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San Francisco Abandons Mobile Phone Radiation Labels

timothy posted about a year ago | from the this-sticker-is-a-choking-hazard dept.

Cellphones 132

judgecorp writes "The city of San Francisco has abandoned a law proposed in 2010 which would have required mobile phones to be labelled with their radiation level. Mobile phone industry body the CTIA fought the bill in court, arguing that there is not enough evidence of harm. The city is not convinced phones are safe — it says its decision to abandon the law is simply based on the legal costs."

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132 comments

can't get past the hype and bad studies (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43673835)

I can't figure out what is good and bad data with this topic. Seems like everything I read is spin.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43673879)

The adverse health effects (like early beginnings of brain tumors) start showing up after two years. The industry-funded studies where they were found to be "safe" were typically on the order of six months.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (4, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43673953)

Cellphone radiation is non-ionizing. You know that, right?

You also understand what 'radiation' and 'non-ionizing' mean in this context, right?

(ie. "radio waves" and "utterly incapable of damaging a DNA molecule")

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674027)

Radar and microwave oven radiation is non-ionizing as well. Standing in front of a radar emitter still does have adverse health effects (up to and including death). You shouldn't override the safety features of your microwave oven either. Electromagnetic radiation has effects other than turning your body's atoms to ions.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674303)

Since you were so vague in how they can cause death, one can only guess that you are talking about it cooking them from the inside-out. In which case I must ask, when has anyone ever been cooked by a cellphone?

Note, hot/exploding batteries do not count. :P

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674351)

Beside the point, which was to show that "non-ionizing == safe" is wrong.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43674457)

No one made that claim.

They only claimed it does not cause cancer. Which it does not. A cell phone is far too weak to do any real heating, nor would that heating go deep enough to get anywhere near your brain.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674981)

Incorrect. The response to "The adverse health effects (like early beginnings of brain tumors) start showing up after two years." was "Cellphone radiation is non-ionizing.", suggesting that there are no adverse health effects if the radiation is non-ionizing. That claim is false, as shown by documented cases of adverse health effects caused by non-ionizing radiation.

This whole debate would be a lot more fruitful if at least one side could stick to not making overreaching arguments. As it is now, there is one side which appears to be afraid of anything with moving electrons and one side which doesn't care what is emitted as long as it's not lots of radioactivity. Either side is dogmatic and stupid, if you ask me.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#43675047)

This whole debate would be a lot more fruitful if at least one side could produce some evidence. There have been many studies on the subject, and I've not heard of one legitimate study that has found any significant statistical link between cell phone usage and cancer. Considering the burden of proof is always on the accuser, the ball is in your court.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43675299)

I am not making any claim whatsoever regarding the harmfulness of cellphone radiation. I just point out that saying "non-ionizing" is not sufficient refutation of adverse health effects. Non-ionizing radiation can be harmful. The thermal effect is well known and can clearly damage tissue if the radiation is strong enough. Override the safety features of your microwave oven and you'll quickly find out that non-ionizing radiation can indeed damage DNA molecules. Other effects have not been conclusively proven, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

If I say that cellphone radiation is harmful, you're right to ask me for evidence. But if you claim that cellphone radiation is harmless, then I'm equally right to ask you for evidence. There's no shame in saying "I don't know". Don't make claims that you can't substantiate.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43676781)

I am not making any claim whatsoever regarding the harmfulness of cellphone radiation. I just point out that saying "non-ionizing" is not sufficient refutation of adverse health effects.

Actually, it is. When the only adverse health effect that anyone brings up is completely unrelated to non-ionizing radiation.

When someone starts claiming an adverse health effect that can be explained by non-ionizing radiation, then you will have a point.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43675633)

This whole debate would be a lot more fruitful if at least one side could produce some evidence. There have been many studies on the subject, and I've not heard of one legitimate study that has found any significant statistical link between cell phone usage and cancer.

These two sentences, when written together, make no sense. If many studies have found no harmful effect, than that is evidence that there is no harm. What other evidence do you expect them to provide?

