The Wall Street Journal Examines How the U.S. Tests Cellphones for Radiation Safety

Over forty years ago an inspector at the Hartford, CT Police Department raised concern about the safety of the Motorola walkie-talkies they were using.  This concern about possible radiation absorption eventually led back to a Motorola lab in Florida where a newly hired engineer was asked to come up with a way to prove the devices were safe.  The concepts of the test they put together would eventually evolve and influence the current tests the FCC requires of cell phone manufacturers for radiation emissions.

Ryan Knutson at the Wall Street Journal takes an in-depth look at cell phone radiation exposure and the history of how the current radiation exposure testing standards came to be in his July 6, 2016, article “Belt Clip? How the U.S. Tests Cellphones for Safety”.

In the article he states that the original test that was created involved placing the walkie-talkie near a human skull filled with mostly sugar water, and then measuring the temperature of the liquid.  This would simulate the potential thermal effects of the radiation on an average human.

The FCC tests of today use similar approach with a human model that was based on data from a sample of a 1989 study on U.S. Army soldiers.  A major concern Pong has previously pointed out is that the current model uses a 6’2 adult weighing 220 lbs. and does not account for children or people smaller than the test size model – – and how their radiation absorption is different.  A 2010 study demonstrated that a child’s head RF absorption can be over 2 times greater, and absorption of the skull’s bone marrow can be 10 times greater than adults.

Cell Phone Head SAR Testing
Head SAR Testing. Image credit: Wall Street Journal

The WSJ article goes on to discuss how a recent U.S. government study by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) challenges the notion that heating is the only potential health effect, thus renewing a debate about whether the modern version of the original test adequately protects human health.

The partial results released from the NTP $25 million study on rodents that found an association between RF radiation and cancer and has re-ignighted the debate over cell phone radiation.

Read the full article at WallStreetJournal.com »

 

Scientific American Asks: Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

The Scientific American weighs in on the cell phone radiation cancer debate with an article by Christopher J. Portier and Wendy L. Leonard:  Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer? Probably, but It’s Complicated.  

They review the landscape of cell phone cancer radiation studies including a look at the recent National Toxicology Program (NTP) cancer study that showed cancer in rats exposed to cell phone radiation.

They propose a careful review of the data as well as the real life human implications in order to understand it all.  They also provide a brief review of some of the human studies done both before and after 2010 to give context to the landscape and the most recent NTP study which found a connection between cell phone radiation and cancer in rats.

“In our opinion, the exposure to RF-EMF caused the tumors seen in the male rats in the NTP study. With the positive case-control studies seen in humans and a similar positive finding in a well-conducted laboratory study in rats, the evidence that cell phones can cause cancer has strengthened.”

The article closes with some tips to protect yourself and some words of caution.  It’s a great article although we think they missed the chance to remind people that Pong Cases are a great way to reduce exposure to cell phone radiation!

Read Full Article »

US Government Study Finds Link Between Cellphone Radiation and Cancer in Rats

According to a variety of news outlets, the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) is expected to issue a public announcement stating that cell phone radiation presents a cancer risk for humans. This follows its recently completed cell phone radiation study that showed statistically significant increases in cancer among rats that had been exposed to GSM or CDMA signals for two-years.

This is by far—far and away—the most carefully done cell phone bioassay, a biological assessment. This is a classic study that is done for trying to understand cancers in humans, – – Christopher Portier, retired head of NTP

The findings come from a $25 million study that was conducted over two and a half years by the National Toxicology Program of the US government.  The study showed that male rats exposed to two types of RF radiation were significantly more likely than unexposed rats to develop a type of brain cancer called a glioma.  These rats also had a higher chance of developing the rare, malignant form of tumor known as a schwannoma of the heart.

Christopher Portier, a retired head of NTP who helped launch the study and still sometimes works for the federal government as a consultant scientist is quoted as saying:  “There will have to be a lot of work after this to assess if it causes problems in humans, but the fact that you can do it in rats will be a big issue. It actually has me concerned, and I’m an expert.”

Coverage on this report is mounting quickly.  Please see the following sources for the initial articles.

