SF: The Phone’s Off the Hook, But You’re Not

Page 1 of today’s Washington Post carries this story, “Cellphone industry attacks San Francisco’s ruling on radiation”:

San Francisco, a city that banned the plastic bag, now has waded into the muddy territory of cellphone radiation, setting off a call to arms in the $153 billion wireless industry.

Last week, the Board of Supervisors passed a law — the first in the nation — requiring retailers to inform their customers how much radiation the cellphones on their shelves emit, so shoppers can figure out how close the devices come to the upper limits on radiation set by the Federal Communications Commission.

The law, which goes into effect early next year, didn’t mention the word, but it was all about one thing: cancer, and whether cellphones cause it.

Walter Olson at Overlawyered.com observes, “Study after study finds no health effects to worry about, but the city by the Bay wants warnings anyway.”

And Ted Frank of the Manhattan Institute comments at Point of Law:

Even aside from the foolishness of having municipalities regulate interstate commerce labeling requirements (what happens when Chicago decides that cell-phone warning labels should be in a different font than San Francisco does?), the San Francisco legislation is, as I noted in a January AOLNews piece, counterproductive to consumer safety and not, as Mayor Newsom would have it, “relatively benign.”

We wonder: Do trial lawyers have any interest in undermining federal preemption and exacerbating public anxieties about cell phone radiation? Possibly.

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