Illegal Levels of Radiation Emitted by Popular Cellphones

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STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Hidden within your cellphone’s manual is a little-known warning that advises you to keep the device at a certain distance from your body — typically 5 to 15 millimeters — to ensure you don’t exceed the federal safety limit for radiofrequency (RF) exposure
  • Cellphone testing by the Chicago Tribune reveals several popular cellphones emit far higher levels of RF radiation than legally permitted, which has led to the filing of at least one class-action lawsuit
  • In the U.S. and Canada, the SAR limit for mobile devices used by the public is 1.6 W/kg per 1 gram of head tissue. SAR is a measure of how much RF energy your body will absorb from the device when held at a specific distance from your body
  • At a distance of 5 mm from the body (the distance used by Apple), the iPhone 7 was found to emit anywhere between 2.5 and 3.46 W/kg, which is 1.6 to 2.2 times the legal limit. At 2 mm from the body, the distance of carrying the phone in your pocket, levels were even higher
  • The three Samsung Galaxy smartphones tested were all within the legal limit at 10 to 15 mm from the body (the distance used by Samsung), but RF radiation levels skyrocketed at 2 mm from the body, raising serious questions about the safety of keeping a Galaxy phone in your pocket

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