Tech

SF Cellphone Health-Risk Disclosure Law Challenged By Wireless Industry

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(CBS/AP)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The legality of San Francisco’s ordinance requiring cell phone retailers to disclose possible health risks to consumers was heard by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday.

Enforcement of the law that requires disclosure of possible health risks and radiation levels of cell phones at retailers is on hold pending the outcome of the appeal.

The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), who represents the wireless industry, has argued it is opinion, not fact, that radiation from mobile phones poses health risks such as cancer.

“What they don’t say is that the weight of studies has shown that there is no known harm from cell phones. To take the idea from studies that are ongoing, you could say that about any product,” said attorney for CTIA Andrew McBride.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

He also argued that requiring retailers to display the signs is against the First Amendment as it forces speech.

San Francisco Dep. City Attorney Vince Chhabria argued that public health is a legitimate interest of the city and that correlation— not causation of risk is reason enough to allow the warnings.

But McBride added that a more lenient test applies when the government is trying to prevent consumer deception and a stricter test applies when the government is trying to prevent consumer death.

Judge Edward Korman offered the city these words of warning.

“I think you should be careful about this demagoguery that you’ve engaged in here,” Korman said.

A ruling on the appeal is expected in the weeks or months to come.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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