display how much radiation is emitted by the mobile devices. Not surprisingly, the city isn’t happy with this move.

“I am disappointed that the association representing the wireless communication industry has decided to challenge our landmark consumer information law in court,” San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said in a prepared statement. “This law is not an attack on the wireless industry or their products.”

Newsome also suggests that San Francisco is just trying to provide customers with more information so they can make an informed purchase. He said the CTIA could cooperate with the city on showing more transparency instead of wasting money with this legal process.

The CTIA has always opposed the law and previously said it will only lead to customer confusion. All cell phones sold in the United States have to pass through the Federal Communications Commission and that governmental agency doesn’t allow devices on the market that emit a certain amount of radiation. The CTIA argues that is more than enough.

Along with the lawsuit, the CTIA wants to put the hurt on San Francisco’s bottom line and it will be pulling its annual trade show from the city. Along with inconveniencing me, this move could take away a lot of tourist dollars because the event generally brings in about 68,000 mobile phone business folk. I know firsthand how busy downtown San Francisco gets when the CTIA show rolls in to town.

We’ll keep an eye on this one, as it is a tricky issue with valid points on both sides. In the meanwhile, feel free to let us know what you think in the comments.


  • Tower Guy

    I could see the requirement having an unintended consequence the SF government never considered. Guys like me would be looking to buy the phones that have the GREATEST emissions.

    • marinperez

      ha ha. I'm with you man. More = better.

  • MacChalium

    Both the folks looking to find out how high or how low the emissions are, are living in a fantasy world. All of the cellphones operate at power levels much lower than the typical Family Radio Service walkie-talkies that are readily available, but not for reasons of public safety from those emissions. The way cell phones are supposed to work as most people ought to know by now is withing a small region serviced by a cell site that itself has low emission levels. The idea is that as you move through a number of cell sites your call gets handed off from one site to another usually without you noticing. The power of all transmitters is kept very low so that the same frequencies can be re-used over and over with minimal separation and interference. The idea is to use as little frequency spectrum as possible to service as many subscribers as possible, thus freeing up spectrum for other radio services. The power limits for this service are set by the FCC and in general the manufacturers get as close as they dare to this level, usually staying back from the absolute limit by a small amount to ensure they do not exceed the FCC limit under any conditions such as a freshly charged battery. You can bet that all cellphones operate over a range of output powers and that they are all very close to each other. For those interested in trying to find the "safest cellphone" based on it's emission levels are on a fools errand. A few Milli-Watts of RF power one way or the other does not make one cellphone "safer" than another. What can improve a cell phone user's overall life expectancy is not using it in hazardous ways such as while driving or fueling your vehicle, riding your bicycle or even while walking. As for the previous poster who wanted to find the most powerful cell phone so that he has some imagined advantage over other cell phone users, he should use pheromone sprays or something in his pursuit of an advantage, depending on what he is trying to achieve. A few more Milli-Watts will not get him 10 feet farther through the air especially at the extremely high frequencies used for cell phones. These high frequencies were chosen by the way for exactly the reason that they don't go very far even at very high power levels. The moisture in the air absorbs them very effectively. So to sum up, the City and County politicians of San Francisco should stay away from highly technical issues and stick to whatever they may actually know something about. The rest of you shouldn't stress over this issue either. Most folks wouldn't comprehend the science behind the issue's answers as to why you are safe (and I suspect don't really want to) and those who can already know the answers. Or in the words of a certain reggae performer, Don't Worry (about this) Be Happy. Put another way, if your microwave oven put out only this much power, a thimble full of water wouldn't get any warmer than it was if you ran it inside that oven for 24 hours. (Theoretically it would get a tiny bit warmer but would lose any heat acquired due to the cooling effects of the fan that also runs while the oven is on). Also your skin absorbs this frequency of RF very well so little if any could get to your brain to fry it as the alarmists claim. IF there was enough power there to do any damage then its likely the damage would be done to your skin. You could also feel the warming effect on your skin.

