FCC Investigates Apple, Samsung Phones After Test Finds Too Much Radiation

The Associated Press
Ng Han Guan/AP

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is reportedly investigating Apple and Samsung smartphones after an independent test by the Chicago Tribune found the phones to be emitting higher RF radiation levels than what is allowed by the FCC.

Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 and Samsung’s Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9, and Galaxy J3 emit more Radiofrequency radiation than the FCC allows, according to a test conducted by the RF Exposure Lab in California. The test was paid for by the Chicago Tribune.

“Radiofrequency radiation exposure from the iPhone 7 — one of the most popular smartphones ever sold — measured over the legal safety limit and more than double what Apple reported to federal regulators from its own testing,” reported the Tribune, which added that a total of 11 smartphone models from four different companies were tested, producing “varying results.”

The FCC is now investigating some of the phone models featured in the newspaper’s investigation.

FCC officials would not comment on the results from the independent test — and while they did say the test was not as thorough as what would be required for an official compliance report — the agency will still be conducting its own testing over the next few months.

“We take seriously any claims on non-compliance with the RF (radiofrequency) exposure standards and will be obtaining and testing the subject phones for compliance with FCC rules,” said FCC spokesman Neil Grace.

Apple and Samsung disputed the test results, saying that they do, in fact, comply with FCC regulations. Apple reportedly released a statement claiming that the test results for the iPhone 7s “were inaccurate due to the test setup not being in accordance with procedures necessary to properly assess the iPhone models.”

“All iPhone models, including iPhone 7, are fully certified by the FCC and in every other country where iPhone is sold,” said Apple in its statement. “After careful review and subsequent validation of all iPhone models tested in the (Tribune) report, we confirmed we are in compliance and meet all applicable … exposure guidelines and limits.”

Samsung — which is headquartered in South Korea — also insisted that its products comply with U.S. federal regulations.

“Samsung devices sold in the United States comply with FCC regulations,” said Samsung. “Our devices are tested according to the same test protocols that are used across the industry.”

But the Tribune contends that the RF Exposure Lab “is recognized by the FCC as accredited to test for radiofrequency radiation from electronic devices,” adding that the Lab has been doing radiation testings for the past 15 years for wireless companies seeking to get their new products approved by the government.

“We’re not doing anything extraordinary or different here,” said RF Exposure Lab owner Jay Moulton, adding that any qualified lab “should be able to grab a phone off the shelf and test it to see if it meets requirements.”

The report also mentioned that it is unable to say whether the tested cellphones resulting in radiation above FCC limits could be dangerous, as it is still unclear whether radiofrequency radiation emitted from cellphones can increase the risks of cancer or any other harm.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.

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