San Francisco 1st City to Require Warnings of Cell Phone Radiation Risk at Point of Sale

By Camilla Rees,

Today was a very important day in San Francisco!

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Mayor Gavin Newsom’s cell phone ‘right to know’ ordinance that will require retailers to post warnings of cell phone radiation risk at the point-of-sale.

The ordinance, postponed last week to today to address legal liability concerns of the City of San Francisco and small business owners, passed with flying colors. In fact, it passed despite heavy lobbying by the telecommunications industry. To be enacted into law, there is first a 10 day comment period before the Mayor signs it into law.

This is a watershed moment for health advocates in the U.S. and families who have or have had members with brain tumors.

San Francisco is the first city in the country to require radiation disclosure data at the point of sale. Warnings were proposed in Maine in March, by Rep. Andrea Boland, and in the State of California in recent weeks by Sen. Mark Leno, but both bills did not pass.

The SAR value to be required at the point-of-sale in San Francisco is a measure of the power of the phone. The exposure limit in the U.S. is 1.6 W/Kg, for this type of radiation, and the guideline was based on an assumed 6 minutes of cell phone radiation exposure.

Please note, however, the SAR is not a complete gauge of cell phone safety. See my article on this at ( The cell phone SAR value does not accurately reflect the potential for biological harm from the frequencies of the communication, and, very importantly, there are also some biological effects that have been shown to be worse at lower SAR values compared to higher SAR values, such as blood brain barrier permeability. In no way should consumers be relying on the SAR value alone as a measure of safety, but instead realize it is how one uses a cell phone (speaker phone or headset vs. against one’s head) and for how long that matters most.

“This bill is a first step”, says Dr. Devra Davis of the Environmental Health Trust. “It would be dangerous for people to assume that they can hold a lower SAR phone close to the head for hours a day. How and where phones are used determines the overall exposures to radiofrequency radiation.”

According to Doug Loranger of SNAFU, the San Francisco Neighborhood Antenna Free Union, “The new law will be phased in over the next 2 years, with large formula retailers to be the first to comply, followed by small independent businesses that sell mobile phones”.

Scientists have known for some time that radiation emitted by cell phones posed serious risk. Olle Johannson, PhD of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has said:

“At the Karolinska Institute, we have for many years observed very serious biological changes from exposure to microwave radiation and extremely low-frequency magnetic fields of the kind emitted by cell phones. The type of radiation emitted by cell phones has been linked to cancer, neurological diseases, impairments to immune function, and neurological function (cognition, behaviour, performance, mood status, disruption of sleep, increased risk for auto collisions, etc.). We also know that this kind of radiation impacts DNA, leading to possible mutations and cancer development, as well as affecting fertility and reproduction, causing a dramatic decline in sperm count.”

Just today, in Seoul, Korea, a presentation at the Bioelectromagnetics Society annual meeting ( by Lloyd Morgan, B.Sc. showed that the risk of brain tumors from cell phone use is in fact much higher that the recently published Interphone study acknowledged. Entitled “Re-evaluation of the Interphone Study: Application of a Correction Factor” (, the report, co-authored with Professor Michael Kundi of the Medical University of Vienna and Michael Carlberg, M.Sc. of the Department of Oncology, University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden, quantifies the extent of the underestimation of risk of brain tumors from cell phone use on account of the 12 design flaws, now widely reported on.

Morgan says, “What we have discovered indicates there is going to be one hell of a brain tumor pandemic unless people are warned and encouraged to change current cell phone use behaviors. Governments should not soft-peddle this critical public health issue but instead rapidly educate citizens on the risks. People should hear the message clearly that cell phones should be kept away from one’s head and body at all times.”

Please read the full Press Release and audio news releases on this important new scientific report at

San Francisco Legislation –Draft (stay tuned for final)

Download the Warning Poster Draft from the Mayor of San Francisco here:

– by Camilla Rees

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Comments (1)

I didn’t think there was enough science for or against that has been determined to garner this type of action in CA. Of course California always seems to bend to the voice of lobbyists.

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