BlackBerry users are told to carry their cell phones in their pockets!

RIM’s radiation testing engineers know that encouraging consumers to carry their cell phone in their pocket is in direct violation of federal compliance guidelines.  The FCC requires RIM to warn all users to never carry or use a phone closer than 1″ to the body when connected to a network or they will be exposed to radio frequency emissions that exceed the federal limit.  RIM currently includes this FCC required radiation warning in all user guides, although they continue to hide it in fine print technical jargon in a section of the user guide that no one will ever see.

Warning consumers about the 1 separation distance is a federal compliance requirement by the FCC…. to disregard this radiation testing compliance directive is a blatant violation of 47 CFR Part 15.

RIM is also ordered by the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology in its compliance testing grant documents that “End-users must be informed of the body-worn operating requirements for satisfying RF exposure compliance.”

Yet, RIM’s marketing department displays the following tagline on their website to entice BlackBerry Pearl users to tuck the phone in their pocket:

“BlackBerry Pearl – Carry Your Friends in Your Pocket”

(http://us.blackberry.com/smartphones/blackberrypearl.jsp)

So, RIM continues to tell us that it’s OK to carry your phone in your pocket, even if doing so exposes our bodies to radiation levels that exceed maximum federal safety limits.

How about RIM’s Pocket Pouch?  Nope, it’s in violation of federal compliance guidelines, too!

Leave it to RIM’s marketing department to come up with another way to ignore federal regulatory radiation guidelines.  If positioning the cell phone in a pocket against the body, the pouch does NOT provide the 1″ separation distance as required by FCC law, so it is therefore not a compliant use.  To encourage their customers to use their products in a potentially unsafe manner is not an ethical marketing practice.

 

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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