Is Bluetooth Dangerous? Bluetooth radiation is like the less studied cousin of EMF. or Cell phone radiation. Although many experts will tell you that Bluetooth is likely safe, it isn’t because there is research saying that it is safe, but rather a lack of research showing that it is unsafe. If you’ve read a few articles on my website, you’ll have realized how dangerous wireless technologies can be. Let me walk you through how Bluetooth works, and why it can in fact be quite dangerous.
What is Bluetooth?
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows for rapid transmission of data over short distances, using pulses of short-wavelength radio waves. Invented by Nils Rydbeck, Tord Wingren, Jaap Haartsen and Svent Mattison of Ericsson mobile in 1989, Bluetooth was initially called “short-link” radio technology. Operating in the range of 2.4 and 2.48 Mhz, Bluetooth transmits data in small packets of information, performing these packet “hops” as many times as 800 per second.
Any device that wants to claim that it is a “Bluetooth” device must meet a set of Bluetooth standards, and comply with the many patents and requirements of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) that manages the 30,000 plus companies that participate.
Do All Bluetooth Devices Work The Same?
Bluetooth devices are broken up into 3 common classes of transmitters. Each transmitter has a different level of power and ability to transmit data over a long distance. As a general rule of thumb, the lower the class, the more powerful the bluetooth device, and therefore the higher that radiation level emitted from the device.
Bluetooth Class Designations:
Class 1 – These are the most powerful bluetooth devices, with a range of over 300 feet in some cases. Class 1 Bluetooth devices have a maximum power of 100 mW. Class 1 devices are most commonly found where power is not an issue, such as in larger devices like laptops and desktop computers. This allows the Bluetooth device to use both the substantial power output and processing power of the computer to accomplish longer range and quicker transmissions of data.
Class 2 – This is probably the most common class of Bluetooth, and is what you will find in most small portable electronics like mobile phones, headsets, keyboards, mice etc. Operating at 2.5 mW, these devices are only capable of transmitting over a range of about 20-30 feet.
Class 3 – This is the weakest technology, and not something you will interact with often. Class 3 bluetooth has a range of about 10-20 feet and operates at 1 mW
Since all bluetooth devices are certainly not the same, and have different levels of power, it is really important to check the manual of the bluetooth devices you own to see what Class they are.
What are Bluetooth Versions?
Completely separate from the “Class” of a bluetooth device, is the Version of that Bluetooth device. This is speaking only about the tiny bit of software of the device, that dictates how it operates. Very similar to the operating system of your computer. As new operating systems come out, they include new and upgraded features that are better able to utilize the hardware of your computer. Over the last few years, most devices with Bluetooth 1.0, and 2.0 have essentially become extinct, so i’m going to give you a brief rundown of the most common Bluetooth versions out today, and how they are effecting the Bluetooth technology of your devices.
When Bluetooth 3.0 came out, it was essentially just a dramatic speed upgraded version of 2.0, increasing the transfer rate of date up to over 20 mb per second. Bluetooth 3.0 also gave more control over the power consumption of bluetooth devices. This allows your smart phone or laptop to adjust the power consumption of your bluetooth device if it gets low on batteries to allow it to stay connected longer, at the expense of some transfer speed.
This was the release of the Low Energy Protocol, or LE. Bluetooth 4.0 gave devices improved connectivity and better range, but most importantly improved Bluetooth devices ability to run efficiently while using lower energy.
Bluetooth 4.1 took this even a step further and gives smart devices the ability to essentially power down, without losing a bluetooth connection. The advantage of this is that Bluetooth devices can be paired, and maintain a steady connection, but can be powered down to consume almost no power. Improvements were also made to the devices that occasionally interfered with 4G LTE.
If you’ve read my article on Dirty Electricity you’ll know that the most common creator of this is the dramatic spikes and surges of power and data transmission.
This is the most common Bluetooth Version being released today. It primarily included dramatic speed upgrades, increasing transfer speeds up about 3 times. This update also included quite a few privacy upgrades.
Bluetooth 5.0 is absolutely brand new, and you won’t find it in many devices. The most powerful version to date, and probably the scariest, as it includes speed upgrades and changes to keep up with smarter and smarter technology. Version 5.0 also increases the packet size of data transfers, so not only are packets transmitted at faster speeds, but the size of each packet is also increased.
So the question is, are these newer versions less safe than the previous versions? The answer is probably, but there are no studies to show us that they are definitively less safe. However, knowing that Bluetooth radiation, as we’ll discuss soon, is certainly dangerous, the increased capability of devices to use this technology will likely also increase it’s danger. With the release of each new version, Bluetooth devices are better able to take advantage of the speed and data transfer technologies, and transmit data faster, farther, and smarter.
Is Bluetooth Dangerous? – What We Know
The problem with this question is the unbelievable amount of research bias when it comes to Bluetooth Radiation, and even EMF radiation. Telecom companies and Bluetooth device manufacturers are incredibly powerful, and have a vast amount of resources at their disposal to counter any attempt to prove that radiation exposure from Bluetooth devices are in fact dangerous.
It is true that most bluetooth devices emit less radiation that the government regulatory agencies “safe” standards of SAR, or Specific Absorption Rate. However, the amount of radiation exposure that these agencies consider safe is FAR off from what science says is actually safe for the human body. You can read my post about how EMF radiation effects Male fertility for a bit more information about just how incorrect these SAR standards are.
