Apple and Samsung Sued Over Alleged Cancer-Causing RF Radiation From Smartphones


Apple and Samsung smartphones under investigation by FCC for emitting higher levels of RF radiation than is allowed.

According to an independent test carried out by the Chicago Tribune, certain smartphones from Apple and Samsung are reportedly under investigation by the Federal Communications Commission for claims that they emit higher levels of RF radiation than is allowed by the FCC.

Apple Insider reported on Saturday that a class-action suit was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, claiming that RF radiation emitted from Apple and Samsung smartphones exceed legal limits set forth by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 and iPhone X, and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 are the devices mentioned in the suit.

The lawsuit filed on Aug. 23 claims that “recent testing of the defendants’ products shows that the potential exposure for an owner carrying the phone in pants or shirt pocket was over the exposure limit, sometimes far exceeding it — in some instances by 500%.”

These numbers may be seen as surprisingly scary, but it’s important to note that health risks associated with cellphone use have not been proven scientifically.

A separate investigation by Chicago Tribune also found that “radio-frequency radiation exposure from the iPhone 7 measured over the legal safety limit and more than double against what Apple had reported to federal regulators from its own testing”.

The court filing read that numerous recent scientific publications, supported by hundreds of scientists worldwide, have shown that RF radiation exposure affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines.

“Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders and negative impacts on general well-being in humans,” the lawsuit explained.

FCC guidelines state that SAR is a measure of the rate of RF energy absorption by the body from the source being measured – in this case, a cell phone. The SAR is measured in watts of energy absorbed per kilogram of body tissue. Phones sold in America are not supposed to exceed 1.6 watts per kilogram. Although a lot of activists consider these levels outdated since they were put into place in 1997.

“Many people mistakenly assume that using a cell phone with a lower reported SAR value necessarily decreases a user’s exposure to RF emissions, or is somehow ‘safer’ than using a cell phone with a high SAR value,” the FCC said.

For a phone to receive approval, the FCC states that any device will never exceed the maximum SAR level, but the Tribune’s investigation shows a handful of older models do.

When it comes to evidence, the suit relies solely on results from an independent study performed by RF Exposure Lab on behalf of the Chicago Tribune.

The findings of which have inspired the FCC to conduct an investigation into the seemingly non-compliant devices. According to tests run by the publication, radio-frequency radiation exposure from the iPhone 7 exceeds the legal safety limit and is more than double of what they have reported to federal regulators by their own testings.

Apple wanting to respond to this said in a statement, “the test results given by Tribune were inaccurate due to the test setup not being in accordance with procedures necessary to properly assess the iPhone models.”

The Samsung’s Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9, and Galaxy J3 were also put to the test, where when kept 10 mm-15 mm (the distance set by FCC) from the body, were measured to be under the safety limit. But when kept 2 mm from the body, the RF exposure measured above the set limit.

Samsung did not also waste time and released a statement on the same, saying, “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.”

Although the Chicago Tribune clarified that the testing was not meant to rank phones for safety. The publication added that it is also not possible to know whether any of the smartphones tested to have radiation levels above the limits could cause harm to the users.

Have Any Studies Found A Link Between Phones & Cancer?

A significant concern has been whether phones could cause or contribute to tumors because we tend to spend a lot of time holding our cell phones near our faces. Studies have looked at a possible link between phones and gliomas or brain tumors, non-cancerous tumors of the brain like meningiomas, non-cancerous tumors of the nerve connecting the brain to the ear, and non-cancerous tumors of the salivary glands. Other studies have also looked at a possible link between phones and other diseases like skin cancer and testicular cancer.

But based on an evaluation of studies by the American Cancer Society, the radio-frequency (RF) waves given off by cell phones don’t have enough energy to damage DNA or to heat body tissues. So, it’s not clear at this point in time how phones could possibly cause cancer.

Different studies, including some which used human beings, have generated compelling results as well. Nevertheless, the overall consensus is that we frankly can’t say for sure that cell phones are connected to heightened cancer risk.

As much as the report has found a number of smartphones emitting more radiation than they should have been in the first place, there still is no conclusive evidence to prove that they may have been doing damage to the health of their users. 

Even in the new suit against Apple and Samsung, considering that these phone companies are being sued for allegedly misleading consumers into buying potentially dangerous devices, none of the plaintiffs claim to have actually become ill or suffered health problems as a direct result of their phone use.

Regardless, it is also important to understand that the kind of radiation emitted by smartphones is vastly different from the ionizing radiation received from gamma rays and X-rays which have the power to pull away electrons from atoms and cause health damage.

Though, at high levels, smartphone radiation has the capacity to heat biological tissue and cause physical harm to soft tissue such as eyes, and those found in children. The latter could be especially vulnerable to negative health effects from long-term exposure to smartphone radiation.