Cellphones and Cigarettes: San Francisco Says “Bad, Very Very Bad”

Thanks to VentureBeat for putting together this image that led to the headline of this blog post which is really about the city that I live in, once again reaching out and banning something it thinks is bad for you. Okay, cigarettes, no good. Meat, not so good and it’s easy to go without it on “Meatless Mondays”. But deterring folks from getting that much needed cellphone upgrade by making it mandatory that all cellphone retailers clearly label the emitted radiation levels of all phones they sell? I dunno.

This week, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed an ordnance that Mayor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign. If that happens, beginning next year, it will be illegal to sell a cellphone in San Francisco without warning the would-be buyer that their head may fall off from long-term exposure. Now, San Francisco is known for extremities, and that is exactly what some are saying this ordnance is. According to VentureBeat

The city supervisors make clear in the official ordnance submitted for filing that they aren’t trying to ban mobile phones from San Francisco. They reference “government agencies and scientific bodies in the European Union and Israel” as the source of reports about “the potential harm of long-term exposure” to cellphone radiation that spurred them to act.

America’s Federal Communication Commission has set limits on cellphone radiation for years. All phones are tested before going on sale. The “specific absorption rate,” or SAR, of each phone is a matter of public record. But “consumers are not able to make informed purchasing decisions” because the ratings aren’t prominently displayed to buyers evaluating phones in stores. And the amount of radiation your head absorbs from different phones varies significantly based on the phone’s design.

Well, I suppose as a long-time resident, I do feel a little safer after reading that excerpt. But where I’d really like to see my tax dollars go is to banning people from talking on their cellphones within 10-feet of earshot of another city dweller. Or if they have to expose me to their conversation, at least make it interesting.

Source: VentureBeat, which has published the full text of the legislation here.

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