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Inside a Cellphone Radiation Testing Lab
By Priya Ganapati October 27, 2009 | 11:44 am | Categories: Phones

Is radiation from cellphones dangerous or not? As consumers become increasingly glued to their phones, researchers, environmental organizations and cellphone industry groups debate this question.

So far, the answer is elusive. But you can find out how much radiation your head is absorbing from any given phone.

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission sets the acceptable radiation standards for cellphones. As part of the device certification process, all handset makers have to offer a certificate from an independent lab that show how the device rates.

Cetecom is one of those labs. The company, based in Milpitas, California, performs radiation testing on devices like mobile phones, laptops, USB modems and sometimes even ankle monitors used by law enforcement. For each category of devices, the testing process is nearly identical.

Wired.com got a rare peek into the labs when we watched them test the iPhone with and without Pong, a new iPhone case that promises to reduce the amount of radiation hitting your brain by directing it up and away from your head.

The iPhone is carefully positioned to a model of a human male head such that the antenna is near the jaw.
The effects of the radiation depend on the rate at which energy is absorbed by a mass of tissue, like your head. It is called the specific absorption rate (SAR) and measured in watts per kilogram (W/kg).

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