Debate over cell phone radiation heats up
You don't need a radiation meter to detect that the debate of cell phones as cancer-causing devices is getting hot again. Though the topic hasn't cooled off since cell phones have become, well, everywhere, the debate is picking up steam again wit...
You don't need a radiation meter to detect that the debate of cell phones as cancer-causing devices is getting hot again. Though the topic hasn't cooled off since cell phones have become, well, everywhere, the debate is picking up steam again with lawmakers in Maine now considering a mandate to make cell phones carry labels warning of possible links between radiation and brain cancer.
With that early March news story came a chorus of doctors warning people of the dangers of cell phone radiation emissions. Dr. David Carpenter, a director of the Institute for the Health and the Environment and professor of environmental health science at the University at Albany, even warned of a coming epidemic of cell phone-related cancer cases.
"We can do nothing and wait for the body count," Carpenter said in an Associated Press story. "That's what happened with smoking."
According to a 2009 report by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, 89 percent of people in the United States have cell phones.
Of course, opponents of Maine's proposed law argue that there is no evidence confirming the correlation of brain cancer and cell phone use.
But there's also a twist to this ongoing debate.
Cell phone as medicine
In January, the results of a study were released that showed using cell phones might actually be beneficial to some people's health.
The study, conducted by Gary Arendash at the University of South Florida, suggests that electromagnetic fields identical to the ones emitted by cell phones can help improve the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
The study exposed mice with Alzheimer's symptoms to cell phone-like radiation emissions for two hours a day for two months. The mice with memory problems seemed to show improvements through maze exercises with escape doors.
Arendash also said there "was no effect on their behavior, no damage to the DNA and no sign of any tumors or organ damage."
More research will be needed, but Arendash says he expects people experiencing Alzheimer's could see improvements in their condition through cell phone use.
Regardless, the debate over cell phone radiation is as hot as ever. And with that in mind we offer you a list of the top 10 radiation-emitting cell phones and the 10 phones that emit the least amounts of radiation. The lists were compiled by CNET.com.
The lists rate the phones by using CTIA's specific absorption rate (SAR), which is the way to measure how much of a radio frequency is absorbed by the body. CNET's article also says that "for a phone to pass FCC certification and be sold in the United States, its maximum SAR level must be less than 1.6 watts per kilogram."
The SAR levels included on these lists were tested with the phone used next to the ear.
10 cell phones with the highest radiation levels*
1. Motorola V195s, 1.6 SAR level, which measures how much of the radio emission is absorbed by the body
2. Motorola Zine ZN5, 1.59
2a. Motorola Rival, 1.59
4. Kyocera Jax S1300, 1.55
4a. Motorola VU204, 1.55
6. RIM BlackBerry Curve 8330, 1.54
6a. RIM BlackBerry Curve (U.S. Cellular), 1.54
6b. RIM BlackBerry Curve (Verizon), 1.54
9. Motorola Crush, 1.53
9a. Nokia E71x, 1.53
10 cell phones with the lowest radiation levels*
1. Beyond E0Tech Duet D8, 0.109
2. Samsung Eternity SGH-A867, 0.194
3. Samsung Blue Earth, 0.196
4. Samsung SGH-G800, 0.23
5. Samsung Soul, 0.24
6. Samsung Impression SGH-A877, 0.27
7. Samsung Innov8, 0.287
8. Beyond E-Tech Duet D888, 0.32
9. Samsung SGH-T229, 0.383
10. Doro PhoneEasy 410, 0.445
*According to a list published in January 2010 by CNET.com.
Readers can reach Forum Features Editor Robert Morast at (701) 241-5518