The FCC requires all cell phone manufacturers to warn consumers to never carry their cell phone in their pocket or they will be exposed to radiation emission that exceeds federal safety guidelines.

The entire cell phone industry knows this dirty little secret  and they are hiding it from consumers!!  Nope, it’s not some wild conspiracy theory – it’s the ugly truth they don’t want you to know about!  Skeptical?!  I don’t blame you…. I couldn’t believe it myself.  But, here are the facts:

I discovered that the BlackBerry cell phone I purchased for my 16 year old daughter had an FCC-required consumer safety warning to never carry the phone closer than 1” from the body or radiation would exceed the FCC safety limit of 1.6 SAR (the measurement of heat absorbed during exposure to cell phone radiation).  She had been carrying it for 8 months in her pocket (as do most children, teens and young adults) receiving thousands of texts and phone calls each month with the phone directly against her body.  Because that particular phone had the highest radiation of any cell phone on the market, the amount of radiation emitted when closer than 1” from the body most certainly exceeded the 1.6 SAR safety limit.  The required safety warning which would have warned her to never carry the phone in her pocket was not in the user guide so we might have seen it; it was located on the CD that came with the phone which we had no hope of seeing as it was located in the bottom of the box; once I heard about the CD and found the silly thing, the safety warning which was supposedly on the CD could not be read on my MAC!  It required a PC to even be read.  Also, the elusive .pdf file which contained the safety warning was not referenced anywhere in the product literature.

FCC requires ALL cell phone manufacturers to warn users that the radiation level can be dangerous if carried in the pocket.  Were you warned?

After a bit of research, I discovered that ALL cell phone manufacturers are required to inform consumers of this warning although few consumers ever see it since the FCC allows this warning to be buried in fine print in an obscure place in the user guide within technical radio frequency emission jargon.  If you check every word of the user manual that came with your cell phone, you might see it.  Get out a magnifying glass, as it will be in incredibly small type font.  And, it will be buried in some FCC “compliance” section about radio frequency emissions or “separation distance”.  Go on, see if you can find it.

The FCC does little, if any oversight of cell phone manufacturers, so this industry-wide deception continues without consequence.  The CTIA (powerful cell phone industry lobbying agency) is aware of this industry-wide practice, and has done nothing to stop it.

Well… even if you did find the safety warning, you might not recognize what it implies.  Manufacturers have become really tricky about wording the warning in a way that makes no sense.  Instead of just writing,

“Don’t carry the phone in your pocket or you’ll be exposed to radiation levels that exceed the FCC-established safety limit,”

they write bizarre, misleading “suggestions”, like, “Always maintain a minimum separation distance of 1″ OR better yet… “Refer to body-worn configuration requirement”.

You are now warned.  Spread the word to children, teens and others who carry cell phones in their pockets!

Don’t let your kids carry cell phones in their pockets.  Be informed.  Find the safety warning for your phone and call your service provider and complain that the FCC-required safety warning needs to be in a prominent location in language a consumer would understand.  Better yet, write to the president of your cell phone service provider or file a formal complaint with the FCC.

Demand that the cell phone industry stop hiding the consumer safety warning!!  We have a right to know!!  What are they REALLY hiding?


“We’re all lab rats in the cell phone industry’s global experiment to prove that their products really DON’T have the negative health impacts that physicians and scientists throughout the world are warning us about.  Who do YOU believe?”  Cynthia Franklin,  Consumers for Safe Cell Phones

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FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs website: “SAR for Cell Phones, What it Means for You” was deleted and completely re-written on September 20, 2010 to conform to CTIA’s (powerful cell phone industry’s lobby) party line that every cell phone is perfectly safe even if held directly against the body when transmitting (a situation the FCC requires that users be warned against due to it exposing consumers to unsafe SAR levels).   The previous, replaced version had only recently been updated 10 months earlier on November 5, 2009 to advise consumers to:

  • “Use an earpiece or headset.”
  • “Use the cell phone speaker.”
  • “Consider texting rather than talking.”
  • “Buy a wireless device with lower SAR.”
  • “If possible, keep wireless devices away from your body when they are on, mainly by not attaching them to belts or carrying them in pockets.”

