San Francisco is close to becoming the first city in the nation to pass a law requiring mobile retailers to post information about radiation levels next to phones. This despite the fact that there is no conclusive evidence that ce

llphone use causes cancer or brain tumors.

The notices will show phones’ specific absorption rate (SAR), the rate at which radiation is absorbed by the human body. In the U.S., the FCC-mandated SAR is 1.6 W/kg, averaged over a volume of 1 gram of tissue, for the head.

So little is known about cellphone radiation that there are as many studies that conclude the phones have positive effects. In January, the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center published findings on on research done with mice that seemed to suggest that cellphone radiation could reverse Alzheimer’s by rebuilding damaged areas of the brain.

Despite inconclusive evidence from researchers, several TV campaigns have advanced the idea that cellphone radiation is a health risk.

Even though the long-term effects of cellphone radiation is unknown, this law is the kind of thing San Francisco does.

San Francisco’s board of supervisors voted 10-1 to approve the initiative, and mayor Gavin Newsome is expected to sign it. Industry opponents say the law will confuse consumers into thinking some phones are safer than others, even though all of them already meet FCC standards.

"This is not about discouraging people from using their cell phones," said SF mayor’s office spokesman Tony Winnicker. "This is a modest and commonsense measure to provide greater transparency and information to consumers."


By Mark Alvarez