Media Coverage of Cell Phone Radiation Cancer Link:


Consumer ReportsGovernment Study Finds Link Between Cell Phones and Cancer in Rats

FOX NEWS HEALTHGovernment Study Links Cellphone Radiation to Cancer in Rats

MicroWaveNewsCell Phone Radiation Boosts Cancer Rates in Animals;$25 Million NTP Study Finds Brain Tumors

Mother Jones“Game-Changing” Study Links Cellphone Radiation to Cancer

NBC NewsA Possible Cellphone Link to Cancer? A Rat Study Launches New Debate

Scientific AmericanMajor Cell Phone Radiation Study Reignites Cancer Questions

SCIENCEQuestions Abound After Study Links Tumors to Cellphone Radiation

The Wall Street JournalU.S. Cellphone Study Fans Cancer Worries

Yahoo Finance
Government Study Finds Link Between Cell Phones and Cancer in Rats

Consumer Reports: Does Cell Phone Radiation Cause Cancer?

Consumer Reports jumps into the discussion on cell phone radiation and cancer in their November 2015 issue.  Author David Shipper educates readers by covering the background and basics of cell phone radiation then walks them through the full debate including the science of cellular radiation, the completed health studies, and the open questions on the possible relationship between cell phone radiation and cancer.

“As the debate over cell-phone radiation heats up, consumers deserve answers to whether there’s a cancer connection.”

He ends the article with a call for clarity due to the amount of unanswered questions around the effects of cell phone radiation and its possible health effects on the human body.  He especially focuses in on the effects of cellular radiation on children and the lack of testing in this area.

What do you think?  We encourage you to read the article and sound in on the debate in the comments section of it.  We encourage you to let them know what you think and tell them if you use a Pong case to help!

Read the full article:  ConsumerReports.com »

Berkeley, California, Approves “Right to Know” Cell Phone Radiation Warning Ordinance

In California, the Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to require retailers to warn customers of possible radiation exposure when purchasing cell phones on Tuesday May 12, 2015.  The ordinance is expected to be challenged by the cell phone industry.

Read the full story »

Meet Cell Phone Radiation Expert Dr. Rong Wang

At Pong, the science of mobile device antennas—and ensuring that they interact optimally with both wireless networks and users–is our core focus. We use our deep scientific expertise to protect people from cell phone radiation, and we are proud to have a team of experts covering a range of related disciplines. You may have seen some of Dr. Rong Wang’s articles here on the Pong Pulse, and now we would like officially to introduce her to you.

Dr. Rong WangDr. Rong Wang is the Chief Science Officer for Pong Research. She is a leading member of our scientific team and has been involved with Pong since its inception. Dr. Wang is responsible for the scientific integrity of Pong’s published content and serves as lead technical/scientific writer and media representative on scientific matters. She also participates in product research and development and helps identify and qualify new technologies and applications complementary to Pong. She is our resident expert on the biological and health effects of cell phone radiation and the ongoing studies surrounding this subject.

Background & Training
Dr. Wang received her Ph.D. from the Nuclear Science and Engineering Department of MIT, jointly from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology in 2005. Prior to that, she received her bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from Tsinghua University in China. Prior to Pong, Dr. Wang spent 5 years in a Los Angeles laboratory as Project Manager and Senior Scientist where she played an important role in a number of technology innovations ranging from medical isotopes to cell phone antenna technology.

Work with Pong
Dr. Wang’s unique and solid training in both engineering and health disciplines from MIT and Harvard empowered her to work with a team of colleagues to develop the early prototypes for Pong’s internationally patented coupling antenna technology. Through her extensive education and research she has become an expert in the field of biological and health effects of radiation, including cell phone radiation.

Dr. Wang is very excited about the opportunity to apply her knowledge and expertise to the field of wireless wellness and performance.  She has already written extensively for the Pong Blog and continues to monitor the ongoing studies around the health effects of cell phone radiation.  We’ve included links to some of her most impactful posts below.

