Sunday, 21 April 2019
MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATIONS HEALTH AND SAFETY NEWS

Mobile phone ‘shields’ are unnecessary and their effectiveness is unproven


Mobile-Phone-CaseThe Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) agrees with health authorities and regulators around the world that devices designed to ‘shield’ mobile phone users are unnecessary and their effectiveness in reducing exposure in everyday use is unproven.

 

A recent article by CNET raised the question of whether or not smartphone cases which claim to reduce exposure are worth buying.

 

“AMTA urges consumers to seek advice from independent scientific and health agencies and to weigh up the body of scientific opinion as a way of better understanding the marketing information from shielding device manufacturers before considering a purchase,” AMTA CEO, Mr Chris Althaus said.

 

Independent health authorities in Australia and internationally do not advise the use of these types of products, Mr Althaus said.

 

The current (June 2011) World Health Organization (WHO) fact sheet says:

 

The use of commercial devices for reducing radiofrequency field exposure has not been shown to be effective.

 

Regarding these products, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) states:

 

Scientific evidence does not indicate any need for such devices since they cannot be justified on health grounds and their effectiveness in reducing exposure in everyday use is unproven.

 

The range of so called ‘shielding’ devices includes stick-on deflective holographic or ceramic absorbing disks, passive electronic chips, metallic fibre patches, antenna clips, phone covers containing passive antennas and foil-lined cases and pouches.

 

“Companies selling these products should provide science-based facts about their products including independent test reports in real life use conditions to confirm their marketing claims as well as accurately reference the prevailing views of major independent health and scientific organisations, such as the WHO,” Mr Althaus said.

 

The US Federal Trade Commission has been so concerned about the sale of these devices they have recently released a consumer alert to warn consumers: Listen Up: Tips to Help Avoid Cell Phone Radiation Scams.

 

“More importantly, devices which claim to act as ‘shields’ may significantly interfere with the normal operation of the phone.  Reduced or redirected transmission levels caused by shielding products can interfere with call reception and quality and cause calls to drop out,” Mr Althaus said. 

 

Before mobile phones can be sold in Australia, in addition to strict safety requirements, they also have to meet hundreds of regulations and network compliance tests to ensure each phone model performs in all conditions and does not interfere with other devices and works on the full range of available wireless networks, he said.

 

“A simple device which blocks or redirects the phone’s signal can adversely affect the network performance of the phone leading to more dropped calls and substandard performance,” Mr Althaus said.

 

“In fact, a handset fitted with a ‘shielding’ device may have difficulty connecting with a network and the handset will have to ‘power-up’ to make a connection and this could actually increase a user’s RF exposure, which is counterproductive to what these devices claim they can do.”

 

While some claim that handsets have been tested to show a reduced exposure in laboratory conditions, they have not met the hundreds of compliance tests required by standards and network operators to ensure each phone model performs in all real life conditions and does not interfere with other devices and works on the full range of available wireless networks, he said.

 

“Fundamental to the design and acceptable operation of a mobile phone handset is the integration of the antenna and an understanding that the entire handset forms part of the antenna. The antenna cannot be treated as an add-on at the end of the design phase,” Mr Althaus said. 

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