Just when you thought AirPods and wireless headphones were the most ‘clean technology’ (read: low-risk radiation exposure) of the lot, think again… A new report, as published in Medium, has revealed AirPods and wireless in-ear headphones aren’t as safe as we first thought, with the University of Colorado confirming their placement close connection to may expose the head to potential cancer or other serious neurological conditions. While we’ve gradually made a conscious shift towards ‘clean eating,’ ‘clean sleep’ hygiene, the shift towards ‘clean technology’ and avoiding ‘dirty electricity’ (electrical pollution), has still been slow to gain attention. And of the tech info we are conscious of, it usually tends to falls to a basic tendency to swerve away from microwaves and face-to-phone use. But now, despite our conscious effort to switch to a more supposed safe ‘clean tech’ product by using AirPods and wireless earphones, it might be all in vain with researchers suggesting its connection to cancer.
In the analysis, Jerry Phillips, professor of biochemistry at University of Colorado revealed: “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.” But before you go barging back into Apple, know that it’s not an AirPod only problem, with Phillips confirming the impact on human health as a result of radio frequencies (EMFs) extend far beyond AirPods to any cordless phones, cell towers, radio, Wi-Fi and mobile phones. And despite the serious nature of the issue it’s yet to gain attention in the mainstream. A petition, submitted in 2015 and signed by 250 environmental scientists across 40 countries was sent to the United Nations and World Health Organization asking for better protection from and further study into the increasing exposure to “non-ionizing electromagnetic fields [EMF] and stating the risk to humans and animal health.”
What exactly are hazardous EMFs and how concerned should we be?
According to the National Institute of Environmental Sciences, EMFs “are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation, that are associated with the use of electrical power and various forms of natural and man-made lighting.”
Within EMFs there are two types to know about – non-ionizing (low-level radiation and harmless to humans) and ionizing (high-level radiation with the potential for cellular and DNA damage). According to the mass research submitted to the UN by leading scientists, the potential dangerous side effects of EMFs could include: “increased risk of cancer, cellular stress, harmful free radicals, genetic damage, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders and general negative impacts on human wellbeing.”
Well, according to Apple, the AirPods have been are categorised within the ‘non-ionizing’ guidelines, aka low-risk radiation and as the study and petition point out it’s not down to one product but anything within the ‘ionizing’ EMFs category (Bluetooth or electrical devices). Which means, even though AirPods and headphones are close to the ear canal, it’s more the length of time spent on it and if a choice has to be made – they still beat having a phone beside the face, with the World Health Organisation directly linking the dangers of mobile phones to high radiation side effects. Want to become create more conscious clean tech habits? Learn some simple ways to cut out dirty electricity from your day-to-day life and avoid high-risk exposure, with our tips below.
5 Tips For ‘Clean Tech’ Living:
1. Turn off all powerpoints at night including WiFi. 2. Switch your smartphone to ‘airplane’ mode whenever you’re not using it (this cuts the connection to radio towers and reduces the level of radiation emitted).
3. Opt for loud speaker mode where possible to reduce phone placement to face or ears.
4. Go old school and choose keyboards, trackballs, mice, printers that use wires, rather than wireless.
5. Avoid placing your laptop on your lap. Contrary to how it sounds, the exposure of high radiation to body (and reproductive organs) has been linked to risk of infertility.