One of the scariest unknown technology risks of this decade is the issue of radiation from cell phones. There’s still an open question about whether long term exposure to these mobile devices will cause damage or disease to human beings.
The Environmental Working Group has a comprehensive new study (download the full report as a PDF) that surveys the scientific research on cellphone heath risks and provides radiation data for most of the current cellphones in use. Here’s how the EWG explained the mission of its study:
We at Environmental Working Group are still using our cell phones, but we also believe that until scientists know much more about cell phone radiation, it’s smart for consumers to buy phones with the lowest emissions. The U.S. government ought to require cell phone companies to label their products’ radiation output so that consumers can do the numbers at the point of sale. It doesn’t, so EWG has created this user-friendly interactive online guide to cell phone emissions, covering over 1,000 phones currently on the market.
The EWG study looks at all mobile phones, but since smartphones are becoming a standard tool for businesses and IT professionals, I’ve drilled down and looked at the list from a smartphone perspective. I’ve broken out the 10 smartphones that produce the most radiation, the 10 that product the least amount of radiation, and a list of the radiation ratings of some of the most popular smartphones that did not make either of those two lists.
When you look at these lists, keep in mind that the EWG has also included some older models that are no longer being sold but are still used by many workers and consumers. Also note that “W/kg” stands for watts per kilogram, a measurement for power density.
The 10 smartphones with the highest radiation
1. T-Mobile MyTouch 3G (1.55 W/kg)
2. Blackberry Curve 8330 (1.54 W/kg)
3. Palm Treo 600 (1.53 W/kg)
4. T-Mobile Shadow (1.53 W/kg)
5. Palm Treo 650 (1.51 W/kg)
6. Blackberry Curve 8300 (1.51 W/kg)
7. Blackberry Bold 9000 (1.51 W/kg)
8. Sony Ericsson P910a (1.50 W/kg)
9. HTC SMT 5800 (1.49 W/kg)
10. BlackBerry Pearl 8120/8130 (1.48 W/kg)
The T-Mobile MyTouch 3G, an HTC smartphone powered by Google Android that debuted to lots of fanfare this summer, topped the list of the worst radiation offenders. However, other popular smartphones dominated the list as well, especially BlackBerries and Treos. The BlackBerry Curve, the best-selling smartphone on the market in 2009, was a close second on the list, and it was joined in the top 10 by its cousins, the BlackBerry Pearl and the BlackBerry Bold.
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