Bluetooth technology, used to connect devices at close range without annoying cables, is increasingly part of our daily lives. Think wireless earphones, speakers, keyboards, computer mice and printers. This emergence also raises questions about possible effects of electromagnetic radiation emitted by the devices on our health. Some are even wondering whether Bluetooth causes cancer?
Such questions are understandable, because the radiation emitted by Bluetooth remains mysterious because it is invisible and we cannot ‘grab’ it. Furthermore, the potentially harmful effects of excessive exposure to radiation applied for medical purposes, e.g. in radiography or CT scans, are also often brought up when discussing the effects of Bluetooth. However, this medical use involves ionizing radiations, which are much more powerful than the non-ionizing radiations used in microwave ovens, mobile phones and Bluetooth, among others.
No evidence of danger
Although there are some limited studies on cells and animals that point to possible risks of non-ionizing radiation, there is currently absolutely no scientific evidence that mobile phones or Bluetooth are bad for health.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) does stipulate that intensive cell phone calls could potentially increase the risk of glioma (a type of brain tumor) and acoustic neuroma. But the IARC also stresses that the risk of these conditions in itself is very low and that the link found may only be apparent – the result of chance or a bias of results. According to the IARC, more research is needed.
Weaker radiation than mobile phone
Importantly, the IARC does not talk about Bluetooth in this one, there is simply not enough research done to draw conclusions about it. In any case, a Bluetooth earpiece has a transmission power hundreds of times weaker than that of a mobile phone, so you are exposed to a much weaker radiation with such an earpiece than if you hold the phone to your ear. That is why experts, including the WHO, recommend the use of such an earpiece to reduce any risks.