Safety Advice for Electromagnetic Fields (PDF)
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Safety Precautions for Wearable Wireless Watches: How Fitness Fans can practice Safer Tech — June 18, 2019

A Growing Database of Scientific Studies and Worldwide Policies on Wireless Radiation — June 18, 2019

In Memoriam — Martin Blank (1933-2018) — June 18, 2019

Safety Precautions for Wearable Wireless Watches: How Fitness Fans can practice Safer Tech — June 18, 2019

Photo: 123RF Stock Photo

Wearable technology like Apple Watch and Fitbit enable fitness fanatics to track how many steps they walked, check their heart rhythms, or monitor their sleep quality. However, not all fitness watches provide consumers with an airplane mode, or an option to turn off Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Users may be unwittingly exposed to continual radiation throughout the day. The sad irony is that the wireless radiation these fitness trackers use has the potential to interfere with some of the very conditions being monitored, such as sleep and heart-related issues.

What Experts are Saying about Wireless Wearable Technology

Dr. Devra Davis of the Environmental Health Trust reminds us that wearable wireless technology uses microwave radiation and has not been tested for safety. In 2011, the World Health Organization concluded that this wireless radiation was a possible (Group 2B) carcinogen, a risk rating that some scientists and researchers now want to upgrade to probable (Group 2A) carcinogen, as published in the International Journal of Oncology. Besides cancer concerns, peer-reviewed research has also found wireless radiation could lead to "immune dysfunction, cognitive processing effects, stress protein synthesis, sleep and memory disturbances and sperm dysfunction." Even low levels of intensity could harm the brain. [1]

Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., at the UC Berkeley Prevention Research Center School of Public Health, is also concerned about the safety of wearable tech and cautions that both Wi-Fi and bluetooth might open the blood brain barrier. Normally the blood brain barrier protects the brain from unwanted toxins, but wireless radiation could compromise this barrier. Even at low intensities, wireless radiation can open the blood brain barrier. [2]

Hugh S. Taylor, MD, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale School of Medicine, believes that even if wearable tech has lower levels of radiation than a smartphone, it is still a risk factor because of cumulative radiation exposure and close proximity to the body. Just as PowerWatch UK estimates a baby monitor within 1 meter could still be the equivalent of a cell tower at 150 meters, a watch with low powered wireless radiation is still of concern because it is worn directly on the body, so one does not benefit much from the inverse square law. Additionally, Taylor cautions pregnant women about wearable wireless technology because studies show their exposure to wireless radiation could contribute to future levels of attention deficit in the children exposed in the womb.[2]

Photo: 123RF Stock Photo

Practice Safer Tech: Turn Off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

Before purchasing a wireless fitness watch, check if the fitness watch itself includes an option to either turn on airplane mode, or turn off Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, so that wireless radiation exposure from the fitness watch can be limited. Ideally, this wireless option is only re-enabled occasionally to update the associated smartphone, tablet, computer, and/or router with which the watch is paired.

Not all watches have this option to turn off the wireless, but we hope that consumer demand will convince manufacturers to add it to prevent unnecessary wireless exposures.[3] According to a 2018 CBS News report, health complaints for some wireless watches have included sensations of electric shock, temporary numbness, pain near the wrist, burning sensation, and weird tingling. In 2018, the NYU student publication, Dispatch, also reported symptoms such as “chronic headaches, tingling skin sensations, ringing ears, a static feeling in the brain, excessive fatigue, weakened immunity, unexplained hives and a straight out feeling of body pain.” [4]

Note: If your modern smart phone itself has fitness tracking ability via the Apple Health or Google Fit app, you might not even need a watch, and the extra step of syncing wireless data between your fitness tracker and your phone may be avoided. [5]

Which fitness watches allow users to turn off wireless radiation?
Garmin For the Garmin vivosmart HR Activity Tracker, one source notes that users can turn off bluetooth from the Settings menu and still access in real-time personal activity for a 12 or 24 hour period. Bluetooth can be enabled later to download that info to a phone [6].
Apple For Apple Watch users concerned about wireless radiation, consider turning on Airplane mode. On the Apple Watch, swipe up, and then select Airplane mode. This will disconnect the watch from the phone and disable features like the alarm snooze. The Apple Watch can be re-synced later by unselecting Airplane mode.

