iPhone Radiation: Should You Be Worried?


Where do you carry your iPhone, or your cellphone for that matter? Do you carry it in your pants pocket? Or maybe it hangs out on your belt in a holster all day long? With all of these wireless devices getting more powerful by the day, how are the radiation levels?

iPhone Radiation Levels–Something to Think About

Recently a study was done by the Environmental Working Group that analyzed the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of the latest cellphones out there. According to an explanation from Wired:

The Federal Communications Commission sets the acceptable U.S. radiation standards for cellphones. The effects of the radiation depend on the rate at which energy is absorbed by a mass of tissue. This is called as the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) and measured in watts per kilogram (W/kg). Most handset makers use private certification companies to test the SAR on their devices.

Based on a recommendation from industry group, IEEE, the FCC limits SAR levels for partial-body exposure (including head) to up to 1.6 W/kg, and whole body exposure to up to 0.08 W/kg. For hands, wrists, feet, and ankles, the limit is up to 4 W/kg, averaged over 10 grams of tissue.

So the lower the SAR rating, the safer the phone should be right? How did our family of iPhones fare? Let’s find out the levels below (phone held at ear):


iPhone 3GS: 1.19 W/KG
iPhone 3G: 1.39 W/KG
iPhone: 0.97 W/KG
…and for good measure: Palm Pre: 0.92 W/KG

Eating berries can be good for your health, but not in this case Blackberries can be dangerous (two of the most dangerous smartphones)!

Blackberry Curve 8330: 1.54 W/GG (1.55 was the highest rating of all phones)
Blackberry Bold 9000: 1.51 W/KG


So there you go, as you can see the first gen iPhone has the lowest rating, then the 3GS, then the 3G at the highest level. The Palm Pre is actually pretty decent–too bad it’s with Bell though. Watch out 3G owners, time to start using your wired headset a bit more, eh? 😉

What’s the Safest Phone for Me to Use?

The best phone on the EWG list was the Samsung Impression at 0.35 W/KG. For phones that are rare and discontinued, you can’t go wrong with the Nokia 9300i which has a low 0.21 W/KG (in other words, this Nokia uses the old two tin cans and a string for connections). Look at the size of the screen on this bad boy:


The study mentioned that users with 10+ years of cellphone use are more susceptible to tumors. I can only imagine the amount of time today’s younger generation will spend on their cellphones during school and more. Forget about the kids, even we are at risk!

We need to all be more conscious of how much time we spend talking on our phones and how close they are when we’re sleeping and carrying them around town (like on a belt, doh!).

Think about it this way: the less time you spend talking on your iPhone, you’ll be saving your health AND your wallet. How? Well, by talking less you’ll be reducing the chances of incurring hefty Rogers overages on your monthly bill! Now if that isn’t reason enough, then I don’t know what is. 😉

Anyone else been wondering about smartphone radiation levels, specifically the iPhone?

[Wired, EWG]


  • Dusty

    Now a days everything gives of some bad crap for our heath.
    Some ppl don't believe in phones, alarms or electronics in there rooms because of health wise. Imagine using Bluetooth Stereo for hours, how many types of waves are going through ur head and body?
    The world is getting taking over from electronics and im sure there are many other devices out there that are bad for out health. Not to even mention the food market of this is bad, then now its good LOL

  • I read somewhere that cell phone radiation is the least of worries when the sun above you provides all the radiation goodness you need!


  • GC

    I'm pretty sure I'll die sooner from anger/frustration with Rogers than radiation…

  • LOL!

  • xaroc

    I have some health nut friends trying to get me move my phone to the other room when i sleep and so on, but my response is “what if some one calls? then i have to run” lol i agree with the guy who posted earlier. everything gives you cancer or some sort of illness nowadays. i think i'd be more likely to be struck by a horrible Driver at a cross walk. But still an interesting artical

  • If you move your phone to another room and get a call, like you said you
    have to get up. But now you're up and groggy and it's dark. You walk
    forward, trip on a corner and fall down the stairs, permanently injuring

    See, keeping your phone close with radiation goodness is better!


