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SF Mayor Calls for More Info on Cell Phone Radiation

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By Admin on December 17, 2009 12:54 PM

According to the S.F. Chronicle, San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom loves his iPhone. Regardless, Newsom is calling for a city-wide requirement that retailers provide information on cell phone radiation levels to consumers.

The jury is still out on whether or not the available scientific information shows that radiation from cell phones poses a health risk. Newsom seems most interested in making the information available to the public, and permitting them to make their own decisions. "The information exists, but not at the point of sale," he said. "If we prevail, and I believe we will prevail, other cities will follow suit."

The FCC, in conjunction with the FDA, has determined what it finds are safe limits for exposure to radiation. These limits are calculated in terms of a unit called the Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR. That rate signifies the amount of radio frequency energy a person absorbs into his or her body and brain when talking on a cell phone. Currently, the FCC requires that cell phone manufacturers ensure their phones are at or below a SAR level of 1.6 watts per kilogram of body tissue. Newsom's proposed legislation would require cell phone retailers to display the SAR level next to each phone in a font at least as large as the price and provide information explaining what the SAR values mean.

The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, a trade group representing cell phone companies, disagrees that cell phones pose any health risks. John Walls, vice president of public affairs for the trade group, released a statement saying in part, "CTIA and the wireless industry have always been guided by science, and the views of impartial health organizations. The peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk."

Newsom expects the organization to fight the proposed city ordinance.

For a list of the cell phones that emit the lowest amounts of radiation, go to: http://www.ewg.org/cellphone-radiation.

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