Story at a glance:
- Wireless headphones, like Apple’s popular AirPods, could be dangerous to human health, according to a petition signed by 250 scientists.
- The petition to the United Nations (U.N.), led by the International Electromagnetic Field Alliance takes aim at nonionizing electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which are used by AirPods and other Bluetooth devices, as well as cellphones and Wi-Fi, which emit radiofrequency radiation (RFR).
- The devices, which include not only AirPods but also other wireless Bluetooth headphones, communicate with one another by sending a magnetic field through your brain.
- One scientist who signed the petition believes the use of earbuds is akin to a giant experiment and could increase your risk of neurological disorders.
Wireless headphones, like Apple’s popular AirPods, could be dangerous to human health, according to a petition signed by 250 scientists.
The devices, which include not only AirPods but also other wireless Bluetooth headphones, bring a new level of function and convenience to those looking to listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks and more while on the go.
Since their introduction, more than 44 million AirPods have been sold, with another 55 million predicted to be sold in 2019 alone. Forecasts were that 80 million would be sold in 2020, but when the final tally came in, they actually hit over 100 million.
It’s an undeniably alluring bit of technology — one that was further made into a “necessity” of sorts when Apple removed the headphone jack from its iPhone 7 — but it’s one that may come at a steep price.
The petition to the United Nations (U.N.), led by the International Electromagnetic Field Alliance, takes aim at both nonionizing electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which are used by AirPods and other Bluetooth devices, as well as cellphones and Wi-Fi, which emit radiofrequency radiation.
Scientists warn of danger from EMFs
The petition, which was originally released in 2015 and updated in 2019, is an international appeal from scientists who work closely in the study of the health effects of nonionizing EMF.
For decades, the industry has claimed that nonionizing radiation is harmless and the only radiation worth worrying about is ionizing radiation.
On the contrary, the scientists state:
“Based upon peer-reviewed, published research, we have serious concerns regarding the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to EMF generated by electric and wireless devices.
“These include — but are not limited to — radiofrequency radiation (RFR) emitting devices, such as cellular and cordless phones and their base stations, Wi-Fi, broadcast antennas, smart meters and baby monitors as well as electric devices and infrastructures used in the delivery of electricity that generate extremely low frequency electromagnetic field (ELF EMF).”
Noting the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s classification of EMF as a possible human carcinogen, they also stated numerous scientific publications show EMF affects organisms at levels “well below” most international and national guidelines.
Among the potential risks of exposure include:
- Cellular stress.
- Increase in harmful free radicals.
- Genetic damages.
- Structural and functional changes in the reproductive system.
- Learning and memory deficits.
- Neurological disorders.
- Negative impacts on general well-being.
By failing to take action, the petition states, the World Health Organization is “failing to fulfill its role as the pre-eminent international public health agency,” adding that damage from EMF “goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.”