Law Firm Sues Apple and Samsung, Claiming Phones Exceed Radiofrequency Radiation Safety Levels

Chicago-based law firm Fegan Scott has levied a lawsuit against both Apple and Samsung, claiming that independent testing suggests the radiofrequency radiation levels in recent smartphones "far exceeded the federal limits" when used "as marketed by the manufacturers."

The basis for this lawsuit dates back to August, when The Chicago Tribune launched an investigation into the radiofrequency radiation levels output by popular smartphones.

RF Radiation Testing Results from a Chicago Times Investigation in August

The paper hired an accredited lab to test several smartphones according to federal guidelines, and found that some of Apple's iPhones are allegedly emitting radiofrequency radiation that exceeds safety limits.

Apple disputed the results and in a statement, said that the testing was inaccurate "due to the test setup not being in accordance with procedures necessary to properly assess the ‌iPhone‌ models."
"All ‌‌iPhone‌‌ models, including ‌‌iPhone‌‌ 7, are fully certified by the FCC and in every other country where ‌‌iPhone‌‌ is sold," the statement said. "After careful review and subsequent validation of all ‌‌iPhone‌‌ models tested in the (Tribune) report, we confirmed we are in compliance and meet all applicable ... exposure guidelines and limits."
At the time, the FCC said that it would launch its own investigation into the results, and a day after The Chicago Tribune published its findings, the Fegan Scott law firm pledged to launch its own investigation into the claims.

Fegan Scott enlisted an FCC-accredited laboratory to do its own testing of six smartphone models at distances ranging from zero to 10 millimeters to measure the radiofrequency radiation emitted when touching or in close proximity to the body.

The lab that did the testing claims that at two millimeters, the iPhone 8 and Galaxy S8 were "more than twice the federal exposure limit" and at zero millimeters, the ‌iPhone 8‌ was "five times more than the federal exposure limit."

After receiving the results, Fegan Scott has decided to launch an official lawsuit against both Apple and Samsung covering the ‌iPhone‌ 7 Plus, the ‌iPhone 8‌, the iPhone XR, the Galaxy S8, the Galaxy S9, and the Galaxy S10. From attorney Beth Fegan:
"Apple and Samsung smartphones have changed the way we live. Adults, teenagers and children wake up to check their email or play games and do work or school exercises on their smartphones. They carry these devices in their pockets throughout the day and literally fall asleep with them in their beds."

"The manufacturers told consumers this was safe, so we knew it was important to test the RF radiation exposure and see if this was true. It is not true. The independent results confirm that RF radiation levels are well over the federal exposure limit, sometimes exceeding it by 500 percent, when phones are used in the way Apple and Samsung encourage us to. Consumers deserve to know the truth."
According to Fegan Scott, the testing conducted by the lab reflects "actual use conditions" rather than the "conditions set by manufacturers," which means the testing was likely not done in the same way that Apple does its own internal testing. Apple, for example, tests at 5mm, not 0mm and 2mm.

The Chicago Tribune's original testing was done in a manner to simulate the worst possible scenario, with the phone operating in low signal and full power to create the maximum radiofrequency radiation level. It's not clear how the law firm's testing was carried out.

There is no evidence that radiofrequency radiation levels above the federal limits have the potential to cause harm, so consumers should not be alarmed at this time. The FCC is doing its own independent testing and those results should provide more insight into the safety of smartphones.

Apple tells its customers worried about radiofrequency radiation exposure to use a hands-free option, and some past ‌iPhone‌ models have included recommended carrying distances. With the ‌iPhone‌ 4 and 4s, for example, Apple said the smartphones should be held at least 10mm away from the body, and there was a similar suggestion made for the ‌iPhone‌ 7.

The lawsuit is seeking damages from Apple as well as funds to pay for medical monitoring.

Tag: lawsuit

Top Rated Comments

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7 weeks ago
3.6 Roentgen. Not great, not terrible.
Rating: 30 Votes
7 weeks ago
If true, they should be suing the FCC, since they blessed the devices for consumer use. You can't blame Apple or Samsung for complying with FCC radio power requirements. You need to change the standard that the FCC uses...this is baseless litigation.
Rating: 29 Votes
7 weeks ago


Exactly. I don't know how many times I've tried to explain to my dad that "emf" is on the opposite end of the spectrum of the radiation that can give you cancer - physics dictate that the worst that can happen to you from these frequencies is that you might get a little warm.


I wonder why nobody freaked out about this in the 80s and 90s when analog cellphones were transmitting an entire watt or more ERP, yet nobody got hurt by that. Modern phones put out a tiny fraction of that, and people are freaking out.

I'm so tired of this excessive paranoia.
Rating: 16 Votes
7 weeks ago


Non-ionized radiation ::dropsmic::

Exactly. I don't know how many times I've tried to explain to my dad that "emf" is on the opposite end of the spectrum of the radiation that can give you cancer - physics dictate that the worst that can happen to you from these frequencies is that you might get a little warm.

