updated 12:45 am EDT, Fri June 3, 2011
Samsung models generally lower, Moto phones higher
In the wake of the World Health Organization's mostly-mischaracterized report on cell phones and radiation, the Environmental Working Group has released a database of cell phone models with the highest and lowest rates of radiofrequency energy, CNN reports. Apple's iPhone 4 (AT&T version; the Verizon model wasn't tested) falls in the middle range of emissions, which are measured using a Specific Absorption Rate of energy by the body written as "watts per kilogram."
Cell phones sold in the U.S. cannot exceed a measure of 1.6 watts per kilogram of radiofrequency energy, but there is no study that shows an increased risk -- or any risk -- in using phones that emit higher or lower amounts. The WHO announcement, which was a change from their previous, more neutral position, comprised a review of hundreds of other peer-review studies -- a compilation of known data -- and concluded that cell phone radiation is "possibly carcinogenic to humans." Often omitted from reports of the meta-study is that its principle recommendation was that the issue needed further study.
The database of phone radiation showed that Motorola had the model emitting the most energy per kilogram of energy, AT&T's Bravo at 1.59 W/kg -- just under the legal limit. The phone with the least amount of exposure was AT&T's LG Quantum at 0.35 W/kg. Apple's iPhone 4 tested at 1.17 W/kg, which ranks it about average. Samsung had a number of phones that were among the 10 lowest, while Motorola had the most phones in the top 10 highest, along with the Palm Pixi, the Blackberry Bold and the HTC Magic also ranking very high in energy absorbed by the body.
Cell phones, by their nature, emit and receive small amounts of microwave energy at all times while they are on -- communicating with cell towers, updating GPS coordinates and of course being used for communication. Studies have been unsuccessful at establishing a clear link between cell phones and specific medical issues, even when the unit is held next to the head for prolonged periods. Radiation is naturally present in the atmosphere and from other sources, but how much the human body can absorb on a low-but-constant level without ill effects remains unclear. [via CNN]