For those of you, who, like me, are faced with the prospect of purchasing a cellphone for a teenager this year, managing the potential risks are the best option, and aside from the obvious best practices such as favouring texting over voice calls, using an earpiece, not telephoning in the metro or on trains or other places where reception is weak, the SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) seems like a helpful metric.
It’s a measure of the amount of radio frequency (RF) energy absorbed by the body when using the phone, and there is considerable variability among models.
CNET publishes a chart where the SAR level given is the highest level measured with the phone next to the ear, and these figures refer to voice calls only, and not to data use.
According to the latest figures released in December 2010, the three phones with the lowest radiation levels are:
1. Samsung Blue Earth (0.196) – boasts solar panel on back of handset, and is manufactured from used plastic bottles.
2. Samsung Acclaim (0.29)
3. LG Quantum (0.35)
Compare this with the Blackberry Curve (1.51).
For the Apple Iphone 3G rates vary among models. The 3GS (16GB) is 0.79, the Iphone 4 (1.17).
Among the top 20 highest radiation phones are:
Sony Ericsson Satio (1.56)
LG Rumor 2 (1.51)
HTC Desire (1.48)
Recommendations from the Environmental Working Group which will cheer introverts worldwide: Listen more and talk less – cellphones emit radiation when we talk or send an SMS but not when we are listening!!)
All those fashionable and distinctive phone protection cases – throw them away! the phones have to work harder to emit beyond the casing.