In the previous post, I was discussing cellphone RF safety and the fact that we really don’t know what level is safe and what’s not.
Those individuals that go around with a cell phone or Bluetooth device glued to the side of their head will be happy to know that the FDA and the FCC are concerned about cell phones cooking their outer ear (the pinna). They have apparently noticed after all these years that ears stick out from the head kind of like an appendage and they have changed the SAR measurement procedure slightly to account for this. They didn’t, however, change the requirement levels.
Fortunately, the RF levels produced by the current 100 mW families of cell phones are not nearly as much of an issue as the 3 Watt bag phones of yesteryear. The new cell phones are also a lot more convenient to carry and the really fancy ones have a calendar, will calculate your take home pay, and play music. However just because the power is 15 dB lower doesn’t necessarily make them safe.
Dr. Henry Lai, a bioengineering professor at the University of Washington has done considerable research on the effects of low level microwave energy on brain cells. He and his colleagues reported that brain cells were clearly damaged by low level MW energy at levels significantly below those considered safe by U.S. government standards. You might want to do an Internet search about the impact of Dr. Lai’s test results. The information is very enlightening!
After watching what happens to food placed in a microwave oven, no one would deliberately stick their head in one while it’s operating. Yet almost everyone puts their cell phone next to their head, presses it tightly against their ear, and thinks nothing about it. My feeling is that since we really don’t know if the cell phone RF levels closely coupled to the brain are safe, we should at least practice prudent avoidance. There is no reason to take unnecessary risks. It’s possible to reduce our RF exposure without making drastic changes to our overall lifestyle, so long as we are aware of the need to do so.
My kids seem to have it right, even though their texting annoys me. That’s because I can talk a lot faster than I can text, but sending text messages, using the speaker phone mode, or wearing a wired headset does reduce RF exposure. Try not to use the cell phone in the car. Not only is it a driving distraction, but there is the possibility of internal RF reflections and cavity resonance which increases the field strength levels in the car. Pregnant women or women with small children should not carry the phone near the child. Maybe children should not have cell phones or if they do, have limited use times. Also, please don’t sleep with it. A cell phone does not make a good bedfellow. It is always generating low-level signals, and keeping your cell phone on the nightstand or under your pillow results in continuous RF exposure.
If you are really paranoid about cell phone radiation, users have found that carrying the phone in a small metal box or wrapping it thoroughly with several layers of aluminum foil will solve the RADHAZ problem. It also takes care of any annoying calls that you may not want. So will turning it OFF – and that doesn’t run down the batteries. More about shielding later.
I’ll be at the 2013 IEEE EMC Symposium. Stop by and say hello.