Often, we are told that concerning ourselves over technological radio frequencies is playing into the hands of rabid conspiracy theorists. Whether your concern is Wifi signals, or 5G health risks, or cell phone emissions, it’s all lumped in a basket of paranoia that’s unfounded by science.
That, at least, is what the experts have us believe.
But then ever so often, a study, based on the same science that purports to disclaim these “conspiracies,” takes a sharp, harsh, u-turn. And when that happens, all bets fall off the table, at least temporarily.
Last week, the Chicago Tribune ushered in one of those weeks when it released the results of radiofrequency testing on the popular iPhone. The results, which put on display egregious non-compliance by way of Apple, has prompted an official FCC investigation. But it’s also given inflated credence that cell phones may be bad for human health.
iPhone Radiofrequency Exceeds FCC Standards
The Chicago Tribune carried out a comprehensive test on freshly ordered iPhone 7s. The iPhone 7s were derived from four different companies. During the testing, the iPhones were set to perform utilizing full power mode. The iPhones were placed in a liquid bath that imitates human flesh. The tub measured how much radiofrequency each iPhone put out into the liquid.
The iPhone consistently measured over the legal safety limit for radiofrequency exposure.
This is bad stuff, to say the least.
The stunning results aren’t just bad for Apple, but also for the FCC which provides assurance on its website that cell phones approved for sale will never exceed such limits. But this latest test paid for by the Chicago Tribune put such guarantees in chaos.
The Tribune’s test was intended to show whether or not cell phone use is safe for people. Our newest generation will be exposed to smartphone devices for their entire lives. The study’s poor safety assessment raises concerns that we may be polluting our bodies and potentially harming our genetics.
Chicago Tribune iPhone Radiofrequency Testing Logic
There were two tests performed. One was a standard test while the other was a modified test. The standard test too into account the FCC’s guidelines. The distance from the body was determined by the manufacturer’s premarket testing. This was 5, 10, and 15 millimeters in distance. The standard tests also tested non-premarket standards at 2 millimeters.
The modified test took into account Apple’s feedback to the results. In these tests, the allowance for power reduction sensors came into play.
The FCC exposure limit is 1.6 W/kg.
Here’s how Apple iPhone 7 performed against Samsung and Motorola devices. Pay attention to how drastically the iPhone 7 fails at 2mm distance from the body.
So how could such a thing happen? If the manufacturers are testing products before the product is placed on sale and the results are turned over to the FCC, how could any cell phone be so drastically out of compliance?
The devil may reside in the testing labs. Cell phone manufacturers choose their testing labs. The Tribune, of course, chose its own lab. Now it comes down to which lab is returning incorrect results. Given that Apple and Samsung lose money the longer a product test poorly, it’s natural to assume that these companies seek out more “compliant” lab environments. But of course, that’s unproven conjecture at best.
The other possible influence in the strange disparity between the Tribune and the manufacturers testing could be that cell phone testing standards date back to the 90s.
Further unsettling is that most people carry their smartphone much closer to their bodies than the required exposure distances required by testing. Hence, why the Tribune moved some of it’s testing to the 2-millimeter mark, as opposed to the 5-millimeter requirement. The 2-millimeter distance is more in-line with how we carry our devices on the body via pockets.
The 2-millimeter distance caused Samsung Galaxy S8 to pump out over five times the FCC standard.
The testing distance quandary has long been railed against given the way people now carry these devices. But the FCC hasn’t budged. In fact, after years of pressure to decrease the testing distances from the Government Accountability Office, the FCC bit back saying that current testing is fine.
Now, some states such as California advise people not to carry a cell phone in their pocket.
Samsung and Apple Counter Results
Apple says that the tests are not legitimate due to improper testing methods.
But the lab used by the Tribune pushed back on Apple.
“We’re not doing anything extraordinary or different here,” Lab owner Jay Moulton said. Any qualified lab “should be able to grab a phone off the shelf and test it to see if it meets requirements.”
But even when using Apple’s built-in power sensors, the Tribune’s study found iPhone 7 to be over the radiofrequency limit.
Here’s Apple’s official statement:
“All iPhone models, including iPhone 7, are fully certified by the FCC and in every other country where iPhone is sold,” the statement said. “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.”
There you have it. Apple is compliant, the Tribune is wrong. We can all sleep better tonight now that that science is once again, settled.
Of course, Apple will never explain what “careful review” means to us minions. We shall only understand it to mean we are safe in our smartphone slumbers.
Samsung pushed similar arrogance in its own response: “Samsung devices sold in the United States comply with FCC regulations. Our devices are tested according to the same test protocols that are used across the industry.”
It’s apparent that the powers that be aren’t going to expose themselves to potential litigation frenzies, although, at this point, such things may be unavoidable. Class actions are likely being lined up to battle both Apple and Samsung, but only time will tell if such tactics can force change in two of the largest corporations in the world.