Tag: cell phone

FCC Reviewing SAR Rules for Cell Phone Radiation Exposure

by on Aug.02, 2012, under SAR

In June, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced it would review its rules on radiation exposure from cell phones.  The FCC’s current Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) limits were set fifteen years ago, in 1996.

Any day now, the FCC is expected to publish a Notice of Inquiry, which will be open to public comment for a couple months.  After that, the commission may issue some proposed rules.  After another comment period, the FCC could issue a final rule.

It is unlikely there will be a change to the SAR regulations.  The last time the FCC proposed a change to its RF rules was in 2003, and these minor-change amendments are still pending.

The FCC’s current SAR limits are already the tightest in the world.  SAR is the rate at which your body absorbs energy from a radio-frequency magnetic field.  It’s measured in watts per kilogram or W/kg. To be considered safe, every cell phone model sold in the U.S. must adhere to a SAR that’s less than 1.6 watts per kilogram taken over a volume containing a mass of 1 gram of tissue, even under the worst conditions.

The likely reason for the review of the cell phone radiation exposure rules now?  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been looking into the adequacy of the cell phone standard, and the FCC wants to be seen as proactive in this area.

Responsible for cell phone SAR compliance?  Join us in September for a complimentary Wireless Seminar on the East Coast or West Coast that will cover SAR regulations for personal electronic devices.

Read about MET’s SAR Testing capabilities.

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Politicians Push Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) Labeling for Cell Phones

by on Feb.10, 2011, under SAR

Starting this month in San Francisco, retailers are required to list the Specific Absorption Rate of all mobile phones they sell.  The city is the first locality in the United States to have such a requirement.

Here are the key points of the new ordinance  that was signed into law last July:

  • The Specific Absorption Rate or SAR must be listed on a 1.00” x 1.62” minimum label, with the SAR value in Arial 11-point type or larger
  • Optionally, retailers can post an 8.50” x 11.00” or larger sign that lists SAR values for the phones they carry
  • Effective date is February 1, 2011
  • Fines for non-compliance start at $300USD

A cell phone’s SAR is a measure of the amount of radio frequency (RF) energy absorbed by the body when using the handset.  The SAR value is determined by Specific Absorption Rate testing, as conducted by MET Labs and other test labs.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandates that all cell phones sold in the U.S. must not exceed a SAR level of 1.6 W/kg¹ for 1-g volume-averaged.  Canada and Australia have the same limit, while Europe is more liberal, with a cap of 2 W/kg¹ for 10-g volume-averaged.

Some studies have shown that RF even at these levels increases the risk of brain cancer, but the evidence is far from conclusive.     

Since the San Francisco legislation, and subsequent CTIA lawsuit to reverse it, industry observers have wondered whether the leftist city has started a trend, or is an anomaly.  Then came word this week  that an Oregon senator introduced a bill on Monday that would require warning labels on cell phones and wireless device packaging in that state.

Time will tell whether it will die like other initiatives in Maine, other California cities, and on the federal level, but one thing is for sure: The CTIA Wireless 2011 tradeshow won’t be held in San Francisco this year.  The wireless industry group has vowed to boycott the city for major events until the cell phone labeling law is reversed.

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