Specific Absorption Rate is an indicator of how much EMF radiation body tissue absorbs when you’re using a cell phone, and is one way to measure and compare the harm of different devices. In this article I wanted to provide a resource to compare and contrast the SAR levels of many popular phones and talk a bit about what Specific Absorption Rate is, and how we can use it.
What Is Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)?
In August of 1996, the Federal Communication Commission published rules on EMF exposure limits for cell phone manufacturers. These published guidelines outlined and defined Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) as a measure of the rate that body tissue absorbs radiation when you are using a cell phone. They decided that the maximum Specific Absorption rate should be 1.6 w/kg of body weight for any cell phone manufacturer. They decided on this amount because of the thermal effects of EMF radiation. Although all RF radiation has some ability to heat human tissue, these limits did not at all take into consideration the many other harmful effects of EMF radiation such as damage to the body, varying symptoms, cancer, and much more (check out other articles on EMF Academy for more on these).
The Specific Absorption Rate that the FCC, with input from many other government institutions, decided on, is defined using an average of a 30 minute phone call with the cell phone held directly to the ear. Since modern cell phones are used in all sorts of manners, ie speaker phone, scrolling through social media, browsing the web, etc, a base had to be set. Obviously, the distance between you’re body and the cell phone, as well as the manner in which you’re using the phone will dramatically change the SAR level of the device.
How is Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) Tested?
According to the FCC, SAR testing uses specific models of the human head and body that contain liquids in order to simulate the actual EMF absorption of human tissue. SAR levels are always tested while operating on the highest possible power, in order to find and determine the maximum EMF exposure output and the corresponding SAR level. The phone is placed at various positions on the head and body, including held to both ears, and all measurements are taken and reported to the FCC when the manufacturer is seeking approval. However it should be noted that only the very highest SAR values for each type of radiation are included in final consideration for compliance with the FCC’s guidelines.
Are SAR Levels A Good Indicator Of How Dangerous A Cell Phone Is?
In general, probably not, and here is why. Like we talked about in the last section, SAR limits that are reported are the maximum possible radiation emitted from the device, however this level is not what is common with regular use of the device. Just because one cell phone has a higher maximum SAR level, doesn’t mean that the radiation level of normal use isn’t higher or lower than another device with a different maximum SAR level. As the FCC puts it on their website: “cell phones constantly vary their power to operate at the minimum power necessary for communications; operation at maximum power occurs infrequently. Consequently, cell phones cannot be reliably compared for their overall exposure characteristics on the basis of a single SAR value.
A few other reasons that SAR levels can be unreliable:
- Children’s brains absorb double the radiation on average of an adult brain, and SAR levels are based on an adult brain.
- SAR levels only give us information about how much radiation they emit when in use against the body, but do not tell us about how much radiation they emit when not in use. For example, cell phones and computers can have a significant impact on male fertility due to constant EMF exposure.
- The dummies that are used for testing, only contain liquid. Many people have metal fillings, earrings, wear glasses, etc. and all of these can impact how the radiation is absorbed and amplified.
Alright, now that we’ve talked about what Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) is, and how it’s measured, let’s take a look at the SAR levels of popular cell phones and compare.
SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) Value Of Mobile Phones List
|. 20 Cell Phones With Highest Radiation|
Source: CNET, “Cell Phones with the Highest Radiation Levels (Pictures),” cnet.com, June 9, 2014
|II. 20 Cell Phones With Lowest Radiation|
Source: CNET, “Cell Phones with the Lowest Radiation Levels (Pictures),” cnet.com, June 9, 2014
|III. Apple iPhone Radiation Levels (Apple iPhone SAR Levels)|
Source: Apple, “RF Exposure,” apple.com (accessed Sep. 14, 2017)
|IV. Samsung Galaxy S Radiation Levels|
Source: Samsung, “SAR Information,” samsung.com (accessed Sep. 14, 2017)
How To Find The Specific Absorption (SAR) Level Of Your Mobile Phone
Listed above is the SAR levels of only some cell phones. Luckily, the FCC maintains a full database that includes detailed SAR information of every cell phone that can be sold in the United States.
You can find this database at https://www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/fccid. Just type in the FCC ID number of your cell phone into the database. For the vast majority of phones, you should be able to find the FCC ID written somewhere on the device itself. On iPhones, it is written in the small text on the back of the phone.
If you’re looking to reduce the amount of EMF radiation in your life, read on for some basics on EMF protection.
Basics of EMF protection
The best thing you can do to protect yourself from harmful EMF radiation, is to start by getting rid of the sources. For this, I would recommend the following articles that all have fantastic detailed tips to do this around your home and office:
Or, if you really want a detailed guide, I would check out Nicolas Pineault’s “A Non-Tinfoil Guide To EMFs” (This one does cost a few bucks, but is a comprehensive e-book”
After you get through reading some or all of these you should have a pretty good understanding of some of the best ways you can protect yourself from EMF radiation.
Some people also tout EMF shields and devices. In my experience, some of these work well, and some I really don’t have a good way of knowing. You can check what is available on Amazon by clicking Here, but just be sure to take time to read through the reviews and do your own research about the product before putting your trust in it.
In case you didn’t want to check out any of the posts above, and you’re still wondering “what is EMF protection,” i’ll just list out a few of my favorite EMF protection tips here:
- Turn your cell phone off at night, or if you use it for your alarm, put it in airplane mode.
- If possible get rid of wireless in your home and connect your computers via Ethernet.
- Get rid of your microwave.
- Protect yourself from your Smart Meter, as these are extremely dangerous
- Limit you and your families use of cell phones, tablets, and laptop computers.
- When using your cell phone, try to use speakerphone or headphones, don’t use your cellphone against your head.
There are so many more to list, so if you’re still interested check out some of the articles I listed above.
I hope you found value in my article about Specific Absorption Rates and Cell Phones Radiation values, if you did, please consider sharing it!