back to article Mobile industry fights San Fran 'carcinogen' labelling

The ongoing battle against product labelling in San Francisco has now hit the courts, with the cellular industry fighting the City of San Francisco for the right to avoid mandatory labelling. The court action, filed with the Northern District of California, argues that the City ordinance requiring mobile phone retailers to …


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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    "bright red, orange, and yellow circles emanating from [X] and penetrating into the head and pelvic regions of users"

    Not having seen the "fact sheet", I am thinking that this is a good label for porn sites.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No one wants a repeat of the tobacco industry practices, but you can see the mobile industry's point. Lots of tings could be potential hazards. One ought not be creating a scare without a decent amount of evidence. Sounds a bit of an overkill knee jerk reaction from the authorities to me.

    1. Nexox Enigma

      Apparently you haven't spent much time in San Francisco...

      """Sounds a bit of an overkill knee jerk reaction from the authorities to me."""

      Actually sounds like a pretty typical reaction for this region... But it's OK, since the general population is exactly as insane as the politicians.

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Repeat of the tobacco industry?

      The link between smoking and cancer was established long before anyone did anything about it, and the tobacco industry fought every step of the way in spite of the evidence. A link between mobile phone use and cancer has never been convincingly established.

  3. Bango Skank
    Paris Hilton

    Science-free zone, belief-based medicine

    So despite no evidence to be found and no known mechanism whereby a cell-phone RF could cause cancer, we should immediately treat them as known carcinogens.


    Paris, because, ... well she is pretty and knows a thing or two about heads

  4. tfewster Silver badge

    This title is intentionally left blank

    I doubt that this fearmongering is going to cause anyone who has just bought a phone to change their mind. Though if they DO express any concern, it's an opportunity to sell headsets to the hard-of-thinking.

    But I can understand the retailers concern about having to diss their own product. What next? Cigarettes with warning labels? Car showrooms listing emissions figures and global warming warnings? McDonalds listing calories on their menu? (Yes, yes, I know...)

  5. This is my handle

    Californians have grown up with these and block them out

    Having lived in CA for nearly a dozen years, I am reminded by this (having been away now equally as long) that almost every retail establishment in the state was required to post warnings of one sort or another (something about the toxicology of the cleaning products or something), so that there was a bit of a "boy who cried wolf" effect -- no one even notices them. The coffee shops likely already have them posted for that reason. If anything the cell-phone purveyors should fell left out....

  6. Zippy the Pinhead

    Major fail here

    Did this warning come from the CDC? Nope!

    Did this come from the EPA? Nope!

    The FCC? Nope!

    If I were a cell phone company I would sue San Fran for over stepping its powers.. oh and ask for triple damages!

  7. Stevie Silver badge


    But what about the psychotronic mind-controlling aspects of all this? For how long must I be expected to wear matching tin foil hat and underpants before Action is Taken?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oxygen is a carginogen too - they gonna hand out flyers to everyone that uses that too?

  9. jestersbro


    I'm a Techno Cowboy, ner ner

    Makin' it up of course,

    Frightening your old horse*,

    San Fransiscans talkin' balls.

    Hmm, neither that little ditty nor the actions, beiefs and scaremongery of The City of San Fransisco have been thought through very well.

    *San Fransiscan little old ladies who read the San Fransiscan equivalent of the Mail/Express etc.

  10. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Looks like its time....

    To drive to Daly City or Brisbane to buy your cellphone!

    (I'd say you could drive to Sausalito as well, but then you would have to pay the extortionate Golden Gate Bridge toll--which has been proven to cause heart attacks among the commuting public!)

    Pedant icon, because the San Francisco City Council deserves one.....

  11. Tomato42 Silver badge

    If they are cancerogenic now, think how deadly they will be once they turn them on!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This may be obvious...

    ... or wrong, but:

    If we assume that mobile phones do cause cancer then surely there should be a correlation between increasing mobile phone usage and cancer rates? You should be able to plot on a graph the ownership of phones and average usage and the rates of related cancers... if there was then further research is needed, correlation is not causation, perhaps those who heavily use their phones are also doing something else more than Mr Normal which is causing their cancers.

    Given that I have never seen this I'm guessing there is no correlation, and thus very little evidence?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps unfair to pick on mobiles

    but my understanding is that (the?) two big killers in the west (cancer and heart disease) are lifestyle problems - almost entirely preventable.

    And yes, coffee is bad for you as well and in larger doses (4+ non-instant cups?) apparently does contribute to cancer and perhaps osteoporosis. Drugs are bad for you and your body attempts to repair itself. Who'd-a-thunk-it?

    The problem is that the environment is complex and stats are manipulable. To me it seems entirely reasonable to say: radiation in high-doses is known to cause cancer, mobiles put out a small amount of radiation. You make the risk decision.

    1. Liam Johnson

      re: almost entirely preventable

      Yes, but preventable by doing (or not doing) what?

      You mention coffee causing cancer, yet this esteemed publication posted information indicating that coffee drinking actually prevents prostate cancer.

  14. Chris Miller

    Nothing ever changes

    There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California. - Edward Abbey (1927-89)

  15. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Overwarnings are useless

    The problem with the US and especially California's rules is that just about anything that might be a carcinogen gets the same "This facility contains chemicals found by the state of Ca to be hazardous...." warning.

    It means that every office with laser printer toner or screen wipes has this displayed on the door. So you have no idea if the site really does contain something dangerous.

    It's like putting "may contain peanut" on absolutely all products, because you can never know if there is a one in a billion chance that some particle of peanut got in there - the result is much MORE dangerous for anyone who is allergic, because they don't know what to avoid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The peanut thing annoys me

      If neither peanuts nor any peanut product are ingredients, the product ought to be peanut-free the same way it is deadly nightshade-free.

  16. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @This may be obvious..

    That's the problem - there is a correlation. More people are using mobile phones and more people are getting cancer. They are also living longer and getting more cancer screening.

    If you compare heavy cell phone users for 30 years eg. Wall St traders with non-cell phone users, eg. Amish farmers you will find higher rates of cancer.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    cancer causes cell phones

  18. Steve Brooks

    "Wall St traders with non-cell phone users, eg. Amish farmers you will find higher rates of cancer." Corelation without causation. How many Amish farmers work 8-12 hours a day in a busy urban street with traffic continually streaming past and emitting fumes, how many Amish farmers work inthe same office as carcinogenic laser printers (see what I did there?) Oh that's right, horse and buggy and quill and parchment.

    Unless you remove every difference between the Amnish farmer and wall steet businness man EXCEPT for cellphone its not a valid comparison, but then of course the rate of cancer would drop instantly, because I mean an Amish farmer, who wants to call him on a cellphone? other Amish farmers lol.

  19. Ron Christian

    call their bluff

    Turn off the cell towers. Wait until the city changes the policy. They won't be able to do it fast enough.

  20. kain preacher Silver badge

    Amish farmers

    Wait Amish farmers smokes like a chimney, drink like a fish and snort coke off a strippers ass ??

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Presumably the Amish have rebellious teenagers too.

      1. Chris Miller


        Indeed - search for 'Rumspringa'.

  21. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Steve Brooks

    I think that was rather my point about the difficult of doing large scale epidemiological studies in the general population!

    It is the reason for those MPRII stickers you used to get on CRT monitors. The swedish did a study on miscarriage rates of VDU users. Supposedly they chose stock exchange traders as the heavy VDU user group and an Amish like sect that didn't use electricity as the non-VDU users! Not surprisingly they found a higher rate in the VDU users !

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