Edit to add: They might have been able to get away with suing for damages because of exceeding the federal limits, but since they're asking to pay for medical monitoring, I wonder if they are going to have to try to prove that there is a medical danger from being exposed to this radiation (which they won't be able to do). It would be great if this turned into a high-profile case that finally laid this insanity to rest.
Rating: 13 Votes
7 weeks ago
Can I sue the universe for emitting radio radiation for the past 100 billion years with no government oversight?
Rating: 13 Votes
7 weeks ago
Non-ionized radiation ::dropsmic::
Rating: 12 Votes
7 weeks ago


The FCC, Apple and Samsung should all be held liable for this.


Only if this actually harms humans, which there is no proof of atm
Rating: 12 Votes
7 weeks ago


3.6 Roentgen. Not great, not terrible.


Haha, good one. :)

Lets see if anyone figures out where that's from. :)
Rating: 9 Votes
7 weeks ago


3.6 Roentgen. Not great, not terrible.


You didn't see excess RF... You didn't. YOU DIDN'T! BECAUSE IT'S NOT THERE!
[automerge]1575657883[/automerge]


I just ran out of tinfoil yesterday!


Luckily I live in a Faraday Cage.
Rating: 8 Votes
7 weeks ago
As someone whose job is EMC testing & has been involved in submitting & testing equipment for the last 25 years, perhaps I can clear up some confusion about who is responsible for what.

1. The FCC (or equivalent in other countries/regions) does not usually perform the testing of a device. They will approve test houses around the globe that manufacturers can use to test their products. Here in the UK, there are a number of Accredited Labs, from companies like UL, TUV, Eurofins etc who do all sorts of EMI testing as well as lots of other services like environmental, mechanical, vibrational, chemical, biological etc. Test reports from these companies are accepted "as is" because they have robust systems & procedures for testing, documentation, etc and all their equipment calibration is traceable back to national & international standard holderslike the NPL (National Physics Laboratory) here in the UK.

2. It is the manufacturer's responsibility to mark the device with the required marks such as FCC, CE, etc. They can "self certify" if they choose. That means if they are confident that their device is compliant without having to take it outside to be formally tested, they can do so. If someone challenges this because they think the device *isn't* compliant, the manufacturer will need to provide proof as to why the device *is* compliant. Sometimes if you know all of the parts within a device & have used them in similar configurations before, it's possible to have a reasonable idea of whether or not something will pbe compliant

3. Some large companies will have their own test lab with the required equipment to do all their own testing. The kit isn't cheap, so the majority of firms who decide to do testing will use the exterior test houses I mentioned in point 1. Quite often you will do a lot of "pre-compliance" work with your own test gear to make sure your trip to the exterior test house isn't going to be a waste of time & money. Pre-compliance test kits are cheaper to buy & it can save a lot of hassle to do pre-compliance on early prototype & pilot run devices to make any changes early in the design cycle.

4. Exterior test houses are the experts at performing EMC testing. HOWEVER they are reliant on the manufacturer telling them what testing wants to be done, in what operating modes, etc. The manufacturer is usually on site during the test to set everything up in the right operating modes during the test, or in case there's a problem with something not meeting the standards. The test house will produce a test report, complete with all the data showing the tests performed, results etc. The manufacturer will then create their own DoC (Declaration of Conformity) for the countries they want to sell into. Importers can then have & use the DoC when they import products into the country for selling.

5. If the customs authority in the country where the device is imported into wants to, they can demand to see all the test documentation or proof as to whether the device is compliant with the standards that apply to that device category (e.g. IT equipment has a certain set of internationally agreed standards they need to conform to, while mobile phones have not only those standards but also others relating to "Intentional emitting devices", 4G 5G etc). The manufacturer is then liable for providing that documentation to the importer. Typically it will be in the form of a Technical Construction File (or TCF for short). A TCF is enough information for someone to manufacture the device itself.

Bottom line is that it is all down to the manufacturer. They can choose to self-certify if they have their own test lab (or feel confident enough that their device is compliant). Typically most manufacturers will do pre-compliance if they can then go to exterior test houses for formal testing. The Test House will do the testing under the instruction of the manufacturer. They can advise on what testing is required, but they are not responsiblei f the manufacturer chooses only to perform certain tests. All the test house is responsible for is that the results that their test report contains are true and accurate.

Incidentally, there's a few small differences between FCC requirements and a lot of other countries in terms of EMC requirements. The FCC looks at Emissions only (The amount of EM energy emitted from a device), while most other countries/regions also look at a devices Immunity (how much EM energy a device can be subjected to). Domestic-use devices have to meet the tougher Emissions limit (Class B). Non-domestic devices have to meet Class A, which is easier to meet. There's a lot of other tests apart from radiated emissions/immunity. There's also conducted emissions & immunity (EM emitted down the mains & network/telecoms cables), Fast Transient bursts, Static Discharge testing. It's all fun in the Compliance test world!
Rating: 8 Votes

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