When it comes to Cell Phone Radiation, SAR and EMR Both MatterMay 10, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP
How do you know you've chosen the safest cell phone? One expert says you should be aware of two measurements: Specific Absorption Rates (SAR) and the amount of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) emitted from a device.
According to Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health at UC Berkeley, while SAR is not a perfect measure of cell phone radiation exposure, consumers have a right to know cell phone's maximum SAR before they purchase a device. Unfortunately, information on a phone's SAR is usually found in the users guide, which most consumers don't have access to until they've purchased a phone.
In a release issued this week, Moskowitz said some comments he made regarding SAR were misconstrued in a report published by the San Francisco Chronicle. As we reported here yesterday, the Chronicle article - which reported on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors' recent decision to table an ordinance that would have required retailers to post SAR information for cell phones – said Moskowitz had asserted that SAR is not a very useful measure because it is the “peak reading on a variety of tests conducted on cell phones,” and “doesn’t indicate the average amount of radiation a user would generally be exposed to.”
But according to his news release, Moskowitz does believe SAR is important. "Just like the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) requires car manufacturers provide gas mileage ratings for typical city and highway driving, the Federal Government should also require that cell phone consumers be provided with estimates of typical radiation exposure.” He also thinks that the government needs to lower the SAR legal limit, which at this time stands at 1.6 watts per kilogram.
But EMR is another measure of cell phone radiation that might be even more important. According to Moskowitz, when it comes to EMR exposure, your cell phone carrier may matter more than your cell phone model.
"GSM phones emit much more EMR on average than CDMA phones. If you are concerned about your EMR exposure, you should consider using a carrier that employs CDMA (e.g., Verizon, Sprint) instead of one that employs GSM (e.g., AT&T or T-Mobile)," his statement continues. "Besides industry-supported scientists, few people are aware of this critical issue because the mass media have not covered it."
Moskowitz is calling for the federal government to fund research on the health effects of EMR. According to his statement, consumers are exposed to a substantial amount of EMR, which in addition to cell phones, is also emitted by cell towers, cordless phones, "dirty electricity," Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more recently, Smart Meters.