Are Children Protected by Current Cell Phone Radiation Standards?

Cell phones are becoming increasingly popular in children. A 2015 survey finds most children get their first cell phone when they are 6-7 years old and 75% of American children under 8 have access to a Smartphone or Tablet. About three-quarters of teens have a cell phone.[1] Here at Pong we feel it is important to ask the question “are cell phones safe for children?

Cell phones emit radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic radiation. When a person holds or carries a mobile device in close proximity, the user’s head and body can absorb over half of the transmitted energy. In the U.S. the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sets RF exposure limit for the general public to be 1.6 watts per kilogram (1.6 W/kg) in Specific Absorption Rate (SAR).

Cell Phone SAR testing on SAM head with robotic armFig 1, SAR assessment equipment, showing robotic probe in a SAM head

Before a cell phone can be legally sold in the U.S. it must be certified for compliance with the FCC safety standards. Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) compliance testing uses a standardized model of the human head and body. The testing model (known as SAM, which stands for Specific Anthropomorphic Mannequin) is filled with liquids that simulate the RF absorption characteristics of adult human tissue. A robotic probe takes a series of measurements of the electric field within the SAM head and torso to calculate the SAR.

While the FCC safety standard applies to all body sizes (from small infant to large adult), the SAM testing model is based upon a large adult male 6’2” tall and 220 pounds in weight. According to a 2011 study, SAM represents only the largest 3% of cell phone users. –The smaller 97% of the population will have higher exposure than the measured SAR.

This is VERY concerning for the smallest and most vulnerable cell phone user group – children.

In an effort to investigate the differences in RF energy absorption from wireless devices between children and adults, Pong’s chief scientist, Dr. Wang, identified 33 scientific studies published in peer-reviewed journals on children’s head and body SAR. She found that the vast majority (>94%) of the published studies reported higher SAR and deeper RF penetration for children compared to adults. Most studies attributed the differences in the head SAR between children and adults to the thinner ear, skin and skull of the younger children. Other factors that might contribute to the difference include changes in the tissue property (conductivity and permittivity) for different age groups. For example, 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. And the whole-body average SAR in children was consistently found to exceed the 0.08 W/kg safety limit set by the FCC. The American Academy of Pediatrics, in a letter to Congressman Dennis Kucinich in December 2012, states: “Children are disproportionately affected by environmental exposures, including cell phone radiation.”

Not only do children experience higher exposure and deeper penetration from cell phone radiation, but they also face longer lifetime exposure. Many studies show that the health effects of wireless radiation are cumulative, but long term study data on the effect on children is not complete. Children’s developing nervous systems and immature immune systems make them more vulnerable to environmental toxicants, including wireless radiation so we feel this is reason to take extra precautions with children’s use of cellular devices.

In summary, we feel that children are not sufficiently protected by the existing FCC Safety Standard because no child model is used in the RF compliance testing. Research on children exposure indicates that action should be taken to limit children’s exposure to cell phone radiation and we encourage our readers to do so.

We feel strongly that everyone with children should take precautions on their cell phone uses. Please see our tips for reducing cell phone radiation exposure to get some easy tactics to use. We also suggest the use of a Pong cell phone case to assist in reducing radiation exposure.

[1] Information Sources: www.vouchercloud.net , Common Sense Media and the Pew Research Center

Related Reading:
What is near-field cell phone radiation?
U.S. National Toxicology Program study finds link between cell phone radiation and brain cancer.

The Effect of Cell Phone Radiation On Your Brain’s Activity

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies cell phone radiation as a “possible human carcinogen” due to an increased risk of brain cancer from long-term and heavy use of cell phones. Although short-term cell phone exposure has not been shown to cause brain tumors, research is showing that it can change your brain activity in ways we don’t fully understand yet.

Human brain cells communicate via electrical impulses, which can be detected by non-invasive EEG (Electroencephalogram) measurements. A recent mobile phone study by researchers from Netherlands found that when a dialing mobile phone is placed on the ear, its radiation, although not consciously sensed, is electrically detected by the brain. In the study, 31 healthy females were exposed to a 3G mobile phone for 15 minutes and their EEG activity was measured. Changed brain activity (i.e. cortical reactivity increase) was detected immediately after radiation peaks, which are produced during the phone’s normal dialing process.

The Netherlands study is not the first one to show an EEG change as a result of acute exposure to cell phone radiation. In 2015 a French study showed that the brain EEG pattern (alpha band) is altered by GSM cell phone radiation; a 2013 Italian mobile phone study also demonstrated significant changes in brain activity (i.e. cortical excitability) induced by 45-min exposure to GSM mobile phone; a 2013 Australian study showed altered brain EEG (alpha band) by GSM-like RF radiation. A 2011 Australian study showed an effect of acute 2G and 3G exposure on human cognitive functions. A 2010 U.S. study found that pulsed radiation from ordinary mobile phone use can trigger human brain evoked potentials (Eps) as detected by EEG.

Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging is another tool used to study the effect of cell phone radiation on human brain activity. Using PET scans, a 2011 U.S. study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) demonstrated that 50 minutes of cell phone use changed human brain glucose metabolism in the region of brain closest to the phone antenna. A 2006 Finland study also showed that mobile phone radiation induced changes in cerebral blood flow in humans.

The evidence from above studies shows that the human brain is sensitive to cell phone radiation. The observed brain activity change cannot be explained by only a heating (or thermal) effect as a result of temperature rise from energy absorption. However, no underlying biological mechanism has been identified to explain the effects. We also don’t know what health consequence may be resulted from such repeated stimulations. More research is still needed to understand the mechanism and long-term health effects of cell phone radiation on humans. The current safety standard did not take into account any non-thermal effects, such as evidenced in the above studies. As of today there is no known safe level of exposure to cell phone radiation.

Here at Pong, we feel it is important to be aware that our brains are sensitive to cell phone radiation and long-term exposure can cause possible adverse health effects such as brain cancer. The best thing you can do now is to take a proactive stance to reduce your exposure to cell phone radiation. There are ways to reduce your exposure to mobile phone radiation.  For some easy steps please refer to our article on tips to reduce mobile phone radiation exposure.  We think one of the best ways to limit your exposure is to use a radiation reduction phone case from Pong.

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.

How Do Cell Phones Work?

With worldwide mobile subscriptions estimated to be around 7 billion in 2014, cell phones have become a universal and indispensable tool for modern life. With a cell phone, you can talk to anybody on the planet from almost anywhere. But do you really know how your cell phone works?

In the most basic form, a cell phone is essentially a two-way radio, consisting of a radio transmitter and a radio receiver. When you chat with your friend on your cell phone, your phone converts your voice into an electrical signal, which is then transmitted via radio waves to the nearest cell tower. The network of cell towers then relays the radio wave to your friend’s cell phone, which converts it to an electrical signal and then back to sound again. In the basic form, a cell phone works just like a walkie-talkie.

In additional to the basic function of voice calls, most modern cell phones come with additional functions such as web surfing, taking pictures, playing games, sending text messages and playing music. More sophisticated smart phones can perform similar functions of a portable computer.

Continue reading “How Do Cell Phones Work?”

Is It Smart to Carry Your Phone in Your Pocket?

Hi Pong Friends,

The answer to the title question of this post is likely “no” according to the Tech Times article “Smartphone in pocket? Might not be a smart move if you are a man. Here’s why” by Anne Francis.

Smartphone in pocket? Might not be a smart move if you are a man. Here’s why

Men who have their cell phones in their pockets may have damaged sperm, reducing their chances of having children.

University of Exeter scientists said that their findings suggest that radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation exposure from cellular phones negatively affects the quality of sperm but further investigation is still needed.

Continue reading “Is It Smart to Carry Your Phone in Your Pocket?”

Did You Know CNET has been tracking SAR data for 10+ years?

Hello Pong Friends,

It’s true, CNET has been on the SAR case for over a decade. Have a look at their informative article “Why CNET compiles cell phone radiation charts” by Kent German and see what their data says.

Why CNET compiles cell phone radiation charts

Earlier this week, Nate Ralph and I revived a portion of CNET’s long-standing cell phone radiation charts. The two galleries, the cell phones with the highest radiation levels and the cell phones with the lowest radiation levels, were quick to gather reader comments, a few of which I’d like to address here.

Continue reading “Did You Know CNET has been tracking SAR data for 10+ years?”

Are US Cell Phone Safety Standards Safe Enough?

Cell phones emit radiofrequency (RF) waves, a type of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (commonly called “cell phone radiation”). When a consumer holds or carries a mobile device in close proximity, the user’s head and body can absorb over half of the transmitted energy.

The FCC’s inquiry into radiofrequency (RF) exposure limits and policies has generated broad response, as well as debate. Pong continues to play an active role in this process, weighing in on several topics of concern to users of cellphones and cases.

Continue reading “Are US Cell Phone Safety Standards Safe Enough?”

Are Cell Phones Safe?

As global cell phone subscription soared from 12.4 million in 1990 to 7 billion in 2013, cell phones have become a universal and indispensable tool for modern life.

Cell phones emit low-intensity radio-frequency (RF) energy, a type of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (EMR). When you hold your cell phone next to your head or wear it on your body, you can absorb over 50% of the transmitted RF energy. 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.

Continue reading “Are Cell Phones Safe?”