Thursday, April 27, 2017

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus Specific Absorption Rates (SAR)

What are the SAR values for Samsung’s new smart phones? 

What is the manufacturer's recommended minimum 
body separation distance?

How should consumers use this information?

Be sure to read the Consumer Reports safety warnings 
about cell phone use.

Also see: "
Do iPhones emit more radiation than 
Samsung Galaxy phones?"


To reduce your exposure to microwave radiation: 
  • When communication is unnecessary, use Airplane mode.
  • When using cellular, turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
  • When using Wi-Fi, turn off cellular and Bluetooth.
  • When phone is powered on, never keep phone next to your body, especially during a phone call.
  • When communicating, use phone in speaker mode or a wired earpiece.

April 27, 2017

According to test reports filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for the Galaxy S8 for cellular transmission is 0.34 watts per kilogram (w/kg) at the head, and 0.93 w/kg when worn on the body. The WiFi hotspot SAR is 0.95 w/kg. The SAR for simultaneous transmission (cellular plus Wi-Fi) is 1.25 w/kg at the head, 1.39 w/kg when worn on the body, and 1.52 w/kg when used as a hotspot. (1)

For the Galaxy S8 Plus, the SAR for cellular transmission is 0.27 w/kg at the head, and 0.64 w/kg when worn on the body. The WiFi hotspot SAR is 0.79 w/kg. The SAR for simultaneous transmission (cellular plus Wi-Fi) is 1.40 w/kg at the head, 1.16 w/kg when worn on the body, and 1.52 w/kg when used as a hotspot. (2)

All SARs reported above are averaged over one gram of body tissue corresponding to the U.S. standard. The SARs may vary depending upon your specific cell phone carrier.

The minimum separation distance for body-worn testing was 15 mm (about 0.6 of an inch). According to the testing facility, "Device was tested using a fixed spacing for body-worn accessory testing. A separation distance of 15 mm was considered because the manufacturer has determined that there will be body-worn accessories available in the marketplace for users to support this separation distance.” (1, 2)

The SARs for the Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were obtained at a separation distance of 5 mm (about 0.2 of an inch) from the body so the body-worn SAR values are not comparable to those reported for the Samsung phones. The iPhone SAR values can be found in my article on Apple Iphones.

The FCC ID numbers for the Galaxy S8 are A3L SMG950U, 950U1, and 950W, and for the S8 Plus they are A3L SMG955U, 955U1, and 955W. The SAR values for these smart phones can be found on the FCC website: 
https://www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/fccid.

What do the SAR values mean to the consumer?

The legal limit for the SAR in the U.S. is 1.60 w/kg (averaged over one gram of tissue).

The FCC requires that all cell phone models be tested for their Specific Absorption Rate or SAR. The SAR is a measure of the maximum amount of microwave radiation absorbed by the head or the body. It is measured in a laboratory using an artificial model of a large adult male with different fluids to simulate human tissue. The SAR, which is measured in watts per kilogram, represents the maximum amount of energy absorbed in any one gram of tissue in the test model. Phones sold in the U.S. typically range in SAR values from about 0.20 w/kg up to the 1.60 legal limit. (3, 4)

The SAR test, adopted in 1996 by the FCC, was criticized by the U.S. Government Accountability Office in 2012. The test does not reflect those who currently use cell phones, nor does it correspond to the way people use them. Today many children are cell phone users -- the young child’s brain absorbs twice the radiation as the adult’s brain. Moreover, the artificial head does not contain any metal (e.g., dental fillings, earrings, or eyeglass frames) which could increase the radiation absorption beyond the measured SAR in the laboratory. (5)

The FCC assumes that consumers will carry their cell phones in a manufacturer-approved holder that keeps the phone a minimum distance away from the body. However, most people do not keep their phone in a cell phone holder. For the body-worn SAR test, the FCC allows the manufacturer to choose the separation distance between the cell phone and the test model as long as consumers are informed about the minimum distance tested. However, few consumers are aware of the manufacturer’s recommended minimum body separation distance from their cell phone because this information is often difficult to find. Thus, most consumers are in the dark about precautions they can take to keep their exposure to microwave radiation below the legal limit. This prompted the city of Berkeley, California to adopt landmark legislation that requires cellphone retailers to inform their customers about the manufacturer’s safety information.

To ensure that the cell phone does not exceed the legal limit, consumers should never keep their cell phone in their pockets or next to their skin. The cell phone is not tested directly against the body because almost all cell phones would fail the SAR test as the radiation absorption increases dramatically when the cell phone is close to the body. 

For a recent news story, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had the three most popular smart phones tested next to the body. They found that the radiation absorbed increased three to four times, and that the SARs for all three phones exceeded the legal limit (for the U.S. and Canada).

Is the legal limit sufficient to protect the cell phone user’s health?

