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iPhone 11 Pro Emits Twice the Amount of Radiation for Safe Use (popularmechanics.com)
99 points by neya 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 25 comments



> The FCC sets the test at five millimeters from the body, which may seem close, but a cell phone in your pocket is just two millimeters from your skin.

So they did the test wrong? Then their results have nothing to do with exceeding the allowed radiation. Instead this is an unsupported claim that the test parameters should be different.


Thats the way I read it too, change 5 millimeters to 2 millimeters following inverse-square law and no surprise you get a higher absorption rate. Thats not "emitting twice the allowed radiation", thats just being closer to the source.

Still no proof this extremely low amount of power causes any biological issues. Its literally the same power level as an LED flashing next to your head, its just in the RF range vs visual and non-ionizing unlike say going out in the sun which is a 1000 watt per square meter radiator emitting UV radiation know to cause cancer.


It's not necessarily a good argument to compare to sunlight, because we also have take into account biological adaptation.

Sunlight has existed for millions of years on this planet, and therefore all biological life has had time to adapt to it.

Human skin for example, has both a protection mechanism, in the form of melanin, and a utilizing mechanism, in the form of vitamin D production.

So these are the two things you would normally expect to happen with adaptation: protection and utilization.

But when it comes to RF radiation, especially in the microwave range, the natural background flux is not 1000W/m2, but 10^-18 W/m2 (!), at 1 GHz.

The current safety limits again are set at around 10W/m2 @ 1Ghz. That's a difference to the background of over a quintillion times (18 zeroes). See image here for reference:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dt2NMoJU4AE2oYY.jpg

Because the background has been 10^-18 W/m2, we can consider it basically nonexistant, and therefore there has been no adaptation to these frequencies, no utilization, and no protection.

But there is another difference to natural sunlight also, and that is that man-made RF is not continuous, but pulsed.

Consider what would happen, if the sun suddenly started pulsing on and off a few thousand times per second.

These are some of the factors that need to be taken into consideration. It is not as simple as just saying that pulsed microwaves are just like sunlight.

From both a physics standpoint, but especially from a biological standpoint, they are not the same, and that is where the problems come from.


I think its a very good argument to compare because its based on our understanding of physics.

Even with all our adaptations we still get cancer from sunlight on a regular basis.

It is easy to understand why, UVB light is near ionizing has enough energy to damage human DNA causing cancer.

Below UVB there is not enough energy to cause DNA damage through a known mechanism except heating.

Heating directly related to power absorption, a 1500 watt microwave will cook you a 300 milliwatt pulsing microwave transmitter will not heat your flesh enough to cause any damage.

We have a pretty good grip on how various frequencies of radiation affect human biology and cell phone emissions are orders of magnitude lower power that whats needed to heat flesh enough to cause damage you literally get more heat directly from the phone being warm than RF absorption.

I don't propose we stop looking for any possible biological activity due to microwave (or any other spectrum) but repeated test have not shown this to be the case and to do so would mean there is some new mechanism for this to do so.

If you are scared of 300 milliwatt RF emissions I would be more scared of multi-watt LED light emissions due to higher energy levels (terahertz vs gigahertz).


You do understand that the ionizing argument is a logical fallacy?

If I say A is dangerous because of X, it is a logical fallacy to say B is safe because lack of X.

Lack of X is not an argument for safety, therefore you cannot use lack of ionization as any form of proof for safety. The only thing you can say, is that it does not ionize. It does not say anything else related to any other biological effects.

With regards to the mechanism and the observed effects in laboratory and animal experiments, here is the proposed pathophysiology:

https://i.imgur.com/xNzDsPo.png

If you want the TL;DR, the summary is: there are other ways to cause cellular and genetic disruption, than just ionizing radiation or by heating effects.

And yes, we have a good grip on the science: here is a graph of peer-reviewed scientific publications, showing biological effects much below current exposure limits:

https://i.imgur.com/14uxRru.png

The problem is, this science has not been incorporated into the current safety standards. This science shows, there exists non-thermal non-ionizing mechanisms of harm, that have not been taken into consideration.

But if you trust the over 20 year old FCC guidelines, then of course you will think everything is fine.

It is not a question of being scared, it is a question of looking at the science, and updating our understanding, and then look at the technology with this new understanding, so that we can make it safer.


It is most definitely not a fallacy to argue that EM radiation below a certain energy threshold has no proven mechanism other than heating to damage DNA.

Maybe we haven't found it yet, and we should always keep looking, but it is no more likely to be caused by microwave or visible light at this point.

The images you posted are to a paper done by Martin L. Pall who is a known scaremonger for EMF and has been met with skepticism [1]. It certainly is not proof of microwave being dangerous to the human body at power levels emitted by cellphones, its a theory that has yet do be proven of a possible pathway that is non thermal.

