Smartphone radiation, everything you need to know

The Sar value indicates how much electromagnetic radiation the human body absorbs from an electronic device: here's how to understand if your smartphone is dangerous

With the arrival of the first 5G devices, controversies about the dangerousness of electromagnetic radiation emitted by smartphones are back in vogue. Concerns already seen at every step of technology: 2G, 3G, 4G.

Science, in this regard, is quite unanimous in confirming the fact that high exposure to electromagnetic waves is a danger to humans but, at the same time, the limits set by law make safe the daily use of smartphones. The industry, consequently, has adapted to the values imposed by the legislation, especially the so-called SAR values that are the main parameter on which scientific research is based. However, periodically, in the press we read alarming news about one or more devices that exceed the limits imposed by law. The consumer's doubt, therefore, is how dangerous smartphones really are and if, underneath, manufacturers do not lie about emissions.

What are the SAR values

The acronym SAR stands for "Specific Absorption Rate" (of electromagnetic waves, of course). In practice, it indicates how much electromagnetic radiation the human body absorbs from an electronic device in a unit of time, positioning the device at fixed distances. The SAR is expressed in watts per kilogram (W/kg) and each state imposes its own limits. In USA the maximum SAR allowed is 1,6 W/kg, while in EU each State can decide autonomously within a maximum threshold of 2 W/kg. Italy is one of the countries in the EU with the lowest limits.

The investigations of the Chicago Tribune and ANFR

In mid-July the French Agence Nationale des Fréquences (ANFR) imposed the withdrawal from the market of two smartphones: the Leagoo S8 and the AllView X4 Soul Mini S. Both exceeded, according to the agency, the SAR thresholds of 2 W/kg: the first one reached 2.39 w/kg, the second even 4.6 W/kg. Previously, always the ANFR, had obtained from Xiaomi the lowering of the power (through firmware update) of the radio of the two smartphones Redmi Note 5 and Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S. A few days ago, instead, an investigation of the Chicago Tribune revealed that the latest devices of Apple and Samsung exceed the SAR thresholds (the companies have promptly denied).

Smartphone radiation, dangers?

The results of the investigations conducted by the ANFR and the American newspaper are not comparable: while in the first case it is a public body to make the tests, strictly following the industry regulations, in the second case the tests have been defined by several parties as unreliable. This teaches us, on the one hand, that not all alarms are equal and, on the other, that the authorities in charge of supervising the respect of SAR values know how to do their job. To remember, finally, that SAR values imposed by laws are always much lower than those considered harmful by scientific studies.