Look, this really isn't hard:
1. There is no theoretical reason why cellphone radiation should be harmful.
2. There is no empirical evidence that they are harmful.
3. There is plenty of empirical evidence that they are not harmful.
4. There is no epidemiological evidence that they are harmful (cellphone owners don't get more brain cancer).

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

noobermin (1950642) | about a year ago | (#43675253)

Incorrect. The response to "The adverse health effects (like early beginnings of brain tumors) start showing up after two years." was "Cellphone radiation is non-ionizing.", suggesting that there are no adverse health effects if the radiation is non-ionizing. That claim is false, as shown by documented cases of adverse health effects caused by non-ionizing radiation.

Uh, no. Tumors == Cancer. Below red EM doesn't cause cancer from what we know. You're the one who implied cancer, and he responded to that claim.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43675675)

Suggesting they are non-ionizing does not mean they are safe. It just means they are non-ionizing and therefore do not cause cancer.

You are reading words that are not there.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43675889)

Problem with that approach is that no one is suggesting that cellphones are dangerous for reasons related to non-ionizing radiation. No, they are strictly sticking to the "cellphones are dangerous because they might be able to cause cancer" line. Therefore, we only need look at ionizing radiation.

To revise my previous question, has anyone ever suggested a cellphone may be dangerous for a reason that can be linked to non-ionizing radiation?

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

prelelat (201821) | about a year ago | (#43675751)

The claim was that cell phones have radiation that can damage DNA and cause cancer. That's not true, microwaves don't cause DNA damage, though I suppose cooking you might cause damage to your DNA it's not the radiation that's doing it, it's a side effect of the heat produced. Seeing as how I've never seen a cell phone melt a chocolate bar let alone a person I doubt it's going to cause DNA damage, nor would that be my first concern in that case.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

MickLinux (579158) | about a year ago | (#43676085)

Of course, but as pipe smokers know, the repeated application of abnormal heat DOES cause dna damage, as well as mouth cancer.

So absolutely correct, cell phones don't cause ionizing radiation; at least not hitting a researcher upside the head with one.

Cell phones produce microwaves, which cause abnormal heating of the inner ear nerve on the talking side of the head (or in the eyes), which then causes DNA damage, which then causes cancer.

Better sue researchers

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#43674665)

Let me sum up the WHO's report on the dangers of radar [who.int]

* You may be experiening adverse effects from RADAR if you start having skin burns
  * If you feel your organs starting to cook, you should mitigate the damage by leaving the vicinity of the radar device.

Damage is caused by thermal effects, thats it, and you should generally be aware of when that is happening.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#43674877)

If you feel your organs starting to cook, you should mitigate the damage by leaving the vicinity of the radar device.

It doesn't say that.... Now I'm disappointed, I was hoping the WHO had a macabre sense of humor....

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43675079)

The reason why we are even talking about this is that thermal effects from electromagnetic radiation happen where human beings are generally not equipped with heat sensors. You do not feel hot spots in your inner organs until it's much too late to "leave the vicinity of the radar device". People have died from exposure to strong radar waves. Telling people to leave when they feel a little hot is like telling people to take a step back when they feel the early symptoms of radiation sickness. By that time, the damage is done.

Besides, we know that people don't drop dead from using cellphones and therefore we can conclude that non-thermal effects can't be immediately harmful. But that neither means that there are no other effects nor that allowing higher field strengths would not cause issues.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#43676119)

WHO lists the damage threshold around 4W / kg. For the average male, thats going to be around 320 W. Most cellphones operate in the range of ~0.1mW.

This is a non issue.

Re: can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

StikyPad (445176) | about a year ago | (#43676471)

That's just not true. Microwaves do not cook "from the inside out." That's almost literally an old wives tale. At 2GHz, almost all radiation would be absorbed in the outer layer of skin and re-radiated as heat. Even for EM that can better penetrate solid/fleshy objects, the energy that penetrates will be attenuated because some portion will be absorbed at the exterior, and if the energy at the surface wasn't enough to trigger a pain response, then you probably (definitely) have nothing to worry about.

