Apple, Samsung sued over handset radio frequency emissions

The class-action suit names Apple's iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 and iPhone X, and Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note8

Apple and Samsung have been hit with a class-action lawsuit over claims that their phones expose users to radio frequency emissions up to 500 percent beyond the limits "set forth by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)," the website Apple Insider reported on Saturday.

Filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, the lawsuit alleges that the Radio Frequency (RF) emissions of a number of Apple and Samsung phones - among them the iPhone 8, iPhone X, and Galaxy S8 - “far exceed federal guidelines.” The risks of such radiation levels, it continues, include “increased cancer risk, cellular stress...genetic damages, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders,” and a laundry list of other medical problems.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) tests phones by their ‘Specific Absorption Rate,’ (SAR) measured in watts of energy absorbed per kilogram of body tissue. No phone sold in America can exceed 1.6 w/kg, while European regulators allow a more generous 2w/kg. However, health activists consider these levels outdated. Mainly because the FCC’s guidelines were put together in 1997, and were largely based on tests carried out by the US military on the head of a 100kg soldier.

But children can absorb more than 150% more phone radiation than adults, and up to ten times more radiation through their skulls. With kids as likely to use modern smartphones as top-tier military personnel, some researchers say that the FCC’s SAR guidelines are inadequate.

Still, none of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim to have actually suffered any illness or health problems. Instead they argue that Apple and Samsung just "covered up any risks by misrepresenting the safety of the smartphones"

Meanwhile, a separate investigation by Chicago Tribune also found that "radio-frequency radiation exposure from the iPhone 7 measured over the legal safety limit and more than double against what Apple had reported to federal regulators from its own testing".

Earlier, Apple had declared RF exposure information, including Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), but "the company stopped furnishing such information with the release of the iPhone 7", they argued.

In response, Apple declared that "all iPhone models, including iPhone 7, are fully certified by the FCC and in every other country where iPhone is sold".

"We are in compliance and meet all applicable exposure guidelines and limits," the tech giant said in a statement.

However, Samsung was yet to react to the accusations.

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