Mobile phone users should check the SAR value of a mobile handset before purchase, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has stated, reports The Financial Express. In addition to this,.DoT has asked mobile phone manufacturers to mention the SAR value of every handset on their website as well, so users find it easier to make a purchase decision. DoT reportedly will be uploading the data on its website. 

The topic of mobile phone radiation has assumed greater importance in the country of late as it started getting clear that radiation harmed the human body in more ways than one. The past month, in fact, has been particularly active on this premise and the biggie came in when the government introduced new norms. As reports had been pointing out, mobile radiation regulations have become stricter from September 1. It had been reported earlier that rigorous checks would be implemented on the electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones. In fact, as part of a set of precautionary guidelines issued by the government to mobile users, it advised them to keep distance between the body and the phone, by either using the speakerphone option or headsets.

A revision of existing standards is likely to happen soon

Users should check SAR value of mobile phone before purchase

These guidelines are in line with an earlier mention. In December last year, the government had declared that hands-free, which till then may have been just another accessory bundled up with a mobile phone, would soon be made mandatory to be provided with all mobile phones. The reason was that using hands-free, as opposed to answering calls the usual way, is being seen as an effective way of steering clear of radiation emissions. Switching over to SMS or other non-voice modes of communication too is preferable for evading radiation.

Further in its new guidelines, the government advises users to limit the length of their voice calls and resort to messaging instead. The guidelines suggest that if the user has a choice between making calls from a mobile phone and a landline, he or she should go for the latter. Mobile phone users should make calls from a location where the signal is strong. “If the radio signal is weak, a mobile phone will increase its transmission power. Find a strong signal and avoid movement, use your phone where reception is good,” it added. 

Among other guidelines, the government added that users should avoid making calls while wearing metal framed glasses or having wet hair, since metal and water are good conductors of radiowaves. 

Importantly, the government also advised against carrying the mobile phone near the breast/ chest or inside pant pockets, since a cellphone “automatically transmits at high power every one or two minutes to check network”.

In its advice to those with active medical implants, the government has added that they should preferably keep their cellphones at least 15 cm away from the implant.

Under these new norms,  the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) value has been brought down to a revised 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg) from the earlier 2 W/kg. The SAR essentially measures the rate at which the body absorbs energy when exposed to a radio frequency electromagnetic field or electronic devices using radio spectrum. 

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