Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 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. Only make calls when signal is strong (4-5 bars).

February 28, 2018

According to test reports filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for the Galaxy S9 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 0.75 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 S9 Plus, the SAR for cellular transmission is <0.10 W/kg at the head, and 0.47 W/kg when worn on the body. The WiFi hotspot SAR is 0.18 W/kg. The SAR for simultaneous transmission (cellular plus Wi-Fi) is 1.14 W/kg at the head, 1.42 W/kg when worn on the body, and 1.59 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 mmwas 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 X and iPhone X 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 S9 are 
A3L SMG960U, 960U1, and 960W and 960SU, and for the S9 Plus they are A3L SMG965U, 965U1, and 965W, and 965SU. 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 230 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: A3LSMG960U. Date of Testing: 12/20/2017 to 1/9/2018. https://fccid.io/A3LSMG950U/RF-Exposure-Info/RF-Exposure-Info-1-3288005

(2) PCTEST Engineering Laboratory, Inc. SAR Evaluation Report. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. FCC ID: A3LSMG965U. Date of Testing: 12/20/2017 to 1/9/2018. https://fccid.io/A3LSMG965U/RF-Exposure-Info/RF-Exposure-Info-1-3288005

(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



Monday, February 19, 2018

Google Glass Alert: Potential health risks from wireless radiation

On the effects of glasses on the SAR in human head resulting from wireless eyewear devices at phone call state

Lan JQ, Liang X, Hong T, Du GH. On the effects of glasses on the SAR in human head resulting from wireless eyewear devices at phone call state. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2018 Feb 8. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2018.02.001.

Abstract

This paper evaluates the effects of glasses on the specific absorption rates (SAR) in the human head resulting from wireless eyewear device at phone call state. We mainly concentrate on the SAR in the eyes since their sensitivity to electromagnetic fields (EMF). We find wearing glasses obviously alters the distribution and magnitude of the SAR. The maximal SAR in the ocular tissues with glasses is even 6 times more than that without glasses. Wearing glasses also induce the new hotspot in the eyes which may cause the biggest SAR increment in the ocular tissues. Moreover, calculated results indicate that the maximal SAR is sensitive to the size of glasses and radiation frequency. Because of this, we believe wearing glasses may possibly increase the risk of health hazard to eyes of wireless eyewear device user. These calculated results could be a valuable reference for the glasses designer to reduce the SAR in the eyes.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29428220

Conclusions


Based on the calculated results, we find wearing glasses obviously alters the distribution and magnitude of SAR. The maximal SAR in the ocular tissues with glasses is even 6 times more than that without glasses. Wearing glasses also could induce the new hotspot in the eyeballs which may cause the biggest SAR increment in the ocular tissues. Moreover, calculated results indicate that the maximal SAR is sensitive to the size of glasses and radiation frequency. Therefore, we believe wearing glasses may possibly increase the risk of health hazard to human eyes. In order to decrease the SAR in the ocular tissues, people should choose the adaptive glasses according to the radiation frequency. If possible, we advise people to take off their glasses when they use the eyewear device. These calculated results could be a valuable reference for the glasses designer to reduce the SAR in the eyes. However, due to the limited research conditions, the experiment is not included. So conclusions, in this paper, are just indicative but not definitive.

--

March 22, 2017

The Google Glass, an optical head-mounted display designed in the shape of a pair of eyeglasses, was not embraced by the general public when it was introduced in 2013-2014. So Google changed its marketing strategy to target specific occupational needs including healthcare, military, and sports applications.
Recently, a colleague told me that some physician offices in California require their staff to wear the Glass. Last week, National Public Radio reported that some factory workers must also wear the Glass.
Tasnim Shamma, Google Glass Didn't Disappear. You Can Find It On The Factory Floor. WABE/National Public Radio, March 18, 2017. http://n.pr/2nDG22d
Following is a press release I prepared three years ago which provides precautionary information about this wireless device. SAR values for the latest model of the Google Glass follow the press release.
--
Google Glass Alert: Potential health risks from wireless radiation
The Google Glass emits more wireless radiation than most cell phones on the market, but unlike cell phone users, Glass users may be wearing this device on their heads for more than 12 hours a day putting their health at risk.

By Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley

BERKELEY, Calif. - April 15, 2014 - PRLog -- The Google Glass emits both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radiation. Although the Glass official web site, http://www.google.com/glass/start/ , contains information warning consumers about the device's potential interference with radio or television reception, the site provides no safety information to consumers.

