Most people have a smartphone these days and we all know how to use one. But what most of us don’t know is how cell phones actually work. For example, how do wireless connections really work – do phones use radio waves? Yes, they do and the reason you should know this is to understand the risks they may pose.
How Do Cell Phones Use Radio Waves?
Cell phones use radio waves to transmit data and send messages across. The main components that carry out this task is the phone antenna and cell towers. The antenna in your phone is what transmits your message or voice in the form of radio waves to your surroundings.
These waves are reflected by hard surfaces in the environment and then make their way to cell towers that further transmit these waves to other devices. Cell phones also have a receiving antenna that catches the signals sent by network towers. When they receive a transmission, the phone receives the message.
During this process, some waves are also absorbed by surfaces, including our bodies. This is why people worry about using cell phones. However, the actual impact of this radiation on humans is negligible.
Are Radio Waves Harmful?
Radio waves have a much lower frequency than any other radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum. Subsequently, this means that they carry less energy than more harmful forms of radiation, such as X-rays.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been no reported long-term effects of using mobile phones. Contrary to popular belief, after several studies, no direct link was found between the use of cell phones and developing tumors.
However, there are some short-term risks that we should be aware of. Interaction with radio waves causes temperature increase in tissues. This means that when we use cell phones, our hands, ears, skin, muscles, and even organs can heat up. Again, this increase in temperature is very minimal and not harmful in the long run.
How Can I Check My Phone Radiation?
Phone radiation is measured by its SAR value. SAR stands for Specific Absorption Rate. It is the measurement for how much radiation is absorbed by a user’s body when they are operating a cell phone. Some brands, like Samsung, give you an option for checking the SAR value of your phone on their website. All you have to do is insert your phone’s model and your location.
There are other external websites that give you this information as well. Additionally, you can check your phone’s user guide. If you are not able to find it there, here is another way you can try:
- Go to Settings on your phone
- Next go to the About Phone option (in some phones, it may be labelled as ‘General’)
- Now if you go to Legal, you should be able to see the RF exposure value
SAR is calculated in W/kg (watts per kilogram), and the standard acceptable maximum level of SAR is 1.6 W/kg. If your device happens to have a higher value than this, consider changing your phone.
There is significant concern about the emission of radiation in cell phones and this is not entirely baseless. The increase in the use of cell phones in recent times has most likely given rise to this fear. However, phones use low levels of a non-ionizing radiation which are not directly linked to any adverse impacts on our health. So, it is alright to be cautious but there is no real reason for worry.