• 19 JUN 11
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    The irrelevance of cell phone SAR ratings (CBS News)

    Sent in by Blake Levit:

    Below is a link to a comprehensive piece on CBS News — Henry Lai’s (and my) paper is cited.
    This writer did a good job with a complicated subject…


    Trouble with cell phone radiation standard

    June 2, 2011 9:59 AM

    Marguerite Reardon


    Editors’ note: This is the second of a three-part series on issues related to cell phone radiation. Revisit Tuesday’s story on the inconclusive state of research on cell phone radiation, look for Monday’s story on what consumers can do to reduce their radiation exposure, or click here for a roundup of related coverage.

    Steve Filippone, a 65-year-old New Jersey resident who sells indoor air filter equipment, is concerned about what his cell phone could do to his body. That’s why he recently downloaded an app from a company called Tawkon that estimates the amount of cell phone radiation that he is likely being exposed to when he is talking on his BlackBerry.

    The app, which is now available for BlackBerry devices and Android smartphones, uses an algorithm that measures a cell phone user’s specific absorption rate, or SAR. (See also: CNET’s Quick Guide: Cell phone radiation levels.) SAR, in short, is the rate at which your whole body absorbs energy from a radio-frequency magnetic field. It’s measured in watts per kilogram or W/kg. And it’s typically averaged either over the whole body or over a small sample volume, such as 1 gram of tissue.

    The Tawkon app alerts users with a vibration when the SAR has reached a certain threshold. Users can then decide to move the device away from their bodies, or they may move to a different part of their home or office while talking on the phone to get better reception in order to reduce the potential radiation exposure.

    Is Filippone just being neurotic? Every cell phone model sold in the U.S. must adhere to standards set by the Federal Communications Commission and Food and Drug Administration–an SAR that is less than 1.6 watts per kilogram taken over a volume containing a mass of 1 gram of tissue, even under the worst conditions, to be considered safe.

    To give you an idea of how much energy is being absorbed on average on any given slice of tissue on your body, 1.6 watts is about as much as is used to light up a string of 36 LED holiday lights, and the average pineapple weighs about 1 kilogram.

    So, in theory, even when users of the Tawkon application are getting alerts that the SAR level is reaching its highest limit, that threshold is only exposing people to what is still considered safe by the FCC and the FDA.


    Click here for the full article

    Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503063_162-20068246.html#ixzz1PfjkL65q

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