Cell phone radiation isn’t anything new, and while the National Cancer Institute (NCI) indicates current studies have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancers of the brain, nerves, or other tissues of the head or neck, cell phone technology and how people use cell phones
is rapidly evolving–and so might be the risk.
“Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy, a form of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, which can be absorbed by tissues closest to where the phone is held,” states NCI.“The amount of radiofrequency energy a cell phone user is exposed to depends on the technology of the phone, the distance between the phone’s antenna and the user, the extent and type of use, and the user’s distance from cell phone towers.”
Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) refers to the rate at which the body absorbs radio frequency (RF) exposure. Radio frequency energy is a form of electromagnetic radiation,
and though the only known biological effect of radio frequency energy is heating (such as in microwave ovens), studies have shown people who used a cell phone for 50 minutes experienced brain tissues on the same side of the head as the phone’s antenna metabolizing more glucose than did tissues on the opposite side of the brain. Whether or not this change has any health implications is unknown, but man countries have nonetheless placed regulations on the SAR limit considered acceptable for mobile devices.
When using a body-worn accessory to keep the phone five millimeters from the body, the SAR level is 1.18 for the iPhone 6 and 1.19 for the iPhone 6 Plus, according to data on Apple’s website.
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D, from the University of California, Berkley, indicates
, “Like most cell phones, both new iPhone models have several transmitters that can simultaneously emit microwave radiation, which includes cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth radiation. When all these transmitters are turned on, the SAR value is 1.58 for the iPhone 6 and 1.59 for the iPhone 6 Plus. These levels are very close to the legal limit which is 1.60. To reduce exposure to microwave radiation, turn off any transmitters not in use.”
To minimize exposure risks, people using the iPhone 6 models should maintain a minimum separation distance between the phones and the body of approximately two-tenths of an inch (i.e., 5 millimeters).
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assumes that consumers will carry their cell phones in a manufacturer-approved holder that keeps the phone a minimum distance from the body,” notes Moskowitz. “However, people do not reliably keep their phone away from their body in a cell phone holder.
For the SAR test, the FCC allows the manufacturer to choose the separation distance between the cell phone and the test model as long as consumers are informed about the minimum distance tested. Few consumers are aware of the manufacturer’s recommended minimum body separation from their cell phone because this information is often difficult to find. Thus, most consumers are in the dark about precautions they can take to keep their exposure to microwave radiation below the legal limit.”
Moskowitz points out that health views on cell phone risk are mixed; in 2011, the World Health Organization declared radio frequency radiation possibly carcinogenic in humans, and hundreds of laboratory studies with animals and cell samples have found deleterious biologic effects from short-term exposure to low intensity cell phone radiation, including development of stress proteins, micronuclei, free radicals, DNA breakage, and sperm damage.
NCI, indicates, however, that there are a number of reasons findings on cell phone hazards are inconsistent, including inaccurate reporting, recall bias, participation bias, and evolving technology.
“Older studies evaluated radiofrequency energy exposure from analog cell phones,” states NCI. “However, most cell phones today use digital technology, which operates at a different frequency and a lower power level than analog phones. Digital cell phones have been in use for more than a decade in the United States, and cellular technology continues to change. Texting, for example, has become a popular way of using a cell phone to communicate that does not require bringing the phone close to the head. Furthermore, the use of hands-free technology, such as wired and wireless headsets, is increasing and may decrease radio frequency energy exposure to the head and brain.”
Cancer-causing or not, the fact remains that Apple’s iPhone 6 numbers are high enough to warrant user awareness. While it may not always be possible to keep a phone at least 5 millimeters from the body, users are advised to limit close-contact use when possible, utilizing texting and speaker phone utilities whenever possible.