Data communication between the mobile phone and the base station is carried out using radio waves. The only scientifically verified effect of radio waves on tissue is warming. The warming effect in the tissue caused by mobile phones is so insignificant that it causes no health hazards.
Operation of mobile phones
Data communication between the mobile phone and the base station is carried out using radio waves. The call or other information is transmitted from the mobile phone as a radio wave to the nearest base station and from there to the fixed network. The mobile phone adjusts its transmission power depending on how good the reception is.
According to current knowledge, mobile phone radio waves do not cause health problems
The only scientifically verified effect of radio waves on humans is tissue heating. Mobile phones do not heat the tissues so much that it would be harmful to health under any circumstances.
Thousands of studies have been conducted on the health effects of radio frequency fields. Independent expert panels such as the European Commission’s scientific committee SCHEER (Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks), WHO (World Health Organization) and ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) have published extensive literature reviews on the health effects of radio frequency fields. According to the surveys, the limit values for exposure in Finland are up to date.
Radiation safety requirements and monitoring of radio equipment worn close to the body
As an authority, STUK supervises the radiation safety of body-worn radio equipment intended for consumers. Surveillance is carried out by testing different radio equipment on the market, such as mobile phones and tablet computers. The manufacturer, importer or, ultimately, the distributor is responsible for the safety of the sold product. The manufacturer must carry out conformity assessment before placing the product on the market and is held accountable for ensuring that the product complies with the relevant requirements.
Specific absorption rate (SAR) is used as a measure of the exposure caused by the radio equipment. SAR value describes the power absorbed from the radio wave into the tissues of the head or body area. Its unit is W/kg. The maximum allowed value of 2 W/kg is confirmed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s Decree 1045/2018. The limit value is well below an exposure level that is known to cause adverse health effects.
Manufacturers of body-worn radio equipment measure the SAR value of a product and ensure that the limit value is not exceeded. In some radio equipment, the transmission power is so low that there is no need for SAR testing. Such are, for example, most of Bluetooth equipment.
The principle of SAR testing is that the measured value is at least as high as in the actual use situation causing the maximum exposure. For example, in the case of a mobile phone, this corresponds to a situation where the phone is in a poor reception area and the user is talking or transferring data, while the equipment is held either on the head or on the body.
STUK has carried out market surveillance testing for mobile phones since 2003 and for other radio equipment since 2013. Testing is performed by applying international IEC and CENELEC standards. The SAR value of all radio equipment tested by STUK has been lower than the limit value.