The debate surrounding the safety of using cell phones has raged for years, most recently coming to a head in San Francisco, where local leaders attempted to pass a law requiring retailers to display the amount of radiation emitted by each cell phone.
At last, in a case that has been closely monitored by mobile phone industry players across the U.S., San Francisco's Board of Supervisors has agreed to drop the warning requirement after a lengthy legal battle with the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). The argument made by the CTIA claimed that such warnings could serve to mislead consumers regarding the risks associated with cell phone use, particularly in light of the fact that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has deemed the devices safe to use.
Had the rule gone into effect, it would have effectively put cell phone packaging in San Francisco in the same realm as cigarettes, in terms of signaling the possibility of cancer when using mobile phones. Such a turn of events, so close to the tech hub of Silicon Valley, could very well have had ripple effects for other major cities in the U.S.
Renee Sharp, director of research for the Environmental Working Group, an organization that supported the new warnings in San Francisco, said:
"We are disappointed that residents of San Francisco will not have access to important public health information about radiation emissions from wireless devices at the point of sale… If the nation’s experience with tobacco taught us anything, it is that it is dangerous to wait until there is scientific consensus about a potential health threat before providing consumers with information on how they can protect themselves."
Meanwhile, despite the CTIA's stance on the issue of cell phone safety, the FCC recently decided to review its guidelines on safe maximum cell phone radiation exposure levels established back in 1996.