By B.N. Frank
Decades of research have already revealed that exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) from cell phones and other wireless sources – including 5G – is biologically harmful. In fact, some government agencies warn citizens about cell phone radiation exposure risks! Additionally, manufacturers are required to provide information and recommendations about radiation emissions and exposure with their products.
Thanks to Environmental Health Trust for creating another webpage full of manufacturers’ “fine print” warnings.
Do Cell Phone Companies Tell Us That Phones Should be Used at a Distance From the Body Because of the Radiation?
Environmental Health Trust answers questions about cell phone radiation and the fine print warnings.
Do Cell Phone Companies Tell Us That Phones Should be Used at a Distance From the Body?
Although most of us are unaware that cell phones emit a type of radiation called radiofrequency (RF), we are even more in the dark that there are fine print instructions in cell phone manuals regarding RF radiation.
These instructions state that the cell phone user should maintain a specified distance between their body and the phone in order to ensure compliance with regulatory safety limits.
Here are some examples:
“iPhone is evaluated in positions that simulate uses against the head, with no separation, and when worn or carried against the torso of the body, with 5 mm separation…To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, headphones or other similar accessories.”
“Body-worn SAR testing has been carried out at a separation distance of 1.5 cm. To meet RF exposure guidelines during body-worn operation, the device should be positioned at least this distance away from the body.”
“Body-worn Operation This device was tested for typical use with the back of the device kept 0.39 inches (1.0 cm) from the body. To comply with FCC RF exposure requirements, a minimum separation distance of 0.39 inches (1.0 cm) must be maintained between the user’s body and the back of the device.”
“Use accessories such as a carrying case, etc., to keep the product at least 1.5 inches away from your body, and make sure there is no metal (part) in between.”
-Docomo Smartphone (Japan) SC-51C(Galaxy S22)
“This device has also been tested and meets the FCC RF exposure guidelines for use with an accessory that contains no metal and positions the handset a minimum of 15mm from the body. Position the handset a minimum of 15mm from your body when the device is switched on.
Where can I find this information for my cell phone?
- Apple iPhone: Go to “Settings” and then “General” and then “Legal & Regulatory” and then “RF Exposure”
- Samsung has a website on RF instructions here.
- Motorola has a website on RF instructions here.
- LG has a website on RF instructions here.
- Docomo Products (Japan) has a website which links to RF information here
Where can I find this information for my Wi-Fi or wireless device?
- For Apple products like the iPad, iMac, iPod and Apple Watch to Go to Apple’s RF section and search your device here.
- For Google Products go to their Safety and Regulatory Information Page here.
- For Amazon Echo Products go to their Safety and Compliance information page here.
- In addition to the phones, these company have a SARs for Samsung products, Motorola products, LG products, Docomo Products
For other products simply search for the manual online or search for the make and model with the additional phrase “RF exposure” and you can access the instructions. Be aware that many manuals will omit this information and it will be located on a separate “safety and legal compliance manual” or online in a less than obvious place.
Did you know that baby monitors, Wi-Fi printers, Apple computers and even Wi-Fi printers have fine print warnings?
Here are some examples of the fine print warnings:
“…it is advised to use the Products in such a manner that minimizes the potential for human contact during normal operation.” “This Device should be installed and operated with at least 20 cm between the radiator and your body.”
This equipment complies with FCC radiation exposure limits set forth for an uncontrolled environment. This equipment should be installed and operated with minimum distance 20cm between the radiator & your body.”
“This device should be installed and operated with a minimum distance of 20 cm between the radiator and your body.”
This device should be operated with a minimum separation distance of 20 cm (8 inches) between the equipment and a person’s body.”
“When placing the Apple Watch near your face, keep at least 10 mm of separation to ensure exposure levels remain at or below the as-tested levels.”
”To be sure that human exposure to RF energy does not exceed the FCC, IC, and European Union guidelines, always follow these instructions…Orient the device in portrait mode with the Home button at the bottom of the display, or in landscape mode with the cellular antenna away from your body or other objects.”