That said, there are two items of note: 1) EM may travel better along bones as they may be less dense (in birds, for example) or natural conductors (nerves), but fortunately nerves are the things we *want* to be stimulated, and unless you have a bone sticking out, the radiation must still pass through the skin, which has nerve endings. 2) Exposure to an extremely high EM energy source might be enough to cause thermal damage before you can react, but that's not a risk that's unique to electromagnetic radiation -- any energy in quantity can kill you. :)

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674093)

I slightly disagree. Radio waves can cause thermal heating in human tissue (close enough to the emitter, if there's high enough power), and heat exposed cells can exhibit DNA damage (not sure what the threshold is). I don't think you can say radio waves are utterly incapable of damaging DNA, in broad general terms. Although I haven't seen enough specific data on cellphones in this regard, I don't expect the effects to be significant.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (4, Funny)

Sloppy (14984) | about a year ago | (#43674333)

Radio waves can cause thermal heating in human tissue

There's been some hard (but inconclusive) science to possibly confirm this, too. An experiment was performed where a control subject stayed in the house, and a test subject went outside without a hat, in the daytime. The test subject reported a warm feeling, somehow coming down from above. Each subject's body temperature was measured with a thermometer, but they were the same. I don't know what it all means, but I think there ought to be a label on "outside" until we understand this radiation phenomenon better.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43674445)

Another test was done where the subject went out for a "brisk walk". This caused adverse physiological reactions including increased heart rate, increased breathing rate and sweating, especially on an uphill part of the trajectory. We recommend immediate banning of hills in places where people are likely to walk.

In other tests it was also found that holding a piece of plastic to your ear for a period of time caused a localized warming effect.

Thermal- not really a problem (3, Interesting)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about a year ago | (#43674939)

I slightly disagree. Radio waves can cause thermal heating in human tissue (close enough to the emitter, if there's high enough power),

Exactly.

Cell phones don't have enough power to cause significant heating.

It turns out that the body is very well adapted for cooling. The circulatory system is a good heat exchanger; it takes a lot of input to overload. Going outside on a 90 degree (F) day, maybe. Lying in the sun and absorbing a kilowatt per square meter, maybe. A one-watt (average transmit power) cell phone, no.

There is one exception to the fact that the cooling system of the body regulates the temperature, actually, the one place the blood vessels don't reach: the lens of the eye. You can't have blood vessels running through the eyeball, since it has to be transparent! If the scaremongers had been saying that cell phones caused glassblower's cataract, they would have had a mechanism. But that isn't the charge. (And, in any case, the power of a cell phone is just way too low to cause this-- you just don't get much heating from the 0.7 to 1 watt average transmit power of a cell phone to cause any damage. Don't stare into a red-hot furnace, though.)

[...] Although I haven't seen enough specific data on cellphones in this regard, I don't expect the effects to be significant.

You got it. The effect is not significant.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674101)

You know that close to the antenna, the "near field", things are more complex than that? You know that, right? How else can a 27MHz walkie-talkie light up a neon tube?

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (4, Informative)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#43674127)

Seems easy; measure your cellphone with a geiger counter (Accounting for background radiation) and label it with the number of millisiverts you're shooting into your brain while using it (0). Done. Unless, as XKCD points out, it's a banana phone. I wonder how many of those damn hippies have a sliced banana in their granola in the morning. I'd like to see their reaction when it's pointed out that they're getting more radiation from that than their cell phone.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (3, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#43675323)

I wonder how many of those damn hippies have a sliced banana in their granola in the morning.

(Sigh)... Why is it always the hippies who take the blame for any San Francisco craziness? The closest things to hippies in SF are the drug addicts on the streets. They're not in control of politics, they're not even in control of themselves. SF and many californians are more concerned about the environment than a lot of other places, but that's not who is pushing for it.