  • xaroc

    lol for many reasons including your very good one, is why my Phone remains in its charging dock next to my bed 😛 lol

  • fuzzylogic1

    I never had any issues with the 2g iPhone, but now with the 3g I find if I'm on a call with the handset for more than 30 minute my ear starts to get hot and I have to switch the phone to the other side of my head. Now maybe this is the explination. Gotta go buy a lead helmet 😉

  • bo3ddha

    Ummm ppl are worried about phone radiations and not other stuff like cooking our food with MICROWAVES?? Lol cmon

  • I love watching Popcorn pop *pop pop pop*

  • _Shorty

    You don't seriously think cooking food with a microwave does something to it other than raising its temperature, do you?

  • _Shorty

    Anyone concerned about things like this is in serious need of an absolutely unthinkable amount of brain food.

  • marrrrta

    Yeah, I would definitely have to disagree with you Shorty. I'd like to hear what you have to say in 20 years when health problems start coming out, since cell phones are relatively new technology. People have been shown to develop brain tumors in the side of the head that they use their cell phones…it's simply not very common yet as the technology hasn't been around for long enough. Also, have you ever taken a university science course in your life? I saw you made a comment about microwaves as well, it seems you have a very specific opinion on magnetic radiation, and its' dangers being a “crock”. Please tell me you're informed enough to make the statements you're making.

  • Shorty_dammit

    Cell phones have already been around way more than 20 years. I think I got my first one in 1989, for that matter. Big fat grey Motorola brick that pumped out 3.6 watts from that huge antenna. Yum! And if you honestly think making water molecules vibrate faster while the machine is on is making the food dangerous to you, good for you. I'm not here to help you cease being ignorant. Google it yourself, lazy.

  • I guess I'll stick to eating my SPAM sandwiches.

  • You mean Mr. Noodles, right?


  • You do realize by radiation we are specifically talking about standard radio waves which is an extremely weak form of radiation and no study anywhere has ever shown radio waves can cause any kind of cellular degredation. These studies are bunk and electronics radiation danger is bunk.

    Even worse is the claim here that “devices are getting more powerful”. Radio device power is regulated federally, the power limits haven't changed in years, and newer phones actually conserve power better than older phones leading one to the conclusion that less, not more power is the case.

  • evan_rooney

    As a masters student in nuclear physics I think I know a thing or two about radiation. Chris Nicola has the right idea. The bottom line is that the radiation coming out of your cell phone is non-ionizing. Meaning that it doesn't have enough energy per quantum to ionize the atoms in your body; or in other words, it can't completely remove an electron from an atom in your body. Therefore non-ionizing radiation is not mutagenic, it can't change your cellular composition. This means that it's not harmful to you at all. You probably receive more radiation while standing in front of the bananas at the grocery store. There are some health risks from non-ionizing radiation (such as heating) but that only occurs at much higher energies.

  • Pingback: Review: Pong Radiation Reduction Case for iPhone 3G/3GS | iPhone in Canada Blog - Tips, Tricks, News, and Tutorials for Canadian iPhone Users()

  • Tiago

    I heard there's no radiation risks when using Flight Mode. This is why I enable Flight Mode on my phone whenever I want to sleep with it turned on (so I can leave the alarm on) or when I want to use it as an iPod.

  • Shorty_dammit

    There are no radiation risks ever and you're not doing anything except wasting time by turning on flight mode. I suggest you read the post directly above yours written by evan_rooney.

  • Barbara Chapman

    Hello there,
    I just want to share my experience with using cellular phone for about a month; I ended up with a left ear infection, pain inside my left ear and terrible headache; believe or not after I stopped to use cell my health improved within a week. Then I switched to a regular phone. I don't need any scientific explanations; I got seriously sick!!!

  • evan_rooney

    How exactly does radiation from a cell phone give you an ear infection? Ear infections are a result of bacteria.