One issue is that researchers tend to focus on the fact that Bluetooth technology is non-thermal and non-ionizing radiation, and point to that as a reason for it not being harmful. However, science does show is that non-ionizing radiation is certainly harmful, and the fact that it is non-thermal has no impact on EMF and microwave radiation dangers.
Wikipedia even mentions the ongoing controversy between Telecom and technology industry funded science, and independent research on this topic.
“The question of harm to biological systems due to low-power ionizing and non-ionizing radiation is not settled. Controversy continues about possible non-heating effects of low-power non-ionizing radiation, such as non-heating microwave and radio wave exposure.” – Wikipedia
Bluetooth radiation from various devices like headsets and cell phones is a type of microwave radiation. This type of radiation has a very short wavelength, and transmits in pulses at incredibly high speeds. This type of radiation is very efficient at penetrating human tissue and negatively effecting our cells and DNA.
An EMF and fertility study found that using a bluetooth headset with your cellphone in your pocket can be one of the most detrimental things you can do to your sperm quality and quantity, as the amount of radiation given off by both the cellphone, and the bluetooth signal from the phone to the headset is tremendously harmful. This is especially harmful in this case because of the incredibly close proximity (Obvious Tip: Don’t keep your cell phone in your pocket ever). This same study also found that even a few hours of EMF radiation from bluetooth devices can cause considerable DNA damage.
The bottom line is that any device that emits EMF radiation like Bluetooth does, even if it is at lower rates, will still certainly have a negative effect on the body, especially over long periods of time.
Consistant exposure to EMF radiation has been scientifically shown to cause all softs of issues like:
- Mood Disorders
- Trouble Sleeping
- Birth Defects
- And a ton more…
When you use a Bluetooth Headset, you are exposing your brain, your eyes, your ears, and many other organs to EMF radiation. Even though research shows that the Specific Absorption Rate (how fast radiation is absorbed by the body) of bluetooth headsets is about .25 W/Kg, this is still high enough to cause significant damage from prolonged use.
Is Using a Bluetooth Headset Better Than Holding A Cellphone To Your Ear?
First of all, Yes. In general, a Bluetooth headset will emit far less radiation itself than your cellphone will. So in an ideal situation, this would be a better solution than just holding your cell phone to your head. However, this gets a little bit more muddled when you consider that your cellphone is likely still nearby, probably in your pocket, and is still emitting radiation. Having your cellphone in your pocket, like my article on EMF radiation and male fertility talks about, is extremely harmful to your body, especially your organs.
So, if you are going to use a Bluetooth headset, try to get some distance between you and your cellphone. Put it on the dash of your car instead of in your pocket, put it on a shelf a little ways away at the office. Most bluetooth devices have a surprising range, don’t feel like you need to have the cellphone on your person to get it to work.
One thing that really bothers me about the direction Bluetooth devices are going, is the different reporting and regulatory requirements. Cell phones have to report the SAR, or Specific Absorption Rate. This allows us, at least to some extent, to compare the radiation levels of various phones. However, Bluetooth devices do not have to report the SAR, so we have no way, other than the Class and Version of the device, to guess as to it’s comparable EMF radiation levels.
Even if we did have SAR levels for Bluetooth devices, they are far from a consistently reliable way of understanding the dangers of a device.
Check out the in depth post I wrote about Bose wireless headphones, and why they are so dangerous.
What Should I Do Instead of Using a Bluetooth Headset?
First of all, most wired headsets are not much better for you as they can act as a bit of an antenna for EMF radiation and allow it to from your device to your brain more quickly. On top of that, many headsets themselves give off a form of EMF radiation and are not safe for extended use.
In my experience, the safest thing you can do, when the situation allows, is just use the speaker phone function of your phone. This allows you to keep good distance from your device, and your not subjecting your brain or organs to close proximity EMF radiation.
However, sometimes you need a set of headphones or earbuds.
In my opinion, the safest alternative is Airtube headphones or earbuds. Airtube headsets don’t have any wireless components that conduct the sound. Instead, airtube headphones have a hollow tube that conducts the noise through sound waves. This allows you to keep a good distance between you and any EMF radiation coming from your cell phone or headphones. Airtube headphones have shown to reduce EMF radiation by as much as 99%. My wife and I both have the Dr. Mercola Bluetube headphones (You can buy them on Amazon), but if you’re looking for a less expensive option you can also buy the Kinden radiation reducing headphones on Amazon as well. A physician buddy purchased the Kinden brand and has loved them so far, but I personally feel that the sound quality is better with the Bluetube.
Conclusion: Is Bluetooth Dangerous
The bottom line is, Bluetooth technology emits the same type of radiation as your Microwave, it’s just usually not nearly as powerful. The difference is, when you use Bluetooth, a lot of the time, you have it right next to your body. When you’re using a Bluetooth headset, you’re putting it as close to your brain as you possibly can.
Individuals with EHS (Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity) are especially sensitive to EMF radiation, and have a myriad of symptoms. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you don’t feel the effects of EMF radiation from your cellphone or Bluetooth device, that it isn’t harming you!
I hope you enjoyed this article, as always, if I missed anything – let me know!