1. https://betweenrockandhardplace.wordpress.com/2020/01/15/int...


Thank you, those are great images


Maybe a sensationalist title because it's not just the iPhone 11 pro:

> The Tribune found that the iPhone 7 similarly had double the rate of radiation that the FCC deems safe for use and other smartphone makers, like Samsung and Motorola, also exceeded the safety threshold.

The article talks about how the FCC put limits in place before we all used cell phones, but it seems that the double radiation thing is not at all times, rather when the phone is under some sort of heavy load (guessing: searching for service or during a call?). Either way, it seems it's an issue:

> …World Health Organization has classified RF radiation as a possible carcinogenic to humans since 2011 and the National Institutes of Health has found "clear evidence" in animal studies that RF radiation causes cancer.

Although no direct links are given to the "clear evidence," other than effects on rodents


Pre Smart phones, handsets would generate about 100 times more radiation while finding a cell tower for a call than they did during the call. May be that.


The FCC (like everyone else) claims to measure worse case scenario only. The top article talks about the FCC measuring at 5 mm distance rather than against the head. There is more distance from reality [pun mine] in the iphone 4 manual.

"...to be sure that human exposure to RF energy does not exceed the FCC, IC, and European Union guidelines [...] keep iPhone at least 15 mm (5/8 inch) away from the body, and only use carrying cases , belt clips, or holders that do not have metal parts and that maintain at least 15 mm (5/8″) separation between iPhone and the body."

This laptop is amazingly slow but I'm sure you could find the iphone manuals online, the fcc (and other) exposure and measurement documentation, perhaps the actual measurement lab report mentioned in the article and lots of RF exposure research.

If you want to know if your brain is getting fried that is. If you don't want to know or if searching is to challenging it is probably to late already :P


Eh. The title is factual. Nothing sensationalist about it.


Sure but the implied message (that this is exceptional for the iPhone 11) is not.

Another example would be “USA struggling to cure millions from cancer”. Accurate, but implies that this is different from the status quo.


It's a key

Lets imagine I ran a national news network, and I wanted to systematically portray people with blue eyes as criminals.

I would downplay and not report crimes of people with brown eyes, but I would report every crime someone with blue eyes commits, and ensure that "Blue eyes" is in the headline.

I would then report on the victims and report they had brown eyes. If the victim didn't have brown eyes, I wouldn't mention the colour, and let people make their own assumptions.

This would all be accurate, but it would also be massively fake.

Of course that would be crazy, yet that's exactly what happens every day in the media.


> Maybe a sensationalist title

The article is specifically about iPhone 11 pro (which is one of the newest phones from Apple). What's so sensationalist about it to demonstrate potential health hazards using a newly launched phone at an expensive price point?

> because it's not just the iPhone 11 pro

I don't understand the emphasis here, is it somehow okay because everyone else is doing it?


> Instead, if you want to reduce your exposure to radiation, hold your cell phone away from your body (especially your head) by using the speakerphone setting while talking

So those impolite annoying people who are using the speaker mode in public settings are actually behaving smarter than we give them credit for.

Maybe if we praise them for behaving safely they'll stop?


I am afraid in a few years this will become a scandal like "dieselgate". An industry self certifying because government doesn't have enough resources to do it.


Related: FCC is being sued because of their failure to update the safety standards to take into account the latest research.

https://lawandcrime.com/administrative-law/scientists-sue-fc...


"Someday we'll find out that cell phones cause cancer and it'll be a big scandal" is possibly #2 only to "Apple is dying" in tech news reruns.


I've been thinking about this. I own a Galaxy S10, and if I call for more than like 30 minutes at a time, I start to get a migraine. I've "solved" the issue by using the wired headset.

I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of phones had somewhat dangerous levels of radiation.


Or maybe just physically pressing something to the side of your skull causes migraines after 30min?


By that logic, I couldn't wear headphones (and I wear headphones pretty much 4-8+h a day). So I don't think that's the problem.


I don't think headphones are pressed to the head with anything like the force phones tend to be. Also, headphones are soft.

It's also worth considering: Normally after 10 minutes on the phone, my forearm hurts from gripping and pressing the handset to my head. Is that radiation too? :)

But what do I know? Maybe try it? Next time you have to make a long call, switch to speaker but put a small pillow between your head and the phone. Or put it in airplane mode and listen to a pod cast for 30 minutes as if it were a phone call.

Respectfully, if I thought I was getting enough radiation to give me a headache, I'd assume I was way way over the level that was harmful. You really should check this...


The effect is different for different people.


The force is pretty different and spread on the sides of the skull evenly, in the case of headphones.


The headset works but the wire is still part of the antenna. What you want is an air tube headset. I just use hands free but it isn't always ideal.




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