  • WinstonCourt

    Everyone does realize that the frequencies of radio waves which are used by cell phones have many of the same qualities as those frequencies of radio waves your microwave oven uses, right? And, among those qualities is the quality to cook food, or specifically meat! Although the power levels that phones emit are only a small fraction of the power levels used in microwave ovens, I would personally consider it nice to know the levels the phones are emitting. And, yes, those levels might influence my purchases of phones. One example would be, in the city with easy access to cell towers, why not go with the lowest possible emission levels and worry about my health. However, if I lived in a remote location I would have to accept higher levels and use a bluetooth device to keep the phone away. But yes, I think the cell makers should have the radiation levels available for their phones. If not a sticker right on the phone, then the phones documentation should contain these specifications. And, there should be standards in play, so one phone can be compared against another in a meaningful way. As, I would highly suspect that cell manufacturers would want to play games with these figures. But, figure it out for yourself. The cost of cell phone manufacturers to provide this data would amount to a penny or two per phone, so why are they so loath to provide the data? And, yes, I do know there are federal regulations which set allowable levels. Having been involved in industries utilizing various levels of radio frequencies in the microwave bands, I am also aware that these levels of radiation allowed are MUCH TOO HIGH, in my opinion. And, maybe cooking your head will cause cancer, maybe it won't, and once your head is cooked, maybe you won't care. ROFLOL

    • steve

      WinstonCourt, this is the fourth site I have been on where you simply cut/paste your incorrect theories and rants. First of all, the radio frequencies you are rambling about are emitted by just about every electrical device on the market. I'm sure you have several in your home right now, but you are ignorant. Tragic. My second counter to your ridiculous fear-mongering is that your "opinion" on the levels of radiation that are "TOO HIGH" does not reference FCC standards, clinical studies, nor does it have any basis on reality. I should know… I have a PhD in electrical engineering. The only way the general public can be exposed to dangerous levels of EM radiation (that's electromagnetic to you… go ahead, look it up), is to stick your head directly in front of the cell phone antennas, or give a great big bear-hug to the giant TV and FM radio towers you see around populated areas.

    • steve

      My third rebuttal is that the reason why flesh gets cooked if it IS exposed to higher power levels at these frequencies is due to heat transfer (referencing my MS in mechanical engineering). Yes, the tissues do heat up. Your vascular tissues (look up vascular, as I'm sure you know nothing of the term), quickly whisk the thermal energy to other parts of your body. Unfortunately, your eyes and testes (I'm sure you are missing one of those) do not have as much blood flow to transfer the excess heat away from the exposed tissues. These CAN heat up and cook. As you are extremely ignorant, you probably assume that anything you expose to these frequencies instantly starts to boil. This is not the case. Chill out…. Literally. I'm not sure about you, but most people do not hold their cell phones to their eyes or their gonads. As you obviously have never read a cell phone user's manual, you would realize that these are inappropriate ways to hold a cell phone. You would also realize that the power and frequency levels ARE included in this documentation. Please look stuff up before you open your cake hole. ROFLOL, d-bag.

  • I lost my 28 year old Son, from glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer. His Neurosurgeon told our family that it was cell phone exposure that caused it. His tumor was in his right frontal lobe and he was right handed. My Son was also involved in a brain cancer cluster on the SDSU campus in San Diego. If you type in,” SDSU Brain Cancer Cluster,” you can bring up some of the articles. There is a cell tower on campus, which I investigated. This tower is a Tetra Tower for Homeland Security! August 30th I received confirmation that another victim on campus died from brain cancer. Please inform yourselves! The CTIA has patents for headsets that keep radiation from the users heads! Why would they have this? If people knew, they would have to admit that these devices are dangerous! They ARE VERY Dangerous! The flaws in the Interphone Study that was just released are numerous. Including the fact that many of the people interviewed became too ill to speak. My Son lived only 7 months, and this disease is called the,” Terminator.” The latest victim at SDSU lived only 9 months! Cell Phones are only the tip of the ice-burg!!!!!! That cell phone you use gets a signal from somewhere! Were bathing ourselves in radiation! I’ve been in contact with several experts! Girls, if you use your cell phone, are around Wi-Fi, or around cell tower signals, don’t wear Underwire Bra’s!!!! Please. get informed!!!!!!!!! Your life WILL depend on it!!

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