Apple Watch users using the Pillow app to monitor their sleep may also want to turn on airplane mode, so that the wireless radiation does not itself interfere with sleep. The knowledge base recommends the following sequence: (1) Turn on the sleep session via Pillow, (2) Turn on airplane mode, (3) After waking, turn off airplane mode, and (4) Press stop in Pillow. [7]
Huawei For Huawei fitness watches, the option to turn off wireless depends upon what model it is. For the Huawei Watch 2, the user manual instructs users to swipe down and touch the airplane icon to enable Airplane mode, which disconnects Bluetooth and also one's network connection. Note that receiving calls and other online functions will be disabled in Airplane mode. However, the user manual says you can still record sports data and use the alarm.

Seek Models with Lower Radiation Levels

Photo: Emfwise

With sufficient consumer attention, we hope manufacturers will be motivated to adopt the ALARA principle, i.e., to target "As Low As Reasonably Achievable" wireless power levels for their technology. Simply complying with FCC standards does not provide much assurance at all, given that these standards are outdated and designed only to take into account thermal effects rather than the many non-thermal effects that occur at much lower levels of radiation.

Cannot find a SAR label to indicate radiation levels? — Fitness tracking watches are not required to provide a SAR label. However, SAR is a problematic standard to begin with, according to Joel Moskowitz and Devra Davis. SAR measurements are based only on thermal effects. Instead, check for the wireless power density over time to better assess health risk.

In February, thanks to relatives who were wearing wireless watches, I had the opportunity to check the wireless power density of two different wireless watches with the Cornet Electrosmog ED 78-S Meter. For one fitness watch, one of the highest power intensities I measured was 100.4 mW/m^2, although bear in mind this radiation level was constantly fluctuating. For another fitness watch I measured, the measured power density was not as high, but could still reach a level of 13.55 mW/m^2. Compare these values against the safety level recommendations of 1 mW/m^2 or below.

A Growing Database of Scientific Studies and Worldwide Policies on Wireless Radiation — June 18, 2019

Photo: 123RF Stock Photo

Since 15 years ago, the number of scientific reports on the health effects of wireless radiation has grown. Now, with access to the internet, it is all at your fingertips. The following are a few recent updates by a couple organizations who are keeping track of this information.

A Growing Database of the Science

Powerwatch UK - Last year, Powerwatch made publicly available their internal scientific paper database, which contains over 14,300 papers.

Bioinitiative Working Group- The Bioinitiative Reports of 2007 and 2012 played a major role in raising awareness of the health effects even of non-thermal levels of wireless radiation. In 2017 and 2019, Washington University Professor Henry Lai has updated his research summaries, which include abstracts of studies related to oxidative effects, neurological effects, and genotoxic effects of electromagnetic fields. Also updated is the graphic showing the percentage of genotoxic studies finding an effect versus no effect. Genotoxicity studies look at damage to a cell's genetic material. See Henry Lai's Research Summaries and Updates.

The Electromagnetic Health website also recently provided a number of scientific study compilations: here. What this article points out is the dogma that wireless radiation only produces thermal effects is clearly outdated. Today, thanks to the research of scientist Martin Pall, we know non-thermal effects may occur due to the effect of wireless radiation on Voltage Gated Calcium Channels (VGCC's).

A Growing Database of Worldwide Policies

Even if we know all the science about wireless radiation, it will not do any good for public health, unless product safety standards are revised and/or consumers are warned. Those who wish to consider how to make a difference in public health may also be interested in consulting a database of worldwide policies on this issue.

The Environmental Health Trust has been assembling such a database of worldwide policies related to wireless radiation. Here, you can check out what different countries have been doing to protect their populations from the adverse health effects of wireless radiation. See Database Of Worldwide Policies On Cell Phones, Wireless And Health.

In Memoriam — Martin Blank (1933-2018) — June 18, 2019

Photo: 123RF Stock Photo
It is with great sadness that we remember the passing away of leading EMF expert Dr. Martin Blank, Ph.D a year ago on June 24, 2018 at the age of 85. His many contributions to the EMF community and public health can be read in his Columbia University faculty profile as well as the following obituary and New York Times obituary.

