After talk this week about cell phones and cancer, things are left undecided.
This week, there was an updated scientific report regarding on going research studies involving prolonged cell phone usage and the potential exposure from RF signals. This has lead some to be very concerned about the safety of cell phone use and the potential impact from radiation. Unfortunately for that group, the report from the Health Protection Agency in Europe did not reach any different conclusions then they did in 2003. Their recommendations is to continue researching the concerns over RF exposure for a prolonged period of time. Given that cell phones have only been in wide spread usage for 15 years, the long term impact of that usage could take 20 or 30 years of regular usage before any noticeable impact might be found. As a result, the research groups have a status quo and will continue with what they are doing.
That got us thinking as to how all this relates to individuals and the phones they might be choosing to be using. We found that CNet maintains a cell phone radiation page on all currently selling phones. They maintain the list, removing phones no longer for sale and update it with new phones as they come along. Unfortunately, they are not keeping the list up to date and it is missing the Galaxy Nexus from Verizon. We were able to get numbers for the Galaxy Nexus from a review they did.
All of this is based on the SAR values which we obtained a definition from MobileBurn.
The SAR, or specific absorption rate, of a mobile phone is the amount of RF energy it exposes its user to. In the United States, mobile phones need to have a SAR rating of 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg) or less. In Europe, the limit is 2 W/kg. While there have been plenty of studies that conclude that phone based RF radiation is harmful, there are an equal amount that find the opposite to be true. In any event, a device with a lower SAR rating will pose less of a risk than one with a higher rating.
Also known as: “Specific Absorption Rate”
This is the standard which has been agreed to all over the world for reporting on RF exposure. This is not a detailed explanation as there are many other which you might find. Given that Samsung and Apple appear to be battling it out on their phones, I decided to put together some numbers from the lists provided by CNet. In that, I pulled them for the iPhone 4 and 4S for Apple. For Samsung, I pulled them for the Galaxy S II and Galaxy Nexus. These are obviously relative to the US as that is where the list is based. Here is the information I found and is by no means scientific, but does provide an interesting view. Obviously, a lower number is far better.
I was very surprised to see the differences in the SAR values between Apple and Samsung on these higher end phones. To be honest, I expected Samsung to be higher than Apple for RF exposure. It is quite a surprise and seems to indicate that Samsung has a lower rating because they have engineered their phones that way making them more desirable.
If the Samsung Galaxy S3 coming out soon maintains this trend, they will have another feature making them better than Apple.