14:06 GMT27 February 2021
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    A lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California on August 23 alleges that radiation emitted from Apple and Samsung smartphones exceeds safety standards set by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), following radiofrequency tests commissioned by the Chicago Tribune.

    According to the class-action lawsuit, “recent testing of the defendants’ products shows that the potential exposure for an owner carrying the phone in a pants or shirt pocket was over the exposure limit, sometimes far exceeding it - in some instances by 500%." 

    The filing also states that Apple “intentionally misrepresented the safety of the iPhones, assuring class members that the iPhones had been adequately tested, and were safe to use on and in close proximity to their bodies at all hours of the day and night, despite information within its knowledge indicating that the radiofrequency exposure was linked to cancer and other health risks.”

    Tests were carried out on 11 cellphone models at the RF Exposure Lab in southern California at two distances: the distance that manufacturers choose for market testing - 5, 10 or 15 millimeters - and the shorter “pocket” distance of 2 millimeters. 

    “To conduct the tests, each phone was placed underneath a tub containing specially formulated liquid intended to simulate the electrical properties of human body tissue …  A probe attached to a robotic arm then moved in the liquid for eighteen minutes, taking 276 measurements of the radiofrequency radiation absorbed,” the lawsuit describes.

    The findings reveal that Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, as well as Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S9 and J3, emitted radiation levels higher than those permitted by the FCC. The agency’s guidelines state that cellphones should not emit more than 1.6 watts of radiofrequency per kilogram averaged over a gram of tissue.

    After viewing the lab reports, an FCC spokesperson said that the agency will test radiofrequency from phones over the next few months to verify the Tribune’s results.

    “We take seriously any claims on non-compliance with the radiofrequency exposure standards and will be obtaining and testing the subject phones for compliance with FCC rules,” agency spokesman Neil Grace said in a statement to the Tribune.

    However, in a statement to the outlet, Apple contested the study’s findings, calling them “inaccurate.” 

    "All iPhone models, including iPhone 7, are fully certified by the FCC and in every other country where iPhone is sold," the company added. "After careful review and subsequent validation of all iPhone models tested in the [Tribune] report, we confirmed we are in compliance and meet all applicable exposure guidelines and limits.”

    According to the FCC’s website, exposure to high levels of radiofrequency can increase body temperatures and heat biological tissue to dangerous levels. Although links between radiofrequency and cancer are currently inconclusive, some experimental data has pointed to a potential link between tumor formation and radiofrequency exposure, according to the FCC.

    However, the lawsuit states that “numerous scientific publications” have shown that radiofrequency exposure has negative effects on living organisms. 

    "Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans,” the filing reads.

    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims there is “no scientific evidence” to provide a “definite answer” to whether radiofrequency emitted by cellphones can cause cancer. For those worried about radiofrequency exposure from phones, the CDC recommends using the speakerphone function more often or using a hands-free headset.

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    Tags:
    frequency, Radiation, Samsung, Apple
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