FCC to investigate after the Apple iPhone 7 and other models spew RF radiation in tests

FCC to investigate after the Apple iPhone 7 and other models spew RF radiation in tests
The men in the lead pajamas are going to be investigating after the Chicago Tribune tested several smartphones for radiofrequency (RF) radiation. The newspaper discovered something that might be alarming; RF radiation emanating from the Apple iPhone 7 not only exceeded the legal safety limit, it also was double the amount of radiation that Apple's own testing showed that the device leaked. That is based on filings with federal regulators made by the company.

The Tribune points out that the FCC states on its website that any handset approved for sale will never exceed the maximum level of radiation exposure that is considered safe. However, four iPhone 7 units were tested by the Tribune and all of them leaked radiation over that level. The FCC responded to the Tribune's data by stating that it would begin conducting its own tests over the next two months.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 had the worse score of handsets measured 2mm away


The Tribune tested 11 different phones including the iPhone 7, iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy J3, Moto E5 Play, Moto G6 Play, Moto E5 and the BLU Vivo 5 Mini. The phones were each tested to see the amount of RF radiation that leaked 2mm, 5mm, 10mm and up to 15mm away. The 2mm test was done to simulate how much radiation a person might receive if they placed their phone in a shirt or pants pocket. The Tribune says that at that distance, most of the devices it tested exceeded the RF radiation limits by a large amount. The Tribune recommends that smartphone owners refrain from carrying their handsets in a pocket. Because the standards for testing handsets for RF radiation were created in the 1990s when people wore them on a belt clip, the FCC allows new phones to be tested for radiation from a distance as far as 25mm away.


The FCC limit on radiation is "1.6 watts per kilogram averaged over one gram of tissue." The testing reported by the Tribune found that the iPhone 7 exceeded this limit when tested both 2mm and 5mm away. In many of the tests, the phone's radiation level was double the amount that is deemed to be safe by the FCC. The iPhone 8 Plus came in under the 1.6W/kg figure during its testing while the Samsung Galaxy S9 did well from 15mm away, but failed at a distance of 2mm.

The worst score of 8.22W/kg belonged to the Samsung Galaxy S8 which produced this amount of RF radiation from 2mm away. Some Apple and Motorola phones went through a second round of modified tests based on feedback from the respective manufacturer; based on those results, the Moto G6 Play did very well (.25W/kg from 5mm and .53W/kg from 2mm). The BLU Vivo 5 mini's radiation test also came in under the FCC's limits.

When the Tribune presented the results to Apple, the company told the paper how to activate sensors in the iPhone 7 that reduce the power of the device. But even after making the change, this model still emitted too much RF radiation. Apple issued a statement saying that the Tribune's tests "were inaccurate due to the test setup not being in accordance with procedures necessary to properly assess the iPhone models. All iPhone models, including iPhone 7, are fully certified by the FCC and in every other country where iPhone is sold. 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."

Samsung responded to the tests by making the following statement: "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."

While it isn't clear whether exposure to RF radiation can cause problems to humans, at high levels it can heat up tissue. Most at risk are eyes and the testes because they do not disperse heat well. You might recall that last year, a study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIH)/National Toxicology Program (NTP) found that male mice blasted with cellphone radiation had a slight increase in the occurrence of a rare heart tumor. The fact that the test did not show a clear connection between cellphones and cancer was highlighted by the actions of the American Cancer Society's chief medical officer, Dr. Otis Brawley. Dr. Brawley told reporters, "I am actually holding my cellphone up to my ear."

While a new phone must be tested for RF radiation before it can be launched in the U.S., the manufacturer is allowed to pick the testing lab. Even worse, only one unit needs to pass the test so that millions more of a particular model can be sold.

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29 Comments

1. JCASS889

Posts: 539; Member since: May 18, 2018

If rf radiation is way below visible light on the spectrum then we really have nothing to worry about since light is literally everywhere.

3. apple-rulz

Posts: 2115; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

You wouldn’t be so cavalier in your reply if it was only Apple mentioned in the article.

14. Stormrider

Posts: 67; Member since: Aug 30, 2016

Microwaves are below visible light on the spectrum, and they still can cook you at high enough energies, that’s also true for visible light.

