People who worry about the potentially dangerous effects of electromagnetic waves can now check the specific absorption rate (SAR) of their mobile phones online, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday.
The news comes a week after the WHO confirmed for the first time that radiation from mobile phones could cause brain cancer.
Following the revelation, environmental activists urged the NCC to implement regulations that companies must display the SAR on the casings of mobile phones, not unlike the health risk warnings on cigarette packets.
They also asked the Ministry of Education to completely ban children under the age of 15 from using mobile phones on school campuses.
The SAR measures the rate at which energy is absorbed by the human body when exposed to electromagnetic waves. The unit of measurement is watt per kilogram (W/kg).
NCC spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said the commission had listed the SARs for all mobile phones whose specifications have been certified on the commission’s Web site.
Chen also said the nation required that mobile phones have a SAR below 2W/kg.
The SAR of a regular mobile phone, he said, is generally between 0.016W/kg and 1.83W/kg, depending on the brand and model.
The commission amended regulations last year that require mobile phone manufacturers to place warnings on “an appropriate part” of mobile phones, packaging and user manuals, Chen said. The warnings must either advise users to use mobile phones properly to reduce exposure to electromagnetic waves or to inform users about the nation’s SAR standards and the SAR of the mobile phone.
At present, users will find the warning on the battery socket, which complies with the regulations, but some have argued that health risk warnings should appear on more visible parts of mobile phones.
The NCC said some overseas manufacturers were reluctant to implement such a policy as it could spoil their product designs.
In response, Chen said the commission would look into different ways of warning users about the health hazards of using mobile phones. Aside from warning stickers, the commission could consider adding the warning in the settings window on mobile phones, he said.