 

 

How Do Cell Phone Cases Affect Your Radiation Exposure and Your Phone’s Performance?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a new report on the effect cell phone cases have on the amount of radiation your cell phone emits. The study speaks to the concern that cell phone cases can weaken the phone’s signal and actually increase the users’ radiation exposure as the phone tries harder to communicate.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a new report on the effect cell phone cases have on the amount of radiation your cell phone emits.  The study speaks to the concern that cell phone cases can weaken the phone’s signal and actually increase the users’ radiation exposure as the phone tries harder to communicate.

The Pong case was born out of our concerns around exposure to cell phone radiation and the effects it may be having on us.   Through countless hours of testing and work by our team of scientists, physicists, and engineers, we invented a technology that reduces cell phone radiation exposure while maintaining the device’s signal strength.

During research and testing we found that any cell phone cases can impact the radiation properties of a wireless device in an uncontrolled way.  Our research indicates that badly designed cell phone cases can partially block a phone’s antenna, making the device work harder to transmit signals.  This means that in those situations there may be potentially more radiation coming from the phone as it tries to maintain its signal.

Established in 1996, current FCC testing standards already account for accessories such as belt clips and holsters, which were pervasive in the 1990s, but not for cases, which did not exist then. Today, most consumers use cases, while belt clips and holsters are much less common.  Due to gaps in the FCC’s cell phone regulations, a phone worn right next to the body and enclosed by a case that obstructs the antenna could expose the user to more radiation than the FCC’s legal limit.

Pong urged the FCC to take into account cell phone cases during its compliance testing process to ensure that consumers are protected under normal operating conditions.  We have been concerned about this and we are happy to see that we are not alone.  The new article from EWG was done independent of Pong but resonates with Pong for concern on this issue.  EWG conducted its own research and drew data from published information including Pong’s filings to the FCC.

We encourage you to read their article found via the link below.

Does Your Cell Phone Case Raise Your Radiation Exposure?

 

Study Shows Blood Abnormalities from Short-Term Exposure to Cell Phone Radiation

We use our cell phones every day. As we talk on our phones, hold them, or just carry them in our pocket, cell phones are constantly emitting RF radiation – – and we are constantly absorbing some of that radiation. Is that radiation having an effect on us? Should we be concerned about what cell phone radiation might be doing to us? Yes, we absolutely think so! Cell phone radiation is something we take very seriously here at Pong. We are closely monitoring new studies on how cell phone radiation affects our bodies.

What could cell phone radiation be doing to our blood? You may be surprised to find out, but to date very little research has looked into this effect. A new study released in January 2015 focused very specifically on the effects of cell phone radiation on human blood. This study comes up with some startling information about the impact that short-term cell phone radiation can have on our blood cells. We found this very concerning so we asked our chief scientist Dr. Rong Wang to review the study and give us her thoughts on it.

We use our cell phones every day. As we talk on our phones, hold them, or just carry them in our pocket, cell phones are constantly emitting RF radiation – – and we are constantly absorbing some of that radiation. Is that radiation having an effect on us? Should we be concerned about what cell phone radiation might be doing to us? Yes, we absolutely think so! Cell phone radiation is something we take very seriously here at Pong. We are closely monitoring new studies on how cell phone radiation affects our bodies.

What could cell phone radiation be doing to our blood? You may be surprised to find out, but to date very little research has looked into this effect. A new study released in January 2015 focused very specifically on the effects of cell phone radiation on human blood. This study comes up with some startling information about the impact that short-term cell phone radiation can have on our blood cells. We found this very concerning so we asked our chief scientist Dr. Rong Wang to review the study and give us her thoughts on it.

Continue reading “Study Shows Blood Abnormalities from Short-Term Exposure to Cell Phone Radiation”

How to Understand and Find Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of Your Mobile Device

Hi Pong Friends,

One of our most popular blog posts – How to Find the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of a Cell Phone – dates way back to October of 2012. Everyday, interested people find that article in the hopes of learning about SAR.

With that, we felt that the article needed updating to ensure everybody has the latest information. So, we tasked our resident expert Dr. Rong Wang to revisit her popular post and freshen it up with the most update-to-date SAR-related facts and figures for the newest devices.  Take it away to Dr. Wang:

How to Understand and Find Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of Your Mobile Device

By Rong Wang, Ph.D.

What is SAR?

