The Low Down On Green Living
September 14th, 2009
Over 4 billion people in the world have cell phones. They’re handy, portable, inexpensive and we wonder how we even got along with out them before we had one. Cell phones are here to stay, there’s no doubt about that. But there are mounting concerns about the adverse health affects from radiation emitted from your cell phone. Nothing has been proven, but considering that a cell phone operates by sending out radio waves made up of electromagnetic radiation, it’d be wise to be conscious and make smart choices. All phones release radiation, but some release more than others, so one way to make smarter choices is to choose a phone that emits less. The Environmental Working Group has just provided a new online Cell Phone Radiation Guide providing the radiation levels for about 1,000 cell phones. What’s your cell phone’s radiation level?
Cell phones all have a Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), which is a way of measuring the amount of radio-frequency energy that is absorbed by the human body. As of 1996, this exposure limit was set by the FCC, and no phone can have a SAR level greater than 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg). As of 2000, the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) mandated that all cell phone manufacturers disclose radiation levels to consumers by placing a label on the phone. Personally, I have never seen a SAR rating disclosed for cell phones, so if the rating is listed, the manufacturers are certainly not advertising that information.
Which is why EWG created the online database. You may remember the EWG for their helpful Guide to Sunscreens to help consumers pick less toxic brands. They’ve done it again with an important guide to radiation levels in cell phones. Here’s a list of the top 10 best phones and their radiation levels.
- Samsung Impression (SGH-a877) - 0.35 W/kg
- Motorola RAZR V8 - 0.36 W/kg
- Samsung SGH-t229 - 0.38 W/kg
- Samsung Rugby (SGH-a837) - 0.46 W/kg
- Samsung Propel Pro (SGH-i627) - 0.47 W/kg
- Samsung Gravity (SGH-t459) - 0.48 W/kg
- T-Mobile Sidekick - 0.50 W/kg
- LG Xenon (GR500) - 0.52 W/kg
- Motorola Karma QA1 - 0.55 W/kg
- Sanyo Katana II - 0.55 W/kg
As you can see, Samsung dominates when it comes to low radiation levels. The RAZR is also a very popular phone with a low SAR. Meanwhile the top 10 worst cell phones in terms of radiation are:
- Motorola MOTO VU204 - 1.55 W/kg
- T-Mobile myTouch 3G - 1.55 W/kg
- Kyocera Jax S1300 - 1.55 W/kg
- Blackberry Curve 8330 - 1.54 W/kg
- Motorola W385 - 1.54 W/kg
- T-Mobile Shadow - 1.53 W/kg
- Motorola C290 - 1.53 W/kg
- Motorola i335 - 1.53 W/kg
- Motorola MOTO VE240 - 1.52 W/kg
- Blackberry Bold 9000 - 1.51 W/kg
Smart phones and PDAs tend to have higher SAR levels. The rest of the phones fall in the middle, including some very important models.
- Apple iPhone - 0.97 W/kg
- Apple iPhone 3G S - 0.52 - 1.19 W/kg
- Palm Pre - 0.92 W/kg
- Palm Centro - 1.09 - 1.35 W/kg
- Blackberry Pearl 8130 - 1.48 W/kg
- Blackberry Storm 9530 - 0.57 W/kg
- T-Mobile G1 with Google - 1.11 W/kg
- T-Mobile Sidekick LX - 0.89 W/kg
If you are at all concerned about the health affects of cell phones, but like the rest of us are reliant on the gadget, here are some other ways to limit your exposure to radiation:
- Use a hands-free headset.
- Use a phone that places the antenna as far away from you as possible.
- Extend the antenna during use.
- Limit calls inside buildings.
- Use the phone in open spaces as often as possible.
- Limit use by children.
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