“This equipment should be installed and operated with at least 20 cm (8 inches) or more between the radiator and the person’s body.” –Playstation 4 Pro
“This equipment complies with FCC radiation exposure limits set forth for an uncontrolled environment. This equipment should be installed and operated with minimum distance 20 cm between the
radiator and your body.”
Do Any Medical Organizations Share This information?
The California Department of Health released an advisory on how to reduce cell phone radiation stating, “Carry your cell phone in a backpack, briefcase, or purse; NOT in a pocket, bra or belt holster.”
“Avoid carrying your phone against the body like in a pocket, sock, or bra. Cell phone manufacturers cannot guarantee that the amount of radiation you are absorbing will be at a safe level.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics wrote the FCC stating that FCC limits do not 1. account for children’s unique vulnerability, 2. reflect current use patterns and 3. do not provide consumers with sufficient information about the RF exposure.
“Pregnant women may carry their phones for many hours per day in a pocket that keeps the phone close to their uterus. Children born today will experience a longer period of exposure to radio-frequency fields from cellular phone use than will adults, because they start using cellular phones at earlier ages and will have longer lifetime exposures. FCC regulations should reflect how people are using their phones today.”
Do Cell Phones Violate Safety Limits In Body Contact Positions?
When cellphones are tested in body contact positions, the way most people use phones today, they can emit levels of radiation that violate the government regulatory limits. Published research estimates the radiation levels that can be absorbed into the body can exceed FCC’s radiation exposure limits over 11 times.
See Gandhi, O. P. (2019). Microwave Emissions From Cell Phones Exceed Safety Limits in Europe and the US When Touching the Body. IEEE Access, 7, 47050–47052.
Don’t government rules make sure phones are tested in body contact positions, the way we use cell phones?
In the US manufacturers are not obliged to RF test in body contact positions, despite the fact that people use and carry cell phones in their pants pocket, bra or tucked into spandex pants. Children sit in grocery carts streaming videos on cell phones pressed against their abdomen. Teenagers sleep with cell phones resting on their chest. However, phones in the USA are allowed to be body SAR tested with a separation distance that can go up to 25 mm.
The U.S. FCC is opposed to testing phones in body contact position and states, “Even though some parties claim that the RF exposure evaluation procedures for phones should require testing with a “zero” spacing – against the body – this is unnecessary.”
If we hold a cell phone at the distance stated in the manual will I be safe?
US FCC government safety limits for human exposure are over 25 years old. They do not protect against the numerous adverse effects scientific research has found links to (brain damage, sperm damage etc.) nor do they address cumulative effects from long term exposures.
The safety limits are based on the assumption that heating is the only harm from non ionizing wireless radiation but this has been well proved wrong by hundreds of peer reviewed and published studies.
A study in Environmental Health analyzed the findings of tumor and heart damage from the National Toxicology Program study and concluded that FCC limits should be strengthened by 200 to 400 times to protect children according to current risk assessment guidelines (Uche 2021).
Here are some studies to read:
Belpomme, D., Hardell, L., Belyaev, I., Burgio, E., & Carpenter, D. O. (2018). Thermal and non-thermal health effects of low intensity non-ionizing radiation: An international perspective. Environmental Pollution, 242, 643–658.
International Commission on the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (ICBE-EMF), (2022). Scientific evidence invalidates health assumptions underlying the FCC and ICNIRP exposure limit determinations for radiofrequency radiation: implications for 5G. Environ Health. Oct 18;21(1):92.
Miller, A. B., Morgan, L. L., Udasin, I., & Davis, D. L. (2018). Cancer epidemiology update, following the 2011 IARC evaluation of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (Monograph 102). Environmental Research, 167, 673–683.
Where is the science showing this could be harmful?
Published case reports document young women developing unusual breast cancers located directly underneath the antennas of where their phones were stored, directly where they placed their cell phones in their bra. A 2020 case control study found that women who used phones close to their bodies had up to five times more breast cancer. A systematic review and meta-analysis of case-control studies found evidence that linked cellular phone use to increased tumor risk (See Choi et al., 2020).
Be aware that as long as the phone is on, it is sending and receiving microwave RF radiation thousands of times an hour, even when you are not talking or using the phone.
