Wireless headphones like Apple Airpods 'could pose cancer risk', scientists warn

The new Apple Air Pods are demonstrated during an event to announce new products on Wednesday Sept. 7 2016 in San Francisco

They believe the earbuds pose possible cancer risks due to the Bluetooth technology, a type of electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radio wave that can transmit data. Dr. Moskowitz focuses on cell phone exposure, and says "there isn't even any research on what it could be doing to the brain, let alone regulation to limit potential effects".

Jerry Phillips, a biochemistry professor at the University of Colorado, explained to lifestyle journalist writing for Medium: "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". In some cases the levels of radiation being used that were found to be carcinogenic were lower than that of the levels suggested to be safe by federal and global guidelines. In 2017, Apple sold between 14 and 16 million pairs of AirPods and analysts expect the number will reach 50 to 55 million this year.

They are selling quickly as consumers don't have to deal with tangled leads. With a new design reportedly on the way, the technology company is set to profit even more on sound.

When they have exposed animals to this form of radiation, reproductive, neurological and genetic damage has become more common in those animals than would be expected in a normal sample of the same animals.

This means that radiowaves are less unsafe than higher energy radiation like X-rays or UV, but more extremely low-frequency radiation.

People walk past an Apple store in Beijing China
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The petition also notes the recent determination from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that EMF may be "carcinogenic" to humans.

So, will your fancy new AirPods increase your risk for cancer? The document is signed by 250 researchers from more than 40 countries who caution that using certain devices may increase cancer risk. The International Agency for Research on Cancer recently said that EMF waves could be carcinogenic to humans.

The doctors list several items in particular that generate EMFs, including "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 infra-structures used in the delivery of electricity that generate extremely-low frequency electromagnetic field (ELF EMF)".

The petition added: "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".

"By not taking action, the WHO is failing to fulfil its role as the preeminent worldwide public health agency".

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