One of the most common hidden health threats lies nowadays in the ‘small’ gadget that we carry around everyday, no matter if we are at work, at home or during a holiday. Smartphones are a permanent source of radiation for our body. Depending on the brand, model and the way we use it, radiation levels vary significantly. Although all devices have to fit in maximum radiation levels indicated by the SAR value, this doesn’t make them risk free. SAR level limits haven’t been upgraded since decades, when they where originally designed to protect humans from the thermal discomfort caused by microwave radiation exposure. How about the protection regarding the side-effects of non-thermal cell phone radiation?
Less Radiation Less Risks
You don’t have to be a scientists to conclude that less smartphone radiation brings less health risks for the user. Common senses and personal experience leads to the conclusion that the longer you stick your cell phone to your ear the higher the chances are to end up with a headache, a warmed-up ear or strange tingling sensations in that area of your head.
Newly released researches do not exclude a direct link between smartphone radiation and increased brain cancer risks. Also the male sperm could be negatively affected, due to cell phone radiation while carrying the device in the pockets of your pants. Pregnant mothers carrying iPhones, Motorolas, Nokias and Galaxies near their womb could bring additional health risks to their unborn babies. You can read more about cell phone health risks here.
How is Smartphone Radiation Measured?
The SAR value represents the Specific Absorbtion Rate of energy by the human body, when exposed to a radio frequency. In the cell phone industry SAR shows the amount of radiation absorbed at head or body level while using a smartphone. In the United States the Federal Communications Community (FCC) imposes cell phone manufacturers not to sell devices which emit a SAR value higher than 1.6 watts per kilogram, averaged at 1 gram per tissue. The limit in Europe is 2 watts per kilogram averaged at 10 grams per tissue. However, don’t let yourself tricked about this discrepancy. Averaging radiation at 10 grams per tissue flattens out the hotspot and thus allowing up to 3x more radiation when compared to US regulations.
Why can be SAR limitation considered unreliable?
1. SAR standards where established decades ago, when radio frequency exposure was significantly lower than nowadays.
2. SAR tests for smartphones measure radiation absorption using an adult male as standard. What about adult women, future mothers and children? All of them having less body mass and being more vulnerable to an identical exposure that could be considered below danger limits in case of an adult male!
3. Current SAR standards take in account only thermal effects of radio frequency exposure. How about the other non-thermal risks that could cause DNA damage?
Tips and Tricks for Lowering Smartphone Radiation Exposure
With all this being said I recommend you to take safety precautions and reduce your cell phone radiation exposure. It’s best to prevent and be sure than to regret later on. Here are a few simple tips and tricks that will help you out:
1. Low SAR Smartphones: The first thing that you can do when it comes to lowering your exposure to cell phone radiation is pick a low SAR smartphone. Check the nearby image where you can find lists of the most popular devices and their SAR values. There is a table dedicated solely to iPhone devices.
2. Headphones: The 2nd best thing that you can do is use headphones when answering or initiating a call. However, note that you should avoid the wireless ones. You don’t need to replace the cell phone radiation with the bluetooth one. Headphones help you to easily control the distance between body and smartphone.
3. Speaker: A replacement for headphones is the ‘Speaker Mode’. So, if you are alone in the office or don’t mind if others hear your conversation, simply activate ‘Speaker’ and keep your smartphone at safe distance. Most devices even have settings that allow you to automatically set your phone to answer in ‘Speaker Mode’.
4. Duration: If none of the above applies you can lower the radiation exposure of your body by shortening calls. When you need to hold the smartphone close to your ear stay to the point and end the conversation as soon as possible. Keeping call duration under 1 minute is ideal.
5. Distance: Another efficient trick if you can’t use the above tips is to keep your smartphone a few inches away from the ear while talking. Every inch counts as the further the phone is from your head the lower the radiation absorption rate is. Never press the smartphone against your ear!
6. Switch: The switch trick requires you to switch your cell phone from an ear to another every 30 seconds, in order to avoid prolonged exposure. If you can restrain calls to an average duration of 1 minute you only need a single switch in the middle of the call.
7. Empty Pockets: Whenever you standstill at the office, in the car or at home, take out the smartphone from your pocket and place it on a desk or a shelf that is at least 1 meter away from you. At home you can define a place for your smartphone. Don’t take it with you wherever you go. You can set ringing levels to maximum in order to hear it when it rings.
8. Night Mode: Don’t take the smartphone in the bedroom when you go to sleep. It’s ideal if you switch it to ‘Airplane Mode’ and leave it in the living room.
9. Drained Battery: Avoid talking on your cell phone when its battery is drained. Researches show that cell phone radiation increases exponentially when your smartphone’s battery is on low level. Use a battery percentage indicator and plug-in your device whenever it gets near to the 20% level.
10. Tiredness: Last but not least avoid talking on your smartphone when you are tired. Your body will handle radiation even more difficult and a cell phone call could instantly cause or aggravate headaches.