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Mobile Phone Radiations and their Effects on Health

There are more than 2 billion mobile phone users. In the recent years consumer concerns about the consequences of these radiations on human health have risen considerably. Some users believe that these electromagnetic radiations are harmful to human health. According to WHO (World Health Organization) health effects, such as headaches are not likely caused by cell phone radiations. Nevertheless some European countries including Sweden, Germany, France and Austria have recommended their citizens to minimize exposure to cell phone radiation.

Electromagnetic and Radio Waves

Electromagnetic (EM) Waves that have electric and magnetic properties and can propagate through vacuum or matter. EM waves are divided into several classes or types on the basis of their frequencies. Visible light from sun is a class of electromagnetic waves. Microwaves are also a class of EM having wavelength between 1mm to 1m. Radio waves are a type of EM waves having frequency lower than microwaves.

Radiation absorption

Part of the radio waves emitted by a mobile telephone handset are absorbed by the human head. The radio waves emitted by a GSM handset, can have a peak power of 2 watts, and a US analogue phone had a maximum transmit power of 3.6 watts. Other digital mobile technologies, such as CDMA 2000 and D-AMPS, use lower output power, typically below 1 watt. The maximum power output from a mobile phone is regulated by the mobile phone standard it is following and by the regulatory agencies in each country. In most systems the cellphone and the base station check reception quality and signal strength and the power level is increased or decreased automatically, within a certain span, to accommodate for different situations such as inside or outside of buildings and vehicles. The rate at which radiation is absorbed by the human body is measured by the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), and its maximum levels for modern handsets have been set by governmental regulating agencies in many countries. In the USA, the FCC has set a SAR limit of 1.6 W/kg, averaged over a volume of 1 gram of tissue, for the head. In Europe, the limit is 2 W/kg, averaged over a volume of 10 grams of tissue. SAR values are heavily dependent on the size of the averaging volume. Without information about the averaging volume used comparisons between different measurements can not be made. Thus, the European 10-gram ratings should be compared among themselves, and the American 1-gram ratings should only be compared among themselves. SAR data for specific mobile phones, along with other useful information, can be found directly on manufacturers' websites, as well as on third party web sites.

List of some European mobile phone SAR levels

Manufacturer and ModelExtended/retracted SAR level
1. Nokia 21100.44/0.25
2. Nokia 51100.37
3. Nokia 61100.29
4. Bosch World 7180.28/0.33
5. Ericsson GA6280.26
6. Hagenuk Global Handy 0.03
7. Motorola Star V36880.02
8. Motorola Star TAC 700.02/0.01

List of top 10 highest radiation mobile phones in the US - SAR

Manufacturer and ModelSAR Level
1. Ericsson T28 World1.49
2. Nokia Digital 51601.45
3. Nokia 51701.45
4. Denso TP 22001.44
5. Qualcomm QCP-19601.41
6. Sanyo SCP-45001.4
7. Sony CMB-1200, 2200, 32001.3906
8. Nokia 88601.39
9a. Motorola StarTAC 78671.38
9b. Motorola ST7767D1.38
9c. Motorola Talkabout T81671.38
9d. Motorola Timeport P81671.38
10. Neopoint NP-10001.38

List of 10 lowest radiation mobile phones in the US - SAR

Manufacturer and Model *SAR Level
1. Motorola StarTAC 78600.24
2. Qualcomm pdQ-19000.2634
3. Mitsubishi Trium Galaxy G-1300.35
4. Motorola TalkAbout 22970.35
5a. Motorola ST77970.39
5b. Motorola T80970.39
5c. Motorola P80970.39
6. Motorola StarTAC 7790i0.42
7. Motorola i1000plus0.43
8a. Motorola G5200.457
8b. Motorola M36820.457
9a. Ericsson KF-6880.477
9b. Ericsson DF-6880.477
10. Motorola M30970.53

(Source of both tables above: official manufacturers SAR data sent to FCC, and then collated by DoMode.com and CNET.com. These figures may not be 100% accurate and Global Change Ltd cannot take responsibility for them.)

The Nokia 3210 has a rather high SAR. SAR of 25 new cell-phone models:

Manufacturer: Model: SAR: (*)

  • Motorola Star Tac 130 (A) 0.10 +
  • Motorola Star Tac 130 (B) 0.38 +
  • Nokia 8810 0.22 --
  • Sony CMD-C1 0.55 --
  • Ericsson I8888 World 0.60 +
  • Ericsson S868 0.77 +
  • Nokia 6110 0.87 --
  • Ericsson A1018s 0.88 +
  • Ericsson SH888 0.90 +
  • Trium Galaxy (A) 0.93 ++
  • Trium Galaxy (B) 1.16 ++
  • Motorola cd930 0.94 +
  • Panasonic EB-G520 0.95 --
  • Alcatel One Touch max (A) 0.97 -
  • Alcatel One Touch max (B) 1.29 -
  • Ericsson T18s 0.97 +
  • Nokia 6150 0.98 --
  • Panasonic EB-GD70 0.99 --
  • Philips Savy 1.11 -
  • Bosch GSM 909 1.13 -
  • Nokia 3210 1.14 --
  • Motorola cd920 1.17 +
  • Nokia 3110 1.24 --
  • Philips Genie 1800 (A) 1.26 +
  • Philips Genie 1800 (B) 1.41 +
  • Siemens C25 1.33 --
  • Philips Genie 900 (A) 1.52 +
  • Philips Genie 900 (B) 2.67 +
  • Motorola v3688 1.58 +
  • Bosch GSM 908 1.59 -

SAR in W/kg

(A) = with extended antenna (B) = antenna not extended

(*) = Warnings about possible radiation hazards in the user manual:

-- = none - = bad + = good ++ = very good


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