The cell phone radiation SAR test has 23 different ways to screw up the result of the FCC-required compliance test.

Take a look at all the things that the FCC admits can go wrong during a SAR test!!  (What’s SAR?)

The text below (in italics labeled “Measurement Uncertainties”) is copied right out of the FCC’s own SAR compliance testing document, Evaluating Compliance with FCC Guidelines for Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields: Supplement C (Edition 01-01) to OET Bulletin 65 (Edition 97-01).

This FCC document identifies 23 different ways the cell phone radiation (SAR) test results can be corrupted by a testing facility.  How disturbing to find out that this vital consumer safety testing procedure is likely to result in “measurement uncertainty!

Manufacturers (e.g.; RIM, maker of all BlackBerrys) are also allowed by the FCC to use the faulty procedure to test cell phone radiation in their own labs and report the results using an “honor system.”  Talk about allowing the fox to guard the hen house!  Also requiring a ridiculously complex compliance test that provides 0% confidence that the results are representative of the actual radiation effect on consumers…..what kind of regulatory oversight is that?!

The FCC is required by federal law to regulate a cell phone’s microwave radiation impact on a consumer’s body during a call.

The upper limit of absorption for heating parts of the brain and organs of a simulated human body during the test is 1.6 SAR.  The CTIA (powerful cell phone industry lobby) and FCC claim that as long as a cell phone’s SAR test result is under this 1.6 limit, it is deemed “safe”.  Well, given all the errors and uncertainties inherent in the SAR test, how can a consumer be guaranteed their cell phone’s max SAR test result IS actually below 1.6?

The actual text from the FCC’s testing document followed by all cell phone manufacturers seeking compliance appears below.  See for yourself:

_____________________________________________

MEASUREMENT UNCERTAINTIES

Measurement uncertainties are calculated using the tolerances of the instrumentation used in the measurement, the measurement setup variability, and the technique used to perform the SAR evaluation.

The overall uncertainty is calculated in part by identifying uncertainties in the instrumentation chain used in performing each of the procedures in the evaluation. Methods for evaluating and expressing measurement uncertainties can be found in the NIST Technical Note 1297 (TN1297)24, entitled ”Guidelines for Evaluating and Expressing the Uncertainty of NIST Measurement Results”. Another source of reference is the NIS 81 document, entitled “The Treatment of Uncertainty in EMC published by the National Physical Laboratory of the United Kingdom.

(NOTE:  later in the document)…..

DOCUMENTING THE MEASUREMENT UNCERTAINTY OF SAR EVALUATIONS

A. Assessment Error (measurement system)

I.   Probe Calibration Error

1. Axial Isotropy Error

2. Hemispherical Isotropy Error

3. Spatial Resolution Tolerance

4. Boundary-effects Error

5. Linearity Error

6. Sensitivity Error

7. Response Time Error

8. Integration Time Error

II.  Readout Electronics Error

III. Errors from RF Ambient Conditions

IV. Probe Positioner Calibration Error (absolute)

V.  Probe Positioning Error with respect to the Phantom Shell

VI. Errors from the Extrapolation, Interpolation and Integration Algorithms

B.  RF Source Error (test device)

I.  Test Sample Output Power Drift Error

II. SAR Variation due to Performance Tolerance of the Test Sample

III. SAR Variation due to Tolerance of Production Units

C. Test Device Positioning Error

I.   Test Sample Positioning Error

II.  Device Holder or Positioner Tolerance

D. Phantom and Setup Errors (See Reference[19])

I. Phantom Production Tolerance (shape and thickness)

II. Target Liquid Conductivity Tolerance

III. Measured Liquid Conductivity Error

IV. Target Liquid Permittivity Tolerance

V. Measured Liquid Permittivity Error

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.

 

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