Bluetooth headsets are now used with cellphones, keyboards, printers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), personal media players, GPS, gaming equipment, the list goes on and on—over 6,000 products. But are they safe? A growing body of evidence suggests they may be damaging your body.
Your Head’s a Great Antenna
Your head is an ideal EMF (ElectroMagnetic Frequency) antenna. The blood vessels in your brain are low resistance pathways filled with conductive, salty fluids. The same holds true for your cell membranes, which may have a high resistance to direct current, but freely allow radio‐frequencies to enter. So while using a Bluetooth may significantly reduce the amount of radiation you pump into your head—compared to placing a cell phone next to your ear—there are still safety concerns. First, there’s the matter of power output. Bluetooth headsets basically come in three power output ranges. Most manufactures are gun-shy about including the power output in their specifications, but many will indicate the effective transmission range, which gives you a clue as to how much radiation they pump into your head. These transmission ranges fall roughly into 100 meters (330 feet), 10 meters (33 feet) and less than 10 meters. Opt for the “less than 10 meters” brands and just stay closer to your main device.
Short Wavelengths, Long-Term Damage
Power output levels are just one side of the equation. The other concern about Bluetooth headsets is the microwave pulsing many believe to be more insidious than power levels. In an abstract entitled The Cell Phone and the Cell, Andrew Goldsworthy, BSc PhD documents how the very short wavelengths and rapid rise-and-fall times of these pulses can damage human cells, throwing vital calcium ions away from cell membranes, which makes them leak. He notes that exposure to high-frequency EMFs from a cell phone or a high-powered Bluetooth headset can cause irreparable DNA damage and increase one’s cancer risk. The problem is that Bluetooth devices aren’t required to measure or report SAR (Specific Absorbtion Rate) values—or how EMFs are absorbed by human tissue.
EMFs Linked to ADHD
Goldsworthy also links Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to excessive EMF exposure. The problem, once again, is that EMFs create unscheduled calcium leakage into cells, making them hypersensitive and more likely to transmit spurious signals. Goldsworthy suggests that this may cloud normal mental activity, triggering random thoughts and contribute to a loss of concentration typical with ADHD. He notes that drivers using mobile phones and children in classrooms equipped with Wifi may be at risk.
So keep that cell phone away from your head, check the power output of your Bluetooth headset, and use it sparingly.