TFA quotes Ellen Marks as a proponent of the bill. Googling her name and cell phones gets you to an op ed piece, and her bio reads

Ellen Marks is a member of Temple Sinai in Oakland, California; a past president of Women of Temple Sinai and of the Sisterhood of Temple Israel in Stockton, California; co-founder with her son Zack of the California Brain Tumor Association; and lead author of the Cell Phone and Brain Cancer Legislative Briefing Book, which has been translated into eight languages, including Hebrew. She is also director of Government and Public Affairs for the Environmental Health Trust.

http://reformjudaismmag.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=2885 [reformjudaismmag.org]

Not exactly a stereotypical dirty hippie or treehugger.

The article also mentions "powerwatch" as being behind the campaign, which is a group based in the UK to oppose cell phones.

These aren't California hippies, these are conspiracy-theorist idiots. Get it right. This isn't environmentalism, this is stupidity.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#43674619)

More to the point, whatever damage is done by radio waves from cellphones is going to be massively outweighed by the barrage of "radiation" coming from that unshielded fusion reactor in the sky we call the sun (not to mention background cosmic radiation).

For the record, "cosmic radiation" is a known factor for introducing errors into computer memory. "A cellphone is nearby" isnt.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43675087)

Let them do it, I have my trusty tin foil cap to protect me from nuclear cell phones.

No effects. (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about a year ago | (#43674053)

There are no known adverse effects of cell phones. There is no epidemiological data on adverse effects. There has been no increase in cancer rate with cell phones. The largest study done actually showed a slight correlation of a REDUCED rate of cancer with cell phone usage.

There is no known mechanism for adverse effects.

Re:No effects. (3, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#43674405)

That's not entirely true. Cell phones do have adverse health effects. They are known to be substantial contributors to distracted driving accidents that cause thousands of deaths and injuries every year, increasing the risks of accident by a level equal to that created by drunk driving.

If we limit the scope of the claim to first degree adverse health effects, then cell phones have much less of an impact on people, limited to the blunt force trauma caused by phones thrown by angry spouses and the like. But you still can't accurately state that there are no known adverse effects of cell phones.

Had you fully qualified your statement with "directly caused by emitted radiation", then you would have been 100% correct.

Re:No effects. (1)

AlecC (512609) | about a year ago | (#43674613)

I agree entirely with this. The huge numbers of people using cellphones, and continuing to do so over the years, mean that any effects caused by their radiation emissions must be either very small or very slow. We have had a large enough population using them that significant effects would be clearly visible.

That does not mean that there are no effects. But it does mean that they are small compared to the very visible effects of distraction and misuse. If you are not prepared to ban cellphones because of the number killed by texting while driving, it is disproportionate to get worried about the tiny number who may, possibly, suffer some unknown effect from the radiation.

Re:No effects. (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43674473)

The largest study done actually showed a slight correlation of a REDUCED rate of cancer with cell phone usage.

There is no known mechanism for adverse effects.

Is that because the people who can afford cellphones don't usually live in houses with moldy asbestos ceilings?

Re:No effects. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#43675053)

Times have changed... now it is only older people who have landline phones. Ever notice the huge number of cell phone stores in poor areas? That Walmart, Target, and drug stores dedicate entire endcaps in high-traffic areas to prepaid cell phone cards? Low-income people have some really good tips on how to get cheap cell phone service. Follow their lead and you can save hundreds or thousands each year.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#43675175)

Citations needed. Also, the question you should be asking is "is there any evidence it's NOT safe." A modified ames test [wikipedia.org] would be easy to do and would be a fast indication if DNA damage is occurring. People have been using cell phones for longer than 2 years, there should be correlative studies showing a link.

If neither of those things has been shown, then you can always say "But you didn't do THIS TEST!!! CONSPIRACY!!!" and people will. If they do a two year test, it will be three years. Or ten.

Furthermore, what would a label do? The public in California is already used to seeing everything labeled as cancer causing due to similar legislation. All it's done is gotten them to ignore warnings and made some greedy lawyers rich off of suing in response to those signs. If you want a sinister conspiracy, just ask yourself who would benefit from these warning labels. Answer: ambulance-chasers and no one else.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43673893)

I can't figure out what is good and bad data with this topic. Seems like everything I read is spin.

