The white toothbrush-heads of Apple’s Airpods have become an iconic new technology, and are to be seen everywhere this year, having sold 28 million worldwide. But could wireless Bluetooth headphones such as Airpods pose a cancer risk? A group of 250 experts have signed a petition to the United Nations and World Health Organisation expressing ‘serious concern’ about the risks of Airpods and similar wireless headphones, as well as other wireless devices. Devices such as Airpods comply with legal limits for electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radio waves – but the 250 experts worry that the guidelines are too lax.
Jerry Phillips, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Colorado said that wireless headphones pose a particular concern due to the fact they’re worn in the ear canal. Philips said, ‘My concern for AirPods is that their placement in the ear canal exposes tissues in the head to relatively high levels of radio-frequency radiation.’
The scientists wrote, ‘Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. ‘Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans.’ The petition demands that existing guidelines be strengthened and the public be better informed of the risks of radio waves. The subject is highly controversial, and previous studies proving a ‘link’ between devices such as mobile phones and cancer have been dismissed.
Other scientists say there is no risk with Kenneth Foster, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, saying ‘these arguments have no credibility’, according to a Medium post.