CTIA to appeal judge's ruling on San Francisco cell phone radiation ordinance

The CTIA said it will appeal a federal judge's ruling that invalidated most of a unique San Francisco ordinance that would have required retailers to display a poster warning of the potential health risks from cell phone radiation. The wireless industry trade group said that even the narrowed ordinance still violates freedom of speech protections.

In a legal filing, CTIA said that it will appeal U.S. District Court Judge William Aslup's Oct. 28 ruling to a federal appeals court and is asking the court to block the narrowed ordinance from going into effect Nov. 30. San Francisco's lawyer, meanwhile, is appealing the ruling to get the original ordinance reinstated. CTIA has been fighting the ordinance in various forms for more than a year.

The original ordinance would have required retailers to give each customer buying a cell phone a fact sheet noting the World Health Organization had classified the phones' radio-frequency emissions as a "possible carcinogen." Retailers would have also been required to post similar messages on large wall posters and on stickers attached to display ads.

In his ruling, Aslup said some parts of the ordinance appeared to violate the retailers' freedom of speech by forcing them to endorse messages they opposed. He also said that the fact-sheets, which also displayed human silhouettes absorbing radiation, gave the misleading impression that cell phones are unregulated and dangerous.  

Alsup ordered San Francisco to rewrite the fact-sheet to mention FCC regulation of handset radiation levels and the fact that the WHO's classification of cell phones as a "possible" carcinogen was less serious than being labeled a probable or definite cause of cancer. However, he said San Francisco should be able to force retailers to give customers "accurate and uncontroversial facts" about a "plausible public health threat" as long as it is clear the message comes from the city.

For more:
- see this San Francisco Chronicle article
- see this AP article

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