You spin me round round

Like a news headline

Round round

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43673909)

The data:

There has not been a larger increase in head cancers over the past thirty years despite a more than billion-fold increase in mobile phone use. This means that if there is an effect, it is too small to worry about.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (4, Funny)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#43673963)

Don't forget about Wi-Fi.

We are beyond the point where studies make sense.

I propose a study to figure out how to keep assholes from spreading disinformation about RF radiation.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43673965)

There has not been a larger increase in head cancers over the past thirty years despite a more than billion-fold increase in mobile phone use.

...and this hasn't surprised anybody who knows anything about physics.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43673973)

I can't figure out what is good and bad data with this topic. Seems like everything I read is spin.

Luckily, now that the labeling has been abandoned, you don't know your dosage level anyway, so no need to worry!

Honestly, that's what most annoys me about these sorts of cases(this, GMO labelling, 'organic' labeling, etc.) The evidence for harm or harmlessness is often rather equivocal; but the relevant trade association pressure groups scream like babies at the idea that customers would even be in the position to make an informed decision(foolish or otherwise).

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674193)

Which unproven and unlikely claims should we mandate warning labels about, and which shouldn't we? There are lots of theories out there with just as little evidence as this one.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43674341)

Well, given that the SAR numbers are already required to be calculated for the handset to pass FCC approval, and the FCC already has an SAR limit for sale-able devices, it seems like mandating that the numbers be included in the documentation(rather than by grabbing the FCC ID and grovelling through the documents pertaining to the device's approval process) seems like it would be a pretty painless addition...

Obviously, there are an arbitrary number of variables you could theoretically demand a label for; but this is one that is already computed, already available, and apparently of some public interest, which would seem to make it a not-illogical choice if the people of a municipality so decide.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#43675265)

Obviously, there are an arbitrary number of variables you could theoretically demand a label for; but this is one that is already computed, already available, and apparently of some public interest, which would seem to make it a not-illogical choice if the people of a municipality so decide.

I, for one, am glad that the court system can be used to keep the majority from making arbitrary rules.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (2)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#43674805)

Honestly, that's what most annoys me about these sorts of cases(this, GMO labelling, 'organic' labeling, etc.) The evidence for harm or harmlessness is often rather equivocal; but the relevant trade association pressure groups scream like babies at the idea that customers would even be in the position to make an informed decision(foolish or otherwise).

Because it's ludicrous. Consider the same idea applied to a packaged cookie: "our whole wheat cookies contain less than 0.0001% arsenic, less than 1 picogram of lead, fewer than 15 anthrax spores per cookie, no more than 150 million viable microbes, below 72,000,000 mold spores," etc. The world is filled with trace amounts of stuff that humanity has ingested since the dawn of our species. It's only recently that we've even been able to recognize and measure it. And those are scientifically proven harmful ingredients at higher levels. We have standards that limit them.

The only people these numbers serve or placate are homeopaths, a completely self-deluded group of liars, charlatans, and idiots who do not deserve the respect you would afford a dead possum lying on the side of a road.

Here's the deal: if you want to know how much potentially harmful X is in a product, read the label. The information is already there, you just have to do your own research. Concerned about RF? There's an FCC ID printed on the case of your phone. Look up their filing. Read the relevant parts of the requirements they comply with pertaining to maximum allowable transmitted power. Read health studies of double blind experiments. It's all public information. But there is no way you should be spreading your irrational fears on someone else's product labels.

It's science, bitches. You want to believe in made up shit? Go to a fracking church, and close the doors behind you.

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#43675237)

You are right - we should let any nutjob group put useless information on our products. Each cell phone can come with a 50-page list of grievances. PETA can put whether animals were used in it's production. Al Gore can slap the carbon footprint on there. Greenpeace can list the natural resources used on there, and score the phone for it's environmental impact. UNICEF can score it for child welfare. Then of course, you will have religious groups who want to score it for thetan count and whatnot. (Thank you, Firefox, for not including "thetan" in your dictionary!)

