old-cell-phone.jpgSan Francisco supervisors today gave final approval to an ordinance proposed by Mayor Gavin Newsom requiring stores to tell customers how much radiation is being emitted by the cell phones they’re selling.

The board approved the measure at an initial vote last week and voted 9-1 in favor of it this afternoon.

The legislation would require retailers in the city to post information about a cell phone’s specific absorption rate, a federal rating of the amount of radio frequency energy absorbed by the head or body from use of the phone.

The ordinance cites the need for “informed purchasing decisions” for consumers.
According to the National Cancer Institute, “research studies have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancer.”

“What’s clear is that more study is underway, and it’s an area of growing discussion and debate,” Newsom spokesman Tony Winnicker said today.

Sup. Sean Elsbernd, the lone vote against the law, said after today’s meeting that he was concerned San Francisco was legislating an issue more appropriate for the federal government.

“I prefer we focus on what our responsibilities are,” Elsbernd said. He said he’d prefer the city work on balancing the budget, filling potholes and maintaining its hospitals.

Winnicker said Newsom intends to sign the ordinance into law.

“It’s not about discouraging people from using and purchasing a cell phone,” Winnicker said. “It’s about greater transparency and disclosure of information for consumers who are interested.”

Once signed, a phased-in implementation of the law would begin next February.

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