Oh….the CTIA would NEVER go for publicizing all those safety precautions!!

[To read the FCC-required safety warning that the industry is hiding from consumers, read this previous post.]

That might imply cell phones are not the benign, safe consumer devices we’ve been led to believe they are.  Did the CTIA exert undue influence over the federal agency that is supposed to protect us?

The “sanitizing” of the consumer cautions occurred right about the time it became apparent that San Francisco’s new law (that manufacturers must make public the SAR level for each phone) was going to pass and possibly ignite a national outcry in other places.  Environmental Working Group (EWG), a leading consumer watchdog over cell phone safety issues, has recently written, “The FCC has essentially cut and pasted the wireless industry’s position into its revised websites.”

As you know, my focus is on exposing the industry-wide deception that consumers are not being informed about the FCC-required safety warning to never carry their phones directly on the body as in a pocket.  So, I was particularly alarmed when FCC deleted off its website the previous consumer warning to “keep wireless devices away from your body when they are on, mainly by not attaching them to belts or carrying them in pockets.”  This warning had only appeared on the FCC website for 10 months – I wonder why it was suddenly deleted?

The EWG is also wondering and they have initiated legal proceedings to force the FCC (via the Freedom of Information Act) to disclose all communication with CTIA representatives regarding these recent changes to the consumer website.  Very interesting!  I’ll keep you posted on these developments.

So, if the FCC is taking its marching orders from the CTIA, then this change makes perfect sense.  Why else would the warning that users should never carry their phones in their pockets have been deleted?  The FCC requires every cell phone manufacturer to warn users to never hold or carry the phone in their pockets – so why would they backpedal on making this knowledge public?!  It could only be to appease the CTIA whose job is to protect their manufacturers’ profits by making sure people don’t see the consumer safety warnings.

Just to repeat this undisputed fact because this is difficult for some people to believe:   the FCC requires every manufacturer to inform the consumer to never hold the phone closer than .6 – 1” from the body when on OR THE PHONE DOES NOT MEET THE SAFETY STANDARD AND CAN NOT BE SOLD LEGALLY IN THE US.  This is due to the fact that all cell phones are allowed to be tested while held up to 1” away from the testing body so the SAR level is manipulated to fall under the 1.6 safety limit.  (To understand why this 1” really is a big deal, read: “The FCC’s warning to maintain a 1” separation between a cell phone and your body really is a big deal!”)

 

“We’re all lab rats in the cell phone industry’s global experiment to prove that their products really DON’T have the negative health impacts that physicians and scientists throughout the world are warning us about.  Who do YOU believe?”  Cynthia Franklin,  Consumers for Safe Cell Phones

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Check YOUR cell phone — See if you can find the warning label…

If you receive texts or calls while the phone is on your body (in a pocket or tucked into the waistband of your pants, or wherever) you are exceeding radiation exposure guidelines established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

So, how many of you have seen this warning???

It appears in the ‘fine print’ of the user manual packaged with most cell phones. Is it in yours? It’s important to take the time to look.

Unfortunately, there was no warning in the product literature that came with the BlackBerry Pearl that I bought from AT & T. None. Nada. I carried my BlackBerry Pearl around in my pocket for 8 months, being exposed to unknown levels of radiation before I became “enlightened.”

I decided to do a little research on my BlackBerry Pearl. And, what I found out is alarming.

Here’s a quote from the website of BlackBerry’s manufacturer, Research in Motion (RIM):

If you do not use a body-worn accessory supplied or approved by RIM when you carry the BlackBerry device, keep the device at least 0.98 inches (25 mm) from your body when the BlackBerry device is turned on and connected to a wireless network.”

Translated this means: You’re NEVER supposed to hold the BlackBerry Pearl (and possibly other BlackBerry devices) closer than 1 inch from your body when it’s turned on!

Like I’m supposed to MEASURE the distance between my phone and my body?!

