Current Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s 23 year-old testing guidelines allow manufacturers to test phones held up to 1 inch away from the testing device as a way to “cheat” to pass the radiation “safety” test. This means that when consumers carry or use their phone against their bodies (as in a shirt or pants pocket), they are getting more radiation than the federal exposure “safety” guidelines allow.

Phones must be tested with NO separation distance to simulate the radiation exposure received when phones are carried and used directly against the body as in shirt or pants pockets or tucked into waistbands or bras. However, cell phone manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, LG, etc. spend a lot of money lobbying the FCC to not require this as it would mandate more restrictive safety regulations on cell phone emissions.

On December 4th, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a formal proceeding stating, “Even though some parties claim that the RF exposure evaluation procedures for phones should require testing with a “zero” spacing – against the body – this is unnecessary.

The FCC’s justification for maintaining the “separation distance” in their 23 year-old, obsolete exposure testing procedures is quoted below:

“…Current evaluation procedures require consumer portable devices to be tested…at a separation distance of up to 2.5 centimeters (about one inch) from the body to represent phone use in other ways”.

Exactly what are the “other ways” of using a cell phone mentioned to justify manufacturers testing their phones up to 1 inch away from the body? Why would the FCC allow this separation distance at testing INSTEAD of requiring that phone manufacturers test them with no separation distance to more accurately simulate typical use directly against the body as in a pants or shirt pocket?

A technical FCC document that instructs manufacturers about RF exposure testing states,

This distance is determined by the handset manufacturer according to the typical body-worn accessories users may acquire at the time of equipment certification, but not more than 2.5 cm, to enable users to purchase aftermarket body-worn accessories with the required minimum separation….Devices that are designed to operate on the body of users…without requiring additional body-worn accessories must be tested for SAR compliance using a conservative minimum test separation distance ≤ 5 mm to support compliance.

And, the “body-worn accessories” that manufacturers claim their customers must use to keep the radiating phones at the “as-tested” distance from their bodies?…. From the FCC’s own document, “….belt clips and holsters for cellphones”.

Huh? How many consumers under the age of 60 still use belt clips and holsters to keep their cell phones up to an inch away from their bodies?!

None of the most popular cell phones sold in the U.S. today provide their users with these required “body-worn accessories” – nor do they warn their customers about the danger of carrying or using their phone directly against the body when RF exposure levels can exceed the federal “safety” guidelines (as reported in the Chicago Tribune August, 2019 article, “We tested popular cell phones for radio frequency radiation.”)

The FCC’s testing regulations must be changed to require that phones be tested held directly against the body with no separation as they are used when in pockets or tucked into waistbands and bras, rather than to continue allowing cell phones to be tested with a separation distance that simulates use in belt clips and holsters.

The FCC is failing in its regulatory duties to protect consumers and instead is setting policy to protect the cell phone manufacturers whose phones exceed the federal safety exposure guidelines by over 500% in some cases when tested as consumers are using them: directly against the body in shirt and pants pockets and tucked into waistbands and bras.

Cell phone health and safety advocates are calling on Congress to investigate these fraudulent actions by cell phone manufacturers as well as the failure of the FCC to provide the regulatory oversight required to protect public health.

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SAR is the test required by the FCC to measure heat absorption in the body from radiation exposure during a cell phone call.

 

The heat that builds up when our body parts are exposed to the microwave radiation of our cell phone is called SAR, an acronym for Specific Absorption Rate.  Before a new cell phone can be marketed to consumers, the manufacturer must submit to the FCC their own SAR testing results for the device .  (It’s basically like the honor system as there is little, if any, oversight of the SAR testing values reported.)  The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) checks the manufacturer’s documents to make sure that the SAR levels didn’t exceed 1.6 watt/kg during the test.  So, that’s why all cell phones have a SAR rating less than 1.6.  The lower the SAR, the lower the radiation emission.  However, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Each phone must make public two separate SAR ratings: one when held at the ear, and the other when tested on the body.  NOTE: (“on the body” is misleading because the FCC allows the manufacturer to test their phone while positioned in a holster held .6 – 1 ” away from the body NOT when the phone is really ON our body like when we carry it in a pocket or wherever.)

Why make a big deal about 1″?  The radiation emitted from a phone in the pocket can be almost 16 times the radiation emitted with the phone held 1 inch away in a holster!!  This is why no one should ever carry, and especially not use, a phone in the pocket.

When you receive or make a call or receive a text message while the phone is in your pocket (next to your heart, breast or reproductive organs)…well, the manufacturer isn’t required to test for that.  And, it is a fact that a phone with a high SAR value “on the body when in a holster” will expose the user to much greater than the FCC-allowed safety limit when carried in the pocket against the body.

Everyone knows that the typical way to carry a cell phone is in the pocket.  Right?  Well, tell that to the entire cell phone industry which has convinced the FCC that this is not true.  The FCC’s documents state that the typical way of carrying a cell phone around is on a belt clip/holster.  Yeah, maybe 15 years ago!!  How many kids and young adults have you seen with their cell phone “mounted” in a holster?  What a joke!  So, hang on while you read this:  the FCC allows manufacturers to test their phone while in a holster and no one knows how dangerously high the radiation levels can be when carried or held closer than .6 – 1″ to the body because no one is required to test it in this manner.