I'm sorry, but it needs to be recognized that labels are not free and should be used judiciously. If people care about the emissivity of their cell phone, they can get together with other uneducated people and rate them at their own expense. If they find one that emits something greater than a few mW, they could just call the FCC anyway. Which, by the way, requires that this sort of testing be made public anyway. [fcc.gov]

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (0)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#43674283)

I'll paraphrase this particular story then, which might help.

"The city of San Francisco once again vowed to remain steadfast in their commitment to ignorance, but today acknowledged that, because so many people have refused to remain as stupid as they are, the list of like-minded idiots willing to agree with them has plummeted to the point where creating an effective scare tactic campaign is well beyond their admittedly meager level of competence.

Jenny McCarthy is said to be fraught with disappointment, and stuck a fork in her own eye in protest. Terry Childs could not be reached for comment."

Re:can't get past the hype and bad studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43675409)

I can't figure out what is good and bad data with this topic. Seems like everything I read is spin.

It is, mostly.

By definition, you never prove risk. You can only prove safety.
Whatever is not proven safe, is a risk. There are no two equal sides in risk argument.

"...CTIA fought the bill in court, arguing that there is not enough evidence of harm. The city is not convinced phones are safe..."

Philip Morris used this stunt of "risk-is-not-proven" for 5 decades.

I have an idea... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43673871)

One gigantic warning label covering every square centimetre of San Francisco, listing all of the potential hazards you are exposed to by being anywhere near the place.

Re:I have an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674005)

One gigantic warning label covering every square centimetre of San Francisco...

Along with free condoms, tin foil ones if you keep your cell phone in your pocket.

Re:I have an idea... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43675591)

Warning: This device contains matter, which is known by the state of California to cause warpage of space and time. This device also contains extraordinary amounts of stored energy in its physical matrix. Handle with care.

Surgeon General (1)

Dan East (318230) | about a year ago | (#43673917)

Warnings don't seem to be very effective for cigarettes. I'm sure they would be much less effective when it comes to cell phones, especially when expressed in terms that 99% of the population doesn't understand (it's just some number). Actually, it might even have opposite effect - buyers might purchase cell phones that have a greater radiation level, with the assumption that more radiation means greater range.

Re:Surgeon General (2)

Goaway (82658) | about a year ago | (#43673997)

Actually, it might even have opposite effect - buyers might purchase cell phones that have a greater radiation level, with the assumption that more radiation means greater range.

This would be largely correct, and in fact would be a good choice, as the radiation is harmless.

Maybe truth labels instead? (1)

dicobalt (1536225) | about a year ago | (#43674249)

WARNING: This product could very likely kill you at some point. The only reason we are allowed to sell it is because we throw countless millions at politicians.

so consistent (1, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year ago | (#43673921)

Casual, recreational use of a variety of brain-altering drugs: fine.
Anonymous bathhouses where one can - hetero or homo - have sex with a variety of strangers: lifestyle choice.

Cellphones: "We should make sure we warn people about the dangers!"

Re:so consistent (4, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43674003)

Casual, recreational use of a variety of brain-altering drugs: fine.
Anonymous bathhouses where one can - hetero or homo - have sex with a variety of strangers: lifestyle choice.

Cellphones: "We should make sure we warn people about the dangers!"

Nope. I'd like to reassure you that the first two things also have plenty of lunatics trying to ban them.

Re:so consistent (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year ago | (#43674259)

In the first two cases though, the usual lunatic trying to ban them is doing so because it goes against their morals, ethics, beliefs, etc. It's not (usually) based on scientific fact of any dangers that could be lessened, minimized, or eliminated prevented with basic precautions and regulations. While they are entitled to have their own beliefs, they aren't necessarily those of everyone else.

The lunatic trying to ban cell phones is doing so based on unproven scientific "facts", not because of their beliefs one way or another. To me this is almost worst then the other two.

Well then... (1, Insightful)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#43673935)

If "the city is not convinced phones are safe" then they should immediately pull all phones that were issued by the city to civil workers, police, the mayor's office, etc., right?

Re:Well then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674037)

The city is probably not convinced cars are safe either (I certainly am not), yet I'm sure they have them for the mayor, police, etc.