As a body-worn, microwave-emitting device, Google is required by Federal law to test the Specific Absorption Rate or SAR of the Glass. This is a measure of the maximum microwave radiation absorbed by the user in 6 minutes averaged over one gram of tissue. 

Although Google did not post the SAR information on its web site, the Glass test reports can be found on the FCC's web site at [https://fccid.io/document.php?id=1910822]. The FCC ID for the current version of the Glass is X1.

The official test report indicates that the SAR for the Glass is much higher than the SARs for the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S5, or most cell phones on the market.

During the last year, Google improved the antenna on the Glass which resulted in an increase in the SAR from 1.11 to 1.42 watts/kilogram (W/kg).  In contrast, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a head and body SAR of 0.57 and 0.64 W/kg, respectively. The Apple iPhone 5 has a head SAR of 1.17 and a body SAR of 1.18 W/kg.

In the U.S. no personal wireless device can have a SAR that exceeds 1.6 W/kg. The SAR standard, however, was developed several decades ago in the U.S. primarily by physicists and engineers to protect users from the acute effects of the heat generated by microwave radiation. The standards do not protect users from the non-thermal effects of cell phone radiation which have been associated with increased brain cancer risk among long-term cell phone users and other health problems in the short term including electrosensitivity, sperm damage and infertility, and reproductive health risks in children.

Just because these devices are legal does not mean they are safe

Although many health researchers, including myself, have questioned the utility of assessing only a device's SAR, currently that is all governments measure and regulate. 

Governments want consumers to believe that all legally marketed wireless devices are safe, and that the SAR level does not matter as long as it meets the legal standard.  Yet no study has proved that exposure to low-intensity microwave radiation is safe, and thousands of peer-reviewed, published studies have found biologic effects from such exposures. The research suggests that governments need to adopt more stringent, biologically-based, standards to protect consumers' health.

Medical and public health professionals should call on Google to end this experiment on Glass users or at least fully inform consumers of the potential long-term health risks from wearing this device.


--

Google Glass SAR test report update

Following are the results from the SAR test report for the Google Glass Model GG1 (A4R-GG1; dated May 18, 2015):

Head test: 0.293 W/kg for Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz) and 0.790 W/kg for Wi-Fi (5 GHz)

Simultaneous transmission: 0.874 W/kg

Bluetooth was excluded from testing as the maximum output power is 2.0 dBm.


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Massachusetts Cell Phone & Wireless Safety Legislation

Update on Massachusetts Cell Phone & Wireless Safety Bills

Two wireless safety bills were reported out of committee favorably, and two were granted an extension for the committee to examine further. The other bills were sent to study which means they could be reintroduced during the next legislative session.

  • S.1268 Resolve creating a special commission to examine the health impacts of electromagnetic fields will examine non-industry-funded science and recommend public protections. This bill was reported out of committee favorably on February 2, 2018. Click here for updates.

  • H.2030 An Act relative to best management practices for wireless in schools and public institutions of higher education requires the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish wireless technology standards to protect the health and safety of public school students and staff. After a public hearing this bill was discharged to the Joint Committee on Public Health, which reported it out of committee favorably on February 7, 2018. Click here for updates.

  • S.2079 An Act reducing non-ionizing radiation exposure in schools.  Originally referred to the Joint Committee on Education. After a public hearing on September 5, 2017, the bill was discharged to the Joint Committee on Public Health which sent it to study on February 7, 2018. Click here for updates.
  • S.107 An Act relative to disclosure of radio frequency notifications requires manufacturer warnings be prominently displayed on product packaging of wireless radiation-emitting devices. On February 7, 2018, the committee filed an extension to April 9, 2018 to allow time to form a commission with EMF scientists and doctors. Click here for updates.

  • S.108 An Act relative to the safe use of handheld devices by children requires specific language be included on product packaging. On February 7, 2018, the committee filed an extension to April 9, 2018 to allow time to form a commission with EMF scientists and doctors Click here for updates.
  • S.1864 An Act relative to utilities, smart meters, and ratepayers’ rights gives utility customers the no-fee choice of retaining non-wireless radiation-emitting water, gas and electrical meters and refusing installation of “smart” utility meters.The committee sent this bill to study on February 7, 2018. Click here for updates. 
  • S.2080 An Act increasing medical awareness and insurance coverage of non-ionizing radiation injury and reliance upon credible independent medical research. The committee sent this bill to study on February 7, 2018.  Click here for updates. 

