The San Francisco Examiner, 16 April 2013

Although it’s far from clear whether cellphones cause cancer, a first-of-its-kind San Francisco law requiring phone merchants to disclose mobile devices’ possible health risks has caused The City no shortage of headaches.

The 2½ years of legal wrangling over the Cell Phone Right to Know Act would end under a proposed settlement that would see the law overturned but also would not stick taxpayers with the attorney fees of cellphone industry lobbyists, believed to be in the six figures, according to court documents.

The law was introduced by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom and approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2010. It required disclosure of the radiation emitted by cellphones — the specific absorption rate, or SAR — and provided customers with a Department of the Environment-created fact sheet along with each newly purchased device.

The fact sheets warned phone users to keep devices away from the brain and reproductive organs, and advocated for headset use. Posters detailing the potential health risks would have been prominently displayed in stores, and warning stickers would accompany phones.

The law was scheduled to go into effect in October 2011, but almost immediately after its passage, a cellphone industry group called CTIA-The Wireless Association sued.

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