The Federal Communications Commission sets the acceptable U.S. radiation standards for cellphones. The effects of the radiation depend on the rate at which energy is absorbed by a mass of tissue. This is called as the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) and measured in watts per kilogram (W/kg). Most handset makers use private certification companies to test the SAR on their devices.
Based on a recommendation from industry group, IEEE, the FCC limits SAR levels for partial-body exposure (including head) to up to 1.6 W/kg, and whole body exposure to up to 0.08 W/kg. For hands, wrists, feet, and ankles, the limit is up to 4 W/kg, averaged over 10 grams of tissue.
In general, the lower the SAR the better the phone, from a potential health hazard point of view. For instance, Apple’s iPhone 3G has a maximum SAR of 1.39 W/kg when held at the ear. Compare that to the 1.19 W/kg SAR for the iPhone 3G S.
The best phone on EWG’s list, the Samsung Impression, has a maximum radiation of just 0.35 W/kg.
But FCC’s current standards are inadequate, says EWG. FCC standards allow 20 times more radiation to reach the head than the rest of the body, says an EWG representative, and they don’t provide an adequate margin of safety for cell phone radiation exposure.
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