March 22, 2017

Five Cell Phone & Wireless Safety Bills introduced in Massachusetts Legislature

In 2017, the Massachusetts state legislature introduced five bills to address wireless radiation and public health:

S.107 would require manufacturers’ RF safety information to be plainly visible on cell phone product packaging or direct customers to safety notifications within the user manual including information pertaining to RF radiation exposure, compliance with RF regulatory requirements, and the minimum separation distance between the device and the person’s body.

S.108 would require the following language to appear on cell phone product packaging: 
"To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pocket or the phone is otherwise in contact with your body when the phone is on and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely." 
This notification is required by the model cell phone “right to know” ordinance that was adopted in 2015 in Berkeley, California. The Berkeley ordinance allows the retailer the option to post the notice in the store or provide it to the customer. It does not require the notice to be placed on the cell phone product packaging.

S. 1268 would create a commission to study the health impacts of electromagnetic fields (EMF). The commission will review non-industry funded science on the health impacts of all sources of EMF on reproductive systems, brain function including memory loss, diminished learning, performance impairment in children, headaches and neurodegenerative conditions, melatonin suppression and sleep disorders, fatigue, hormonal imbalances, immune dysregulation such as allergic and inflammatory responses, cardiac and blood pressure problems, genotoxic effects like miscarriage, cancers such as childhood leukemia, and childhood and adult brain tumors.

The commission will study whether EMF has a disparate impact on potentially vulnerable subgroups including children, fetuses, pregnant women, the elderly and those with pre-existing illnesses or impairments. The commission will investigate whether children are more vulnerable.

The commission will file a report by July 31, 2018, and recommend legislation needed to protect public health including a recommendation on whether children’s EMF (including Wi-Fi) exposure in schools should be eliminated or reduced. No commission member shall have a financial conflict of interest.

S.1864 would give residents the right to keep non-RF-emitting water, gas and electrical meters instead of "smart" utility meters without having to pay extra fees. Ratepayers will have the right to request that utility companies remove wireless meters and install electromechanical analog meters that emit no RF radiation. 

H.2030 would require the state government to develop best practices and guidance for the purchase and installation of wireless internet service in public schools, colleges and universities. The guidelines would prioritize practices that protect the health and safety of students and staff. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Effects of Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields: 833 Studies

Government and industry-linked scientists often claim that the research on the effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) is inconsistent, and that more research is needed before precautionary warnings are issued or regulatory guidelines are strengthened.

Although most of the research on cell phones has focused on radio frequency radiation (RFR), these wireless devices also produce extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF EMF). The International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization classified ELF EMF “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B) a decade earlier than RFR.

Dr. Henry Lai, Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, has compiled summaries of several areas of the research on the biologic and health effects of exposure to RFR and ELF EMF. His sets of abstracts which cover the period from 1990 to 2017 constitute a comprehensive collection of this research.

Dr. Lai finds that the preponderance of the research has found that exposure to RFR or ELF EMF produces oxidative stress or free radicals, and damages DNA. Moreover the preponderance of RFR studies that examined neurological outcomes has found significant effects.

The evidence for DNA damage has been found more consistently in animal and human (in vivo) studies than in studies of cell samples (in vitro).

The abstracts can be downloaded from the BioInitiative web site by clicking on the links below.

Top Line Results

Radiofrequency radiation:

·         90% (n=180) of 200 oxidative stress (or free radical) studies report significant effects.

·         64% (n=49) of 76 DNA comet assay studies report significant effects.
o   54% (n=25) of 46 in vitro studies report significant effects.
o   80% (n=24) of 30 in vivo studies report significant effects.

·         72% (n=235) of 325 neurological studies report significant effects.

Extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields:

·         87% (n=162) of 186 oxidative stress (or free radical) studies report significant effects.

·         74% (n=34) of 46 DNA comet assay studies report significant effects.
o   68% (n=21) of 31 in vitro studies report significant effects.
o   87% (n=13) of 15 in vivo studies report significant effects.


Radiofrequency Radiation (3,000 Hz - 300 GHz):

RFR Research Summary (1990-2017)


RFR & ELF

Graphic of Percent “Effect vs. No Effect” Oxidative Effect and Comet Assay Studies




Note: The comet assay is a sensitive genotoxicity test for the detection of DNA damage and repair. This standard technique is used for evaluation of DNA damage and repair, biomonitoring, and genotoxicity testing.