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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