Did Telstra Text You About Electromagnetic Radiation? Don't Worry, You're Safe

If you're a Telstra mobile subscriber, you might have received a message yesterday sharing some slightly mysterious information on "electromagnetic energy". But don't worry, it's nothing serious.

This story was originally posted July 04, 2014. Telstra is sending out a new batch of 'electromagnetic exposure' messages right now, but the premise is the same -- you're not going to fry your brain.

Image via Shutterstock

News.com.au is saying that Telstra sent out what looks like an absolutely routine message to some of its customers:

Telstra reminder msg. For information on mobile use, Electromagnetic Energy and tips to reduce exposure visit: http://telstra.com.au/mobiletips

The message may seem creepy, but it's just sharing a link to information on the energy that your phone produces when you're using it for a phone call or on Wi-Fi. This energy is electromagnetic radiation, and at the rate your phone or tablet is producing it, you are perfectly safe.

Here's the thing -- the handset and transmitter limits imposed in Australia are a long way from the level at which electromagnetic radiation from radio frequencies begins to have an adverse effect on human cells. According to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), the Australian RF exposure limit for the general public is 0.08W/kg, measured over the whole body, over a six minute period. This is 50 times less than the level at which the first known adverse effects have been registered. Direct contact with an EMR-producing phone is regulated to similarly low levels.

If you want a second source on the safety of EMR, the WHO is reasonably straightforward in its explanation:

"Over the past 15 years, studies examining a potential relationship between RF transmitters and cancer have been published. These studies have not provided evidence that RF exposure from the transmitters increases the risk of cancer. Likewise, long-term animal studies have not established an increased risk of cancer from exposure to RF fields, even at levels that are much higher than produced by base stations and wireless networks"

Some phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S5, skate close to the 1.6W/kg limit imposed by the FCC in the US on paper, but fall far short of the more complete EU measurement standards; this is a result of the EU's testing being averaged over a more realistic amount of human tissue in testing. And Australia's limits are even lower. Given that a high-powered handset like the S5 only produces a quarter of the limit imposed by the notoriously regulation-heavy EU, you shouldn't be too concerned.

Even if you switch off your phone's cellular radio transmitter, it's still producing electromagnetic radiation whenever you use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. That's why the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 tablet, for example, still produces 1.01W/kg of EMR. So it's not some dangerous hidden radiation secretly cooking your reproductive organs, don't worry. That doesn't mean you should walk in front of a microwave transmitter, of course.

GSMArena's charts are a good resource for checking the international specific absorption rate of any particular phone (like, say, the Google Nexus 5), but to be sold in Australia all handsets must pass a raft of safety checks and be given the A-Tick of approval by ACMA as well.

Simply put -- any phone that you've bought off a store shelf has been tested to conform with local and international limits on electromagnetic radiation emission, and shouldn't do any damage whether you're making a call, texting, browsing the 'net or carrying it in your pocket.

Read more: Mobile Telephones and Health Effects



    This is called Tefloning (TM) and most smart companies do it from time to time...

    What I'm more curious about is why did they send such an idiotic message to begin with?

    "Because they can"

    What I don't understand is why this is suddenly news and made people concerned now ? Telstra has sent these messages out before yonks ago and nobody ever said boo about it but this week its front page news

      It's *so* not news, that's the thing. It's not like phones haven't been emitting EME for decades.

    Radiation in some foerm like eme is slowly killing us .Dont be ignorant people WEALL HAVE TO DIE SOMETIME. ( Ignorance is bliss)

      No. We can live forever if we rid the world of deadly deadly radiation!

      You shout down the phones, I'll get to work on the planet's core!

        And don't forget to shutdown yourself as you emit radiation. Oh shit virtually everything does. We're doomed.

    Rf can't effect human cells! It's non-ionizing radiation
    It's only good at warming up things like your pie (including you ha)

      You know arc welders work by using rf to ionize air?

        A candle ionises air too, point being

        EMR with energy less than about 150-200eV (about X Quintilion Hz) isn't ionising, as it can't directly cause ionisation by displacing subatomic particles from an atom.

        Extreme UV changes classification to SOFT x-rays once ionisation criteria is met.

        NB. Gamma and X-Radiation are exactly the same (for the confused kids), they are high energy ionising Electromagnetic Radiation, one is generated by nuclear decay (gamma, usually only "fairly high energy"), the other comes out of a "particle" accelerator (machine) of some kind or other (ranges form "low" to "extreme" energies). ok there is also metastable decay, but let's not go there..

        Unless you are working with cutting-edge Radio Frequency Induction welding of metals (nonexistent AFAIK), a welder doesn't use RF to ionise the air (both do happen, plasma is formed), a welder if it passes the voltage of ionisation can (theoretically) produce x-rays (not good for your 'nads), and definitely produces lots of UV with its secondary biological effects can do some crazy things to living tissue.

        RF is secondary to the function of a welding arc.

        Last edited 03/02/16 6:58 pm

          i'm a confused kid , metastable decay can we go there

      NB. Non Ionising doesn't mean non-harmful.

      Place your head inside a functioning "doorless microwave oven" for a few minutes and tell us that ain't harmful, well it isn't ionising-radiation...

        It's only harmful in the way of heating you up

      Affect. FTFY.

    Wasn't meant to be a reply

    Last edited 03/02/16 4:54 pm

    They haven't proven it causes cancer or anything, also they haven't proven it DOESN'T cause issues. Minimise your exposure. People who work with big power RF gear have more girls than boys. It's doing something to you, probably statistically insignificant compared to the natural RF coming down from space, but it all adds up.

    All EMF/ RF exposure is accumulative. Low frequency, high frequency, low levels of either, high levels of either, are harmful causing biological effects. Buy a quality RF meter and a gauss meter and get a reality check about what your being exposed to by wifi, towers, dect phones, digital utility meters, etc. The meter will cost less than a new cell phone.

    That is interesting, when WHO classified EMR from all wireless technology as 2B Carcinogenic, alongside lead and all other dangerous chemicals; and the Swedish Government, the US DIA document (1976), Austrian Medical Association guideline and European Medical document states that exposure to microwave non-ionised radiation is dangerous and causes health problems and Telstra claims it's safe. How SAFE is SAFE?

    15 years ago a study was made by a group of AUSTRALIAN nurses compearing Brain Tumors to patients who had high mobile phone useage. In all cases it corresponded with ear selected.
    Since then the radiation used has been dropped. Reduction ,by more sensitive equipement has reduced exposure. But exposure is accumulative?

    what i can't understand is that studies indicate exposure and harm is inconclusive, and because it is inconclusive ,we are ok in bathing ourselves with RF.... have i missed something here?? i think i can remember a time when cigarettes were non harmful to people, that all studies done were inconclusive , so smoke your little hearts content, because we found inconclusive evidence between cigarettes and harm,, arr gotta love big business and the inconclusive evidence they find ,, most studies end up lost in jargon , infrastructure moves forward and the people suffer , suffer in our pockets and health.. perfect for our enconomy

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