iPhone 7 – Apple’s latest flagship smartphone, with upgraded cameras, water resistance, stereo speakers and a longer battery life. Tim Cook took to the stage at the Bill Graham Civic in San Francisco and told us: “We have created the world’s most advanced smartphone – the best iPhone we have ever created. This is iPhone 7.”
Demand looks to be high though, as the iPhone 7 release date is set for Friday September 16 in 28 countries including the US and UK, with iPhone 7 pre-orders already open. A week after September 16, the iPhone 7 will also be available in a further 30 countries including Singapore too.
The new Iphone 7 however consider “headphone Jack” as unecessary. You get a set of Lightning EarPods in the box, meaning you’ll be able to plug in right away, while an adaptor is also included, so you can continue to use your current headphones if you wish. This awkward design has made the massively potential customer becomes vulnerable towards Bluetooth radiation.
The science on Bluetooth radio wave radiation is being surrounded by mysteries. There is a huge amount of funding bias and outright manipulation of the science in order to publish studies which show favorable results. The cellphone industry is ready to spend a considerable amount of money to protect its interests. Bluetooth Technology uses the same microwave radiation to transmit data as cell phones do to receive and send calls. The only difference is the range. A cell phone antenna picks up signals from cell phone towers and satellites, while a Bluetooth headset/technology is receiving radiations from a few feet away.
The idea of this name was proposed in 1997 by Jim Kardach who developed a system that would allow mobile phones to communicate with computers. Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances (using short-wavelength UHF radio waves in the ISM band from 2.4 to 2.485 GHz) from fixed and mobile devices, and building personal area networks (PANs). Invented by telecom vendor Ericsson in 1994.
Various studies support (American Cancer Society 2008, Martinez & Burdalow 2009) the view that Bluetooth headsets when used in conjunction with cellphones decrease the overall levels of SAR exposure to the head. Whereas other studies show a diversity of hazards from these exposures. One study found that
“men who keep cell phones in a trouser pocket in the talk mode while using a Bluetooth device may experience decreased fertility“.
High-frequency electromagnetic fields can lead to a significant increase in blood pressure and affect biological processes in the body just the same as cell phones. Just two hours of exposure to high-frequency EMFs from a cell phone or Bluetooth headset, can cause irreparable DNA damage.
There are three power classes and it’s these power classes which are your best indicator as to what level of Bluetooth radiation you’re exposing yourself to :
Class 1 transmitters — are the most powerful, have a range of 100 meters and peak transmission power of 100 mW (milliwatt)
Class 2 transmitters — are usually found in mobile devices and they have a range of 10 meters and operate at 2.5 mW peak transmission power
Class 3 transmitters — these are the weakest and operate in a range of less than 10 meters and have a peak transmission power of 1 mW
So the first thing to do is to check what class of transmitter your Bluetooth headphone is. You should find this information in the manufacturers specification. I say ‘should’ because it seems some manufacturers deem in unnecessary to share this information. That’s why I’ve done some research on this and listed at the bottom of the page a selection of the ‘lower EMF’ Bluetooth devices that are on the market.
What about Bluetooth radiation?
The radiation from your Bluetooth earpiece will zap you just the same because Class 1 Bluetooth headsets can expose you to the similar radiation levels to your cell phone if they’re operated in close proximity to the body.
Don’t confuse Bluetooth version and Bluetooth Class. When looking at Bluetooth devices you’ll often see terms like “Bluetooth V2.1 compliant” or “Bluetooth version 3.0”. This tells you the Bluetooth software the device uses but Bluetooth version has nothing to do with Bluetooth class.
Bluetooth versions are all about offering enhanced data speeds. These data speeds are improving all the time as the technology evolves. Bluetooth version 1.0, the earliest Bluetooth version, offers a data transmission rate of 721 kbit/s. Version 3.0 HS offers a transmission rate of 24 Mbit/s. There’s no correlation between Bluetooth version and Class.
Is a Bluetooth version with a lower transmission rate safer? It’s possible but we don’t know. There are no studies on this so we’re pretty much in the dark.
The Swiss Federal Office of public health recommends that cell phones should not be carried in a front trouser pocket when making calls and that it may be safest to hold the phone away from the body to reduce radiation. Studies (Whittow 2008) have also found that metallic objects situated near your waistline, such as coins, a belt buckle, rings, keys etc increased the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) in the body at different frequencies.
Two other points are worth noting here:
- Bluetooth devices do not require measuring and reporting of the SAR values. So we’re kept completely in the dark as to possible radiation absorption levels.
- The SAR measure is not a reliable safety standard. Click here to better understand this.
To determine how dangerous a Bluetooth device is, the best information we have to go on is the power classification, or the Class.
The worst offenders are Class 1 headsets. There are quite a few of these on the market, for instance the Callpod Dragon is a Class 1 Bluetooth headset and therefore to be avoided if radiation exposures are your main concern.
In an ideal world you’d use a Class 3 headset, which are the lowest powered headsets and therefore the safest. Unfortunately because most people’s top priority is having a good strong signal Class 3 headsets are a relic of the past. That leaves us with the Class 2s.
The problem is the power classification of a headset takes some rooting out. The manufacturers are very ‘low profile’ about sharing this information. I’ve tried contacting a few of them – most of them don’t reply and the one’s that do often don’t know what I’m talking about.
Are Bluetooth Head Sets Dangerous?
The frequency of Bluetooth wireless headsets is the same as that of microwave ovens. Microwave ovens use much higher power levels. But the power levels themselves are not the issue. Its the rate of change of the EMFs, the pulsing, that causes most of the biological damage. Bluetooth radiation is dangerous.
Bluetooth headsets are particularly dangerous because they are held within centimeters of the brain and they are used in conjunction with a cell phone. So you’re getting double exposure. If you use Bluetooth in a car the effects are multiplied due to the Faraday cage effect.