San Francisco, July 19, 2011 – With strong support from Environmental Health Trust and other public health experts, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted today 11-0 to improve and strengthen the nation’s first cell phone radiation law, in spite of legal intimidation and threats from the cell phone industry.
After the city passed the nation’s first cell phone radiation law in June, 2010 with a vote of 10-1, the industry promptly responded by issuing a legal challenge claiming their 1st amendment constitutional rights were violated by having to disclose the radiation levels of every phone marketed in the city. The city reacted by temporarily shelving its consumer “right to know” law.
By April of this year, city attorney Herrera’s staff and the majority of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors were reportedly to be considering repealing the law instead of going head to head in court with the cell phone industry’s intimidating legal force.
With pressure from Lt. Gov Newsom’s office and cell phone safety activists, and technical reviews from the Environmental Health Trust (EHT), interim Mayor Lee’s staff submitted an amended cell phone consumer safety ordinance, which Supervisor Avalos agreed to sponsor. The new ordinance does not require the controversial disclosure of specific radiation levels, however it DOES require that cell phone consumers are informed at the point of sale about cell phone radiation health risks and receive suggestions for safer use, especially for children.
The World Health Organization recently classified cell phone radiation as possibly carcinogenic based upon studies that long term use can cause malignant brain tumors. This ramps up the scientific debate about the correlation between cell phone use and cancer, as well as other health impacts such as impaired reproductive systems and salivary gland tumors.
Ellen Marks, Director of Government and Public Affairs for EHT was emotional after the unanimous vote, “I am deeply touched by the integrity of the entire San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the Department of Environment, Lt. Gov. Newsom, Mayor Lee and his staff. And I am especially grateful for Supervisor Avalos’ leadership as sponsor of the amendment. It is thrilling to see our government’s commitment to what is right for their citizens rather than voting in favor of corporate concerns.”
City attorneys feel confident the amended ordinance will not provide industry with justification for legal action.