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How Safe Is Your Mobile
New Straits Times
July 14, 2002

How is radiation measured?
The microwave radiation emitted by mobile phones is measured as the Specific Absorption Rate – SAR – a rough guide to how much radiation is being absorbed by the ear and brain. The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) in Britain sets the safe SAR limit at two watts per kilogram.

In some countries, mobile phone manufacturers are obliged to publish SAR rates for each mobile phone model. These can vary from 0.30W/kg to more than 1.20W/kg.

However, Simon Best, editor of Electromagnetic Hazard and Therapy News Report, points out that the SAR can change dramatically over a single phone call.

“The SAR reading given by manufacturers is usually given at maximum emission levels,” he says. “But, power levels, phone size, how you hold your phone and the position of the antenna will all affect SAR levels and how much radiation you absorb at any point in time.

A surge of up to 2W/kg occurs when the connection is made. How much it falls after this, depends on the strength of your signal and battery power.

A call with a poor signal or low batteries can subject you to 100 times more radiation than one with good reception or high batteries.

So which phones emit how much radiation and how can you limit exposure?

Below, the Daily Mail examine the most popular models, and give them a worry rating from one to five – five being the highest anxiety.

How to reduce your exposure
* Hold the phone a few centimetres away from your ear as the connection is made and during calls. Even one centimetre can reduce your radiation exposure.

* The angle of handset makes a big difference, too. The vertical position allows the phone to transmit signals most efficiently. If a phone is laid horizontally, for example, talking while in bed, it will need to emit significantly more radiation to work.

* Try not to obstruct the antenna, as this will cause the phone to power up.

* Enclosed spaces tend to trap and amplify radiation – if you are in a train or car, open a window and point the phone towards it.

* Take off metal-rimmed glasses and earrings while talking, as these can increase radiation by up to 20 per cent.

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