Numerous scientists, including senior advisors to the World Health Organization, have concluded that if cell phone radiation were evaluated at this time, it would be considered a probable, if not fully confirmed human carcinogen. See Carlberg and Hardell, 2017; Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (European Parliament) & Belpoggi, 2021; Miller et al., 2018; Melnick, 2019; Portier, 2021.
But thought non ionizing radiation was safe, because it is not the same as X rays. It’s safe because it is non-ionizing. Right?
Just because it is non ionizing radiation, does not mean it cannot cause harm. That is outdated and well proven wrong information
Read “Scientific evidence invalidates health assumptions underlying the FCC and ICNIRP exposure limit determinations for radiofrequency radiation: implications for 5G” published in Environmental Health by authors including former NIH scientist Ron Melnick that says,
“In this paper, we show how the past 25 years of extensive research on RFR demonstrates that the assumptions underlying the FCC’s and ICNIRP’s exposure limits are invalid and continue to present a public health harm. Adverse effects observed at exposures below the assumed threshold SAR include non-thermal induction of reactive oxygen species, DNA damage, cardiomyopathy, carcinogenicity, sperm damage, and neurological effects, including electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Also, multiple human studies have found statistically significant associations between RFR exposure and increased brain and thyroid cancer risk.”
As another example, the literature review “Oxidative mechanisms of biological activity of low-intensity radiofrequency radiation” found that in 93 of the 100 peer-reviewed studies dealing with oxidative effects of low-intensity RFR, researchers found RF induced oxidative effects in biological systems.
“Given the human, animal and experimental evidence, I assert that, to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, the probability that RF exposure causes gliomas and neuromas is high.”
Christopher Portier PhD
Former Director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the Director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Prior to CDC, Dr. Portier was with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for 32 years where he served as the NIEHS Associate Director, Director of the Environmental Toxicology Program, and Associate Director of the National Toxicology Program, and Senior Scientific Advisor to the Director.
What are other countries doing?
Starting in 2012, the French Government’s National Frequency Agency ANFR began testing hundreds of phones in body contact positions, with 0 mm between the phone and body phantom. After pressure from Dr. Marc Arazi from the Phonegate Association, the data is now posted online and it showed that the majority of cell phones exceeded EU regulations. In 2016, the European Union laws were strengthened and they must use a separation distance no higher than 5 mm.
French Ministers later issued a press release recommending that the regulation be further strengthened to 0 mm, but the EU regulations have not yet been changed at this time.
France: A 2019 Ministerial order stated consumers should be informed to use a hands-free or speakerphone, limit frequency and duration of calls for children, keep away from the belly of pregnant women, Keep away from the lower abdomen of adolescents.”
Belgium: In 2013 the government banned the sale of phones designed for young children.
Republic of Korea: “Children are advised to avoid using cell phones whenever possible.” – Gov Webpage
But I thought The FDA, WHO and EPA say this is safe.
None of these entities have ever reviewed all the up to date research. Yes, it may seem that way. But no.
If you think so just try and find the scientific report by these agencies that looked at everything from thyroid cancer, to brain impacts to sperm damage. It simply does not exist.
Federal regulatory agencies with health and safety expertise have NOT evaluated the totality of up to date science to make a safety determination.
The WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO/IARC) in fact designated wireless radiation as a class 2B “possible” carcinogen in 2011 largely based on human studies that found long term cell phone users had increased risk for tumors- glioblastomas and acoustic neuromas (Read the WHO/ IARC 2011 press release). The scientific documentation for the determination was compiled in a 2013 monograph (IARC 2013). Furthermore, because that determination was a decade ago, the WHO/IARC advisory group now has recommended wireless be re-evaluated as a “high priority” within 5 years due, largely in part, to the recent animal research (Falconi, 2018; NTP, 2018) which found evidence for cancer (IARC, 2019).
Several of the scientists who were invited experts to the WHO IARC EMF Working Group have more recently published or issued reports that say that the evidence associating RF with cancer has increased and it should be considered a probable or proven carcinogen.
Here are examples of WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer experts making statements about cell phone and wireless safety