Remember when there was still a belief that cell phones were real portable bombs that emitted lethal levels of radiation and would we all die from cancer in a few decades? This impression seems to have cooled down lately, but we shouldn’t stop worrying about the amount of radiation emitted by the devices that live so close to us. So the Chicago Tribune went to the lab.
More precisely, a newspaper reporting team hired a specialized laboratory to measure the radiation levels emitted by some of the most popular smartphones on the market. The results were worrisome: many of them – including almost all iPhones – did not pass the test, with levels above those established as a legal limit by the Federal Communications Commission (American Anatel).
In the area of Apple, the most worrying results were those of iPhone 7: on four tested devices, with two different measurement methods, all radiation levels were above the FCC limit – often exceeding double or triple it. The other Apple devices (iPhones X, 8 and 8 Plus) were also bad; only the iPhone 8 Plus obtained results within the limit in the test closest to the “body”.
In competition, it was not much more exciting: only the smartphones from Motorola and a device from BLU achieved rates considered healthy. The three smartphones from Samsung tested also exceeded the FCC limits on several tests.
In case of Galaxy S8, one of the tested scenarios showed that the device emits radiation at an intensity more than 5x higher than the legal one!
The tests were carried out using the same standards as the FCC itself: smartphones are positioned at predefined distances (the same ones adopted by the manufacturers in their own tests) of a liquid that simulates human tissue; after a time of exposure, scientists measure the amount of radiation absorbed by the liquid. The distances chosen varied between 15mm (which simulates a device in a shoulder bag, for example) and 2mm (for a smartphone in your pocket) – the shorter the distance, the greater the absorbed radiation, naturally.
In sending the initial results to Apple, the company contested the tests, saying they did not follow the necessary procedures to measure the level of radiation emitted by iPhones. THE Chicago Tribune, then, decided to redo the measurements with the procedures recommended by the company, which generated similar results. Again, Apple contested the numbers, saying that its own tests show safe emission rates on its smartphones.
The FCC, for its part, was concerned with the findings, and said that it will carry out new tests of its own with the smartphones in the coming months to find possible breaches of the legal limit on the radiation index.
Worrying, huh ?!