LOS ANGELES: San Francisco is set to require mobile phone makers to warn customers that the gadgets are bathing them in radiation.
The city’s Board of Supervisors has approved the unprecedented law in a 10-to-1 vote, and it is expected to be signed by the mayor, Gavin Newsom, who has endorsed the measure.
The law requires makers of mobile phones to display in stores details of the levels of radiation emitted by different handsets in the same way that restaurants show the number of calories in food and drinks.Failure to comply will incur a $US300 ($347) fine.
In particular, shoppers must be shown estimates of how much of the radio wave radiation from each mobile phone model is absorbed into the body of the person using it.
If signed by Mr Newsom, the law would take effect early next year and be the first of its kind in the US.
San Francisco, one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the US, was also the first big city in the country to ban plastic bags in supermarkets.
Sophie Maxwell, the local politician who introduced the mobile phone law, said it was intended to ”help people make informed choices”.
But opponents within the mobile phone industry said it would mislead customers into believing some mobile phones are safer than others.
They argue that safety is already ensured by the regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, which imposes a maximum specific absorption rate of 1.6 watts a kilogram on all phones sold in the US.
The debate over the health dangers of mobile phones remains unresolved.
A $US24 million United Nations study released last month was considered inconclusive. Its authors said because cancers can take decades to develop there was no way to estimate the risk.
Agence France-Presse; Telegraph, London