Last week, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified cell phones as “possibly carcinogenic”, a category which also includes coffee, engine exhaust, and night shift work. They based this on the review of dozens of studies.
Something that was not mentioned in the study of studies was the Specific Absorption Rates (SAR) of the cell phones used in the various studies. The SAR rating measures the amount of Radio Frequency (RF) absorbed by the body when a cell phone is being used. Here in the US, the FCC requires that all cell phones have a SAR that is less than 1.6 watts per kilogram. The lower the score, the less RF that is absorbed.
While the actual safety level of cell phones with high or low SAR ratings has not been reliably established (nor has any risk), many believe that lower SAR ratings correlate with safer cell phones.
The top 10 phones with the lowest SAR that are currently on the market and being sold through major US carriers (with prices) are:
The Samsung Infuse 4G has a SAR of 0.2 and is available directly from AT&T stores at $199.99*.
The Samsung Replenish, with a SAR of 0.3, is available on Sprint at both Wirefly and LetsTalk (both have it in black and blue) for free*.
The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G has a SAR of 0.34. It is available on T-Mobile at both Wirefly (in black and pink) and at LetsTalk (in black and white) for $29.99*. Available directly through Sprint for $99*.
The LG Quantum has a SAR of 0.35 and is available directly from AT&T for $49.99*
The Samsung Haven has a SAR of 0.41 and is available on Verizon at Wirefly for free*, or directly from Verizon for $39.99*
The Samsung Evergreen also has a SAR of 0.41 and is available directly from AT&T for $19.99*
The Samsung Captivate has a SAR of 0.43 and is available directly from AT&T for $99.99*.
The HTC Surround has a SAR of 0.439 and is available directly from AT&T for $99.99*.
The Motorola Devour has a SAR of 0.45 and is available on Verizon at Wirefly for free*.
HTC Imagio has a SAR of 0.498 and is available directly from Verizon for free*.
*The prices used are with a new 2 year contract from the indicated carrier.