Electromagnetic Field Concerns from Wi-Fi and 3G?

The U.S. radio industry has earned some derision lately for its effort to have legislators make FM reception capabilities mandatory in mobile telephones. One argument that has yet to made in that debate is over electromagnetic fields.

A YouTube video from Switzerland, however, may raise that question.

Unlike listening to FM or DAB/DAB+ radio, streaming via a Wi-Fi or 3G connection uses a return channel, meaning that the receiver also acts as a transmitter. In the video, measurements are taken using a Gigahertz Solutions HF 35C RF analyzer while tuning station Couleur 3 through different modes.

Background radiation in the bedroom where the tests was filmed is 1 to 4 µW/m². Using an HTC Desire Android-based mobile phone, streaming via 3G/HSPA and Wi-Fi are both tried, and the field strength detected by the meter increases dramatically. Listening to the same station via the phone’s FM receiver, there is little increase in EM field strength. To test DAB, the meter is pointed toward a Revo UNO 2 DAB/DAB+ receiver tuning Couleur 3’s VHF band III DAB+ signal.

No judgment is made based on the video as to the safety of the electromagnetic fields generated while streaming audio. However, it is clear that a passive FM or DAB/DAB+ receiver does not generate the sort of electromagnetic field that streaming to a wireless device does.

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Comment List:

I don't see any difference between this and cell/mobile phone use. If this was a problem I think in the years (decades) of using these phones would have shown up by now. I guess this is another reason to freak out when someone near you is on their mobile. Second hand radiation? Solution: use Reynolds wrap for your tinfoil hats. :-P I'll just ring me mates on me mobile and leave the worry to the paranoid squad. ;-)
By Drewdove on 9/22/2010
This is much ado about nothing. When you're streaming audio over 3G you don't have the phone close to your head. What is true is that the phone will use far less power when using a built-in FM radio than when receiving streaming data.
By Anonymous on 9/22/2010
What would cell carriers say about spectrum waste?
By Anonymous on 9/22/2010
There are annotations in this video that don't appear on this page but appear on the youtube page version. Regarding previous comments, radio listening is generally much longer than phone conversation. In a way, it is also a non-sense that receivers transmit when receiving a broadcast program...
By Anonymous on 9/22/2010
No one is holding their 3G phone against their face for hours. They are using earbuds or connection to their vehicle's sound system via Bluetooth, an analog audio cable, an FM modulator, or for really old vehicles one of those cassette adapters. It is true that all the evidence on exposure to the radiation from cell phones warns against long exposure, but that's not happening here.
By Anonymous on 9/23/2010

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