It's stupid to worry about radiation from phones, but even if they were dangerous, the danger could be low enough, and the usefulness high enough, to justify issuing them.

I'm not a complete moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43673959)

Give me the info and let me decide.

Wouldn't work anyways (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#43673977)

All San Francisco can do is mandate that cell phones sold in San Francisco have that label. This would most likely simply result in no cell phones being sold in SF; you'd have to go outside the city when you wanted to buy one.

Re:Wouldn't work anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674113)

So what's the big deal about adding this extra label anyway? It's not like people are really going to start caring if they don't already. Consider how many people are turned away from smoking because they saw the surgeon general's warning on a pack of cigarettes.

Re:Wouldn't work anyways (1)

krovisser (1056294) | about a year ago | (#43674171)

Besides the fact that it's a complete waste of taxpayer money and time that could be spent on real issues?

Re:Wouldn't work anyways (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#43675445)

Let's say you run Chris's Cell Phone Store. This law goes into effect. Now, you have to go to the FCC website and find every phone you sell, pay to have labels printed up (or hand scrawl the labels on every phone) and affix them to every phone. You also have to learn about the ratings to answer customer questions. Don't you love it when people waste your time and money for you? It's always "no big deal" when you make other people do your work for you. My answer would be, what's the big deal about you going to the FCC website yourself and looking up the useless information for the phone you are interested in?

Destroys sales without helping (4, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#43673983)

Here's what that kind of labelling does:

Case 1: Company A labels their phone, company B doesn't. Customers looking at a phone from A get scared, look at phone from B and buy it because it doesn't come with the scary warning.

Case 2: Customer looks at various phones in a shop in San Francisco. They all have the scary warning, so the customer doesn't buy. Next time he visits Los Angeles, he goes to a phone shop, looks at all the wonderful phones without a scary warning, and buys one that he likes.

In the end, if mobile phones emit radiation that is dangerous for you, the perfect solution is to use the phone less.

Re:Destroys sales without helping (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43674009)

Case 1: Company A labels their phone, company B doesn't. Customers looking at a phone from A get scared, look at phone from B and buy it because it doesn't come with the scary warning.

Me? I want one with high radiation. The higher the better. High radiation means better coverage!

Re:Destroys sales without helping (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#43674043)

Better yet, they sell cases that block cell phone radiation now. Not phone skins, but cases to store the phone in. When they're not in use. To block the radiation that they're not giving off.

Re:Destroys sales without helping (1)

ImprovOmega (744717) | about a year ago | (#43674803)

I need to get their customer list, I have a whole yard full of tiger rocks to sell that are specially crafted to protect them from tiger attacks. I know they work because my family has never been attacked by a tiger.

Re:Destroys sales without helping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43675023)

Case 3: 98% of customers don't even notice the new labeling right next to all the other existing labeling that they already ignore.

Re:Destroys sales without helping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43675157)

Really?!

Faced with two similar products of which only one provides saftey advice I would choose it over the one I knew less of.

I would at least ask why that device doesn't show the label.

Think of it like this, which of the following would prefer:

1. All fields are unmarked, none/some of them contain mines.

2. Some fields are marked as containing mines, some not.

3. All fields are marked, either as containing mines or as being safe to wonder.

With all due respect to San Francisco... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674059)

...What business is it of *ANY* municipal government to even try to regulate something like this? (Even a megacity?) Wouldn't the hypotetically responsible person and hypothetically reasonable politician try to take public health issues to their State government, where it is acknowledged responsibility for medical regulation exists?

Oh, I see my error, "Hypothetically Reasonable Politician." Oxymoron which cannot exist in nature. Maybe the hypothetically reasonable person would see how stupid this idea is and wonder why they voted for the politician.

Re:With all due respect to San Francisco... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43674541)

...What business is it of *ANY* municipal government to even try to regulate something like this?

Simple: The people complaining are voters. The primary business of all municipal governments is to get people to vote for them.

