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Published on March 5th, 2010 | by Jennifer Lance


iPhone 3G S or DROID: How Much Radiation Does Your Smartphone Emit?

I got my first smartphone for my birthday, and it is true it has changed many aspects of my communicating life.  I love my iPhone and have been so enthralled with its applications that I have not stopped to consider how much radiation it emits until a friend sent me the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2010 Cellphone Radiation Report.

Photo by F. Montino
The Motorola DROID is pushing the legal limits of radiation.

The Motorola DROID is pushing the legal limits of radiation.

EWG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that includes a political action fund501(c)(4) organization.  From sunscreens to cosmetics, EWG has researched and ranked many consumer products.  The group has now turned its attention to the latest and greatest models of cell phones.

New cell phones in 2010 are loaded with new features. For some models, like Motorola’s DroidBlackberry Bold 9700LG Chocolate Touch and HTC Nexus One by Google, consumers pay a hidden price: exposure to the highest legal levels of cell phone radiation…

Other new phones emit significantly less radiation.

Which is which? You won’t find out from those pricey ad campaigns or even the labels. Makers and vendors aren’t required to disclose their products’ radiation output at point of sale.

Cellular phone radiation is measured in “watts per kilogram of body weight”, with the legal limit being 1.6 W/kg.  This number is also referred to as specific absorption rate (SAR).  The lowest radiating smartphone still on the market is the Blackberry Storm 9530 with 0.57 W/kg.   The highest emitting phone is also a Blackberry (Blackberry 8820) with 1.28 – 1.58 W/kg.  My Apple iPhone 3G S falls somewhere in the middle with 0.52 – 1.19 W/kg.  The popular new DROID emits a whopping 1.50 W/kg pushing closely to the legal limit!

If you can’t live without your smartphone, there are ways you can reduce your exposure to radiation.  Using a headset or speaker and keeping the phone away from your body when texting will offer you some protection.  In addition, receiving messages is safer than sending them. Texting emits less than talking, and of course, you should always limit children’s usage of cell phones.

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