San Francisco gives up on cell phone warning stickers

Ars Technica » Scientific Method 2013-05-08

The long-running saga of San Francisco's proposed cell phone warning labels appears to finally be coming to a close. The law would have required cell phone makers to place labels on their devices that detail the typical energy they transfer to the human body. An industry trade group sued to block the legislation from taking effect, and an appeals court upheld the injunction, leaving matters in limbo.

According to Reuters, the city government has now settled the lawsuit by accepting that the injunction will stay in force, preventing the law from ever having any effect. Given the court's initial decisions, city officials felt that the chances for success if the lawsuit went ahead were slim. The cost of failure was also high because San Francisco could find itself on the hook for a half-million dollars in legal costs.

The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, which sued the city, argued that the law was a bit of a mess. The Federal Communications Commission has established a safety level for wireless radiation exposure, and no phones sold in the US are allowed to exceed it. The ordinance was forcing companies to disclose numbers that were all below the legal limit. Complicating matters further, the exact dose users receive would vary depending on the wireless network the device was on and the manner in which it was being used.

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