Technology is a wonderful thing. In the medical world, it helps doctors perform complex surgeries, enables hospitals to monitor patients, and can even keep the heart beating. In everyday life, things like home security systems, smartphones, and even your dishwasher make everyday life easier. One of the latest technological devices that have become very popular is the wireless headset, also known as AirPods. Do you know the little white things that stick out of people’s ears? Yeah, those!
They are great for listening to music, making calls, and anything you would use headphones for, but without all the pesky cables in between. The question we are asking ourselves today is if we give up the cable connecting these headphones, are we also giving up certain health standards?
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Do Apple AirPods Have Radiation?
The DAILY MAIL spoke with a Berkeley professor, Dr. Moskowitz, about wireless AirPods. He is quoted in saying: “AirPods communicate with each other using an induction magnetic field, variable magnetic radiation that is sent through your brain to communicate with the other.” AirPods or Wireless headphones connect to your device wirelessly using short-range radio communication technology or Bluetooth. Anything that is connected “wirelessly” normally uses a waveform of electromagnetic radiation, which is not harmful in low doses. The biggest worrying factor in the use of AirPods and cell phones is that this type of technology is advancing so rapidly that research simply cannot keep up. Remember the launch of the latest smartphone. Did you queue to get one? Do you already have a new pair of AirPods? If you are like the average consumer, you probably have not reviewed the health effects in medical journals before buying.
What Radiation Does AirPods Give Off?
Any type of telecommunications that uses wireless transmissions sends out radio waves, which are basically EMF energy in the radio frequency spectrum. The Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of AirPods, which measures the amount of radiation absorbed by the body, is 0.466W/Kg. This is well below the legal limit of 1.60 watts per kilogram set by US regulators.
Are AirPods Safe to Use?
This is not the first time people have been concerned about the effects of EMFs (electromagnetic fields) on our health. In 2014, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a guide to cell phone use. It covers some frequently asked questions about the relationship between cell phone use and cancer. The first question in this guide is “Can cell phone use cause cancer?” The CDC says more research is needed to give you an answer. Very comforting ... However, the World Health Organization (or WHO) has stated that “there has been no evidence that cell phone use has any negative health effects”. The truth is that smartphones haven’t been around that long, so it’s difficult to know how this will play out in the long run.
AirPods use the same type of radiofrequency radiation as cell phones. Now that AirPods and wireless headphones are hugely popular, the topic is brought up again. In 2018, some studies from the US National Toxicology Program found “strong evidence” that this type of radiation can cause cancer in rats. However, these are rats, especially male rats, and not humans. This study does not prove that exposure to EMF can cause cancer, but it suggests that prolonged exposure to EMF is not entirely harmless. Since AirPods use the same technology, maybe we should be more careful with them.
Is Bluetooth Radiation Harmful?
The WHO study shows that Bluetooth technology (the way AirPods communicate with your mobile phone) emits low-power radio frequency levels, and a hands-free device like your headphones emits even lower levels. Cell phones have to reach cell towers and places with poor reception (like your parents’ house) . It has to work harder and will emit more EMF. On the other hand, AirPods only need to reach your smartphone, so the radiation level is logically lower. The closer the distance, the less high-frequency energy is required. So just keep the smartphone away from your face and then play it safe and you need not worry. This is easy when you have a new pair of AirPods, right? It may not be that simple. Remember, we are talking about long-term exposure. Aside from the fact that mobile phones have only been popular since the early 1990s, it is impossible to say what long-term effects it might have.
People typically wear AirPods for long periods. Also, they are located in your ears next to your brain. According to Martin Pall, a professor of biochemistry at Washington State University, there are many factors to consider. Not just signal strength, but things like “inconsistent radiation pulses from wireless devices.” But again, there is nothing harmful to humans ... just rats. The DAILY MAIL reports that, over time, more and more scientists are requesting additional research on radio wave-based technologies. Especially those that are very close to the brain and ear canal, such as headphones. Dr. Moskowitz expressed concern that “there are probably more neurological disorders and diseases than cancer.” The fact that the space in which AirPods communicate is occupied by your brain is leading some researchers to call for a more careful standpoint.
So are AirPods Dangerous?
Well, we’re letting the World Health Organization answer that question. They said, “Despite extensive research, there is no evidence to date that exposure to weak electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health.” Many scientists are actively performing new studies. It is also important to remember that there are many organizations out there protecting you, such as the CDC, the FDA, and the WHO. They all have regulations to keep us safe and healthy. However, if you are a little skeptical, your best bet is to stick with wired headphones or wear an EMF protection necklace.