Health vs. AirPods

AirPods. The cordless Bluetooth
earpieces that are perfect for music lovers out and about. They are the latest sensation and the greatest…or are they? Scientists have been wary about the effects Bluetooth devices can have on a person’s health for several years now. Their concerns have to do with the amount of electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation that these devices emit when they are in use, as well as the proximity to a person’s body.

Cellphones are devices that con- stantly emit radiation, even more so when the Bluetooth feature is turned on, and they are more hazardous to health when they are pressed right up against a person’s body. AirPods are used in a similar, potentially danger- ous way. With AirPods, there is no distance between you and the device. What is more, without a cord, like regular earbuds have, AirPods must communicate with each other through electromagnetic pulses– quick bursts of electromagnetic energy. In the case of AirPods, these pulses travel from one AirPod right through your brain to the other one.

So what is the big deal, some people might ask. That can be answered by the World Health Organization’s international agency for research on cancer, which classified EMF radia- tion as “possibly carcinogenic [caus- ing cancer] to humans based specifi- cally on the increased risk for brain tumors.” So while there may not be concrete proof of AirPods actually causing cellular damage and tumors, the potential is there.

Joel Moskowitz, the director of the center for family and community health at the University of California at Berkeley, says that there is very lit- tle research specifically on Bluetooth, but research on EMF radiation sug- gests negative health effects could be the result of these headphones and earbuds. He is not alone in this assumption.

“My concern for AirPods is that their placement in the ear canal exposes tissues in the head to relatively high levels of radio-frequency radiation,” stated Jerry Phillips, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Colorado. Phillips’ concern is not limited to AirPods, it is for “all technologies that operate at radio-frequencies.”

Phillips and Moskowitz are two of the nearly 250 scientists to sign the 2015 petition appealing to the World Health Organization to further study the potential dangers of EMF radiation in Bluetooth devices. Their apprehension over the rising use of AirPods and other Bluetooth earbuds like them is credible and is shared by many other scientists. Moskowitz, among others, is someone who believes that using wired earphones is a simple way for people to lower their exposure to emitted EMF radiation from cell phones or Bluetooth earbuds.

While it may seem like a less con- venient step back from recent tech- nology, what you must ask yourself is, are you willing to deal with the very real possibility of your health being increasingly impacted by the use of these devices?

GC student Adora Txakeeyang listening to music through Bluetooth earbuds.

by Breanna Adamick

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