What is SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) For Cell Phones?

what is specific absorption rate

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To ensure that the public is protected from the harmful effects of direct exposure to radiofrequency (RF) energy and radiation, government agencies impose a certain threshold for the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of smartphones and other electronic and wireless devices. The SAR measures the rate by which our body absorbs the RF energy that is emitted by these handheld gadgets.

In the United States, the SAR limit is at 1.60 W/kg over 1 gram/tissue. But in Europe, the threshold is a little higher. The SAR limit is set at 2 W/kg over 10 grams/tissue.

The SAR tends to increase depending on the affected area in our body. For example, our ears receive the highest SAR levels. Due to the severity of the thermal effects and the radiation caused by smartphones, several private entities and individuals made it their life’s mission to protect the public from these undesirable consequences.

Smartphones and Their SAR Values

In France, a militant physician named Marc Arazi filed a suit against the National Frequency Agency (ANFR) for depriving the public of the list of smartphones that exceeded the SAR limit.

According to a July 2016 report by the National Agency for Food, Environmental, and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), 89 percent of cell phones on sale in the country in 2015 went beyond the SAR threshold. Some were even said to have registered an SAR value over 4 W/kg.

cell phone radiation SAR

When sought for comment as to why the list wasn’t published, Gilles Brégant, the AFNR director, said that the current law prohibits the agency from disclosing any information that are obtained as part of the agency’s monitoring activity.

Apparently, the list of smartphones that exceeded the SAR limit falls under that category. Moreover, Brégant explained that the cell phone manufacturers conformed to the standards, that is to measure the SAR values at 15 mm from the body. 

The European Union acknowledged that the current criterion did not meet the safety requirements. In a 2016 decision, the Union adjusted the separation distance, which should not go beyond “a few millimeters.”

Referring to this guideline, the ANFR now measures the SAR at 5 millimeters. However, Arazi maintained that the distance is still unacceptable and asserted that the SAR must be gauged in direct contact with the body. 

Is Your Smartphone Safe?

Over the years, the detrimental effects to our health of cell phone radiation have stirred up the attention of government agencies, the scientific community, and the public.

As a matter of fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) categorized cell phone radiation as a “potential human carcinogen.” There are also other studies that link cell phone radiation and cell phone use to cancer.

If you want to know whether or not your cell phone is safe to use, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a list of cell phone models and their SAR levels.

For instance, Apple’s new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have SAR at 1.10 and 1.18 W/kg, respectively. That said, having a low SAR level does not necessarily mean that your smartphone is safe.

In fact, smartphones are launched in the market even in the absence of safety human tests. In addition, the current SAR threshold hasn’t been updated for over two decades and is only based in animal behavioral research during the 1970s.

To protect yourself from the harmful RF radiation, SafeSleeve offers anti-radiation blocking cases for your smartphones, tablets, and laptops, which are lab tested and proven to block up to 99 percent of RF radiation.

Aside from this, experts advise the public to limit their cell phone use and avoid using cell phones when inside a car. As per research, the RF waves are magnified by the metal chassis, doors, and roof of the car since the waves bounce back at the smartphone user.