San Francisco on Tuesday became the first city in the country to require the $190 billion a year cell phone industry to post radiation levels of different types of devices.
The cell phone industry has vigorously opposed such measures, assisting in defeating similar proposals in the California Senate and earlier in the year in Maine.
The measure was adopted by San Francisco Board of Supervisors and supported by Mayor Gavin Newsom. Newsom is an avid user of iPhone and has over 1 million followers on Twitter.
The new law requires companies "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 cell phone user's body tissue," writes the New York Times.
The emissions are called SAR rates. The FCC has established the SAR rate limit as 1.6 grams per kilogram.
The danger posed by cell phone usage is widely disputed and has not been established by governmental and scientific organizations.
The Times says, "A major study of cell phone use in 13 countries published online last month in the International Journal of Epidemiology found no increased risk for the two most common types of brain tumors, according to the cancer institute. In the most extreme cell phone users, there was a small increase in a type of cancer that attacks the cells that surround nerve cells, though researchers found that finding inconclusive."
Other researchers have been more cautious. In 2008, Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, issued a warning to 3000 faculty and staff members, arguing that it is better to err on the side of caution. Dr. Herberman noted that adequate research has not yet been done.
Dr. Herberman was particularly concerned about cell phone use among children.
Still another scientist, Lloyd Morgan, senior research fellow at the U.S. Environmental Health Trust, told delegates at the Annual Bioelectromagnetics Society meeting in Seoul, South Korea, that the risk of brain cancer posed by mobile phones has been underestimated by at least 25 per cent. Dr. Morgan warned of a brain cancer "pandemic" unless greater caution is exercised.
Safer cell phone usage includes using wireless headsets and speakerphones, avoiding placing the device next to the ear.