  • I always try to give my iPhone a quick wipe with a disinfectant, but
    it doesn't happen very often. As for radiation causing the infection,
    that sounds unlikely.


  • SAR

    I guess you should be worried if your cellphone is frying your brain.
    the most safest way if throwing away your cell to the trash, 2nd best is getting your self a radiation blocker @

  • Shorty_dammit

    Except it isn't.

  • Recent studies link cell phone radiation to:

    Brain cancer: Two research groups independently analyzed all data from 25 original studies of cell phone users, and identified a 50 to 90 percent increase in risk for two types of brain tumors: glioma and acoustic neuroma (Hardell 2009, Kundi 2009).

    Salivary gland tumors: An Israeli study found an increased risk of 50 to 60 percent for salivary gland tumors among people with highest cell phone use (Sadetzki 2008).

    Behavioral problems: A study of 13,159 Danish children showed 80 percent elevated risk for emotional and hyperactivity problems among young children who use cell phones and whose mothers also used cell phones during pregnancy (Divan 2008).

    Migraines and vertigo: A study of 420,095 Danish adults showed that long-term cell phone users were 10 to 20 percent more likely to be hospitalized for migraines and vertigo than people who took up cell phones more recently. (Schuz 2009).

    Read more about this meta-analysis of 200 peer-reviewed studies:

    We all love and use cell phones so much that we WANT to believe that they're benign. Evidence so far doesn't agree.

  • Carol

    Brain cancer pandemic!

  • Carol

    Brain cancer pandemic!

  • Stvjns

    Read more about this meta-analysis of 200 peer-reviewed studies:

    We all love and use cell phones so much that we WANT to believe that they're benign. Evidence so far doesn't agree.

  • Exigently_Patient

    I see no evidence that this kind of product works. In fact, if you read the EWG report on cell phone radiation, some of the products that claimed to reduce cell-phone radiation have actually been shown to increase it!

  • Exigently_Patient

    While I somewhat respect the expertise you have touted, I would like to respond without enlisting appeals to authority. You said truly that cell phone radiation is non-ionizing and what that means. However, from the fact that non-ionizing radiation is incapable of removing an electron from the atoms that compose biological tissues it does not follow that non-ionizing radiation is not mutagenic. Likewise, it does not follow that all carcinogenic agents are mutagenic.

    For your argument to go through, you must either provide evidence that establishes your assertion that non-ionizing radiation is incapable of carcinogenesis (by whatever means) or establish both that mutagenesis is the only means for radiation to cause carcinogenesis and that non-ionizing radiation is incapable of mutagenesis. In light of the massive amount of evidence (referred to on this thread; the EWG report) that has recently come out in favor of a strong correlation between cell phone use and various neurological problems (including two types of brain cancer), the burden of proof is on you, despite your background in nuclear physics.

  • Exigently_Patient

    What an ironic statement, considering that it is an ad hominem and otherwise meaningless. I would think someone who considers him/herself to have more adequate brain food than those worried would have something a little more substantial to say about the matter. Why don’t you look at some of the research (kipchoge already posted a good link to the EWG report below) and then try to discount it? Otherwise, silence might be a better option for masking your ignorance or refusal to acknowledge the possibly serious risks of cell phone radiation.

  • Exigently_Patient

    Oh… Looks like this additional fallacy (genetic this time) by “Shorty” calls for another tidbit: Just because cell phones have been around for 20 years does not mean they are not harmful. In fact, how long they have been around saying no more about their harm than someone’s being raised Christian says about the reasons for which they believe in God as they do. Prevalent, widespread use of cell phones has not been around for that long, either. In the late 80s and early 90s, how many people had a cell phone? Now there are over 4,000,000,000 users and counting. And now that widespread use has been around long enough to gather some data, there is an abundance of evidence clearly suggesting that cell phone radiation is very harmful, especially with frequent exposure and prolonged use (a decade is cited as enough to show some radical deleterious consequences).

