AirPods, other wireless headphones could pose cancer risk, scientists warn

  • TECH
  • Monday, 18 Mar 2019

Apple's first-generation AirPods. — AFP Relaxnews

Dozens of scientists have signed a United Nations and World Health Organisation petition to warn against the potential dangers of Apple AirPods. 

The 250 experts who signed the petition believe the earbuds pose possible cancer risks due to the Bluetooth technology, a type of electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiowave that can transmit data. 

The scientists said the greatest threat is the device's proximity to the user's inner skull. The science collective has called for protection against the technology. 

"Based upon peer-reviewed, published research, we have serious concerns regarding the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to EMF generated by electric and wireless devices," the petition reads. "Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines." 

They also noted the International Agency for Research on Cancer recently determined EMF is "possibly carcinogenic" to humans. 

Not only did the petition mention cancer, it also said neurological disorders and DNA damage have been linked to EMF exposure as well. 

Although high levels of EMF can generate heat, cause burns and affect cell growth in humans, scientists have not determined the impact of large amounts of relatively low-level EMF exposure, produced by devices like the AirPods. 

And despite the World Health Organisation's (WHO) guidelines for the levels of EMF that devices are allowed to expose, the supporters of the petition do not think the recommendations are good enough. 

"The various agencies setting safety standards have failed to impose sufficient guidelines to protect the general public, particularly children who are more vulnerable to the effects of EMF," the petition continued. "By not taking action, the WHO is failing to fulfil its role as the preeminent international public health agency." 

Apple has previously responded to concerns about radiation risk. 

"Apple products are always designed and tested to meet or exceed all safety requirements," Apple spokesperson Alex Kirschner said in 2016 when the devices first launched. 

The company has not responded to the latest claims. – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Tribune News Service

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