Court blocks cellphone warnings

Sept. 11, 2012 at 3:15 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- A San Francisco law requiring cellphone retailers to warn customers of potential radiation risks was blocked by a U.S. appeals court.

The ordinance, first of its kind in the United States, required retailers to provide customers with a World Health Organization fact sheet identifying the cellphones' radio-frequency emissions as "possible carcinogens" and to put similar messages on in-store posters. The fact sheet included human silhouettes absorbing radiation and suggestions to wear headsets and make shorter calls. It was scheduled to begin in October, but has been challenged in court by the cellphone industry, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the government can require businesses to display factual and undisputed information about their products, and using that standard, U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled last year that parts of the city's ordinance went too far, telling the city to delete the silhouettes and modify the fact sheet but allowing certain facts about "a plausible public health threat," court documents said.

Both sides appealed, and Monday the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals barred enforcement of the entire ordinance, pending the outcome of the case, the newspaper said.

City lawmakers will review the ruling before deciding their next steps, said Matt Dorsey, spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

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