City Hall Watch: Cell phone sellers ordered to disclose radiation risk

Sellers of cell phones in San Francisco will now be required to disclose radiation levels the devices emit.

As the debate continues about whether cell phone use poses health risks, Mayor Gavin Newsom said consumers have the right to know the radiation levels of the devices they use.

Newsom’s legislation mandating the disclosure of radiation levels of cell phones sold in San Francisco was approved in a 10-1 vote Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Sean Elsbernd opposed it.

The requirements of the legislation will be phased in beginning in September. By February, chain stores selling cell phones must display how much radiation each device emits at the point of sale. Other stores have until February 2012.

Cell phone providers had spoken out against the requirements and businesses expressed concerns about the mandate.

“We are pleased the board supported what we always maintained is a common-sense, and, we think, quite-reasonable measure to provide greater transparency and information to consumers,” Newsom spokesman Tony Winnicker said. “This is not about discouraging people from using their cell phones. Nobody loves their iPhone more than Mayor Newsom.

“It’s about providing consumers the same information that the cell phones companies are already disclosing to the federal government.”

Businesses will face penalties of up to $500 for repeat violations. Cell phones are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, which considers them safe.

The board will take a final vote on the legislation next Tuesday.

In other action

In an 11-0 vote, nonresident fees to play the links at Harding Park Golf Course increased $15. Weekday rates go from $135 to $150 and weekend rates from $155 to $170.

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