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Smartphone radiation, the FCC dampens the case of Apple and Samsung

Do you remember the scandal raised by the Chicago Tribune on the record levels of radiation emitted by some smartphone models? Well, the story is by no means concluded, on the contrary, and there is a twist that will not make the American newspaper or FeganScott law firm happy who had started two class actions against Apple and Samsung.

Yes, because the FCC he wanted to see clearly, and he has conducted a comparative analysis by making accurate measurements through internal instruments. The intent of the Federal Communications Commission was to verify the validity of the methodology adopted by RF Exposure Lab, in charge of the surveys on behalf of the Chicago Tribune. However, not all class action smartphones are among those analyzed by the FCC, but it can also be expected that for iPhone 7+, iPhone 8, iPhone XR, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S10 (S9 there is) the results of RF Exposure Lab follow the same trend.

The FCC has requested a series of smartphones from the manufacturers and, to make the analysis even more objective, it has joined them to units purchased on the market: it is specifically Apple iPhone XS, Samsung Galaxy S9, Moto G6 Play and BLU Vivo 5 Mini, all models previously tested by RF Exposure Lab. Measurement of SAR values* was carried out between August 30 and September 23, 2019, and the results were published recently.

  • Limit imposed by the FCC in the USA: Maximum SaR1.6 watts per kg mediated on 1 gram of contiguous tissue
  • (for comparison: in Europe the maximum limit is 2 W / kg mediated on 10 grams of contiguous tissue for 6 minutes)

If you are interested in learning more, we advise you to consult our guide on electromagnetic emissions from mobile phones and smartphones.

SAR compliance has been verified at different distances (up to 15mm from the body) by simulating the characteristics of RF absorption by different human tissues during use "at the highest energy level"of each smartphone, held in hand in different ways and positions. Once the measurements are completed, only the highest SAR values ??have been reported for each frequency band.

These i results obtained, compared with those official issued by the manufacturer (Original SAR Report) e those of the Chicago Tribune (remember that the maximum SAR threshold not to be exceeded is 1.6W / kg:

This is stated in the documentation published by the FCC:

All the mobile phones tested by the FCC laboratory, both the supplied samples and those purchased directly by the FCC, generated maximum average SAR values ??below the limit of 1.6 W / kg per gram of contiguous tissue. Therefore, all the tested sample devices conform to the limits (…) and these tests did not show violations of the FCC rules related to the maximum exposure to RF levels.

Therefore the FCC and RF Exposure Lab measurements do not coincide in any of the cases analyzed, and the results obtained by the Federal Communications Commission would seem to question the reliability of the methodology adopted by the Californian laboratory. Now we will have to expect developments – and above all comments – from the Chicago Tribune and the study that initiated the class actions.

* SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) is a measure of the rate at which energy is absorbed by the human body when exposed to an RF electromagnetic field (Source: FCC). In other words, it is the amount of electromagnetic energy that the human body absorbs per unit of mass.