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CTIA Statement on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Vote on the Cell Phone Labeling Ordinance

After the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the cell phone labeling ordinance (File No. 100104), I issued the following statement:

“CTIA and the wireless industry are disappointed that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has approved the so-called 'Cell Phone Right-to-Know' ordinance. Rather than inform, the ordinance will potentially mislead consumers with point of sale requirements suggesting that some phones are 'safer' than others based on radiofrequency (RF) emissions. In fact, all phones sold legally in the U.S. must comply with the Federal Communications Commission's safety standards for RF emissions. According to the FCC, all such compliant phones are safe phones as measured by these standards. The scientific evidence does not support point of sale requirements that would suggest some compliant phones are 'safer' than other compliant phones based on RF emissions.

“While we have enjoyed bringing our three day fall show to San Francisco five times in the last seven years, which has meant we’ve brought more than 68,000 exhibitors and attendees and had an economic impact of almost $80 million to the Bay Area economy, the Board of Supervisors’ action has led us to decide to relocate our show. We are disappointed to announce that the 2010 CTIA Enterprise and Applications show in October will be the last one we have in San Francisco for the foreseeable future.  We have already been contacted by several other cities that are eager to work with us and understand the tremendous benefits that wireless technology and our show can provide their area.”

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For more information, I would encourage you to visit: www.cellphonehealthfacts.org  

5 Responses to “CTIA Statement on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Vote on the Cell Phone Labeling Ordinance” Leave a reply ›

  • avatar

    Hey, this is a great reply to Tomi and gives us a much better view from outside to the US market.
    Well done ! We like it

  • avatar

    Your response to the SF law is petulant and immature, shame on you. I always thought cell phones had no significant risk, but your response has made me feel you MUST have something to hide.

  • avatar

    Our response to the SF law is one of extreme disappointment over the fact that the Board of Supervisors did not consider scientific evidence that shows every device in the U.S. is considered safe, and that there’s no such thing as safe, safer, safest if they comply with the FCC standards for Specific Absorption Rate. If a device doesn’t comply, then it can’t be sold here. If it does comply, science says one device is as safe as another. And that is our point. Posting a SAR level of, say, 1.4 for one device, and .9 for another, could very easily lead someone to think that one is safer than another. Science tells us that’s not so. The Board is ignoring that.

    Our only other reaction is to their message of what they think of wireless technology, by deciding to look for another venue for our fall trade show in 2011. This is not an extraordinary measure. We routinely talk with several cities. In this case, we’ve just decided not to discuss the possibility of locating it in San Francisco and will instead explore multiple options.

    As for the science and research in the area, please go to our web site, http://www.cellphonehealthfacts.org, and learn more about the topic.

  • avatar

    The Interphone International Case-Control Study printed in the International Journal of Epidemiology in 2010 appears to show that low-to-moderate cell phone use actually reduces odds of brain tumor occurrence, while prolonged, high use appears to significantly increase the odds of getting a brain tumor. (My reading of Table 2, and also note that the article points out that hands-free use was considered non-usage for the purpose of the study.)

    If I have that all straight, then cell phone use does appear to have a causal relationship to health quite similar to use of alcohol. That is, a small-to-moderate amount of use is usually harmless or beneficial, whereas prolonged, high use is harmful. To me, that means that today's best available science appears to be on the side of the San Francisco City Council.

    Regardless of the maturity and confidence levels we can have in today's science regarding the relationship between cell phone use and cancer, publishing numbers could be beneficial if it induced the legions of people who drive deficiently because of their ceaseless hands-on cell phone usage either to cut back or to use hands-free technology. So publishing numbers might have a significant beneficial side-effect unrelated to cancer.

    Regardless of the science, and purely on the public-relations front, your organization's boycott of San Francisco comes off a soulless, petty, mean-spirited, knee-jerk decision. Your boycott is behavior more befitting dull, old, bricks and mortar fixed-asset-based companies like mining, petroleum, tobacco, and alcohol; and does not befit a vibrant, growing, curious R&D industry. After your 2011 convention hissy-fit binge in the gambling, alcohol, and tobacco capital is over, I hope you'll reconsider SF for 2012. Aside from the incredible beauty, food, and culture for your attendees, it will be good publicity for your industry and organization.

  • avatar

    Mr. Silverman,

    I appreciate your response, and will try to provide you with some information that I believe will be instructive in this area. Regarding the Interphone study, you are correct in how various tables organize information derived from the study, but your assessment is not consistent with the authors' conclusions. They state in their summary:

    “Overall, no increase in risk of either glioma or meninglioma was observed in association with the use of mobile phones. There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma, and much less so meninglioma, at the highest exposures…. However, biases and errors limit the strength of the conclusions we can draw from these analyses and prevent a causal interpretation.”

    So, you are correct in that Interphone, and actually numerous studies conducted by independent third parties indicates there is no health risk associated with using a wireless device. The anomaly you're referring to was in a subset of long-term users, but as the study's authors point out in the conclusion, "biases and errors limit the strength of the conclusions we can draw from these analyses and prevent a causal interpretation."

    That is the full context of the conclusion and it is important to keep that language intact so as to completely understand the report's findings.

    As for the San Francisco situation, that has nothing to do with science, actually. Every device in the United States must operate at or below the FCC standard for safe emissions. Those standards are set based on recommendations of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. According to science, any device working up to or under that standard is considered safe. Period. Science tells us there is no relative distinction between devices if they are operating within that safety limit, and that's a critical point the Board ignored. It has actually made a decision based on personal suspicion, and not the wide consensus of public health organizations and agencies around the world.

    As for our decision not to locate our show there in the near future, I'd like to ask you: Do you go where you're not welcome? We believe the Board sent us a very clear message in that regard. We had no contract for next year, and so we'll proceed as we always do and talk with a number of venues about locating there. We've also staged the show in Los Angeles and San Diego in the past with great success, so perhaps a return to either of those great California venues will work out. I can assure you we've had great experiences in San Francisco, we enjoy the city and the facility, and we'd prefer considering it for future dates.

    On a side note, I'm curious what you make of San Francisco's decision to boycott doing business with the state of Arizona?

    Also, if you'd like to read the Interphone report, and learn what public health organizations and agencies around the world conclude on this topic, please visit our website: http://www.cellphonehealthfacts.org.

    Francisco comes off a soulless, petty, mean-spirited, knee-jerk decision. Your boycott is behavior more befitting dull, old, bricks and mortar fixed-asset-based companies like mining, petroleum, tobacco, and alcohol; and does not befit a vibrant, growing, curious R&D industry. After your 2011 convention hissy-fit binge in the gambling, alcohol, and tobacco capital is over, I hope you'll reconsider SF for 2012. Aside from the incredible beauty, food, and culture for your attendees, it will be good publicity for your industry and organization.

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