Federal policies in the U.S. could lead the public to believe that all legally-marketed cell phones are safe, and that a cell phone's SAR doesn't matter as long as it meets the legal limit: 1.6 watts per kilogram. (3, 4)

However, the Environmental Working Group and experts point out that the SAR only measures the maximum microwave absorption from cell phone use that perfectly matches laboratory conditions. The SAR is not a good indicator of one’s cumulative microwave exposure under naturalistic conditions.  The research evidence suggests that how one uses the phone (e.g., hands-free) and one’s cell phone carrier actually matters more than the phone’s SAR level.  (4, 6, 7)

The SAR standard was developed to protect users only from the acute effects of the heat generated by microwave radiation (i.e., the thermal effect). (5) The SAR limit does not protect users from the non-thermal effects caused by the cumulative exposure over time to cell phone radiation.

Yet, thousands of laboratory studies with animals and cell samples have found deleterious biologic effects from short-term exposure to low intensity cell phone radiation, including development of stress proteins, micronuclei, free radicals, DNA breakage, and sperm damage. (8) Human studies have also found that brief exposure to cell phone radiation alters brain activity and can open the blood-brain barrier which could enable chemical toxins in the circulatory system to penetrate the brain. (9)

Major studies with humans have found increased cancer risk, including a three-fold increase in brain cancer among those who used wireless phones (cell phones and cordless phones) for 25 or more years. (10)  Based upon this research, the World Health Organization in 2011 declared radiofrequency radiation "possibly carcinogenic" in humans (Group 2B). (11)

Other risks from cell phone use include reproductive health damage and male infertility, and neurological disorders (e.g., impaired cognitive functioning, headaches and migraines, and ADHD [attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder]) in children. (12, 13)

Based upon the weight of the evidence from several decades of research including thousands of peer-reviewed published studies, many experts worldwide have signed declarations calling upon government to adopt stronger radiation standards to protect consumers from low intensity, non-thermal exposures from radiation associated with wireless communications, and to alert consumers about how to reduce their risk of harm. (14 -16) Recent evidence suggests that brain tumor incidence is increasing in the U.S. and other countries and exposure to cell phone radiation may be contributing to this increase. (17) More than 220 scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on electromagnetic fields and biology or health have signed a petition, the International EMF Scientist Appeal, calling for stronger regulation of wireless radiation.

For tips on how to reduce exposure to wireless radiation, see "
Some Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to Wireless Radiation". (18) In short, limit your use of the phone, keep the phone away from your body whenever it is powered on, use the phone hands-free, and turn off transmitters not in use (e.g., shut off Wi-Fi or use airplane mode).

References

(1) PCTEST Engineering Laboratory, Inc. SAR Evaluation Report. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. FCC ID: A3LSMG950U. Date of Testing: 12/22/2016 to 1/26/2017. https://fccid.io/document.php?id=3287924

(2) PCTEST Engineering Laboratory, Inc. SAR Evaluation Report. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. FCC ID: A3LSMG955O. Date of Testing: 1/2/2017 to 2/13/2017.  https://fccid.io/document.php?id=3297691

(3) FCC. Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for Cellular Telephones. Undated. http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/specific-absorption-rate-sar-cellular-telephones

(4) FCC. “Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) For Cell Phones: What It Means For You.” Undated. http://www.fcc.gov/guides/specific-absorption-rate-sar-cell-phones-what-it-means-you

(5) Joel Moskowitz. “"Comments on the 2012 GAO Report: 'Exposure and Testing Requirements for Mobile Phones Should Be Reassessed'.:” http://www.saferemr.com/2013/01/commentary-gao-2012-report-on-mobile.html

(6) Wolchover N. Radiation Risk: Are Some Cellphones More Dangerous Than Others? Life's Little Mysteries. June 23, 2011. http://www.lifeslittlemysteries.com/1550-radiation-risk-some-cell-phones-more-dangerous-than-others.html

(7) Environmental Working Group. EWG’s Guide to Safer Cell Phone Use: Where is EWG's cell phone database? August 27 2013. 

(8) Giuliani L. Soffritti M. Non-thermal effects and mechanisms of interaction between electromagnetic fields and living matter. ICEMS Monograph. Bologna, Italy: National Institute for the Study and Control of Cancer. 2010. http://www.icems.eu/papers.htm

(9) Joel Moskowitz. “LTE Cell Phone Radiation Affects Brain Activity in Cell Phone Users.” Sep 20, 2013. http://www.prlog.org/12215083

(10) Joel Moskowitz. “Brain Cancer Risk Increases with the Amount of Wireless Phone Use: Study. http://www.prlog.org/12216483

(11) Joel Moskowitz. “Most Significant Government Health Report on Mobile Phone Radiation Ever Published.” http://www.prlog.org/12125230