16. audibot

Posts: 634; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

so what pa is saying is that my junk is about to turn into the hulk and i will have a new carrier in porn, nice change of atmosphere hahahaha

19. sissy246

Posts: 7112; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

LOL, or your junk is getting ready to fall off, LOL

25. lyndon420

Posts: 6790; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

I had a strange red blemish on my leg - in the exact spot where I carried my phone. Stopped carrying my phone on me and the blemish went away after about a month or so... ...and now these OEM's want all of us to start using wave emitting wireless headphones/ear buds?! Go ahead...turn a blind eye towards 'nothing'...

2. CDexterWard

Posts: 75; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

From this article, it sounds like the real problem is the FCC has abyssmal testing standards. Jury's out on whether cell phones are harmful or not, but seriously: if you let a manufacturer just send one sample for testing to a lab of their choosing, and don't require periodic follow-up testing, what do you expect?

26. RoyRosa

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 22, 2019

The article puts the FCC guidelines better into perspective. appleinsider.com/articles/19/08/21/fcc-re-examinin​g-iphone-rf-levels-after-controversial-report

4. apple-rulz

Posts: 2115; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Terrible showing by Apple and Samsung. Of course both are going to deny any wrongdoing. Huawei is waiting in the wings, and if this bullish!t spying crap ever goes away and Huawei can enter the US market, both Apple and Samsung are in for an azz whipping.

11. Mike88

Posts: 402; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

These smartphone companies are playing with people’s health.. Very strict steps must be taken in this matter

20. sissy246

Posts: 7112; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Damn, something we can agree on.

5. cmdacos

Posts: 4208; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

"When the Tribune presented the results to Apple, the company told the paper how to activate sensors in the iPhone 7 that reduce the power of the device. " - the equivalent of 'you're carrying it wrong'

8. whatev

Posts: 2267; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

The butthurt cream, you’re applying it wrong

9. cmdacos

Posts: 4208; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

I'm butthurt that Apple will never accept responsibility for anything? Guess so...

12. whatev

Posts: 2267; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Like Samsung too?

21. sissy246

Posts: 7112; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

But the thing is, Samsung is also denying it. How can you just blame Apple. You know I am a Samsung fan and user but, just to blame Apple is wrong.

22. yalokiy

Posts: 999; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

At least Samsung didn't suggest to test their phone in "lower-power" mode. So cmdacos had a valid point here.

10. Demo-jay

Posts: 69; Member since: Feb 13, 2018

Nah...

27. RoyRosa

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 22, 2019

All cellphones since 2010 have proximity sensors that limit radiation when near objects. This is normal. For the news company to not know this shows how ill equipped they are to do these tests. They are simply trying to create drama for views.

6. NoDialtone212

Posts: 17; Member since: Oct 23, 2018

Thats why its on sale in metropcs

7. cmdacos

Posts: 4208; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Did Trump himself administer the testing? How does all of the other manufacturers ratings make sense in terms of ratio from near and far yet the s8 has the highest score near but one of the lowest scores from far? How about using an educated group of engineers and scientists before accusing any of these manufacturers of anything.

15. Omega

Posts: 15; Member since: Jul 04, 2019

I still remember when samsung fans said that samsung phones has the lowest radiation level

23. yalokiy

Posts: 999; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

According to FCC, they do.

17. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I will follow this closely and, if the test are confirmed, I will sue Apple. Any company that f**ks up with the safety regulations needs to pay and heavily.

28. RoyRosa

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 22, 2019

Even if they are past the guidelines by twice as much, they are still way bellow any levels that would be considered dangerous. FCC guidelines are crazy Conservative when it comes to RF.

29. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I will sue them so they will know that this s**t is not something to get away with.

18. inFla

Posts: 113; Member since: Aug 17, 2018

Apple and Samsung claim user error.

24. yalokiy

Posts: 999; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Reminds me of dieselgate scandal. Wonder if we have something similar here. E.g. Phone detects that it's being tested for RF emissions and lowers the antenna power to pass the test.

30. Alcyone

Posts: 395; Member since: May 10, 2018

I'm sure code allows Samsung and Apple to spoof testing. Apple pulled it off on batterygate. Who's to say something similar is not happening?

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