How about my 17-year-old daughter who gets 3,500 text messages a month with the phone in her pocket? Not held an inch away, but right next to her reproductive organs? The guys she hangs around with also carry their phones in their pockets….right next to their family jewels. What level of radiation are these kids exposed to in a month’s time?!

What the *&%+ is going on?!

A warning this important should have a neon label on the package where the user will see it:

Don’t carry this device in your pocket or you will be exposed to radiation that exceeds federal guidelines.

This would make sense if the manufacturer actually wanted to warn the user.

When I called the BlackBerry manufacturer and asked why there wasn’t a warning in the product literature that came with the phone, a RIM vice president told me to not worry because all RIM BlackBerry products meet FCC radiation emission guidelines.

Not quite true. Blackberry products only meet the FCC radiation guidelines IF you carry the phone in a “RIM approved” holster and NEVER in your pocket. (Oh, those pesky little details…)

My next step was to go find actual warnings from a sample of user manuals that were packaged with phones other than BlackBerrys. Here’s what I found:

  • Apple iPhone – “For body-worn operation, iPhone’s SAR measurement may exceed the FCC exposure guidelines if positioned less than 15 mm (5/8th inch) from the body….for body-worn operation, keep iPhone at least 15 mm (5/8th inch) away from the body.”
  • LG Shine (AT&T) – “To comply with FCC RF exposure requirements, a minimum separation distance of 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) must be maintained between the user’s body and the back of the phone.”
  • Samsung SGH-a737 (AT&T) – “For body-worn operation, this phone has been tested and meets FCC RF exposure guidelines when used with an accessory that contains no metal and that positions the handset a minimum of 1.5 cm from the body.”
  • Motorola E815 (Verizon) - “If you wear the mobile device on your body, always place the mobile device in a Motorola-supplied or approved clip, holder, holster, case or body harness. If you do not use a body-worn accessory supplied or approved by Motorola, keep the mobile device and its antenna at least 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) from your body when transmitting.”
  • LG VX8350 (Verizon) – “This device was tested for typical use with the back of the phone kept 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) from the body. To comply with FCC RF exposure requirements, a minimum separation distance of 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) must be maintained between the user’s body and the back of the phone, including the antenna, whether extended or retracted.”

Verizon happens to provide users with a separate, bright red, 2-page pamphlet called “Consumer Information about Radio Frequency Emissions.” That’s very cool, except it fails to warn the user not to carry the phone around in the pocket or directly on the body. In fact, it seems to say “no problem.” How bizarre is that?!

“Wireless phones marketed in the US are required to meet safety requirements regardless of whether they are used against the head or against the body. Either configuration should result in compliance with the safety limit.”

This quote that Verizon uses is from the FDA/FCC website. Oh, great! Our very own US federal agencies…you know, the ones that regulate cell phone radiation… are giving the manufacturers an excuse to avoid warning the consumer that “against the body” actually means using a holster – a holster that you have to buy even though it’s required when you wear the device on your body. To add insult to injury, the cell phone industry has figured out how to scam an additional $15 – $25 out of us when we buy a new phone. What a lucrative marketing strategy.

Go find your user manual that came with your phone. See for yourself. Or, if you don’t have the user guide any more, or there wasn’t a safety section in the package about “body-worn operation” or “radio frequency (RF) safety,” call Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or whoever sold you the phone. Check it out.

BlackBerry users that purchased phones without the radio frequency safety warning to not carry the device directly on your body may need to contact RIM directly to verify this information:

RIM’s customer support line: 1-877-255-2377 (toll free)

Get a holster if you carry your phone around on your body…and don’t put the thing in your pants, pocket or wherever…unless you want to expose yourself to more microwave radiation than FCC allows. That’s right. Microwave radiation – the radio frequency that comes out of a cell phone when we make a call, send a text message or download something off the internet is the same frequency as the radiation that cooks food in a microwave oven.

To read more articles about the issues related to cell phone manufacturers hiding the safety warnings from consumers, goto:

www.labrat4sar.wordpress.com