Cell phones and other mobile devices emit radiofrequency (RF) waves, a type of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (commonly called “cell phone radiation”). When you hold or carry a mobile device close to your head and body, you can absorb over half of the transmitted RF energy.

Cell phone radiation level varies from device to device and is measured by the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). A mobile device’s SAR rating is used to estimate the maximum rate of RF energy absorption by a user’s head and body when using the device. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sets the exposure limit for the general public to be an SAR level of 1.6 watts per kilogram (1.6 W/kg). A mobile device’s SAR rating must not exceed 1.6 W/kg in order to receive FCC certification and be sold in the United States. SAR is measured for placement of the phone next to the head and on the body. For example, the iPhone 6 has a Body SAR of 1.14 W/kg and Head SAR of 1.08 W/kg.

How to find the SAR of your device?

There are several ways to find the SAR rating of your device.  We have listed our top choices below.

From Manufacturers
Most manufacturers provide SAR information in their product’s manuals and on their websites. For example, the RF exposure of Apple devices can be found here http://www.apple.com/legal/rfexposure/

Mobile Manufacturers Forum
The Mobile Manufacturers Forum provides a database of SAR values for popular devices by Apple, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.

The FCC
The FCC maintains a SAR database. To find the SAR rating of your device, you’ll need its FCC ID number. It’s usually shown somewhere on the case of your device or specified in the “About” data on the device itself. For some devices, you might have to remove its battery pack to find the number. Once you have the number, you can go to the FCC website and follow the instructions.

Other Sources
CNET maintains a list of the 20 cell phones with the highest SAR.

Is my cell phone safe?

While cell phones bring enormous convenience to our lives, the possible health consequences of exposure to cell phone radiation have aroused considerable public attention and scientific debate. The results of thousands of scientific studies are mixed and contradictory. The reported health effects include cancer, impaired brain and nervous functions, sperm damages, behavioral problems in children, to list a few. In May 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified cell phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.  Read more in our blog to learn about cell phone radiation studies.

Just because your device’s SAR rating is below the regulatory threshold doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe. As a matter of fact, cell phones were introduced to the market without any safety testing on humans in the first place. Although the FCC enforces SAR limits on exposure, the standards have not been updated since 1996, and were based on a couple of animal behavioral studies in the 1970s. As of today, cell phones have been in widespread use for more than 15 years, and there is still extremely limited research data on its long-term health effects and the effects on children.

Furthermore, you may not be aware that the current FCC guidelines allow a device to be tested up to 25 mm away from the user’s body. Distance is a key factor in determining the amount of exposure from a device – the intensity of radiation increases rapidly as you get closer to the device. As a result, when you carry your device directly against your body, you may be exposed to radiation levels that exceed the device’s SAR rating and even the FCC exposure limit. For instance, if you place an iPhone 5 in contact with your body, your body exposure may exceed the FCC’s limit by more than 4 times. That’s why all cell phone manufactures include warnings in their user’s manuals to keep the cell phone a certain distance away from your body for safety concern. For example, you can find RF exposure information for Apple devices here. Apple even includes a proximity sensor in its iPhone 5S, 6, 6Plus and iPads to detect the presence of a user’s body and subsequently reduce the device’s transmitted signal in order to comply with the FCC’s RF exposure limit.

In March, 2013, the FCC commenced a formal Inquiry to determine whether there is a need for reassessment of the Commission radiofrequency (RF) exposure limits and policies.

How does a Pong Case affect SAR?

The Pong radiation redirection case offers a science-based solution to reduce the SAR of your device and therefore your RF exposure. Pong does not assert that cell phones are “unsafe” but believes that less exposure is better than more before we have a definitive answer. Pong’s built-in antenna technology reshapes the electromagnetic field pattern of your device’s transmitted signal to direct RF energy away from you while optimizing your device’s outbound signal. Specifically, micro-thin, gold-plated antennas, precisely engineered in size, shape and location, are imbedded in each Pong Case to achieve optimum coupling with the mobile device’s own antennas and maximum protection to you. Pong is the only technology proven in FCC-certified laboratories to reduce RF exposure. Pong’s claims were further verified by the Wired Magazine.