(12) Joel Moskowitz. “Cell Phone Radiation, Pregnancy, and Sperm.” Nov 19, 2012.     http://www.prlog.org/12026867

(13) Joel Moskowitz. “Cell Phone Use and Prenatal Exposure to Cell Phone Radiation May Cause Headaches in Children.“ http://www.prlog.org/12269207

(14) Joel Moskowitz. “Part I: Why We Need Stronger Cell Phone Radiation Regulations--Key Testimony Submitted to the FCC.” Aug 4, 2014. http://www.saferemr.com/2014/08/why-we-need-stronger-cell-phone.html

(15) Joel Moskowitz. “Part II: Why We Need Stronger Cell Phone Radiation Regulations--Key Research Papers Submitted to the FCC.” Aug 4, 2014. http://www.saferemr.com/2014/08/why-we-need-stronger-cell-phone_43.html

(16) Joel Moskowitz. “Part III: Why We Need Stronger Cell Phone Radiation Regulations--98 Scientific Experts Who Signed Resolutions.” Aug 4, 2014. http://www.saferemr.com/2014/08/why-we-need-stronger-cell-phone_4.html

(17) Joel Moskowitz. Brain Tumor Rates are Increasing in the U.S.: The Role of Cell Phone and Cordless Phone Use. 
http://bit.ly/risingtumors

(18) Joel Moskowitz. Some Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to Wireless Radiation  (one page handout). Undated. 
http://bit.ly/saferemrtips3


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Acoustic Neuroma and Cell Phone Use

Studies that report evidence of increased risk of acoustic neuroma associated with 
long-term cell phone use

Nine peer-reviewed studies, including one cohort study, have found evidence that long-term cell phone use is associated with increased risk of acoustic neuroma, a tumor on the nerve from the ear to the brain.


Cohort Studies

Benson et al, 2013 (acoustic neuroma) - UK Million Women cohort study

For acoustic neuroma, there was an increase in risk with long term use vs never use (10+ years: RR = 2.46, 95% CI = 1.07-5.64, P = 0.03), the risk increasing with duration of use (trend among users, P = 0.03).



Case-Control Studies
Moon et al, 2014

Vestibular schwannomas (VSs) grow in the region where the energy from mobile phone use is absorbed. We examined the associations of VSs with mobile phone use. This study included 119 patients who had undergone surgical tumor removal. We used two approaches in this investigation. First, a case-control study for the association of mobile phone use and incidence of VSs was conducted. Both cases and controls were investigated with questions based on INTERPHONE guidelines. Amount of mobile phone use according to duration, daily amount, and cumulative hours were compared between two groups. We also conducted a case-case study. The location and volume of the tumors were investigated by MRI. Associations between the estimated amount of mobile phone use and tumor volume and between the laterality of phone use and tumor location were analyzed. In a case-control study, the odds ratio (OR) of tumor incidence according to mobile phone use was 0.956. In the case-case study, tumor volume and estimated cumulative hours showed a strong correlation (r(2) = 0.144, p = 0.002), and regular mobile phone users showed tumors of a markedly larger volume than those of non-regular users (p < 0.001). When the analysis was limited to regular users who had serviceable hearing, laterality showed a strong correlation with tumor side (OR = 4.5). We found that tumors may coincide with the more frequently used ear of mobile phones and tumor volume that showed strong correlation with amount of mobile phone use, thus there is a possibility that mobile phone use may affect tumor growth.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23975478


Hardell et al, 2013 (acoustic neuroma)

We previously conducted a case-control study of acoustic neuroma. Subjects of both genders aged 20-80 years, diagnosed during 1997-2003 in parts of Sweden, were included, and the results were published. We have since made a further study for the time period 2007-2009 including both men and women aged 18-75 years selected from throughout the country. These new results for acoustic neuroma have not been published to date. Similar methods were used for both study periods. In each, one population-based control, matched on gender and age (within five years), was identified from the Swedish Population Registry. Exposures were assessed by a self-administered questionnaire supplemented by a phone interview. Since the number of acoustic neuroma cases in the new study was low we now present pooled results from both study periods based on 316 participating cases and 3,530 controls. Unconditional logistic regression analysis was performed, adjusting for age, gender, year of diagnosis and socio-economic index (SEI). Use of mobile phones of the analogue type gave odds ratio (OR) = 2.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.0-4.3, increasing with >20 years latency (time since first exposure) to OR = 7.7, 95% CI = 2.8-21. Digital 2G mobile phone use gave OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.1-2.1, increasing with latency >15 years to an OR = 1.8, 95% CI = 0.8-4.2. The results for cordless phone use were OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.1-2.1, and, for latency of >20 years, OR = 6.5, 95% CI = 1.7-26. Digital type wireless phones (2G and 3G mobile phones and cordless phones) gave OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.1-2.0 increasing to OR = 8.1, 95% CI = 2.0-32 with latency >20 years. For total wireless phone use, the highest risk was calculated for the longest latency time >20 years: OR = 4.4, 95% CI = 2.2-9.0. Several of the calculations in the long latency category were based on low numbers of exposed cases. Ipsilateral use resulted in a higher risk than contralateral for both mobile and cordless phones. OR increased per 100 h cumulative use and per year of latency for mobile phones and cordless phones, though the increase was not statistically significant for cordless phones. The percentage tumour volume increased per year of latency and per 100 h of cumulative use, statistically significant for analogue phones. This study confirmed previous results demonstrating an association between mobile and cordless phone use and acoustic neuroma.



