If ever there was an industry more likely to dabble in a little greenwashing, it’s cell phones. A cell phone, as well as being an indispensable part of the modern lifestyle, is a small radiation-emitting device that you place against your head for long stretches of time. Once this shift in perception caught on, governmental regulatory authorities fell over themselves to conduct studies – such as those undertaken by the National Academy of Sciences, on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration.
Cell phone radiation certainly can cause damage in biological tissue: the question is about how much is safe for us. (Human beings aren’t rats – apart from the odd instance – and we all already take in a certain amount of environmental background radiation, natural and anthropogenic, with few ill-effects). This is calculated from each phone’s Specific Absorption Rate or SAR: see this brief rundown from the UK’s Health Protection Agency. Manufacturers are under orders to keep within agreed safe SAR limits.
Last month, Nokia unveiled their Eco Sensor Concept phone, designed as the informed choice for health-conscious, sustainability-conscious, gadget-loving consumers. Built from reclaimed materials and recycle-ready, the handset offers customized environment, health and weather sensor functions, what appears to be a touch-screen display (in green, of course), and a battery utilising alternate energy sources such as solar power and possibly even kinetic energy.
It’s an impressive list. In fact there might only be one thing missing”¦..a SAR sensor?