  • nana

    hi evan thank you for the info i am a health freak please if you dont mind help me and my kids with another info ; do tanning beds give enough radiation to get cancer? and please let me know what other great info you have about other health hazards thank you so much mia

  • Sard Tecnocrat

    Maybe it’s starting a new wave of trechnological related diseases. Only the fittest survive (I put it that way for dramaticl reasons), and we’ll ultimately become an hybrid techno-human race? Who knows… But life’s about speculating through the future.

  • Frangipani123

    I can’t even hold my new iPhone4, it hurts my body like an all over headache that slowly dissipates when I put it outside and leave it there! Scary scary stuff. Now I have to try to take it back. The indian lady on vodafone help had no idea what i was talking about. I wish this information was more readily out there. We are playing in the fireplace and we don’t even know it.

  • Pingback: Your iPhone is ‘Possibly Carcinogenic’ According to WHO | iPhone in Canada Blog - Canada's #1 iPhone Resource()

  • Titehrh3

    Unfortunately I have had breast cancer.  I had always verbally said it must be from my cell phone, & I told my doctor.  She said that it was impossible.  However, since my Chemo &  raidaion treatment  5 years ago I my breast acturally changed as if I have received radiation,  It has turned black, I have a rash that should not be there.  Too strange.  Hopefully and prayfully its not too late.  I will go see my doctor ASAP. Thats the only place that I could hav gotten radiation from.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry to hear that, but cell phones have nothing to do with it.  There is a difference between ionizing radiation, such as the kind you received during treatment, and non-ionizing radiation, which pretty much everyone on the planet is continuously bombarded with.  If non-ionizing radiation caused cancer, then the population of the planet would have plumetted to almost nothing a long time ago and we’d be in danger of extinction.  That isn’t happening.

  • Linda

    I have started using an Iphone 3G aroundMay 2011. I wear it on my belt, right side in a holster about 16 hours a day. for the past two weeks my skin started getting very sensitive like a sunburn in a 6″ diameter area right side centered where my iphone sits all day. It kept getting worse to the point light touch was painful. four days ago . At first I didn’t make the connection but I decided it must be the phone. I took the Iphone It still feels like a bad sunburn but the area is getting smaller. I can’t be the only one experiencing this am I?

  • Shorty How much do they pay you to try and lead people away from knowledge?

    as for ear infections and other infections from phones, though I am not claiming to know whether previous posters cases were in fact caused from cell phones, radiation can weaken the immune system, thus making the body more prone to infections.

    In every thread regarding the dangers of radiation, whether it be from phones or nuclear disasters like Fukushima, there are 4 types of people. 1) Those with hard facts which usually reveal hidden dangers 2) Those simply looking for information who are not afraid to admit they don’t know. 3) those with false facts that usually support the dirty industries and hide their BS. 4) those that say “Everything causes cancer, so why bother trying to avoid it). Type 4 are success stories for type 3 because they have bought into the BS. Type 2 people reading this, do yourself a service and notice this pattern next time you read these forums. Industry pays people to spread disinformation, it is a simple fact. Though sometimes their are parrots simply repeating what they have heard or been taught by the industry, and sometimes they don’t even realize it because the BS has penetrated our very educational system. When someone says they have a degree in nuclear physics it is wise to remember, the professors, and job creaters in the nuclear industry need students who want to study it and enter that job field. Therefore the studies will always lean towards how safe Nuclear energy and radiation can be. Pople like Shorty will want to take the end of my post and make it out like I am just talking about the nuclear industry and it doesn’t apply to cell phones, but that is a classic diversion tactic. My lack of response to attacks on my character is simply me not playing their game.

  • Shorty_dammit

    Learn the difference between ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation. Nothing you say matters, since you obviously don’t know the difference.

  • silentlucid

    So, if you worry about it, either go back to the 1800 or you can simply not hold your phone to your head. I prefer to use speaker, about 14 inches from my head. You can also get a wired ear piece and set the phone on a table. Function thing I noted is everyone today seems to carry their phone in their pocket with no case. I always out my phone on table except when its clipped on belt. OK, maybe there is no adde
    d protection vs my pocket.