Hardell et al, 2013

Regarding acoustic neuroma ipsilateral mobile phone use in the latency group ≥10 years gave OR=1.81, 95% CI=0.73-4.45. For ipsilateral cumulative use ≥1640h OR=2.55, 95% CI=1.50-4.40 was obtained. Also use of cordless phones increased the risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma in the Hardell group studies.



Interphone Study Group, 2011

The odds ratio (OR) of acoustic neuroma with ever having been a regular mobile phone user was 0.85 (95% confidence interval 0.69-1.04). The OR for ≥10 years after first regular mobile phone use was 0.76 (0.52-1.11). There was no trend of increasing ORs with increasing cumulative call time or cumulative number of calls, with the lowest OR (0.48 (0.30-0.78)) observed in the 9th decile of cumulative call time. In the 10th decile (≥1640 h) of cumulative call time, the OR was 1.32 (0.88-1.97); there were, however, implausible values of reported use in those with ≥1640 h of accumulated mobile phone use. With censoring at 5 years before the reference date the OR for ≥10 years after first regular mobile phone use was 0.83 (0.58-1.19) and for ≥1640 h of cumulative call time it was 2.79 (1.51-5.16), but again with no trend in the lower nine deciles and with the lowest OR in the 9th decile. In general, ORs were not greater in subjects who reported usual phone use on the same side of the head as their tumour than in those who reported it on the opposite side, but it was greater in those in the 10th decile of cumulative hours of use.


Hardell et al, 2009 

For acoustic neuroma, the highest OR was found for ipsilateral use and >10 year latency, for mobile phone OR=3.0, 95% CI=1.4-6.2 and cordless phone OR=2.3, 95% CI=0.6-8.8.


Hardell et al, 2006

Regarding acoustic neuroma analogue cellular phones yielded odds ratio (OR) = 2.9, 95 % confidence interval (CI) = 2.0-4.3, digital cellular phones OR = 1.5, 95 % CI = 1.1-2.1 and cordless phones OR = 1.5, 95 % CI = 1.04-2.0.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17034627


Schoemaker et al, 2005

Risk of a tumour on the same side of the head as reported phone use was raised for use for 10 years or longer (OR = 1.8, 95% CI: 1.1-3.1). The study suggests that there is no substantial risk of acoustic neuroma in the first decade after starting mobile phone use. However, an increase in risk after longer term use or after a longer lag period could not be ruled out.



Lonn et al, 2004 

The overall odds ratio for acoustic neuroma associated with regular mobile phone use was 1.0 (95% confidence interval = 0.6-1.5). Ten years after the start of mobile phone use the estimates relative risk increased to 1.9 (0.9-4.1); when restricting to tumors on the same side of the head as the phone was normally used, the relative risk was 3.9 (1.6-9.5).


Friday, April 21, 2017

Overview Articles

Are cellphones dangerous for your health?
Kim Komando, Apr 6, 2017 (20 minute podcast)

Is Cell Phone Radiation Safe?
ProCon.org, Feb 14, 2017


Are you carrying your cellphone too close to your body?
Nara Schoenberg, Chicago Tribune, Jan 26, 2017


Katia Savchuk, California Magazine, Oct 18, 2016

Markham Heid, TIME Magazine, Sep 28, 2016

Study results support push for tougher standards to protect humans from potential health effects
Ryan Knutson, Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2016 

U.S. Cellphone Study Fans Cancer Worries
Researchers found incidences of tumor in rats exposed to low-level radio waves, reigniting debate over safety
Ryan Knutson, Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2016
Joel Moskowitz & Larry Junck, Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2016

At C.D.C., a Debate Behind Recommendations on Cellphone Risk 
Danny Hakim, New York Times, Jan 1, 2016

Does Cell-Phone Radiation Cause Cancer?
David Schipper, Consumer Reports, September 24, 2015

Is Cell Phone Radiation Actually Dangerous: We Asked an Expert
Simon Hill, Digital Trends, Apr 21, 2015
Spanish translation by Escuela Sin Wifi: http://bit.ly/radiaciontelefono


Italian translation of original version by Associazione Elettrosmog Sicilia:  http://bit.ly/Y9E4Wy