SAR is the test required by the FCC to measure heat absorption in the body from radiation exposure during a cell phone call.
The heat that builds up when our body parts are exposed to the microwave radiation of our cell phone is called SAR, an acronym for Specific Absorption Rate. Before a new cell phone can be marketed to consumers, the manufacturer must submit to the FCC their own SAR testing results for the device . (It’s basically like the honor system as there is little, if any, oversight of the SAR testing values reported.) The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) checks the manufacturer’s documents to make sure that the SAR levels didn’t exceed 1.6 watt/kg during the test. So, that’s why all cell phones have a SAR rating less than 1.6. The lower the SAR, the lower the radiation emission. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Each phone must make public two separate SAR ratings: one when held at the ear, and the other when tested on the body. NOTE: (“on the body” is misleading because the FCC allows the manufacturer to test their phone while positioned in a holster held .6 – 1 ” away from the body NOT when the phone is really ON our body like when we carry it in a pocket or wherever.)
Why make a big deal about 1″? The radiation emitted from a phone in the pocket can be almost 16 times the radiation emitted with the phone held 1 inch away in a holster!! This is why no one should ever carry, and especially not use, a phone in the pocket.
When you receive or make a call or receive a text message while the phone is in your pocket (next to your heart, breast or reproductive organs)…well, the manufacturer isn’t required to test for that. And, it is a fact that a phone with a high SAR value “on the body when in a holster” will expose the user to much greater than the FCC-allowed safety limit when carried in the pocket against the body.
Everyone knows that the typical way to carry a cell phone is in the pocket. Right? Well, tell that to the entire cell phone industry which has convinced the FCC that this is not true. The FCC’s documents state that the typical way of carrying a cell phone around is on a belt clip/holster. Yeah, maybe 15 years ago!! How many kids and young adults have you seen with their cell phone “mounted” in a holster? What a joke! So, hang on while you read this: the FCC allows manufacturers to test their phone while in a holster and no one knows how dangerously high the radiation levels can be when carried or held closer than .6 – 1″ to the body because no one is required to test it in this manner.
As if that isn’t bizarre enough, check this out: all the charts, and even the SAR values reported by the manufacturers on their websites or in their user manuals (when you can find the data which is purposely hidden or obscured in fine print) call this “on the body in a holster test” simply “SAR value on the body” implying that the test was done “on the body”.
This is deceptive, and CTIA and the cell phone industry are doing nothing about it.
Few people are aware that radiation penetrates more deeply in the soft tissues of the body….the skull actually deflects a lot of the radiation. There have been tests that clearly show that the reproductive organs are most vulnerable to the heating effects of cell phone radiation. It is to the cell phone industry’s advantage for us to remain unaware that there is no testing done to ensure cell phones meet the safety standard when carried or used directly on the body as in a pocket or tucked in a waistband or bra.
Get informed. Find out the SAR level of a phone before you purchase it. There are a few websites that inform consumers about the SAR values of most cell phones. CNET’s list may be the most popular, however, it is misleading because it only lists the SAR rating at the ear. A phone can be listed as relatively low on CNET’s radiation chart, but actually have the highest SAR value on the market according to the SAR value when tested “on the body in a holster”. This is the case with the LG Xenon which has a fairly low SAR value at the ear of .5, however, one of the highest SAR values allowed of 1.5 when it was tested “on the body in a holster”. Also, many of CNET’s SAR values are just flat out wrong when fact-checked against the FCC’s website for accuracy.
The following website lists the highest SAR value (whether at the ear or on the body in a hoster) for each phone sold. This is a more thorough method of reporting compared to CNET’s which is incomplete. (Note: I don’t endorse the SAR shield products as I don’t know for certain that radiation shields do anything other than make the user feel safer):