Cell phone radiation exposure

For a long time now I’ve been considering getting a new cell phone. I simply don’t like the hardware or the interface for my existing phone and it may be just my imagination, but using it for any length of time makes my face and teeth on that side feel “funny”.

Ever since learning about the potential dangers of cell phone radiation, number one on criteria list for a new model (after the simple ability to place and receive calls) is that it emits only a low level of radiation. Since I’m changing phones anyway, there’s no better time to get a safer phone and reduce exposure for myself and my family.

As I’ve been considering different options, I’ve been evaluating them using the Environmental Working Group’s cell phone radiation look up tool, however not all potential phones are on there. (With the rate cell phone manufacturers produce new models I don’t expect them to be able to keep up either!)

When looking at phones today it occurred to me that for those not in the database, I could research to find the radiation level from the manufacturer. I found that what I need to search for is called the SAR Value. SAR stands for Specific Absorption Rate and gives an indication of the amount of radiation absorbed by your head when using the phone. The higher the number, the more that is absorbed. Using the EWG scale as a model, it looks like the best phones on the market right now have a maximum SAR under 0.55 W/kg.

Some manufacturers have pages or search engines that allow you took to look up the SAR value for all their phones. For others you might have to resort to a Google search. Typically if you use the phone model plus SAR you will find the number.  You can also attempt to look them up on the Mobile Manufacturers Forum site.

Alternatively, if you just happen to have the phone handy, or can capture the information from a display model or other source, you can also look this up using the FCC ID number. This info is found on the label under the battery — hardly practical when researching a new phone.

As more consumers learn about the potential dangers, especially to kids whose brains are still developing, I feel confident we’ll see a rise in the number of phones designed to emit low levels of radiation. In the meantime, in addition to getting a low radiation phone, following some of the EWG’s safety tips seems like a wise move. I’m hopeful that the FCC will soon wake up and re-examine the regulations in order to improve the standards. There’s also a lot that could be done to make this kind of information more readily available to consumers.