Martin Blank will be remembered for his research with Reba Goodman on the effects of electromagnetic fields on living cells and for his book, Overpowered, which was published in 2014. He will also be remembered for his contributions to the Bioinitiative Report and Pathophysiology journal Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) Special Issue. Martin Blank spoke on numerous occasions about electromagnetic fields and health, including this presentation on Cell Towers and Cancer, his lecture at the Commonwealth Club, and this short International scientist appeal signed by 247 scientists from 42 nations.

According to the obituary above, Martin Blank's purpose was not to generate fear nor alarm, but to use objective research to discover the truth and then use these findings to secure a healthier future for us and future generations. HIs message was not to abandon gadgets, which he himself also loved, but rather to make us aware of the risks and the possibility of reconsidering product safety standards.

Martin Blank's contributions will continue to benefit many future generations. To borrow a great quote cited in Dr. Belpoggi's presentation, “The reward of great men is that, long after they have died, one is not quite sure that they are dead” - Jules Renard, 1864-1910



Commentary on Newsweek Article: “Do Cellphones Cause Cancer? Government Study Reveals 'Stunningly Important' Findings” — August 27, 2018

A Common Mechanism for Chemicals and EMF in Neurodegenerative diseases? — May 1, 2018


Unplugging Electric Hospital Beds May Accelerate Recovery of the Sick and Elderly — May 25, 2017

Warning: While Simultaneously Charging and Using Cellphones or Tablets, Body Voltage Measurements May be Elevated — May 23, 2017


In search of a Mobile Phone App To Limit Radiation Exposure and Increase Battery Life — August 5, 2016

So much for saying EMF is only as carcinogenic as coffee... the IARC recently removed coffee from its Group 2B carcinogen list. — July 18, 2016


Wired Baby Monitor - January 8, 2013

EMF Safety Tips at the Hospital - January 8, 2013


In Search of “Safer” Wireless — Wi-Fi - July 24, 2012

How to Potentially Save Your Brain - May 21, 2012

Lessons from Anti-Cancer Nutrition - April 20, 2012

Potential Benefits of Vitamin D for Electrosensitivity - February 1, 2012

High Iron Content “In the Brain” – Part II - January 31, 2012

Bad Reception Can Boost Some Cell Phones’ Power - January 27, 2012

Could High Iron Stores be a Risk Factor for Electrosensitivity? - January 26, 2012


Magnetic Fields that Can Be Easily Fixed - December 29, 2011

Acupuncture, Acupressure, and the Body Electric - December 20, 2011

Electrosensitivity/MCS Pitfalls: Optimizing One Health Factor at the Expense of Another - November 30, 2011

Connecting the Dots: Asthma and EMF? - November 25, 2011

Deception, Denial, and the Industry of Doubt - November 21, 2011


[1] New Expert Study Confirms NY Times Questions On Wearable Tech - March 23, 2015

[2] Fox News article, "Experts: Why wearable tech could pose health risks" - October 20, 2014

[3] fitbit community post - "I want to have the option to turn on/off Bluetooth connection!"

[4] CBS New York, Dangerous Side Effects Reported From Popular Fitness Trackers May 21, 2018
NYU Dispatch, The health impacts of wearable technology - December 17, 2018
Sarah Pope, "Why a Fitbit Harms More Than Helps Your Health" - May 29, 2019
See also: “Fitbit Recalls Due to Rashes. Reports of Dizziness, Erratic Pulse, Nausea, Pain, Headaches. Fitbits Operate Using WiFi. Whoomp! There It Is.” - March 23, 2018

Measured levels of radiation for the Fitness blaze
Measured levels of radiation for the Fitbit Charge 2
Measured levels of radiation for Apple watch

[5] How to Track Your Steps With Just an iPhone or Android Phone by Chris Hoffman, JULY 20, 2016

[6] Tech Wellness, "FitBit Alternative: The No Radiation Fitness Tracker"

[7] "Does Airplane mode affect sleep tracking when I use the Apple Watch?"

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