Do cellphones cause health problems or don’t they? That’s been a popular question since the industry’s birth. Most recently, a study published in the journal of Epidemiology in December concluded that they do not cause cancer. And the CTIA would agree with that finding. However, the Italian Supreme Court would not. The European country’s high court ruled in October that a businessman’s brain tumor was caused by frequent and long-term use of a cellphone.
The industry group of CTIA took the city of San Francisco to court awhile back over the city’s SAR Right-to-Know law, which required large retail chains that sell phones to display each phone’s SAR rating. The SAR, or specific absorption rate, of a phone is the amount of electromagnetic radiation or RF energy that’s emitted. In the United States, cellphones and smartphones must have an SAR rating of 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg) or less, according to the rules set up by the FCC. In Europe the limit is higher, at 2 W/kg. Generally speaking, the lower the SAR rating on a phone, the less radiation you are exposed to.
San Francisco city officials eventually rewrote the law to remove the SAR requirement. But other areas are eyeing similar legislation, including four cities in California and the state of Pennsylvania.
If you’re concerned about your radiation levels and exposure, one remedy is to shop for a phone with a low SAR rating. To help you make that decision, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite smartphones with relatively low, or alternately, high SAR ratings. Beyond selecting a phone with a relatively low SAR rating, you can also use a Bluetooth headset or text, rather than talk, to lower your exposure.
Available on all four carriers, this phablet sports a huge 5.5-inch display and offers epic battery life. The improved pen features also help make it the gold standard of big-screen phones.
SAR Rating = 0.42