Smartphones and gadgets have now become an integral part of everyone’s lives, so much so that the last thing we do before going to bed and the first thing we do after waking up is check our phone notifications. Many people have a habit of talking long hours on their phones, while a few of them keep their phones close by while they sleep. Such is the addiction these days. But what we must remember is that nothing in this universe is perpetual, and if you consider smartphones alone, they are probably more harmful to you than helpful. People have been rambling about global crisis like The GreenHouse effect, Oil Spills, Pollution among many others. What they don’t realise is that, although the aforementioned names are very dangerous occurences, it will take some time before they are really sorted out. What people have not consideration, is the potential harm caused by your very loyal companion – The Smartphone.
Its a well known fact that, in order to let you make calls or enable to send texts, you smartphone has to send and receive data every second. Scientifically speaking, The exchange of energies is never perfect, there is always some loss. In this case, the loss is in the form of harmful radiations. Though the level of emission are not alarming, our body can only tolerate a certain amount of radiation without feeling any side effects. Phones have to be designed in such a way that they always emit radiations within the tolerance limit. Exactly how much radiation your body absorbs is represented in the from of the SAR value.
SAR stand for Specific Absorption Rate, which denotes the amount of emission ( in watts ) absorbed by the body per unit Kg. SAR value is calculated by keeping the phone in talking position and measuring the emission absorbed by the part of the person’s head that is closest to the Phone’s antenna.
In India, the maximum permitted SAR value is 1.6 W/kg. Any Phone that has a SAR rating more than 1.6 W/kg is not allowed inside the border. India is very strict when it comes to adhering to the SAR value. There is a special department , called the Telecommunication Engineering Centre which runs the SAR testing. Their process is to randomly select a phone and verify its SAR value against the claimed value given by the manufacturer. The USA however, is far more lenient in this respect. They trust the manufacturers’ spec sheet which contains the SAR value, rather than doing some experimenting on it.
Another point worth noting is that the SAR value itself is not a constant entity. Ofcourse, the phone will adhere to the rated SAR value when it is brand new, but once it gets some miles on it , the SAR value tends to go higher. What makes matter worse is that, if you are someone who is using a rather old device, for long calls, then you run a risk of facing side effects like uneasiness, headache, which can aggravate to something more lethal if proper care is not taken.
What Precautions can be taken against these emissions?
- Use headsets more often. That reduces or sometimes even negates the emissions absorbed by the body.
- Call Only when something is important or urgent. Otherwise, try and use SMS or chat softwares.
- Switch off your phone before going to bed or Put it on Airplane Mode with WiFi On, in case you want to remain accessible.
- There are many mobile cases which claim to block out radiations. I don’t know how effective they are though.
- Avoid using your phone in low network areas. Your phone emits that much more in order to gain signal.
- Try and replace you phone if you think it has run its course. There are many budget based options out there.
Well, this is what SAR is all about, and what you can do to protect yourself from absorbing the harmful emissions.
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