There has been a long and controversial debate on possible differences in electromagnetic (EM) energy absorption between adults and children during cell phone usage. Some published studies report higher specific absorption rate (SAR) in children and explain this based on smaller head size. More recently, age dependent changes of the dielectric tissue parameters have again ignited the discussion. This study intends to give a comprehensive review of the current state of knowledge about the parameters and mechanisms affecting the exposure of the mobile phone user with special focus on the exposure of children. Discussed are the absorption mechanism, tissue parameters, the effect of the pinna, and the uncertainties associated with head models based on spheroids, scaled adult heads, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data of children. The conclusions of the review do not support the assumption that the energy exposure increases due to smaller heads, but identifies open issues regarding the dielectric tissue parameters and the thickness of the pinna.
Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc