First, you need to know what SAR is. Specific absorption rate (SAR) is a measure of the rate at which energy is absorbed by the human body when exposed to a radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic field. The Federal Communications Commission requires that phones sold have a SAR level at or below 1.6 watts per kilogram taken over the volume containing a mass of 1 gram of tissue that is absorbing the most signal.
According to a recent CNET video review about mobile phone SAR, the following five cell phone models have the highest SAR levels: Huawei Vitria (SAR 1.49), Alcatel One Touch Evolve (SAR 1.49), Motorola Moto E (SAR 1.5), Motorola Droid Ultra (SAR 1.54), and Motorola Droid Maxx (SAR 1.54). If you are using those cell phone models, should you be worried?
Another CNET article suggests that the SAR is an old test that the minimum 1.6 requirement was set in 1996 and hasn’t been changed since. While our technology advances continually and new cell phones are much more powerful than those in the past, maybe it is time for the government to revise the standard. Also, the dummy used for testing is more than 6 feet tall and weighed 220 pounds, that is a lot different from children, who are also cell phone users in general.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) have several documents discussing about cell phone radiation, SAR, and other related topics. Here are some of the key points.
Each cell phone is tested while operating at its highest power level in all the frequency bands in which it operates, and in various specific positions against the dummy head and body. However, only the highest SAR values for each frequency band are included in the final authorization to demonstrate compliance with the FCC’s RF guidelines.
The most effective means to reduce exposure are to hold the cell phone away from the head or body and to use a speakerphone or hands-free accessory. These measures will generally have much more impact on RF energy absorption than the small difference in SAR between individual cell phones, which, in any event, is an unreliable comparison of RF exposure to consumers, given the variables of individual use.
If there is a risk from being exposed to radiofrequency energy (RF) from cell phones – and at this point we do not know that there is–it is probably very small. But if you are concerned about avoiding even potential risks, you can take a few simple steps to minimize your RF exposure. 1. Reduce the amount of time spent using your cell phone. 2. Use speaker mode or a headset to place more distance between your head and the cell phone.
The low levels of RF cell phones emit while in use are in the microwave frequency range. They also emit RF at substantially reduced time intervals when in the stand-by mode. Whereas high levels of RF can produce health effects (by heating tissue), exposure to low level RF that does not produce heating effects causes no known adverse health effects.
The energy levels associated with radiofrequency energy, including both radio waves and microwaves, are not great enough to cause the ionization of atoms and molecules. Therefore, RF energy is a type of non-ionizing radiation. Other types of non-ionizing radiation include visible light, infrared radiation (heat) and other forms of electromagnetic radiation with relatively low frequencies.
Although research is ongoing, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that available scientific evidence—including World Health Organization (WHO) findings4 released May 17, 2010—shows no increased health risk due to radiofrequency (RF) energy, a form of electromagnetic radiation that is emitted by cell phones.
A number of studies have investigated the effects of radiofrequency fields on brain electrical activity, cognitive function, sleep, heart rate and blood pressure in volunteers. To date, research does not suggest any consistent evidence of adverse health effects from exposure to radiofrequency fields at levels below those that cause tissue heating.
Based on mixed epidemiological evidence on humans regarding an association between exposure to RF radiation from wireless phones and head cancers (glioma and acoustic neuroma), RF fields have been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B). Studies to date provide no indication that environmental exposure to RF fields, such as from base stations, increases the risk of cancer or any other disease.
What about cell phone manufacturers? Do they provide any usage suggestions? Usually there are important fine prints buried in user manuals.
Google Nexus 5: “To comply with FCC/IC Rf exposure requirements a minimum separation distance of 0.49 inches (1cm) must be maintained between your body and the back of the phone.”
Samsung Galaxy S5: “For body-worn operation, this phone has been tested and meets FCC RF exposure guidelines when used with an accessory that contains no metal parts and that positions the mobile device a minimum of 1.0cm from the body.”
iPhone 5S: “To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, the supplied headphones, or other similar accessories. Carry iPhone at least 5mm away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at or below the as-tested levels.”
To sum up, if you are really worried about cell phone radiation, take FDA suggestion: 1. Reduce the amount of time spent using your cell phone. 2. Use speaker mode or a headset to place more distance between your head and the cell phone.
Or, you can use a Cell Spacer. The Cell Spacer was designed to put some distance between you and your cell phone. Adequate space between the phone and the head helps you to minimize the risks of harmful RF radiation.