I’ve talked about the dangers of Bluetooth radiation in several articles here on EMF Academy, but at the request of a reader, I’m going to take a deep look at whether Bluetooth can cause brain cancer.
More specifically, we’re going to look at the likelihood that using things like Bluetooth earbuds will increase the
As technology has continued to develop, so have our conveniences. One of those is the ability to use Bluetooth earbuds to wirelessly communicate with people without having to hold our phone up to our ear.
A really popular example of this would the the Apple Airpods (that I talk about here). The problem with these, and any other Bluetooth earbuds, is that you are essentially putting a RF emitting device as close to your brain as it could possibly get.
As we’ll talk about in this article, radio frequency radiation, which is a type of EMF radiation, has been consistently linked to increased risks of cancer and many other health issues.
First, let’s talk about what Bluetooth really is, and then we’ll get into the specifics about how it is potentially linked to increased cancer risks.
Bluetooth – What It Is And Where It’s Going
in 2019, it’s estimated that well over 450 million pairs of headphones will be sold worldwide, the majority of which will be wireless, Bluetooth based headphones.
You’ve probably heard of the Apple Airpods, which are just a premium pair of Bluetooth headphones that wirelessly connect with your phone to give you not only great sound quality, but the ability to talk on the phone while moving about.
In the last 12 months these have only become more popular, becoming a staple of pop-culture at least in America. So it’s not uncommon to see dozens of people with Airpods or other Bluetooth headsets in their ears while walking down the street.
I’m sure it has made you wonder (and don’t worry you aren’t alone) if this isn’t potentially unhealthy. The idea of having an EMF radiation emitting device, inside your ear, for long periods of time, seems, at a minimum, a bit dangerous.
However, there isn’t much we can do, as this is where the world is heading, towards the confluence of a wireless future and simple communication.
But what is Bluetooth really? Essentially, it is just a form of radio frequency (in the range of 2.4 to 2.485
Most Bluetooth devices are what is called “Class 2” which is a medium power capable of transmitting up to a range of about 35-40 feet. The RF radiation emitted from Bluetooth devices is a form of non-ionizing EMF radiation. Don’t be fooled though, as non-ionizing radiation has been consistently shown to still have all types of negative affects on our body.
Although Class 2 Bluetooth devices are not as powerful as cell-phones as far as broadcasting frequencies and emitting radiation, there is a unique problem.
When we place Bluetooth headphones inside our ears, we are putting that source of radiation extremely close to our brain.
If you’ve read very many posts on EMF Academy, then you’ve probably heard me talk about something called the inverse square law of physics. Essentially this law states that as we double our distance from a source of radiation, we quarter our exposure to it. This allows distance to become an exponential friend when it comes to protecting ourselves.
So, when we provide no distance between ourselves and radiation, we take the full force.
This is one of the reasons that when I wrote my popular post on 17 ways to reduce iPhone radiation, many of the suggestions are based around gaining distance from your device when using it.
So, Bluetooth is essentially just a specific frequency of radio frequencies common in many devices. There are more specifics, but that should suffice for the purposes of this article.
Alright, now that we better understand what Bluetooth is, and why Bluetooth Earbuds and Headphones are potentially dangerous, let’s dive into the specifics.
Bluetooth Earbuds and Brain Cancer – Is There A Link?
First of all, is it possible that Bluetooth Earbuds can increase our risk of cancer?
Yes, it’s entirely possible. The World Health Organization (WHO) in the last few years has classified EMF radiation, including Bluetooth, as “possibly carcinogenic”. They cited studies that showed that radio frequency radiation in the heaviest users could increase risk of certain brain cancers like glioma and acoustic neuroma by as much as 40%. Although they mention that the evidence and research
Since Bluetooth is just a type of non-ionizing EMF radiation called RF radiation, it is similar in design and danger to simply holding a cellphone up to your head.
Although new technologies are moving much faster that science, or regulatory agencies, can keep up, scientists and researchers are starting to finally get the word out about the enormous danger our devices place us in.
We now know that the danger of EMF radiation is cumulative, not acute. So, as we surround ourselves with cell-phones, tablets, laptops, and yes, bluetooth earbuds, we slowly build up the amount of radiation our bodies are exposed to, increasing our risk of developing a host of health issues.
Evidence and Studies Linking Bluetooth to Brain Cancer and Other Health Issues
Since cell-phones are a generally more pervasive source of EMF radiation in our lives, they have been widely studied. Bluetooth on the other hand, has not been specifically studied to nearly the same extent.
However, the type of radiation emitted from a Bluetooth device, such as Bluetooth earbuds, is extremely similar to the RF radiation emitted from a cell-phone. So when looking at whether Bluetooth devices can increase our risk of cancer or other issues, we need to look at studies that link either one.
Dr. Andrew Goldsworthy published a paper in 2012 called “The Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Fields.” In this paper he clearly outlined how EMF radiation from things like cell-phones, WiFi, and Bluetooth damages our DNA in an irreparable way. He goes on to say:
“Cell phone radiation damages DNA indirectly, either by the leakage of digestive enzymes from lysosomes or the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from damaged mitochondrial and plasma membranes. The results are similar to those from exposure to gamma rays from a radioactive isotope. Effects of DNA damage include an increased risk of cancer and a loss of fertility, both of which have been found in epidemiological studies. “
He also mentions that radiation exposure close to the head, such as Bluetooth earbuds and cell-phones, can weaken the blood-brain barrier, potentially causing neuronal damage.
