Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Which are the Best and Worst Cell Phones in Terms of Radiation; Why EWG is Suspending Its Phone Radiation Rating Database

Measuring radiation risks of cell phones - Which phones are safer or worse? - WiFi Safety Tips

So, the Specific Absorption Rate (S.A.R.) rating is supposed to tell us about the radiation levels that a cell phone emits. We are still in the guinea pig phase, the generations by which future medicine will determine how cell phone radiation affects us.

The factor with which scientists and activists are concerned is are the electromagnetic fields from the cell phones. Still the greatest concern is for children, as their brains are still developing, and do so until age 25. Ultimately, the cell phone skeptics are concerned with the risk of developing brain cancer. The root of the trouble is seen as being the electromagnetic fields, as presented in this webpage by Dr. Joseph Mercola, "Radiation from Cell Phones and WiFi Are Making People Sick -- Are You at Risk?" In this article Mercola linked to an Alternet article, "Radiation From Cell Phones and WiFi Are Making People Sick -- Are We All at Risk?," whose author contended that with 24/4 exposure to electromagnetic radio frequencies, we are in "the largest human experiment ever."

Here are tips Dr. Mercola offers to be safe from cell phone and wifi radiation:

  • Children Should Never Use Cell Phones: Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults, because of their thinner skull bones, and still developing immune and neurological systems.
    [Read this article on children's brains and microwave radiation. The article includes citations to scientific studies.] 

  • Reduce Your Cell Phone Use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call.

    Leave an outgoing message on your phone stating your cell phone policy so others know not to call you on it except in emergencies.
  • Use a Land Line at Home and at Work: Although more and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive phone contact, it is a dangerous trend and you can choose to opt out of the madness.
  • Reduce or Eliminate Your Use of Other Wireless Devices: You would be wise to cut down your use of these devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them every single time.

    If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are no safer during calls, but at least some of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made. Note the only way to truly be sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone (so old meters won't help much). As many portable phones are 5.8 Gigahertz, we recommend you look for RF meters that go up to 8 Gigahertz, the highest range now available in a meter suitable for consumers.

    Alternatively you can be very careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren't talking. So if you can keep the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, and especially your bedroom, it may not be as damaging to your health.

    Ideally it would be helpful to turn off or disconnect your base station every night before you go to bed. Levels of microwave radiation from portable phones can be extraordinarily high.

    You can find RF meters at But you can pretty much be sure your portable phone is a problem if the technology is labeled DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology.
  • Limit Your Cell Phone Use to Where Reception is Good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.

    Also seek to avoid carrying your phone on your body as that merely maximizes any potential exposure. Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in a shirt pocket over the heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man's pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility.
  • Don't Assume One Cell Phone is Safer than Another. There's no such thing as a "safe" cell phone, and do not rely on the SAR value to evaluate the safety of your phone. Always seek CDMA carriers over GSM as they have far lower radiation in their signaling technology. And remember, eliminating cell phone use, or greatly lowering cell phone use from phones of all kinds, is where true prevention begins.
  • Keep Your Cell Phone Away From Your Body When it is On: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area.
  • Respect Others Who are More Sensitive: Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others' cell phones in the same room, even when it is on but not being used. If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, such as a doctor's office, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the 'second hand radiation' effects. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children.
  • Use Safer Headset Technology: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient information carrying radio waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain. Make sure that the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded.

    The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.
  • In recent years I have presented links to thorough lists of ratings on cell phones, according to their SAR rating. Today, I continue this, and also present other resources. One site that presents itself as that of an independent researcher is EMFacts Consultancy. This site also provides a link to an e-brochure on WiFi safety, "Wireless Networks (Wi-Fi) Consumer Health and Safety Advice."

    Here is a site that is listing phones and their SAR ratings. There is no year, but I'd estimate that it is 2013 or 2014, judging from the cellphone models listed.
    It is provided by a company that is vending what it calls a SAR Shield.

    Here is another handy page of cellphones and their SAR ratings. It is from March 5, 2014 and it can be sorted by manufacturer and by SAR rating (whether SAR EU or SAR US).

    Two more sites, with late model phones' ratings: and

    The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has suspended their site giving the rating of phones, by SAR ratings, because it believes that publication of such ratings is ignoring the other ways of gauging how much threat that cellphones can pass onto users. The EWG is contending, and we agree, that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is not doing a sufficient job of requiring cellphone manufacturers to divulge certain information. For one thing, the FCC dropped a cell phone cautionary statement that had been opposed by the wireless industry. As the EWG notes in "EWG's Guide to Safer Cell Phone Use: Where is EWG's Cellphone Database?",
    In addition to SAR, other factors that could affect the intensity and duration of emissions to which a person is exposed include frequency at which the phone operates, connection strength and distance between cell phone and the user's body. Yet FCC does not require cell phone manufacturers to conduct real-life SAR measurements and to disclose this information. Consequently, cell phone users and independent researchers do not have reliable information about cell phone radiation under specific conditions of use.
    Industry research that has belatedly become public has shown that a consumer using the same phone on two different 2G (second generation) network technologies – GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) vs. CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) – could be subjected to radiation levels differing by a factor of 30 or even 300 (Kelsh 2011). This study, conducted by the cell phone industry in 2005 and 2006 but released only in 2010, demonstrated that network differences were the key factor determining the user's exposure to cell phone radiation.
    Aside from brain risks, new concerns are cited. Researchers are now claiming that the phones cause risks to males' sperm. It is estimated that radiation from cell phones can reduce sperm counts by 30 percent. Some research, e.g., "A possible association between fetal/neonatal exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation and the increased incidence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD)" is contending that electromagnetic radiation could be behind the increased incidence of Autism spectrum disorders in recent years. As reported earlier this month by Carolyn Jones at the SF Gate site, Berkeley, California is attempting to mandate new warning labels, after a similar proposal failed in San Francisco. A researcher at the University of California at Berkeley was strong with his concern for the health impacts of cell phone radiation:

    Joel Moskowitz, head of UC Berkeley's Center for Family and Community Health, has no such indecision. He's been studying the issue since 2009, and has concluded that cell phones are "one of the top emerging public health risks."
    Studies cited by the cell phone industry are outdated, he said. Newer and more complex wireless technology, coupled with people spending increasing amounts of time on their phones, is almost certain to lead to an uptick in brain cancer, he said.
    "It's just a matter of time," he said. "The evidence is a lot more compelling than it has been."
    Radiation from cell phones penetrates the skin and skull and absorbs into the brain tissue, having an adverse affect on cells, he said. Phone radiation can also affect sperm count among men who carry phones in their pockets, he said.
    Consumers should wear headsets, use the speaker feature and otherwise keep phones away from their bodies, he said.
    "With cell phones, distance is your friend," he said.

    The most vulnerable

    Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable, he said.
    A warning sticker should advise consumers that some studies link cell phones to rare but serious cancers, and they should take precautions, he said.

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