B.C.’s Cellphone Radiation Levels Safe
Journalist: Jeff Lee
July 24, 2000
Cellular phones sold here all have radiation levels considered safe by the federal government, but the levels vary greatly from phone to phone, according to figures obtained by The Vancouver Sun.
Cellphone makers are required to file radiation data with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, but you won’t find those levels printed in your cellphone’s manual. It took The Sun two days of searching on the Internet to find radiation data for the cellphones most commonly sold in Canada.
Radiation levels have become an issue since the ABC television show 20/20 reported its own tests showed some phones exceeded the U.S. government’s safety standards.
Industry and independent researchers differ on the potential for harm from high radio frequency emissions. Some scientists say high rates can lead to increased potential for brain tumours, but the industry says there is no conclusive proof high usage leads to cancer or other health problems.
However, researchers agree that prolonged exposure to temperature-raising emissions should be avoided.
Each model sold in the U.S. contains an FCC identification number, which can be plugged into an FCC Web site that holds company-supplied electronic documents, including test results that show maximum “specific absorption rates” (SAR).
But the site is difficult to use, requires special viewing software, and the information is often incomplete. Phones sold in Canada have both FCC and Industry Canada identification numbers, but there is no Canadian Web site providing SAR data.
In a test, The Vancouver Sun obtained the FCC identification numbers for 35 cellular phones now being sold in the Lower Mainland through the Telus, Rogers Cantel, FIDO and Clearnet services.