CTIA Scraps San Francisco Events After Cell Radiation Vote


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Wireless industry trade group CTIA is canceling future conferences in San Francisco in response to the city government's recent vote to require cell phone makers to disclose the amount of radiation generated by their products.

CTIA has held its three-day fall wireless conference in San Francisco for five of the last seven years and says it will go through with its planed event in October. But after that, CTIA won't hold events in San Francisco to show its displeasure with the city's so-called 'Cell Phone Right-to-Know' ordinance, said John Walls, vice president of public affairs, in a statement released Wednesday.

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors earlier this week voted 10-1 in favor of the ordinance, and Mayor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign it. It would be the country's first law requiring handset makers to disclose information on the amount of radiation people absorb while using their mobile devices.

"We are disappointed to announce that the 2010 CTIA Enterprise and Applications show in October will be the last one we have in San Francisco for the foreseeable future," Walls said in the statement.

CTIA calls the ordinance "misleading" and says it could create the perception with consumers that some mobile phones are safer than others. CTIA also notes that all devices sold legally in the U.S. already must adhere to the Federal Communications Commission's safety standards for radio frequency emissions.

"The scientific evidence does not support point of sale requirements that would suggest some compliant phones are 'safer' than other compliant phones based on RF emissions," Walls said in the statement.

There have been numerous studies on the impact of cell phone use on human health, and despite some correlations with brain and salivary gland cancer, the results of these studies have been inconclusive.

San Francisco nonetheless believes that this is an important issue to take the lead on, even as the city grapples with a budget deficit that's been projected to reach $750 million in 2011.

CTIA believes it can exert a significant financial impact on the San Francisco Bay Area economy by holding its events in other cities, and says it already has several interested candidates. CTIA events typically draw some 68,000 exhibitors and attendees and have funneled about $80 million into the local economy, according to Walls.

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