iPhone 3GS Radiation Measurements Released

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Date: Thursday, September 17th, 2009, 05:10
Category: iPhone, News


You spend a fair amount of time with it next to your head, so you might as well have the facts.

Per a report released by the Environmental Working Group, Apple’s iPhone 3GS handset ranks almost squarely in the middle of smartphones in terms of radiation output. The report notes that according to compiled data, the 3GS produces approximately 1.19W/kg of radiation. The figure is substantially lower than the worst-case examples, the T-Mobile myTouch 3G and the Kyocera Jax S1300, which each produce 1.55W/kg.

The 3GS still produces considerably more output than phones towards the bottom of the scale, such as the Samsung Impression and BlackBerry Storm, which are rated at 0.35 and 0.57W/kg respectively. It also emits more than the 0.97W/kg of the original iPhone, but less than the iPhone 3G, rated at 1.39W/kg. The three best-performing phones on the list, such as the Nokia 9300i, are no longer being sold.

In a new report, the EWG claims that people using cellphones for 10 years or more could develop “serious health problems.” Because of radiation, the report suggests, cellphone users have an “increased risk of developing brain and salivary gland tumors, neurological symptoms such as migraine and vertigo, and neurodevelopmental effects observed as behavioral problems in young children.”

The EWG is pushing for the US government to require displaying radiation levels at points of sale.

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3 Responses to “iPhone 3GS Radiation Measurements Released”

  1. This post is unduly alarming; a few clarifications are needed. The cell-phone “radiation” that EWG refers to is not high-energy particles like, say, gamma rays, which is what you seem to be implying by your use of the yellow-and-black radiation hazard logo as an illustration. That stuff is called “ionizing radiation” because individual particles pack enough punch to break chemical bonds in, say, DNA, which is why sufficient exposure is known to be a cancer hazard. Rather, cell-phone radiation consists of radio waves that deposit energy in, say, your head (the “watts per kilogram” figure quoted) in a diffuse manner, more like a gradual warming.

    Of course, microwave ovens do the same thing (at much higher power levels), so it’s not absurd to consider the possibility that cell-phone radiation might be harmful at some level; however, unlike the case with ionizing radiation, there is nothing remotely resembling a medical consensus that there are in fact any harmful effects from it. The “Environmental Working Group” is not some government or medical agency that certifies safe or unsafe conditions, but rather a nonprofit that looks for potential hazards; their measurements of cell-phone output cannot be taken to be a certification that some phones are safe and some unsafe, or even that one phone is safer than another that has higher output (if in fact there are no harmful effects, then all phones are equally safe with regard to their radiation output).

    I’m probably going to draw comments from flamers who claim I’m suppressing or ignoring studies that _have_ found a correlation between cell-phone radiation levels and medical problems. I’m not professionally qualified to comment on the quality or implications of those studies, so (as I said) I’m not dismissing them as “absurd”; however, the way this post was written and illustrated seemed to me to imply a far greater assertion of danger than is in any way warranted, and I wanted to clarify that nobody is talking about “newk-yuh-lurr” radiation here!

    BTW, sorry to hide behind a “Guest” identity — I couldn’t find a “register” or “login” link on the page! (Too much iPhone radiation affecting my vision…?) My name’s Mark Looper; I’m a (space, ionizing) radiation physicist.

  2. Excellent and pithy comment. Thanks for being even-handed.

  3. Just watch an old movie called “Demon Seed”…..and then question advanced artificial intelligence……phones are not far behind computers….