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Bluetooth Radiation – Let’s be clear on the dangers

Posted by Lloyd Burrell on March 10, 2011 under Bluetooth radiation | 48 Comments to Read

Cell phone radiation is being talked about more and more but it’s not as if there is widespread awareness on the issue. And even if there is some awareness, there is little appreciation of the magnitude of the dangers.

So what about Bluetooth and more importantly Bluetooth radiation? Now these really are uncharted waters. Most people when they go out looking for a Bluetooth headset have no concept of the radiation issue.

A few weeks back I got a message from Robert:

Lloyd,
You speak of three classes of blue tooth. And the lowest as being safe.

Would you list the make and models of category one
in your newsletter? (maybe 2 and 3 too) so that there
is no mistake on my part if I bought one. I’m illiterate
in this area and this is why I am asking. I suspect others are, too.
Thanks, Robert

I was initially a bit reluctant to cover this issue because I didn’t want to give the impression, in supplying information on different brands of Bluetooth headset, that in some way I was condoning their use. I’m not.

But I do live in the real world. I also know that there are probably many other people like Robert who want to carry on using Bluetooth but want to minimize the dangers; that’s to say their exposure to Bluetooth radiation.Bluetooth radiation headset

While I do spend a lot of time talking about the dangers of cell phone radiation I do not say cell phones should be banned. Bluetooth and Bluetooth radiation is the same thing. I know that some people no matter what I (or anybody else for that matter) says will continue using Bluetooth headsets and Bluetooth technology.

So here is my answer for Robert and others that have concerns on this issue.

What Is Bluetooth?

Wikipedia defines Bluetooth as  “a proprietary open  wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances”. Which basically means it’s a wireless system. Bluetooth  transmits at frequency levels in the 2.4 GHz band, the same as your microwave oven. That means we are dealing with electromagnetic fields or EMFs – that alone should send some alarm bells ringing.

How Bluetooth Radiation Is Classified

First a little reminder on the classification system for Bluetooth, because this is critical to minimizing your exposure to Bluetooth radiation:

Class 1 transmitters — are the most powerful and so emit the highest level of Bluetooth radiation. They can transmit up to 100 meters and have a peak transmission power of 100 mW (milliwatt)

Class 2 transmitters — are less powerful.  They can transmit up to 10 meters and operate at 2.5 mW peak transmission power

Class 3 transmitters — are the least powerful and emit the lowest level of Bluetooth radiation. They operate in a range of less than 10 meters and have a peak transmission power of 1 mW

What Class of Earpiece should you buy to minimize your exposure to Bluetooth radiation?

If you are decided on using a Bluetooth earpiece then a class 3 transmitter will expose yourself to the lowest levels of Bluetooth radiation. However I did some research on make and models and I could find no information about Class 3 Bluetooth earpieces.

So we are left with making a choice between class 2 and class 3 earpieces. Obviously your preference, if you are wanting to minimize your exposure to Bluetooth radiation is to buy a class 3 Bluetooth earpiece.

List of Popular Bluetooth Earpieces with Their Classification

The Bluetooth headsets listed below are all class 2 transmitters:

Bang & Olufsen EarSet 2 Bluetooth Mobile Device

Plantronics Voyager PRO Bluetooth Headset

Motorola S305 Bluetooth Stereo Headset

Plantronics Voyager 520 Bluetooth Headset

Plantronics Discovery 925 Bluetooth Earpiece

The Bluetooth headsets listed below are all class 1 transmitters (the most powerful):

Callpod DragonV2 Bluetooth Headset (Black)

Plantronics CS-55 Dect 6.0 Digital Wireless Office Headset

Callpod Dragon Bluetooth Headset

Are there any studies on Bluetooth Radiation?

As on the cell phone issue the cell phone industry have done a very good job of making the science look inconclusive and confusing. Added to which there have been few studies done specifically on the issue of Bluetooth radiation.

Is Bluetooth Radiation Really Dangerous?

Yes I believe it is. I don’t use a Bluetooth earpiece, or a cell phone for that matter. But I do occasionally come into contact with Bluetooth and Bluetooth radiation.

I have a friend who has a car with Bluetooth installed. A few years ago when I was experiencing fairly extreme electrical sensitivity symptoms, when I sat in his car with Bluetooth enabled, it would set off exactly the same symptoms in me as when I used a cell phone.

Bluetooth radiation is particularly dangerous in so far as earpieces and headphones go because of the proximity to the head of these devices.

Is Bluetooth Radiation More Dangerous Than Cell Phone Radiation?

Yes, I believe it can be. Let me explain.

If you are using a Class 1 Bluetooth earpiece the dangers are very real. Firstly, because Class 1 devices are 40 times more powerful than Class 2 devices. Secondly because when you use a Bluetooth earpiece device you are exposing yourself to an additional form of radiation compared to a cell phone. Your cell phone acts as a relay between the cell phone tower and your correspondent and your cell phone acts as another relay at the Bluetooth level between your cell phone and your Bluetooth earpiece.

