On Aug. 7, 1996, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created guidelines on cell phone radiation (RF) exposure with input from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The guidelines created a measure of the rate that body tissue absorbs radiation during cell phone use called the specific absorption rate (SAR). The SAR for cell phone radiation was set at a maximum of 1.6 watts of energy absorbed per kilogram of body weight. The limit was set due to the thermal effects of cell phone radiation (all RF radiation can heat human body tissue at high enough levels) – it was not set to mitigate other biological effects cell phone radiation might have such as DNA damage or cancer.
The FCC SAR limit is based upon a cell phone call that averages 30 minutes when the cell phone is held at the ear. Holding a phone away from the body or using a wired earpiece lowers the amount of radiation absorbed, and text messaging rather than talking further lowers that amount.
You can find the SAR level for your specific phone by checking the online FCC database that includes the SAR levels for every certified cell phone sold in the United States.
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