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Cell Phone Radiation Versus the City of San Francisco

Watch out -- warning labels might soon come to a cell phone near you.

Two weeks ago, San Francisco passed a law requiring all retailer to display a warning indicating the radiation generated by any cell phones it sells. And while this fringe law -- passed without any evidence that there's a health risk posed by cell phone radiation -- is currently limited to the Rice-A-Roni city, it might be headed for nationwide adoption as well.

The New York Times reports that under the San Francisco law, retailers will be required to post materials -- in at least 11-point type -- next to phones, listing their specific absorption rate (called SAR), which is the amount of radio waves absorbed into the cellphone user's body tissue.

I don't mean to be dismissive of this law, but, well, I'm very dismissive of this law. All phones sold in the United States must already have a SAR rate no greater than 1.6 watts per kilogram -- about 25% less than the limit in Europe, incidentally -- and even so, there's never been a reputable study in which there has ever been shown to be a correlation between radiation and health risks.

San Francisco might as well have passed a law requiring all ice cream retailers to clearly identify the amount of vanilla used in the manufacturing process. Of course, requiring such a thing would confuse consumers because it would strongly suggest there must surely be some risk of eating too much vanilla. Why else would the government require a warning?

And the fun doesn't stop there. According to, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich said he plans to introduce a bill into Congress that would require similar warning labels for cell phones nationwide. Let the arbitrary, anti-scientific nannyism continue!

Photo by Ernst Moeksis

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