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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What I think of the New York Time article - "The Health Concerns in Wearable Tech"

The New York times article was asking the write questions about radiation from wearable and smartphones, but I think it got the wrong answers.

The article it self is written from the perspective of a "wireless user", who search for info and get some of it right and some of it as wrong. During the article the writer comes up with the understanding that cellphones might be dangerous, but not the wearable computers that are using  WIFI and Bluetooth transmitters. He points out that he stopped using his cellphone next to his head (smart move if you are using a wired earpiece or speaker phone) , started using a headset (if it is based on Bluetooth I don't think it will be an improvement). He notes that he will still buy the apple , or other, watch (which is based on Bluetooth and WIFI) while keeping it away from his head and away from kids (for long periods or time).

"I have realized the dangers of cellphones when used for extended periods, and as a result I have stopped holding my phone next to my head and instead use a headset. That being said, when it comes to wearable computers, I’ll still buy the Apple Watch, but I won’t let it go anywhere near my head. And I definitely won’t let any children I know play with it for extended periods of time."

The Editors' note in the end of the article sounds more like the industry talking. 

How does the writer comes up with these steps and opinions?

Well I can only assume the he like most "users" finds it hard to believe that his loved gadgets and smartphone emit dangerous radiation and search for the easy way out of the "danger zone" by trying to use it more safely. Even people how fully understand the risk, even activists ,  sometime surrender into the new reality in which you must have a smartphone to stay "connected" and in which have WIFI is sooooo comfortable.

I think that's exactly what happen with Dr. Mercola:

"So what should consumers do? Perhaps we can look at how researchers themselves handle their smartphones.

While Dr. Mercola is a vocal proponent of cellphone safety, he told me to call him on his cell when I emailed about an interview. When I asked him whether he was being hypocritical, he replied that technology is a fact of life, and that he uses it with caution. As an example, he said he was using a Bluetooth headset during our call."

How can Dr. Mercola say that Bluetooth earpiece is safe?

While the transmitter in Bluetooth devices is weaker than the 3G or 4G cellphones, most Bluetooth devices, including watches and earpiece are next to the skin for long hours. The exposure should be measured in "Time Of exposure", "level", and "number of signals". In Bluetooth and WIFI devices the "time of exposure" is all the time. The level of exposure is detained not only by the strength of the transmitter but also by the distance from it. In the case of earpieces and wearable computers the distance is 0.

Therefor, I think it is not safe and I was very sorry to read in the NY times that Dr Mecola uses a cellphone and even more sorry to hear that he thinks that his bluetooth earpiece is a way to reduce exposure, suggesting that Bluetooth and WIFI are not so bad.

3G, 4G, 2G, WIFI and Bluetooth are all Radio Frequencies. There is a lot of research showing biological effect on all these frequencies:
 900MHz(2G+3G), 1800MHz(2G+3G), 2100MHz(2G+3G), 2400MHZ (Bluetooth+WIFI) and other RF frequencies.

The IARC concluded that all RF is a class 2B carcinogenic, not just cellphones, all RF!.
This is what they wrote:
"Lyon, France, May 31, 2011 ‐‐ The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer , associated with wireless phone use."

Yes, it is possible that Bluetooth emits less radiation than 2G or 3G or 4G phones, but that does not make it safe.

If you where wondering, this is how Bluetooth transmission looks like -


  1. You likely misheard Mercola, as he promotes the use of Blue Tube headsets.
    I'm no physicist, but I trust these are an improvement.
    And I do think there's too much violins in movies :)

    1. Thanks for you comment.
      The article say "he said he was using a Bluetooth headset during our call.", not blue-tube.