SAR Explained: The Thermal Effect of Smartphone Radiation
Here it is, SAR Explained: The Thermal Effect of Smartphone Radiation. We have all heard about the possible negative effect of smartphone radiation. With more and more connectivity options in modern devices. We not only increase the intimate nature of our connection with smartphones. We also connect our exposure to the thermal effects of electromagnetic radiation from those gadgets.
That’s where SAR ratings come to ease our fears of getting brain cancer. Of getting eye damage. Or of getting some other nasty health conditions. SAR is an abbreviation for Specific Absorption Rate. It represents the maximum value of a measurement taken multiple times in lab conditions. Specifically, SAR is a measure of the strength of the electric and magnetic fields. The strength and power density of transmitters operating at 300KHz to 100GHz frequencies. It is represented in watts per kilogram (W/kg).
For most handsets, phone makers conduct testing in tightly controlled environments. They have detailed reports being sent to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Those tests would exploit all the radio-frequency (RF) communication capabilities of a smartphone. The tests are conducted in all possible configurations. However, the end result that you see as an SAR rating is only the absolute peak value. When looking at publicly declared SAR values we see three figures.
- Head (near the ear)
- And simultaneous transmission values
The latter one is not required by all manufacturers. The first two are. In order for a device to get FCC approval. However, it is an important measurement that shows the peak output of a phone with all connectivity options working simultaneously. Those could include multi-band LTE modems, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
More About FCC and Manufacturer Testing
The FCC is the agency that puts a stamp on SAR testing. The results are made according to precise guidelines. The stamp of approval is granted to devices with SAR levels below 1.6W/kg. This threshold is considered to be way below the medically-agreed levels where thermal effects of electromagnetic radiation are considered to cause damage.
It’s important to know that SAR testing includes placing a smartphone in various positions around the body. Specifically the head (including both sides, but also different angles and specific locations). It’s even more important to know, though, that a smartphone company itself decides how its device should be used. It might surprise you that those prescriptions on correct smartphone use often involve holding your phone some 0.6 inches (1.5cm) or more away from your body. All testing is done in accordance with this distance. SAR testing also uses standardized models of the human head and body filled with liquids. These tests simulate the Radio Frequency absorption characteristics of different tissues.
Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that everyone has a different manner of speaking and holding their phone. Some hold it closer to the ear. Some a bit higher. Some a bit lower, etc. Those placements also have a big effect on the actual effect of thermal radiation. What this means is that the SAR value is merely a reference. Albeit a very well tested one. However, the actual impact of electromagnetic radiation depends a lot on the actual usage of a device.
Handle Your Phone With Care
NOTE: Many people would push their smartphone tightly to their ear. Some would hold it in their pocket. This would be in nearly direct contact with the body. In those cases, SAR levels increase way above the officially stated levels.
Of course, you’re here because you’re informed about the dangers of cell phones and the potential cancer causing levels of radiation. Brain and heart tumors and other cell phone causing cancers can be prevented by using an RF Safe flip Cover Case. This gets lower when used in conjunction with an RF Safe AirTube Headset. This can be further protected by an RF Safe Ferrite Bead. The good news is that you can protect yourself from cancer causing radiation emitted by cell phones with these and other devices.