Is Cell Phone Radiation Dangerous or Not? | alao

Is Cell Phone Radiation Dangerous or Not? | alao

Smartphones have become an integral part of everyday life. But how dangerous is the radiation emitted by the devices? Studies show that there are risks. Certain measures can at least reduce these risks.

What is mobile radiation?

Smartphones use high-frequency electromagnetic fields - also known as radiation - for voice and data transmission to the nearest radio mast. This method was used long before the smartphone was used to transmit programmes for radio or aerial television. The only difference is that when using a smartphone, people pick up these rays especially with their hands and head when holding the device close to their ear, for example. In the human body, the absorption of mobile phone radiation can be felt as heat.

To measure the radiation emitted by a smartphone, the specific absorption rate - the so-called SAR value - is determined. The SAR value of smartphones expresses how much power, measured in watts per kilogram of body weight, is absorbed by humans. In Switzerland, the value of 2 W/kg must not be exceeded, whereby the actual value depends on the respective smartphone model.

Here is a list from the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) of the SAR values of most smartphones on the market.

High-frequency radiation occurs primarily when the mobile phone transmits calls or data; the exposure is low when the phone is idle.

In addition, when smartphones are switched on, low-frequency magnetic fields are generated by battery currents and the mobile phone's electronics.

Is mobile phone radiation harmful?

In 2002, the International Agency for Cancer (IARC) classified low-frequency magnetic fields as "possibly carcinogenic" because long-term exposure to magnetic fields increases the risk of childhood leukaemia and Alzheimer's dementia. However, it is not clear whether this danger also emanates from the electronics and battery currents of mobile phones, says the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG).

With regard to the high-frequency radiation generated by smartphones during the transmission of a telephone call or a data connection to the next mobile phone mast, the IARC also classified these beams as "possibly carcinogenic" in 2011, as a study had shown an increased risk of developing a brain tumour. A study from Australia, published in 2016, came to a completely different conclusion. According to the study, there was no increase in brain tumours between 1982 and 2013 that could be traced back to the introduction of mobile phones.

Despite these contradictory study results, an Italian court in 2017 did not find itself prevented from recognising an employee's brain tumour as an occupational disease as a result of frequent use of a mobile phone.

Mobile phone radiation can also have an influence on brain activity, although the health risk has not been conclusively clarified here either.

Smartphones can cause disturbances in pacemakers. The FOPH, therefore, recommends a safety distance of 30 cm between the pacemaker and the smartphone.

A study conducted by the University of Haifa in 2015 found that mobile phone radiation can have a damaging effect on sperm. To reduce radiation, men should therefore not carry their mobile phones in their trouser pockets.

Furthermore, mobile phone radiation causes problems for people who suffer from electrohypersensitivity. These are people who are particularly sensitive to the perception of electromagnetic fields and as a result suffer greatly from the radiation.

How can mobile phone radiation be reduced?

By using the hands-free function, at least the radiation exposure on the head can be considerably reduced. Anyone who uses a Bluetooth headset for this purpose should make sure that a low-radiation Bluetooth transmitter is installed.

The use of modern networks such as 3G (UMTS) or 4G (LTE) reduces the radiation exposure compared to the use of the 2G mobile phone network (GSM). By telephoning over a WLAN network, radiation exposure can also be reduced.

If the network quality is poor, the smartphone increases the radiation in order to still ensure reception. In such situations, you should therefore refrain from making telephone calls.

The FOPH advises against shielding products such as special protective covers or special stickers. If the quality of the connection is impaired by such protective measures, the smartphone must compensate for this by increasing the radiation.

Can mobile phone radiation be reduced in flight mode? When using the flight mode, the transmitting antenna, WLAN, Bluetooth, and other radio technologies are deactivated. This means that the radiation exposure is even lower than in sleep mode. Nevertheless, the smartphone is not radiation-free because the electronics of the device are still active.

Another way to reduce radiation exposure is to use smartphones with a low SAR value.

Which smartphones emit a lot, which emit little

The following table shows the SAR values for a selection of smartphones from different manufacturers, with the ones with the

lowest radiation - measured at the ear - at the beginning and those with the highest radiation at the end. In addition, the SAR value measured on the body is also given.


SAR value (at the ear)

SAR value (at the body)

Archos 55 Diamond Selfie






Sony Xperia M5






Google Pixel XL



Samsung Galaxy S8



Samsung Galaxy S9



HTC Desire 10 lifestyle



Samsung Galaxy S7



Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)



iPhone SE



Sony Xperia X



Huawei P20 Pro



iPhone 6s



iPhone X



iPhone 8



iPhone 7



Source: German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS)

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