This week, Judge Alsup blocked most of a San Francisco ordinance that required warnings about cell phone safety risks, saying it violated the First Amendment. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge William Alsup blocked provisions of the ordinance that mandate large posters with warnings stating in bold that “studies continue to assess potential health effects of mobile phone use” and also disallowed warning stickers on in-store displays. Alsup did say that customers may be given “fact sheets” to discuss possible risks of cell phone use, but is insisting that some changes be made to the fact sheets so that they don’t mislead consumers into believing that cell phones are dangerous As of right now, there’s an open door (until November 30th) for San Francisco to update the fact sheet to the point where the Judge is happy with it.

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According to CNN, Judge Alsup notes:

“Whether or not cell phones cause cancer is a debatable question and, at this point in history, is a matter of opinion, not fact. San Francisco has its opinion. The industry has the opposite opinion.

Of course the industry has different opinions, they really want to sell mobile phones. The industry is willing to sell whatever people are readily buying – they don’t care about human health, just money. Many researchers disagree with Alsup and the industry, saying that evidence is stacking up that shows cells phones may cause potential health problems. Just this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) along with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), officially classified the radiofrequency electromagnetic fields used by cell phones as possibly cancer-causing to humans. Another report shows that kids’ brains may absorb twice as much cellphone radiation as adults’ brains and past research has linked cell phone use to other health problems as well.

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Clearly few people are worried about cell phone use. Kids everywhere are allowed to play with cell phones, and most adults and teens I know are seriously addicted to their phones. In my opinion, cell phone warnings aren’t out of line. Cell phones are a relatively new technology. We don’t know that much about them. There was a time when BPA dangers were unknown. There was a time when people didn’t think twice about dousing their homes in bleach and kids rode around in the back of pick-up trucks. There was even a time when cute babies and doctors were used to sell cigarettes. However, times change. While it may not be entirely clear how and if cell phones cause major health problems, it’s not insane to be careful with your cell phone use or have warnings in place so that consumers can remember to further research the issue on their own.

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