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Public right to know radiation level of cellphones

15 November 2009

Public has right to know radiation level of cellphones

All cellphone packaging and advertising should include information on how much radiation the phones emit, said the Green Party today.

“Members of the public have a right to know the radiation level of their cellphones. The Government should require SAR ratings to be on all cellphone packaging,” said Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley.

All phones have a Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) rating that is based on the cellphone’s emission levels and measures how much radio frequency energy is absorbed by the body when the cellphone is in use. But the SAR ratings are not well known and can be hard to find, Ms Kedgley said.

“The higher the SAR rating of your phone, the more you will be exposed to radio frequency energy,” Ms Kedgley said.

New Zealand’s guidelines allow a maximum SAR rating of 2 Watts per kilo to the head.

Ms Kedgley said it was important that information on SAR levels was widely and easily available and that consumers could easily compare SAR ratings when they were considering purchasing a phone.

“More and more evidence is emerging that radiation from cellphones can affect our health, even at low levels, with some studies suggesting that extended use of cell and cordless phones may be linked to increased risk of brain tumours.

“Given cellphones’ widespread use, it is sensible to adopt a precautionary approach and seek to reduce our exposure to the radiation they emit wherever possible.

“That is why I am calling on the Government to require telecommunications companies to inform people clearly the SAR rating of their phone. I would like to see a requirement that each phone sold has an information sheet which identifies its SAR rating.

“The Government and telecommunications companies also need to provide information on how to lower the risks associated with phone use,” Ms Kedgley said.

Further information available:

For a list of cellphone SAR ratings please see -

Swedish researchers find link between cell phones and brain tumors -

A Classic Case for Precaution, the Science & Environmental Health Network -

BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard
for Electromagnet Fields -

United States Federal Communication Commission- Cellular Telephone Specific Absorption Rate at


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