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Radio Frequency Radiation Worst Offenders

I recently received this question about Radio Frequency Radiation from one of my readers:

Dear Lloyd,

can you publish a list with Rf meter levels of the worst offenders. And put them in order with 1 being the highest level reading you can find.

I thought it was such a great question I thought I would share my reply with you:

Hi Chris

It’s not just about RF meter levels [1] of cell phones (or other wireless devices for that matter), or the level of radiation, it’s about the type of radiation (3G and 4G is thought to be worse than earlier generations), the length of your exposure, your proximity to the source (with a cell phone each millimeter from the brain counts), at what times you are exposed to this radiation (I believe night time exposures are many magnitudes worse than daytime ones).

What if we look at just the level of radiation? SAR (specific absorption rate) [2] is supposed to tell us this. And some websites publish lists with phones by SAR, as if this is some sort gauge of safety. The problem is SAR is badly flawed. Cell phones have power-control ranges of over 1000-fold in the power they transmit. Low SAR phones are generally less efficient at getting their signals out to the cell tower and so regularly work at a much higher transmit power to compensate. Meaning increased radiation exposure for you.

The issue is not radiation levels “per se” of different devices its more about how you use them. If you read somewhere the new xyz is the safest phone on the market. You go out and buy that phone, because you think its safer, which it is in certain test conditions, very marginally. But you think the xyz phone is safe, so what do you do? You use it a bit more, you are a bit less careful with the signal bars, you hold it a bit closer to your head etc. Well, any advantage you get from using the xyz phone which has a “lower radiation level” than another phone will be lost many times.

Don’t get sidetracked by radio frequency radiation levels, if you are a regular cell phone user using your cell phone safely [3] is by far your best line of defense.