SF: ‘Mobile Phones May Cause Cancer’

San Francisco became the first city to require mobile phone retailers to post warnings about radiation levels:

Under the law, retailers will be required to post materials — in at least 11-point type — next to phones, listing their specific absorption rate, which is the amount of radio waves absorbed into the cellphone user’s body tissue. These so-called SAR rates can vary from phone to phone, but all phones sold in the United States must have a SAR rate no greater than 1.6 watts per kilogram, according to the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the $190 billion wireless industry. 

Thus far there is no “conclusive” evidence that cellphone radiation causes cancer. However there’s considerable reason to believe that sustained exposure to the low-level radiation from mobile devices isn’t ideal.

The CTIA is upset, fearing that this will be the first of more such laws and strike fear into the hearts of consumers about using mobile phones:

But John Walls, a spokesman for C.T.I.A. – The Wireless Association, a trade group, said that forcing retailers to highlight that information might actually confuse consumers into thinking “some phones are safer than others.” 

Indeed it may be true that some handsets and devices are safer than others in terms of radiation levels. However, even if there were “may cause cancer” warnings on mobile devices, it’s unlikely that people would stop using them.

I had a Sprint customer service representative tell me on the phone yesterday that “most people don’t have landlines anymore.” I corrected her that it’s about 25% of US households, according to the Center for Disease Control.