US mobile operator group, CTIA, has filed a suit against the San Francisco city government over its new law requiring retailers to display the radiation level of handsets on packaging.
It’s not the lobby group’s first tilt at the law. After it was announced a month ago, CTIA pulled one of its major events from the city, where it has been staged five times in the last seven years.
Now it has accused the city of “unlawfully interfering with the Federal Communications Commission’s exclusive, Congressionally-derived authority over radio frequency emissions.”
In a District Court of California filing, lodged Friday, the CTIA noted that the FCC already publishes cellphone radiation limits or Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) limits on its website.
“The FCC has stated that any cell phone that complies with the standard is safe, regardless of whether its SAR value is at or somewhere below the SAR limit,” said the CTIA’s court documents.
San Francisco’s mayor Gavin Newsom describes the new rule as a “modest, common sense measure which merely takes information already made available by these companies and makes it more accessible.”
Proponents of the mayor’s plan argue that the move will ultimately lead vendors to lower radiation levels.
That seems highly unlikely – a SAR-approved phone is considered safe regardless of its official rating.
The bottom line is that most subscribers do not have a clue on radiation levels. Is a safe SAR rating of 1.55 for one phone vs. a safe SAR rating of 1.6 for another phone, really going to stop a consumer buying a handset?
This really seems an over-reaction by the CTIA – it has nothing to fear from consumers being more informed.