As if that isn’t bizarre enough, check this out: all the charts, and even the SAR values reported by the manufacturers on their websites or in their user manuals (when you can find the data which is purposely hidden or obscured in fine print) call this “on the body in a holster test” simply “SAR value on the body” implying that the test was done “on the body”.

This is deceptive, and CTIA and the cell phone industry are doing nothing about it.

Few people are aware that radiation penetrates more deeply in the soft tissues of the body….the skull actually deflects a lot of the radiation.  There have been tests that clearly show that the reproductive organs are most vulnerable to the heating effects of cell phone radiation.  It is to the cell phone industry’s advantage for us to remain unaware that there is no testing done to ensure cell phones meet the safety standard when carried or used directly on the body as in a pocket or tucked in a waistband or bra.

Get informed.  Find out the SAR level of a phone before you purchase it.  There are a few websites that inform consumers about the SAR values of most cell phones.  CNET’s list may be the most popular, however, it is misleading because it only lists the SAR rating at the ear.   A phone can be listed as relatively low on CNET’s radiation chart, but actually have the highest SAR value on the market according to the SAR value when tested “on the body in a holster”.  This is the case with the LG Xenon which has a fairly low SAR value at the ear of .5, however, one of the highest SAR values allowed of 1.5 when it was tested “on the body in a holster”.  Also, many of CNET’s SAR values are just flat out wrong when fact-checked against the FCC’s website for accuracy.

The following website lists the highest SAR value (whether at the ear or on the body in a hoster) for each phone sold.  This is a more thorough method of reporting compared to CNET’s which is incomplete.  (Note:  I don’t endorse the SAR shield products as I don’t know for certain that radiation shields do anything other than make the user feel safer):

http://www.sarshield.com/english/radiationchart.htm

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The FCC requires all cell phone manufacturers to warn consumers to never carry their cell phone in their pocket or they will be exposed to radiation emission that exceeds federal safety guidelines.

The entire cell phone industry knows this dirty little secret  and they are hiding it from consumers!!  Nope, it’s not some wild conspiracy theory – it’s the ugly truth they don’t want you to know about!  Skeptical?!  I don’t blame you…. I couldn’t believe it myself.  But, here are the facts:

I discovered that the BlackBerry cell phone I purchased for my 16 year old daughter had an FCC-required consumer safety warning to never carry the phone closer than 1” from the body or radiation would exceed the FCC safety limit of 1.6 SAR (the measurement of heat absorbed during exposure to cell phone radiation).  She had been carrying it for 8 months in her pocket (as do most children, teens and young adults) receiving thousands of texts and phone calls each month with the phone directly against her body.  Because that particular phone had the highest radiation of any cell phone on the market, the amount of radiation emitted when closer than 1” from the body most certainly exceeded the 1.6 SAR safety limit.  The required safety warning which would have warned her to never carry the phone in her pocket was not in the user guide so we might have seen it; it was located on the CD that came with the phone which we had no hope of seeing as it was located in the bottom of the box; once I heard about the CD and found the silly thing, the safety warning which was supposedly on the CD could not be read on my MAC!  It required a PC to even be read.  Also, the elusive .pdf file which contained the safety warning was not referenced anywhere in the product literature.

FCC requires ALL cell phone manufacturers to warn users that the radiation level can be dangerous if carried in the pocket.  Were you warned?

After a bit of research, I discovered that ALL cell phone manufacturers are required to inform consumers of this warning although few consumers ever see it since the FCC allows this warning to be buried in fine print in an obscure place in the user guide within technical radio frequency emission jargon.  If you check every word of the user manual that came with your cell phone, you might see it.  Get out a magnifying glass, as it will be in incredibly small type font.  And, it will be buried in some FCC “compliance” section about radio frequency emissions or “separation distance”.  Go on, see if you can find it.

The FCC does little, if any oversight of cell phone manufacturers, so this industry-wide deception continues without consequence.  The CTIA (powerful cell phone industry lobbying agency) is aware of this industry-wide practice, and has done nothing to stop it.

Well… even if you did find the safety warning, you might not recognize what it implies.  Manufacturers have become really tricky about wording the warning in a way that makes no sense.  Instead of just writing,

“Don’t carry the phone in your pocket or you’ll be exposed to radiation levels that exceed the FCC-established safety limit,”

they write bizarre, misleading “suggestions”, like, “Always maintain a minimum separation distance of 1″ OR better yet… “Refer to body-worn configuration requirement”.

You are now warned.  Spread the word to children, teens and others who carry cell phones in their pockets!

Don’t let your kids carry cell phones in their pockets.  Be informed.  Find the safety warning for your phone and call your service provider and complain that the FCC-required safety warning needs to be in a prominent location in language a consumer would understand.  Better yet, write to the president of your cell phone service provider or file a formal complaint with the FCC.

Demand that the cell phone industry stop hiding the consumer safety warning!!  We have a right to know!!  What are they REALLY hiding?


“We’re all lab rats in the cell phone industry’s global experiment to prove that their products really DON’T have the negative health impacts that physicians and scientists throughout the world are warning us about.  Who do YOU believe?”  Cynthia Franklin,  Consumers for Safe Cell Phones