A recent flurry of stories across the media have question the safety of wireless headphones or earpieces, and have focus in particular on Apple’s AirPods. One of the concerns is whether having such devices in the ear increases the risk of cancer. News stories began circulating in early March, with headlines such as Are AirPods and Other Bluetooth Headphones Safe? or “Wireless headphones could ‘pump radiation into your brain and cause cancer.
Most of the articles cite a petition to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) that was sign by 247 scientists from 42 countries; so warning about the potential dangers of radiation from wireless technologies; so then add on concerns over newer devices such as AirPods. This petition, however, was release in 2015 and does not discuss AirPods; which didn’t exist at the time, or Bluetooth technology.
AirPods could cause cancer
Yet despite this, sensationalist headlines such as Over 200 scientists say AirPods could cause cancer have emerged; also even though the petition makes no mention of AirPods and alludes only to a possible increase cancer risk; so along with other health concerns. AirPods, in fact, are also not brand new; Apple introduce them in 2016. They have been exceedingly popular; so with 28 million pairs sold last year and 16 million in 2017.
New research citing health concerns of AirPods or Bluetooth has been lacking. John E. Moulder, PhD; so radiation biologist and professor emeritus at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, told that the “last time they research this issue was in 2016; and at that time they saw no scientific basis for concern. They haven’t heard of any concerns on the subject after 2016 until the last month or so.
AirPods use standard 0.01-watt Bluetooth, said Kenneth Foster a professor of bio engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. A cell phone transmits 0.1-1 watts, and FCC records indicate that radio-frequency exposure from AirPods is far below their limits for cell phones; those measurements were do under ‘worst-case’ conditions that far overstate actual exposure under real world circumstances.
The antenna in the AirPod sticks out from the ear and lies a half-inch or so above the head. “Radio-frequency exposure is minimal; and is to the cheek area over the jaw, Foster added. The device does not radiate energy into the ear. Foster went on to suggest that the media “is being played” on this issue. “It start with a no-facts statement by a scientist citing a 4-year-old petition by a self-select group of scientists that express general concerns about EMF but no mention of Bluetooth earbuds.
Wireless ear buds and headsets
Henry Lai, PhD, a bio engineering professor emeritus at the University of Washington, Seattle, and editor emeritus of the journal Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, explain that they didn’t know if AirPods were less safe than other devices. they don’t know whether the dosimetry of different wireless ear buds and headsets has been investigated, They told . Without this information, it is not possible to compare the potential biological effects of the different devices.
They point out that there has been very little research on the safety of long-term exposure to the head from Bluetooth radiation and none on near-field magnetic induction (NFMI). Two is that they also emit near-field magnetic induction, and long-term exposure to these two types of electromagnetic fields has never been test for safety. The third, they said, is that the Specific Absorption Rate seems rather high for a Bluetooth device.
Wireless technology and, in particular, cell phones, have been widely study but continue to produce conflicting results. For example, approximately 30 epidemiologic studies have attempt to evaluate the association between cell phone use and the risk for brain and salivary gland tumors.
The controversy over cell phones heated up when the WHO announce in 2011 that radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer; hence classified radio-frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (group 2B). On the basis of an increase risk for glioma that some studies have associate with the use of wireless phones. As health concerns remain unresolved, as do the long-term risks of using Bluetooth devices, Moskowitz points out that there are safer ways to use a cell phone.