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Our phones, smart watches, and other wearable technology are constantly emitting radio and electromagnetic signals close to our brains and our reproductive organs. These little pieces of technology are always with us (and usually on us), yet we know so very little about the long term health effects. While the jury is still out and inconclusive research does little in the way to provide best safe practices for the design or use of wearable technology, a number of researchers are preaching caution to limit our exposure to radiation.
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Phones, fitness trackers, smart watches, laptops, and other wearable technology all broadcast signals to stay connected with WiFi or digital signals. These devices all constantly emit radiofrequency (RF) radiation, and because we are always on our phones or wearing devices, we are bombarded with radiation more so than we ever have before. Granted much of the radiation from cell phones and devices is considered to be very low, so low in fact that Bluetooth Low Energy isn’t even regulated by the FCC. A Danish study of 360,000 cell phone users found that there was no increased risk of brain tumors with long term use.
But many experts are suggesting caution with the use of wearable technology, because the radiation could increase the risk of cancer. “I worry that wearables may increase our total exposure. All that radiation will be adding up,” says Hugh S. Taylor, MD, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale School of Medicine. “Wearables are something you’re more likely to keep on your body, so you’re more likely to have a sustained close exposure.”
While your devices might meet government standards that limit the level of exposure as tested by the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), which measures the rate at which energy is absorbed by the human body, there is no standard for long term exposure of Bluetooth or WiFi at low levels. “Wi-Fi is very similar to cellphone radiation. You definitely don’t want to put these devices near your head or near your reproductive organs” for extended periods of time, said Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the UC Berkeley Prevention Research Center School of Public Health.
For a better understanding of the potential health risks from cellphones, Cancer.gov has coverage at length of all the available research. The bottom line – while there is nothing conclusive about the risk of wearables to your health, it is better to err on the side of caution and minimize your exposure where possible.
[Via Fox News]