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Cell Phone Group Sues San Francisco Over Radiation Law 242

crimeandpunishment writes "The wireless industry wants to put San Francisco's cell phone radiation law on hold. An industry trade group filed a lawsuit Friday trying to stop the law, which requires cell phone stores to display how much radio energy each phone emits. The group says the law, which is the first of its kind in the country, supersedes the authority of the Federal Communications Commission, and will mislead consumers into thinking one phone is safer than another."
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Cell Phone Group Sues San Francisco Over Radiation Law

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  • by ntdesign ( 1229504 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:46AM (#33013380) Homepage
    They want to label the phones with their specific absorption rate, which is average power absorbed per kg of tissue. It's a measurement the FCC already takes, and they mandate a SAR of less than 1.6 W/kg. Of course, the effects of that amount of haven't been shown to be harmful.
  • by eee_eff ( 1254240 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:57AM (#33013452) Homepage
    This is not a regulation that puts a limit or changes the market in any way, it just requires disclosure of the energy levels of telephones, and there isn't any reason a society cannot require disclosure.
  • by stalkedlongtime ( 1630997 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:40AM (#33013742) Journal

    You're wrong. Shielding which is effective against high frequency electric fields can also be effective against high frequency magnetic fields. The changing magnetic field induces eddy currents in the shielding which creates opposing magnetic fields, shaping and directing the intruding magnetic field.

    Lower magnetic fields can also be shaped with high permeability materials.

    Here is a helpful link which explains the issues surrounding electric/magnetic shielding in more detail. []

  • by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @12:34PM (#33014138) Journal

    Since speculation seems to be the rule here, let's try to imagine how blackened the skies would be if we didn't have the environmentalists demanding that these industries clean up their act a little. Maybe if you lived fifty or a hundred years earlier you might understand... IOW "you had to be there". You had to see what Lake Michigan or the Chicago river used to look and smell like. And furthermore, the government subsidies towards alternative power is infinitesimal compared to what is given to oil and coal. Let's cut out that crap and see where the chips fall.

    Telling the cell phone makers to print out some info they already have won't cost them anything. Me personally, I don't care to be holding a radio transmitter by its antenna, much less bridging it, reducing its performance... The RF is fairly concentrated at that spot, unlike ambient radiation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @12:41PM (#33014184)

    "That number gives you a ratio to the power grid and power needs. Extend that ratio to what it would be today if Greenpeace hadn't killed nuclear power plants in 70's."

    Greenpeace? You're giving them way too much credit.

    Greenpeace didn't kill nuclear plants in the 1970s, Three Mile Island did and Chernobyl after that. Yes, I'm well aware that Three Mile Island didn't release much radioactive material (the containment structure worked) and Chernobyl was an inherently unsafe design (and had precious little containment), but that doesn't change the public perception of these events: that despite assurances that nuclear power was safe it wasn't as safe as claimed. Furthermore, even the engineers involved with Three Mile Island were surprised with the extent of damage in the core once they started cutting it out. It was a partial meltdown, and it could have been a lot worse. It took, what, a few years to clean up after it? No, longer than that []. 30 and ongoing. A few years ago they took the core pieces out of water storage in Idaho and put them into dry storage now that they've cooled down enough. As per agreement between the State of Idaho and the federal government they still have to be moved out of Idaho to some permanent site that is yet to be determined (see below), so the ultimate costs of the accident still aren't fully accounted for. The accident is still costing money and will cost plenty more.

    The other thing that stifled nuclear power was the construction costs for utilities (HUGE capital expenses and MASSIVE cost overruns), and the fact that there still isn't a permanent storage site for high-level waste even though the government has been collecting money from nuclear power utilities since at least the 1980s in order to build it (i.e. is Yucca Mountain dead as a site or not? And if dead where's the new site, and when is it going to be on line? By 2030 or so?).

    I know that nuclear power is still a good option and I think it has a future if people get off their asses and A) solve some of the technical/political challenges, and B) either get over the NIMBY attitude and let nuclear power flourish, or C) invest HEAVILY in the other alternatives. Most people have no clue of the energy challenges we're going to face in the next few decades if nuclear power is left out of the choices to replace oil's eventual decline. People need to accept it now so that there is time to get building before things get to a crisis. This isn't something that will be solved with a few wind turbines. It would take thousands upon thousands, and people will gripe about where those are sited too!

    However, despite all that I'd wager the public appetite for nuclear power wouldn't be any better if Greenpeace didn't exist. People have more than enough valid reasons to be skeptical of it. I mean, face it. If they couldn't site a geological repository at Yucca Mountain, in the middle of a desert area that already had hundreds of nuclear bomb tests, then where the heck are they going to put it? And without a solution for long-term storage nuclear power's future is uncertain in the USA.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @01:22PM (#33014536)

    > Extend that ratio to what it would be today if Greenpeace hadn't killed nuclear power plants in 70's.

    Uhh... I think that little party in Harrisburg had a little to do with the decline in new plant construction as well. There's new/safer designs and the price of fossil fuels might get them started.

  • by jmrives ( 1019046 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @02:08PM (#33014894)
    I think you give Greenpeace far too much credit here. The Greenpeace organization was one of many voices that spoke out against nuclear power plants in the 70s. I would hardly credit them with killing the construction of the plants. If anything, they were one of the least effective voices of the time. A far more significant voice against nuclear proliferation back then was the Physicians for Social Responsibility. Other significant voices include the Clamshell Alliance [] and the Abalone Alliance []. The list of organizations actively protesting against nuclear proliferation back then is quite lengthy. The Three Mile Island incident in 1979 served as a strong rally point for the movement. Now, that said, your assessment of the situation may still be valid. It is quite possible that we would have produced less pollutants had we built more nuclear plants. However, without any real numbers, your argument falls flat in that regard as well.
  • by ColaMan ( 37550 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @07:26PM (#33017276) Journal

    Where someone tries to explain the difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation and specific absorption rate

    Fire a gun at a tree. What happens to the tree? Your bullet chips a little bit off. If you just do it once, well, the tree can deal with it. Do it quickly enough and you'll start to leave bullets wedged in the tree and the tree will wind up all knotted and twisted in that area. Get out the machine gun and you'll cut the tree in half and kill the tree. This is similar to your body and ionising radiation.

    Now replace the gun with a tennis racquet and lay your best serve on that tree. What happens to the tree? Nothing. Get your best auto-ball-server-machine and pummel that tree for a week. It might end up a little bruised, but if you stop, it'll be as good as new in a week and that's about it. This is similar to your body and non-ionising radiation.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.