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Electromagnetic Emissions Testing and Comparing the Nonionizing Radiation from Cellular Phones for Relative Safety

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Purpose

To determine how much radiation is emitted from various makes and models of cellular phones and to compare them with the amount of radiation given off from other devices we have daily contact with—a microwave oven, a television set, and a shortwave radio.

Hypothesis

When an electric current runs through a wire or device, it produces an electromagnetic field. With many electronic devices at our disposal, we are constantly exposed to electromagnetic fields that over the long term may be harmful to the human body. Nonionizing electromagnetic radiation operates at lower frequencies and is characterized as radio frequency radiation. Emissions of this type of radiation come from devices that produce broadcast transmissions, such as cellular phones. This type of radiation has been studied and has been shown to cause thermal or heating effects on the human body that may prove to be dangerous over time. Because the widespread use of cellular phone technology is relatively new, there have been no studies to show the long-term effects of nonionizing electromagnetic radiation on people. Testing and comparing the radiation given off by cellular phones and other devices that give off radiation may give some indication of the relative safety of the devices.

Materials Needed

  • CellSensor EMF detection gauss meter (an extremely low frequency [ELF] and radiation frequency [RF] gauss meter)
  • various types of cellular phones (borrowed from family or friends)
  • landline telephone (to call the cell phones being tested)
  • microwave oven
  • television
  • shortwave radio

Experiment

Various cellular phones will be tested with the CellSensor EMF detection gauss meter both in use and in standby mode to determine the amount of nonionizing radiation they give off. The results will be recorded. Then the microwave oven, television, and shortwave radio will each be tested for the amount of radiation that they give off. The results obtained from the cellular phones will be compared and contrasted with those of the microwave oven, television, and shortwave radio.

Procedure

  1. Fully charge each cellular phone prior to testing to ensure accurate and consistent results.
  2. Turn on the CellSensor EMF detection gauss meter. (Note: product documentation will instruct you how to conduct a proper measurement of radiation emitted in milliwatts per centimeter (mw/cm²) in all types of cell phones. Be sure your meter is calibrated correctly before testing any devices.
  3. Take the first cell phone and turn it on. Position the CellSensor EMF detection gauss meter next to the cell phone (or as otherwise directed by the instructions) and record the radiation emission reading for the phone. Then turn the phone off to save the fully charged battery and remove excess radiation from the test area so that the results for the other phones are not affected. Repeat this step for all the other cell phones.
  4. Turn on the first cell phone again. Go to your landline phone and call the number designated for this cell phone. Place the CellSensor EMF detection gauss meter next to the phone while it is ringing and record the radiation emission reading for the phone. Then answer the phone so that it is "in use." Record the radiation emission reading for the phone again after the phone stops ringing and is in "use" mode. Then turn the phone off and repeat this step for all the other cell phones.
  5. Once you have obtained your data results for the cell phones, position the CellSensor EMF detection gauss meter next to the microwave oven (turned on "high" for one minute), the television set (turned on), and shortwave radio (turned on) and record the radiation emissions for these devices.
  6. Compare and contrast the results obtained from the cell phones with those from the microwave oven, television set, and shortwave radio.

Results

  1. What readings did you obtain from the cellular phones when turned on? What readings did you obtain when the phones were ringing and in use? Did the amounts of radiation vary between the phones when turned on? Did the amounts of radiation vary between the phones in the ringing and in-use modes? If so, was this variation significant?
  2. What readings did you obtain from the microwave oven, television set, and shortwave radio? How did these readings compare with those obtained from the cell phones?
  3. Do your results and studies of this subject suggest an analogy between the potential long-term effects of human body exposure to the electromagnetic fields emitted from the microwave oven, television set, and/or shortwave radio and the potential long term effects on human body exposure to the nonionizing radiation emitted from the cell phones?
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