Not Just San Francisco (1)

tranquilidad (1994300) | about a year ago | (#43674079)

California really doesn't care about science behind labeling, hence the signs in stores that say, "This product contains products known to the state of California to cause cancer." The sign doesn't say known to science, accepted by science, proven by some scientific method - it says that the legislature voted one day and decided it was bad. This causes truly bad chemicals to be mixed in with a larger body of not-so-bad chemicals and that just causes people to ignore all the warnings.

Pretty soon they'll have a sign that says, "Warning, this product contains:" followed by the periodic table.

Sounds like a good idea. (1)

plebeian (910665) | about a year ago | (#43674199)

I want them to advertise radiation levels. It might help me identify the phones with the stronger transmitter. Living in rural state having a phone with a stronger transmitter is a good thing...

Why are you people against labeling? (4, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | about a year ago | (#43674257)

Even if it's not harmful, what reason could you have to be against letting me choose whether or not my GMO food was farmed by Jews? All I'm asking, is that GMO food made on farms where Jewish workers are employed be labeled, and that cell phones manufactured in a facility which employs coloreds be labeled. I just think we should have an informed free marketplace. That's good for everybody, and even chinks have shown a preference for an informed free marketplace.

It's not like I'm trying to outlaw those peoples' products or infringe on your right to do business with Jews, colored, towel-heads, or Catholics. If you're ok with doing business with those people, I don't have any problem with that. It's a free country and I hope your daughter brings one of them home with her. All I'm asking for, is a harmless label and the right to choose. Why's everyone acting like I'm some kind of unreasonable asshole?!? I don't get it!

Re:Why are you people against labeling? (1)

ImprovOmega (744717) | about a year ago | (#43674847)

*slow clap*

Very nice job walking the razor's edge between incisive sarcasm and trolling. I feel that you succeeded in making an insightful point (just no mod points left this week). That was positively channeling Jonathan Swift in short form right there.

Re:Why are you people against labeling? (1)

noobermin (1950642) | about a year ago | (#43675205)

Hell of a way to validate Godwin's Law... Let's argue against it with science and reduce to their level.

Re:Why are you people against labeling? (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about a year ago | (#43675785)

I suppose it depends on if the labeling is forced, optional, or prohibited. Optional is the most free. Forced is sometimes appropriate for some dangerous products. I can't think of a good reason to prohibit informative labeling.

slippery slope (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about a year ago | (#43674329)

SOOOOOO California. You let the wet-backs in, but I didn't complain cause I liked eating cheap grapes.  You let the Bantu riot & burn, but I didn't complain cause I enjoyed watching slants blast away at them from roof-tops. You elected cosmopolitan, lib.com  senators, but I didn't complain cause I think Stalinist bytches are hot.  Now you wrap smart phones in dumb, tinfoil condoms, and I .... 

Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674545)

Its funny, you say "cell phones have shown no know adverse health effects" and "they are deemed safe for use, so labeling them would just scare people unnecessarily" when someone threatens your technology. Now change the word "cell phone" for the word "corn" and its a conspiracy theory by Monsanto to hide the truth. Sad thing is an Apple is just as bad as Monsanto when it comes to patent abuse, but god forbid anyone take your iPhone.

Californians need only one label (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#43675297)

Attach this to every Californian's forehead:

"This user is too stupid to act responsibly to protect self, do not sell product to this user".

Re:Californians need only one label (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43676187)

Sure, those of us who vote against this twaddle get labeled with the rest? Good plan.

Story isn't the Science (1)

Luthair (847766) | about a year ago | (#43675543)

Regardless of the science behind effects of the radiation, its pretty sad to have another instance of corporations throwing money at what was (presumably) the will of the people until it goes away.

Arguably labeling laws are an effective way to provide the individual with power in capitalist system. Individually people don't have power to sway manufacturers, but when provided with information consumers can decide whether they feel its important and if enough people feel similarly it asserts influence on the manufacturers.

Does the US have no legally binding limits? (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about a year ago | (#43676777)

Seriously, I dont give a damn how much my cellphone radiates as long as it is below the (sane) legal limit for total output power.
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