An enormous, $25 million study by the US-based National Toxicology Program studied how RF radiation like that found in Cellphones and Bluetooth devices, impacted male rats. As Motherjones.com summarized it:
The findings from a $25 million study, conducted over two and a half years by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), showed that male rats exposed to two types of RF radiation were significantly more likely than unexposed rats to develop a type of brain cancer called a glioma, and also had a higher chance of developing the rare, malignant form of tumor known as a schwannoma of the heart. The effect was not seen in females. The radiation level the rats received was “not very different” from what humans are exposed to.
The radiation level the rats received was “not very different” from what humans are exposed to when they use cellphones, said Chris Portier, a former associate director of the NTP who commissioned the study.
As the intensity of the radiation increased, so did the incidence of cancer in the rats. (The highest radiation level was five to seven times as strong as what humans typically receive while using a phone.) Although ionizing radiation, which includes gamma rays and X-rays, is widely accepted as a carcinogen, the wireless industry has long noted that there is no known mechanism by which RF radiation causes cancer. The researchers wrote that the results “appear to support” the conclusion that RF radiation may indeed be carcinogenic.
The findings should be a wake-up call for the scientific establishment, according to Portier, who is now a contributing scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund. “I think this is a game changer,” he said. “We seriously have to look at this issue again in considerable detail.
Another study published online analyzed current data and research on mobile phone use and the likelihood of increased risks of certain brain cancers.
In the conclusion of that meta-analysis, the researchers said:
Our results suggest that long-term mobile phone use may be associated with an increased risk of glioma. There was also an association between mobile phone use and low-grade glioma in the regular use or long-term use subgroups
Yet another study by the Swedish National Institute for Working Life was conducted to look at correlations between cell-phone use and brain cancer.
They study looked at 2200 cancer patients and the same number of healthy patients to try to find connections between the amount they used their cell-phones over their life, and the likelihood they developed cancerous tumors in the brain.
They concluded that there was a 240% increased risk of developing a malignant tumor on the same side of the head that they usually used the phone.
Now, a 240% increase sounds like a lot, but that still means your chances are quite
So, we have to ask ourselves, what do we do with all this information?
Alternatives To Bluetooth Headphones
Alright, now it’s finally time to talk about ways we can protect our head and body from Bluetooth radiation from devices like headphones. While there are many options, and MANY products on the market that claim to protect the user, I want to be practical and realistic about what is available.
First, let’s just talk about the different types of Bluetooth headphones, because they pretty much all fall into one of two categories.
When Bluetooth headsets first came to market, they were pretty much all designed the same. There were two earbuds, one in each ear, connected by a wire. The wire usually hung behind the
Although this wasn’t a healthy option, it is still better than some of the options today. Airpods and other newer Bluetooth earbuds don’t have any wire connecting them, and instead go directly in the ear. This means that they are transmitting data back and forth in extremely close proximity to your head, maximizing the amount of radiation you’re exposed to.
A better (but not the best) alternative to Bluetooth headphones, is to use traditional wired headphones. The primary reason that simple wired headphones are at least better, is that the distribute some of the radiation away from the brain.
Don’t be mistaken though, these kinds of headphones do absolutely still emit RF radiation. Essentially the audio source sends and electrical signal up the headphones, which emits EMF radiation along the way. Once that signal reaches the earbuds, they release sound.
So, there is radiation being emitted throughout the entire wire, and in the headphones.
Now, let’s talk about the best option around.
Airtube Headphones (Best Option)
I could go on, and on, about how much I love Airtube headphones, and how they are one of my favorite EMF protection products. In fact, I wrote up an entire guide on what Airtube headphones are, and which ones are the best to buy. So I won’t go into too much detail here.
However, since they are, in my opinion, the best alternative to Bluetooth headphones, let’s talk about them for a second.
The primary difference between a normal headset, and an air tube headset like my favorite pair from DefenderShield, is the way the sound gets to your ears. Normal headphones like the ones that came with your Apple phone are a purely wired connection, which exposes your head to a much larger amount of EMF radiation.
Airtube headsets, on the other hand, have an actual tube of air that passes the sound from a small speaker to your head, giving you good sound quality without radiation near your brain. This means that there are no electrical components within about a foot of your head.
If you look at the image up above, you can see the tube of air above the small individual speakers on the Defendershield Air Tube headphones.
The main purpose of using wired headphones is to get the radiation away from our head. Airtube headphones take this protection concept to the next level by keeping any radiation RF, or magnetic, away from your head entirely.
They work just as well as any other headset too. Many of them have microphones on the cord right below the air tubes so that you can use them as a hands-free way of talking on your phone. While most of them use a 3.5mm jack, you can always use a dongle adapter to connect them to your iPhone or other devices.
While increased risk of brain cancer is not exclusive to Bluetooth headphones, we certainly do see an obvious correlation. Many scientists and researchers have concluded that we are not likely to see the true outcome of radiation exposure from all of these devices for 20-30 years.
So, although we are starting to understand just how dangerous these devices are, only time will tell just how detrimental they will be.
The bottom line is though, that you should take measures to use technology responsibly. If you use Bluetooth earbuds regularly, consider getting a pair of Airtube headphones to protect yourself.
If you have any questions about this article or others, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Yours in health,