Wed, Oct 08, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Cellphone makers may face safety labelling changes

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Cellphone manufacturers may soon be asked to clearly label the specific absorption rate (SAR) of phones as a guide to potential health risks, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday.

SAR measures electromagnetic exposure to the human body.

Huang Ming-chen (黃銘真), a specialist at the commission’s technical management division, said manufacturers currently provide information for users about SAR in cellphone manuals with few labels placed on phones.

“When they [manufacturers] do [place labels on phones], the sticker is generally inside the battery socket, underneath the battery,” she said.

Huang said the commission might amend regulations to ask manufacturers to place stickers on the exterior of cellphones.

Huang made the statement in response to the results of a survey by the Taiwan Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard Protection and Control Association.

The survey explored the use of cellphones among children and teenagers aged six to 18. Between August and the beginning of this month, the association collected 1,132 valid samples nationwide.

Findings include an estimated 2.2 million in the specified age group owning cellphones. Approximately 390,000 of respondents talk on average for more than five minutes each time they use their phone and about 170,000 talk for more than 10 minutes.

The survey also found that 60 percent of cellphones have an SAR a million times higher than the background value within five seconds of a call being connected.

The association suggested that the government set an SAR standard for cellphones. Aside from labels, the government should ask manufacturers to place warnings on cellphones, such as “Frequent cellphone users are at higher risk of developing brain tumors,” the association said.

Huang, however, said that the SAR used by the association for cellphones is meaningless, since the tool they used to measure SAR is mainly used on objects with larger surface areas.

Also See: Group urges official action to dissuade child cellphone use

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