Judge Blocks Most Of San Francisco Cellphone Radiation Law

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — A federal judge on Thursday struck down most of a San Francisco ordinance that requires retailers to warn customers about cellphone radiation and its health effects.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled that the required warning is misleading because it implies cellphones are dangerous and unregulated, and he ordered city officials to change the wording on the fact sheet that retailers are required to distribute.

The brochures must include a statement that all cellphones must comply with the Federal Communications Commission’s safety limits regarding radiation emissions, the judge said.

“The overall impression left is that cell phones are dangerous and that they have somehow escaped the regulatory process,” Alsup wrote. “That impression is untrue and misleading, for all of the cell phones sold in the United States must comply with safety limits set by the FCC.”

An industry group called CTIA-The Wireless Association had sued the city after its Board of Supervisors passed the ordinance 10-1 last year.

The judge also blocked parts of the ordinance that require retailers to put up posters and affix warning stickers on cellphones. He said those items unconstitutionally compel retailers to broadcast the city’s opinion of cellphones.

“All consumers who actually purchase a cell phone will receive the handout,” Alsup wrote. “There is no reasonable cause for requiring retailers to convert their walls to billboards for the municipal message.”

Alsup put the entire ordinance on hold until Nov. 30 to give time for an appeal. He also said that if the city refuses to edit the brochures as ordered, then the entire ordinance will be tossed out.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera said he will appeal the judge’s decision.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Richard Boyle

    If people would take responsibility for themselves and do their own homework on the subject then we wouldn’t have the “need” for this kind of absurd legislation from our “nanny” Board of Supes. The information about cells phones is abundant and widely available. We don’t need a government to tell us what’s what since I assume that most of us can read.

    • Sphang

      Totally Agreed! I can’t understand why they are concentrating on passing the most absurd laws. People have eyes, hands, and feet. They can read for themselves and do not need a bill board to tell them like a five year old. The SF Board of Supervisor has some insane reason for some of the oddest laws they are passing… I worked for a firm that William Alsup had been a partner before becoming judge. Excellent attorney and shows by his ruling and the position he holds…

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