Green Living

Did you know: Some Cell Phone Cases Increase Cell Phone Radiation

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Some cell phone cases cause your phone to emit more radiation.

This tops my list of the things I didn’t know I didn’t know:

Some cell phone cases cause your phone to emit more radiation.

Cell phone use and radiation has been a much studied topic. The World Health Organization considers the radiation emitted by cell phones to be a possible carcinogen and recently published findings from a multi-yearstudy by the federal National Toxicology Program (U.S.) found that rats developed tumors when exposed to radiation similar to that emitted by cell phones.

In the past I have written about ways to use your cell phone more safely to reduce your radiation exposure and I’ll share them again. The knowledge that you cell case could amplify your radiation exposure is something more people need to understand.

This is the root of the problem: 
Cases partially block the phone’s antenna, causing the phone to work harder and as a result emit more radiation. And the more durable the case the more the antenna is blocked. Cases containing metal affect the antenna even more.

The government regulates the allowable limits of cell phone radiation emissions but the phone manufacturers test their devices without accessories so the impact of cases is not factored into the regulations.

The maximum rate allowed in Canada and the US is 1.6 w/Kg (head) and 4 w/Kg (body), levels determined low enough to protect adult consumers from radiation burns. There are no SAR values established for children although children are more susceptible to the effects of radiation.

The studies on the impact of cases on cell phone radiation were initiated by Pong Research Corporation, a company that makes cases designed to reduce cell phone radiation exposure. (I’ll let you decide if you think that might compromise the findings.)

According to PongResearch, my go-to case, the Otterbox, increased the iPhone SAR value (the term for the rate at which body tissue absorbs radiation energy during cell phone use) by 70%.

Aside from thinking hard about the type of case you choose, there are other ways to limit your cell phone radiation exposure:

  • The more you can keep your device away from your body the better. Don’t carry your phone in your pocket and don’t sleep with it under your pillow or beside your head.
  • Texting is better than talking on your phone. Devices emit less radiation when texts are being sent and received when compared to talking on the phone.
  • When talking on your phone use speakerphone or a headset as often as possible or hold your phone away from your head (don’t press it to your ear).
  • Low signal strength increases radiation emissions so try to limit phone calls when your signal strength is low (2 bars or less).
  • Choose a devise with a lower SAR rating. Samsung devices in Canada continue to have among the lowest SAR values and iPhones the highest. 

To find the SAR value of your phone visit the federal government website and in the search field enter “SAR value of my phone”. Be prepared to do a lot of searching.

Visit Pong ( to learna more about their cell phone cases that reduce radiation exposure.


One Comment

  1. Wow, who would have thought? Thanks Bridget. I think most people assume that cases protect them from the radiation.


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