The guidelines for cell phone radiation (RF) was created in August, 1996, by the FCC after input from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These guidelines took into account the rate at which the human body tissue absorbs radiation energy during cell phone use and was standardised as the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR).
A maximum SAR of 1.6 watts of energy absorbed per kilogram of body weight was deemed as safe for public use by the FCC. This limit was set to prevent the thermal effects of cell phone radiation, since RF radiation can heat human body tissue. Contrary to popular belief, the SAR limit was not set to prevent other biological effects like cancer or DNA mutation/damage (since it was near enough impossible to tell long term effects of cell phone radiation at the time).
The limit was based on a cell phone call that averages 30 minutes when the cell phone is held to the ear. Holding a cell phone away from the body or using headphones/headsets helps lower the amount of radiation your body absorbs.
The table below shows the SAR level for the new flagship phones from major manufacturers (highest to lowest).
Phone Brand and Model
SAR Level (body)
Samsung Galaxy S5
Nokia Lumia 1520
HTC One M8
Samsung Note 3
Nokia Lumia Icon
Motorola Moto X
Will the radiation levels affect your decision on which phone you will be getting? Let us know in the comments!