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SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) Safety Fallacy


 


 

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The following example uses the sun to present a simplified explanation about how SAR safety standards for cell phones were created, and why they should not be used as the safety criteria for wireless product and network radiation. The following information applies to all wireless products and networks, and that none of the adverse health effects attributed to wireless radiation are thermally induced.

  • You plan going to the beach on a hot, humid, sunny day and want to know beforehand if it is safe to do so. You contact the government public safety health agency in your area for advice and they tell you there is insufficient scientific basis for concluding exposure to the sun is safe or poses a risk to millions of people, and although current safety standards do not suggest there is a risk to your health, further study is required and there are no recommendations available for the amount of time you can be exposed to the sun.
     
  • You try researching current safety standards and are given a web site link (no longer available) for safe exposure levels after being advised the safety standards (SAR) are theoretical.  The standards were developed in a study conducted by a United States Military Research Laboratory in 1986, were last modified on June 14, 1997, and remain nothing more than thermal estimates for a man of a height and weight. This is how the SAR safety standards used and recommended by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and regulatory agencies worldwide for determining safe levels of cell phone radiation and the radiation emitted by other products and networks were created.

You can download the study in pdf format (5.8 MB) by clicking here and review all 11 chapters of technical information, or focus on Chapter 10 to learn how the current SAR safe thermal standards were determined.

The estimated "safe thermal level" references were derived by reviewing various studies that measured the rectal temperature of a healthy 28 year old male exposed to a sunny, hot, humid environment for 61 minutes. using an estimated rectal temperature threshold" of 39.2o C. (102.5o F.) as the basis for calculating estimated safe maximum SAR for various body organs. The study included multiple disclaimers stating the results will be different for a person of a different size, age, weight, or general health condition, and this has since been confirmed, particularly for children. It should be noted the standards do not apply to frequencies below 100 MHz., and reports concerning the health effects of frequencies beginning as low as 5 Hz. are reported regularly since 2000.

This "estimated maximum temperature threshold" was then used to calculate the "estimated safe absorption rates" for individual body organs at a specific frequency lower than what is used by cellular phones, 70 MHz. Here too, the study includes a disclaimer, stating "this assumption would be expected to be valid for RF R at frequencies up to the postresonance region (perhaps up to about 1 GHz. for the average man), but might not be valid at higher frequencies."

The frequency used by older cellular and cordless phones was in the 900 MHz. band. Almost every cellular phone and many cordless phones sold since 2001 operate at frequencies far above 1 GHz., clearly indicating this SAR standard should not be used as the criteria for determining the safety of these products

During February, 2000, the FDA said "There is currently insufficient scientific basis for concluding either that wireless communication technologies are safe or that they pose a risk to millions of users." But a report published by Microwave News in February 2003, and numerous reports since then, confirming otherwise. Click here for additional information about SAR and cellular phones.

Cellular phones and other wireless products operate at microwave frequencies and there have been scientific studies published and news articles written about the health risks associated with the near field, non-ionizing radiation emitted by these products since 1993. Despite overwhelming evidence confirming SAR thermal (heating) standards should not be used to determine cell phone safety, it continues to be endorsed by regulatory agencies worldwide.

In recent years, reports and studies confirming health risks far below the thermal level (non-thermal) have been published and as indicated in the chart, there are still those who believe the effects are either unknown or questionable. AegisGuard™ radiation shielding technology was initially developed in-house during 1988 because the radiation safety standards that existed at that time were wrong, and they are still wrong.

AegisGuard™ LL, LP and LS Radiation Shields are tested within a broad range of radiation frequencies from 5 Hz. to 30, 120, 360 GHz, or 1.1 THz. with power levels up to 25 Watts measured as the point of contact of a shielded surface using the most current test standards and procedures available, or at customer locations when standards are unavailable. See Tests for additional information.

 

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