instead of cooperatively working with San Francisco to comply with a reasonable law that provides greater transparency and information without putting any undue burdens on small businesses or discourage cell phone use in any way."

San Francisco's move toward disclosure has reinvigorated the conversation surrounding cell phone's effects on public health. Burlingame Councilman Michael Brownrigg, who wants the Bay Area city to consider a similar ordinance, said an informational meeting from experts on both sides of the issue is being scheduled for late summer.

"Once we have that input from people from both sides of the spectrum, we'll decide what's best for Burlingame," he said. "And obviously whatever the wireless industry does in that time will be part of that discussion."

This legal challenge didn't exactly surprise San Francisco officials, who are accustomed to being challenged in court over such cutting-edge laws and positions on health care, medical marijuana and gun control.

"We think it's a stretch to suggest, as the cell phone lobby is doing, that the public's right to know conflicts with an FCC determination or is somehow unlawfully misleading," Dorsey said. "We're not compelling anyone to reveal trade secrets or confidential information -- we're confident that Congress never intended to prevent localities from being able to make sure consumers are informed about too much radiation in their cell phones."

Photo: Lavalle PDX Creative Commons 2.0 Generic

Karen Wilkinson  | 

Karen is a former staff writer for Government Technology magazine.