If you read any other tech blogs, or just follow the news on a regular basis, you've probably noticed that a lot of people are, once again, talking about cell phone radiation and the possible risks associated with it. But in the flurry of numbers and accusations being tossed around, where do the HTC EVO 4G and EVO 3D stand? And should you really let yourself worry about how much radiation you are being exposed to everyday?
The resurgence of this conversation all started at the end of May, when the World Health Organization announced that cell phone use can increase users' risk of developing cancer, going so far as to place cell phones in the same category as exhaust from motors, lead, and chloroform. The jury is still out, however, as a new study out of Denmark found no link between cell phone use and brain tumors. Still, this is only one of hundreds of different studies, which all seem to contradict each other.
Thus we have city officials in San Francisco who are again trying to pass controversial legislation that would force cell phone retailers to post explicit notices about radiofrequency (RF) exposure, as well as make additional fact sheets available to customers who request them. Now, I think transparency is actually a good thing, so I'm not necessarily against this. However, I also believe that most of the fears surrounding cell phone radiation are probably blown just a bit out of proportion. After all, many scientists believe that brain tumor rates today are consistent with rates before cell phones became so popular.
So how do the HTC EVO 4G and EVO 3D stack up in comparison to similar devices? According to SarShield.com, the original EVO 4G has a Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of 1.03 watts per kilogram (W/kg), while the EVO 3D is a bit lower at 0.885 W/kg. (SAR simply refers to the amount of RF energy that is typically absorbed by the body during use. Both Canada and United States cap the maximum allowed SAR level at 1.6 W/kg.)
Using CNET's cell phone radiation rankings as a guide, this places both EVO phones squarely in the middle of the pack. As a reference, the highest radiation cell phone in the United States is the Motorola Bravo with a SAR reading of 1.59 W/kg, while the Samsung Blue Earth holds the distinction of emitting the lowest amount of radiation at 0.196.
And just for the sake of comparison, Verizon's iPhone 4 has a SAR rating of 1.18, the Samsung Epic 4G from Sprint is at 0.68, the T-Mobile myTouch 4G from HTC is at 0.938, and the Motorola Atrix 4G from AT&T is at 1.47.
When thinking about cell phone radiation, it is important to keep in mind that these numbers represent the maximum SAR levels that have been observed in testing during phone calls; actual levels can actually be lower depending on a variety of circumstances, including the specific band the phone is currently using. Levels will also vary when using the phone to transmit data or send text messages.
And because a multitude of studies on cell phone radiation exist, each contradicting the other, we can only come to the conclusion that we simply don't know how harmful our cell phones really are, if at all. However, if you want to play things safe and minimize your exposure to RF radiation, you can follow some commonsense practices:
- Avoid talking on the phone for long periods, and send text messages instead.
- Use a Bluetooth or wired headset for extended conversations.
- Avoid carrying your phone in your pocket. Instead, carry it in a bag or use a belt clip that keeps the phone at least one inch away from your body.
- Avoid using your phone in weak signal areas, as your phone will emit more radiation as it uses more power to broadcast to the cell tower.
Now, do I follow all of these tips all of the time? Absolutely not. When it comes down to it, it's up to you to decide how far you want to take this. But at least you can rest easy knowing that, while the HTC EVO 4G and EVO 3D are not the lowest radiation-emitting cell phones in the US, they are far from the top.
How much do you worry about cell phone radiation? Do you take any extra precautions to shield yourself from it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.