EWG met with representatives of Pong Research and fully agrees with its business premise that cell phone cases should decrease, not increase, radiation exposure. Pong hopes to carve out a niche by selling cases that lower the phones’ radiation exposure. We anticipate that as awareness of the potential risks of cell phone radiation grows, Pong and other companies will respond by marketing cell phones and cases that offer users good communication with less radiation.
SafeSleeve's report is right up front about showing that they do not test or certify the Safe Sleeve case, rather they are simply testing the material they put into the case in a completely artificial environment, in a laboratory setting, using a signal generator and a power amplifier. Safe Sleeve includes photos showing how the measurements are taken. But that may not be how anyone will ever use their phone.
Still, despite the odds, these fears could be around for a while — because it’s hard to prove that cellphone radiation doesn’t cause harm. There are just too many combinations of genes, environmental exposures, patterns of cellphone use, plus a healthy helping of random chance to consider. It’s why we’re still having the conversation about whether coffee, for example, is good or bad for us. So while the bulk of evidence points to no health effects from cellphone radiation, the scientific literature is still somewhat mixed, Foster says. “Someone who wants to worry can pick and choose and find a lot of evidence that would support their theories.”
Dr Devra Davis is an internationally recognised expert on electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones and other wireless transmitting devices. She is currently the Visiting Professor of Medicine at the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, and Visiting Professor of Medicine at Ondokuz Mayis University, Turkey. Dr Davis was Founding Director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute — the first institute of its kind in the world, to examine the environmental factors that contribute to the majority of cases of cancer.
While driving, it is best to talk as little as possible on the mobile phone, and in any event, follow regulation 28(b) of the traffic regulations. This regulation stipulates that: “While a vehicle is in motion, the driver of the vehicle will not hold a stationary or mobile phone, and will not use then in the vehicle unless when using a speakerphone; and will not send or read a text message (SMS)”.
SafeSleeve was founded in California by two Engineering graduates (University of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) Cary and Alaey, with a desire to make a difference. They wanted to develop a product to help simplify, protect, and enhance the lives of their increasingly busy, tech dependent peers, family and friends. This is apparent in the highly efficient and useful, yet stylish designs and branding of SafeSleeve products.
It also means regulators need to make sure their policies reflect new levels of exposure. The Federal Communications Commission currently oversees cellphone safety and sets the limits for how much radiation people should be exposed to. (This is measured by the specific absorption rate — the rate at which the body absorbs radio frequency energy — and the current limit for cellphones is 1.6 watts of energy per kilogram of tissue. The whole-body threshold is a SAR value of 0.08 watts per kilogram, and the tower radiation limit is 10 watts per square meter.)
It'd be wrong to say that there is no evidence of harm at all. In fact, the re-classification by the IARC came about in the first place because the Working Group contributing to the Interphone study acknowledged "limited evidence" of an increase in glioma (a type of tumour, commonly found in the brain) among phone users in one of the studies. In this study, which concluded in 2004, researchers found that participating phone owners who had used their handsets for calls for more than 30-minutes a day, over a period of ten years, had an increase incidence of glioma.
The government, however, does not require phone manufacturers to consider the effect of cases when they conduct compliance tests to meet the FCC’s allowable radiation exposure limits. The significance of this omission was underscored by tests commissioned by case-maker Pong Research and submitted to the FCC in May 2012. Those tests showed that three models of cases made by competing companies and used with an iPhone4 increased the phones’ Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR – the amount of radiation absorbed by the user’s body – by 20-to-70 percent (Table 1).
The frequency of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation ranges from 30 kilohertz (30 kHz, or 30,000 Hz) to 300 gigahertz (300 GHz, or 300 billion Hz). Electromagnetic fields in the radiofrequency range are used for telecommunications applications, including cell phones, televisions, and radio transmissions. The human body absorbs energy from devices that emit radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation. The dose of the absorbed energy is estimated using a measure called the specific absorption rate (SAR), which is expressed in watts per kilogram of body weight.