San Francisco has always been a little envious of other places - like New York City, and every city in Europe, really. So when Europe began adopting guidelines for warning labels on cell phones, San Francisco tried to do the same.(2) Since then, things have only gotten wackier. A court in Italy ruled that cell phones do cause cancer, taking a claim in Sweden as more reliable than every study done in the world - sort of like if a judge in France says Gilles-Eric Séralini is more "reliable" and "independent" about GMOs than everyone else.
It was blocked in court but San Francisco must have felt confident about the appeals process. They had a judge in Europe who agreed with them. But the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association was not as in love with the Continent as Frisco residents and arguments from an advocate like that her husband got a brain tumor because he held his cell phone on that side of his head more often than the other were not all that convincing, scientifically.(3)
So their law to require "possibly carcinogenic" warning labels on phones, the handiwork of Mayor Gavin Newsom, now the Lt. Governor who thinks he will become Governor riding a wave of fad science and health claims, was in limbo. You have to try and imagine that thought process: it starts with something like 'So what if the National Cancer Institute and the World Health Organization haven't found any reason for concern, we shouldn't rush to declare things safe just because they can't harm you'.
And when that doesn't work: 'BIG TOBACCO!'
And really, that is the end of the reason part of the science discussion in San Francisco. These people banned goldfish and tried to ban golf. Rep. Nancy Pelosi thinks styrofoam causes cancer and got 86% of the vote in San Francisco.
The Environmental Working Group, publishers of the annual 'Dirty Dozen' list of foods they target to promote the $29 billion organic food industry which sponsors them (along with the American Trial Lawyers Association, which paid them to 'create research' for asbestos litigation), was naturally in favor of this bit of anti-science nonsense also.
But San Francisco has now given up - the reason was because if they lost, they were going to be on the hook for $500,000 in court costs and they were almost certain to lose as long as science, and not the judgment of one court in Europe, were a factor. Apparently public health is only the most important factor to San Francisco until it will cost them some money and not simply penalize businesses that have done nothing wrong.
I am not going to unfairly pick on San Francisco too much - it is just one city. Entire states also want to put warning labels on cell phones despite their being no evidence they cause any harm. Oregon, Maine, I could find more but if you want to find anti-science hotspots, about health, energy, medicine or food, you don't need me to itemize them, just go to an electoral map and look for blue.(4)
(1) Certainly in California but also nationwide the trend is the same. As gun ownership went up, gun crime went down. You wouldn't know that because gun ban activists are getting some media attention. Obviously gun ownership is not the only factor. Everyone in Somalia owns a gun and that is not exactly safer. But banning guns there wouldn't make a bit of difference either.
(2) It's no surprise, an alarming number of San Francisco residents also think singer Sheryl Crow is a science expert and that organic food prevents cancer while cell phones cause it.
(3) "We can do nothing and wait for the body count. That's what happened with smoking," Professor David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and Environment at the University of Albany (and the guy who said PCBs in fish were bad), warned Maine lawmakers. In other words, even though there is no evidence, he just knows there is. Save the children.
(4) If you are a resident in a large city in a blue state, you may also be convinced cell phone use during pregnancy will cause your child to have ADD. It will not.