San Francisco’s Proposed Cellphone Ordinance Misleads Consumers and Hurts Local Businesses
On Tuesday, July 19, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will be voting on File No. 110656, an unnecessary and misleading piece of legislation that would require local businesses that sell cellphones to post and distribute materials created by the City of San Francisco concerning cellphones and radiofrequency (RF) energy.
RF energy standards for all cellphones sold in the United States are set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with input from federal health and safety agencies (e.g. Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and other leading scientific organizations). As the FCC states on its website, “ALL cell phones must meet the FCC’s RF exposure standard, which is set at a level well below that at which laboratory testing indicates, and medical and biological experts generally agree, adverse health effects could occur.”
With no explanation, the proposed San Francisco ordinance assumes the FCC’s national standards are not sufficient. If the ordinance is passed, employees would be required to explain scientific information and answer any questions from consumers about this issue. Why would we ask San Francisco’s small businesses to divert resources when some are being forced to lay-off and downsize their employees? Moreover, if this bill is passed, it would impose additional burdens and fines that would be punitive and discriminatory for local businesses, and make it more difficult for these business owners to thrive. If local businesses don’t comply, they will be fined as much as $500 for every cellphone sold by an employee who doesn’t distribute materials or display San Francisco’s information about RF energy.
In addition, the ordinance misleads consumers by creating a negative perception of a product that already complies with federal standards and is deemed to be safe by the FCC and FDA.
Since we are not a scientific organization, with respect to the matter of health effects associated with wireless base stations and the use of wireless devices, CTIA and the wireless industry have always been guided by science and the views of impartial scientists and health organizations. As studies are published, health organizations and government agencies around the world continue to review and assess the weight of the new scientific evidence.