AirPods: Are Apple’s new wireless earbuds safe?

From Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
March 27, 2019

Second-Generation AirPods

The newly-released second generation of Apple’s AirPods (aka AirPods 2) emit Bluetooth microwave radiation in the 2.402 – 2.480 GHz frequency range to communicate with a smart phone or other wireless device.

The Specific Absorption Rate (or SAR) for the right AirPod is 0.581 watts per kilogram (averaged over 1 gram). (1) The SAR for the left AirPod is 0.501 watts per kilogram. (2)

News about the potential health risks from use of wireless headsets first went viral in 2016 (see posts below). This story has gone viral again at this time for the following reasons:

  • Apple announced that it is taking orders for a new version of its wireless headset, AirPods (aka AirPods 2).
  • In the past year, two major studies found conclusive evidence that microwave radiation caused cancer in rats. These studies conducted by the National Toxicology Program in the U.S. and the Ramazzini Institute in Italy received worldwide media coverage.
  • The proliferation of new cell towers and antennas in preparation for the deployment of 5G, fifth generation cellular technology, has stimulated many people to seek out information about the health effects from exposure to the radiation these antennas emit on a 24-7 basis in their neighborhoods.
  • More people now realize we cannot trust governments to protect us from environmental toxins. Industry has too much influence over government regulatory agencies, and governments have conflicts of interest because the telecom industry pays governments substantial taxes and fees.

For some Bluetooth devices like Apple’s AirPods, the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), a measure of the body’s maximum exposure to microwave radiation, exceeds that of many smart phones. Moreover, the cumulative exposure to radiation from wireless headsets may be substantial since many users keep these devices on their head for hours at a time and use them to listen to music or podcasts.

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