Current FCC guidelines assume a one-size-fits-all measurement. SAR limits, which measure only the thermal or heating properties of devices, are benchmarked against a 6’2” 200-pound man who would be much less vulnerable to mobile phone radiation than smaller adults and children. A further and significant flaw lies with how the current guidelines are measured: by holding the cell phone between 1.5 and 2.5 centimeters (or 1 inch) away from the body. This method gives an inaccurate reading of radiation exposure, since almost all consumers hold their phones against their heads and bodies. “If measured for real life situations, the results would likely show that devices such as cell phones and tablets routinely exceed the radiation exposure allowed by current limits,” Dr. Kennedy said.
According to the GAO report, the current standards—in place since 1997 (some 4 years before the first smartphones became commercially available)—“may not reflect the latest research,” “may not identify maximum exposure [to radiation] in all possible usage conditions,” and, notably, fail to test for use of phones against the body—which “could result in RF [radio frequency] energy exposure higher than the FCC limit.” Since most people today use and carry their phones against their bodies, consumers likely are unknowingly and consistently exposed to radiation levels above the FCC safety limit. The FCC’s web site however still informs consumers that cell phones tested by these very same FCC standards, are “safe.”
Pong’s letter also explains how the FCC’s current device testing guidelines likely underestimate the real absorption rate of radiation by children and urges FCC’s web to be consistent with the GAO Report and other recent developments. This is in order to properly inform consumers of the potential health effects of electro-magnetic radiation exposure, so that we can best exercise precautions. A copy of Pong’s letter is filed in the FCC’s WT Docket No. 03-137.
“Seven out of 10 children in the United States aged 10 to 14 have cell phones, and one in three teens sends more than 3,000 texts per month.18 A number of phone models are specifically marketed to children.
We respectfully suggest, therefore, that in order to best ensure protection of children, the Commission’s forthcoming notice of inquiry on cell phone safety should inquire what would be an appropriate testing methodology that would—among other things—more accurately measure “real SAR” as it relates to use of wireless devices by children.” – Pong’s Letter to FCC
“The model used to estimate the SAR for a cell phone user’s head was derived from the size and dimensions of the head of a large adult male. A comparison of anatomically based models of the human head shows that this SAR may underestimate the absorption rate in children by a factor of two or more. Studies show deeper penetration of absorbed energy in a child’s head, the result of the thinness of the outer ear and skull of young children.
“Experiments have shown that smaller head models produce statistically higher SAR values than larger models. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) notes that better characterization of SARs for children of various age groups is necessary and that current models are not adequate for children.” A February 2012 publication by Environment and Human Health, Inc., Cell Phone – Technology, Exposures, Health Effects
This doesn’t apply to only cellphones, tablets and readers use the same technology as cellphones. Since we use these devices everyday and they are constantly on our person, we need to be more fully aware of the levels of radiation we are allowing into our bodies and those of our children.
This isn’t a call to toss out your cellphones. I wouldn’t be able to live without mine! Pong, the GAO and others are only trying to make the FCC be honest with us and do more thorough accurate testing so that we can be made aware. If anything, there are products that help lower the level of radiation absorption, like the new cases developed by Pong Research, to help us have our necessary daily tools and also stay safe.
I wanted to share this with you because it was shocking for me to read. Not the news about the radiation, because that has been around for a long time, but the news that it is honestly at a dangerous level for us and our children and that they’re still stating they are safe. This is something that all parents need to be made aware of to make good choices for our families.
“It was encouraging to see the GAO mention this FCC testing discrepancy in its report,” Dr. Kennedy said. “If we’re going to be scientifically honest, SAR must be measured the same way most people use their phones. In our experience, most consumers are surprised to learn that their iPhone manual tells them their phone may exceed FCC radiation exposure guidelines if they hold it less than 5/8 of an inch away from their body.”