Radio Frequency (RF) Emissions

What Do Experts Say About Phone Safety and RF Emissions?
The worldwide scientific community has been conducting research on the subject of wireless phones and radio frequency (RF) energy for many year and research continues in this area. We have included some of the findings here.

The Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set policies and procedures for wireless phones in the United States. The FDA issued a website publication on health issues related to wireless phone usage where it states that, while research is ongoing, "available scientific evidence—including World Health Organization findings in its Interphone study released May 17, 2010—shows no increased health risk due to radiofrequency (RF) energy, a form of electromagnetic radiation that is emitted by cell phones." The FDA also cites a separate National Cancer Institute program finding that, despite the dramatic increase in wireless phone use, occurrences of brain cancer did not increase between 1987 and 2005.  Read the Full FDA Article

The Federal Communications Commission
On its website, the FCC states that "there is no scientific evidence that proves that wireless phone usage can lead to cancer or other problems, including headaches, dizziness or memory loss."  View the FCC's Wireless Phone FAQs or call at (888) 225-5322 or (888) CALL-FCC.

The National Cancer Institute
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) states that concerns about the potential health effects of using wireless phones—"specifically the suggestion that using a cell phone may increase a person's risk of developing brain cancer—are not supported by a growing body of research on the subject."  View the Full NCI's Article

The World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) is the public health arm of the United Nations. The WHO's Interphone study is the largest study of wireless phone use and brain tumors ever undertaken. WHO summarized its conclusions concerning Interphone as follows: "Overall, no increase in risk of glioma or meningioma was observed with use of mobile phones. There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma at the highest exposure levels, but biases and error prevent a causal interpretation. The possible effects of long-term heavy use of mobile phones require further investigation."   Read the WHO's Comments on the Study PDF.  View the Full WHO Interphone Study

What Does "SAR" Mean?
Before a wireless phone model is available for sale to the public, it must be tested by the manufacturer and certified to the FCC that it does not exceed certain limits established by the FCC. One of these limits is expressed as a Specific Absorption Rate, (SAR), which is a measure of the rate of absorption of RF energy in the body. Tests for SAR are conducted with the phone transmitting at its highest power level in all tested frequency bands.

Since 1996, the FCC has required that the SAR of handheld wireless phones not exceed 1.6 watts per kilogram, averaged over one gram of tissue. Although the SAR is determined at the highest power level, the actual SAR value of a wireless phone while operating can be less than the reported SAR value. This is because the SAR value may vary from call to call, depending on factors such as proximity to a cell site, proximity of the phone to the body while in use and the use of hands-free devices.

Can I Minimize My RF Exposure?
If you're concerned about RF, there are several simple steps you can take to minimize your RF exposure. First, you can place more distance between your body and the source of the RF, as the exposure level drops off dramatically with distance. The FCC website states the following: "Hands-free kits can be used with wireless phones for convenience and comfort. These systems reduce the absorption of RF energy in the head because the phone, which is the source of the RF emissions, will not be placed against the head. On the other hand, if the phone is mounted against the waist or other part of the body during use, then that part of the body will absorb more RF energy. Wireless phones marketed in the U.S. are required to meet safety requirements regardless of whether they are used against the head or against the body. Either configuration should result in compliance with the safety limit."

If you use your wireless phone while in a car, you can use a phone with an antenna on the outside of the vehicle. Another way to reduce RF exposure is to reduce your talk time. For additional ways to reduce your exposure to RF, please read and follow your wireless phone manufacturer's instructions for the safe operation of your phone.

Learn More About Radio Frequency Safety


Do Wireless Phones Pose Any Special Risk to Children?
The FDA website states that "the scientific evidence does not show a danger to any users of cell phones from RF exposure, including children and teenagers." It goes on to state that "some groups sponsored by other national governments have advised that children be discouraged from using cell phones at all. For example, the Stewart Report from the United Kingdom made such a recommendation in December 2000. In this report a group of independent experts noted that no evidence exists that using a cell phone causes brain tumors or other ill effects. [The United Kingdom's] recommendation to limit cell phone use by children was strictly precautionary; it was not based on scientific evidence that any health hazard exists."

Parents who wish to reduce their children's RF exposure may choose to restrict their children's wireless phone use.
A copy of the UK's leaflet is available (search "mobile")

Copies of UK's annual reports on mobile phones and RF are available online at http://www.iegmp.org.uk/ and http://www.hpa.org.uk/radiation/ (search "mobile").

Where Can I Turn for Further Information?
Check these additional resources for more details on Radio Frequency Emissions: