The fact that our cell phones are giving off harmful radiation is no secret. There's a pretty clear warning about it in most all cell phone manuals. But how much radiation/EMF is actually coming from your phone? Is it always happening or only when you are on a call? Do headphones protect you or are they just drawing the radiation right from the phone to your head? Do special cases like the PONG case, which claim to redirect the radiation away from your head, actually do anything? Keep reading for all of the answers!
For all of the testing described below, we used both the commonly known AlphaLab Trifield Meter and the lesser known, but more advanced and accurate Lutron 822-A Electromagnetic Field Radiation tester. The tests were performed on an iPhone 6. Different phones give off different amounts of radiation, so results will of course vary with other devices.
I recently found out about the PONG iPhone case, which incorporates a secondary antenna into the back of the case. The company claims this antenna directs all of the radiation away from your head, as shown in the image below. My original intention in doing this test was to hopefully show what a cool, effective accessory this was and to help more people find out about it so that they could protect themselves and their loved ones. And I figured that while I was at it, I would run a few other tests as well.
Test 1- EMF on the front of the phone vs. on the back of the phone while using PONG case
If PONG's marketing is true, hypothetically we should see a decent amount of EMF coming off the back of the phone and very little coming off the front. Much to my surprise, there was NO DIFFERENCE! We found high levels of EMF coming off both the front and the back of the phone. Measured on the Lutron 822-A while the phone was ringing, levels ranged between 9-15 milligauss coming off both the front and the back of the phone. Putting the phone on vibrate or on normal ring did not make any difference.
Test 2- Standard Audio vs. Speakerphone vs. Headphones vs. Text
During the call, levels were much lower than during ringing, but still significant in the range of 2-3 milligauss. Speakerphone function produced much higher levels of EMF, in the 5-6 range, but these levels dropped off sharply once the meter was 6"-8" away from the phone. So as long as you keep a good distance from the phone while on speaker, the EMF doesn't seem to reach too far. Just don't put it on speakerphone and hold it right in front of your face.
Now to test the headphones. Many people say that the headphones merely channel the EMF from the phone, drawing it directly to the sides of your head. But according to this test, there is very little EMF at all coming from the headphones. It generally ranged between 0.1-0.2 milligauss with a few jumps up to .5 milligauss that lasted no more than a split second.
Finally to test texting- when the message arrived, it jumped up to 1.1 milligauss and then quickly dropped back off again. So there is a bit of EMF coming from texting, but unlike a long phone call, a text only results in a momentary emission of EMF.
The main things we always knew remain true- don't use your phone too much and keep your distance from it. We also learned that it's best to text when possible and the next best option after that is to use a headset or speakerphone (provided you keep the phone at least 6-8" away from you). Remember, the highest levels of EMF occurred when the phone was ringing, so much better to have it on your desk or on the table rather than in your pocket so you don't get blasted when it starts to ring! And finally, don't get suckered into buying a $50 case to protect you from the radiation. I had high hopes, but you can bet I sent mine back the next day!
And of course, interacting with real people in the flesh doesn't expose you to any EMF whatsoever! Especially when done in nature!