Research In Motion's BlackBerry Bold 9700 scores the highest among popular smartphones for exposing users to the highest legal levels of cell phone radiation, according to the latest 2010 Environmental Working Group ranking. Following the Bold 9700 are the Motorola Droid, the LG Chocolate and Google's HTC Nexus One.
The rankings still put the phones well within federal guidelines and rules.
The FCC's cell phone radiation standards closely follow the 1992 recommendations of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). These standards allow 20 times more radiation to penetrate the head than the rest of the body and do not account for risks to children.
FCC standards limit the radiation absorbed by a cell phone user's brain and body to a specific SAR (absorption rate), measured by the amount of the phone's radiation energy (in watts, W) absorbed per kilogram of tissue (W/kg).
Current FCC regulations permit SAR levels of up to 1.6 W/kg for partial body (head) exposure, 0.08 W/kg for whole-body exposure and 4 W/kg for exposure to the hands, wrists, feet and ankles.
The BlackBerry Bold 9700 scores an overall 1.55 SAR in the new rankings. The Motorola Droid came in at 1.50 while the LG Chocolate scored a 1.46, the Nexus One ranked a 1.39 and the Apple iPhone 3G scored a 1.19.
"We at Environmental Working Group can't be pried from our cell phones. But we're troubled by recent studies that have found significantly higher risks for brain and salivary gland tumors among people using cell phones for 10 years or longer," the EWG said in a statement.
The EWG also admitted that more research on the controversial topic is crucial.