Your radiation exposure with a Bluetooth headset is the sum of cell phone radiation plus Bluetooth radiation. So Bluetooth radiation in itself may be less dangerous than cell phone radiation but when you use a Bluetooth earpiece you are always exposing yourself to both Bluetooth radiation and cell phone radiation.

Are There Any Alternatives To Using A Bluetooth Headset?

Besides just using a regular wired headset, yes, there are alternatives to using a Bluetooth headset:

1. You can use a basic airtube headset or a more sophisticated version with earbuds made in wood. These work much like a wired headset but there are no wires to conduct the radiation. Obviously you don’t get the freedom of movement that you get with a wireless connection, and the sound quality may not be optimum but if you are worried about your exposure to EMFs this is a good solution.

2. Use a retro handset telephone. The manufacturers of this handset, NativeUnion, claim that the “design eliminates 99 percent of harmful mobile phone radiation”. Given that this is a wired connection I have to say I am skeptical about the claim that it can limit 99% of the radiation. The length of the cord means you are still in close proximity to your cell phone so you will be absorbing some radiation. But at worst using this device is clearly much better than having the cell phone pressed against your ear.

Conclusion – How To Minimize Bluetooth Radiation

My preferred solution is to steer clear of these devices, but if you still want to continue using a Bluetooth earpiece then make sure you buy a Class 2 Bluetooth device (in the absence of Class 3 devices).

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  • Robert Leverant said,

    Excellent and very useful article. I do have question.
    These suicide clusters due to EMF, Wi-Fi, & the Towers… Do you know why these people did it. Was the tinnitus too powerful? that they had no refuge at home because smart meter was installed..
    is it that they felt so weak and depleted and anxious? because they succumbed to new and irrational voices in their head that wouldn’t go away… telling them that they were bad, should not be on the planet, that they were ________ and couldn’t be trusted with children…

  • Lloyd said,

    Hi Robert
    I don’t think anyone knows exactly what pushes another person to take their own life, but I can speak of my own personal experience of my first years living as someone who was electrically sensitive. I found it absolutely devastating.
    Lots of people get sick with terrible things, and I am sure that there are illnesses just as bad and many a lot worse than ES in terms of the physical pain endured. The peculiarity of ES, for me, was that I was totally on my own. Each day that goes by you get worse, because you don’t know/understand what is affecting you. The doctors are not trained to give advice and it’s difficult to speak about it with anybody without them thinking you are a whacko. Thank fully times have changed now, there are support groups and more and more information coming out about it all the time.
    Now that was my experience with ES. I was lucky in that, I did not get tinnitus, I did not have a smart meter inflicted on me, there were no voices. But I did have a loving, understanding and supportive family and I did manage to adapt and carry on working.

  • Justin said,

    Hi Lloyd. Thank you for your helpful and informative website. Two days ago, I purchased a Nokia Bluetooth headset (model BH-216) after learning about the dangers of cell phone radiation while watching the TV show “Anderson Cooper 360″. After a Google search and thanks to your website, I now know that Bluetooth radiation can be just as dangerous.

    Now that I own this new Bluetooth headset, I would like to find out if it is a Class 3 device. I cannot find this information on the sales page or the instruction booklet. But the instructions do state that the headset has an approximate range of 10 meters. So would it be safe to assume that this headset is most likely a Class 3 Bluetooth device?

  • dean gould said,

    We found a home that we are interested in. I took my gauss meter and the readings are low; below .5 throuhgout the home and yard,mostly around 0, .1, or .2 and even back in the back by a pole that looks very much like this one in this picture. It is in the corner of the lot on the back lot line. There is a service drop coming from that pole to the home.

    I’m wondering your thoughts; if you think it would be safe. No matter where we go there are lines, even if they are buried.

    Thanks for your help.

    One final question, how far away from plugs should our heads be when we sleep.

  • Lloyd said,

    Dean,
    Yes the readings are low and apparently within safety guidelines. Personally I would be looking for a house with zero or near zero readings, but I would be also checking for RF radiation and dirty electricity. You need to look at the whole EMF issue not just the milligauss.

    Its not the plugs so much as the wiring that is important. As a rule of thumb 6 feet is a good distance but it does depend if the wiring is shielded.

  • Sarah Kubesh said,

    I just bought a car with SYNC, which I believe is a bluetooth. Does turning it off eliminate the risk? Thank you. Sarah

  • Lloyd said,

    Hi Sarah
    In theory it eliminates the risk, but the only way to know for sure is to measure it with an RF meter (iPhones emit radiation even when switched off).

  • Rebecca Feldman said,

    Do you know if there are health risks associated with induction cooktops?

  • Lloyd said,

    Induction hobs generate EMFs when an electric current flows through coils under the top plate of the cooker. Heat is created when the electromagnetic field reacts with the metallic pan on the plate which causes the pan to heat up. Different hobs work on different frequencies, the issue is usually magnetic fields (you can easily measure this with a Trifield meter). I don’t recommend cooking with an induction hob, gas cookers are a safer alternative.

  • Alex said,

    Hi Robert,
    I think you have gotten the concept of bluetooth headsets wrong; the entire point of using a headset is that it reduces the radiation near your head, as the radiation from the phone is restricted to that only, and so that radiation is not emitted from the headset. So therefore for bluetooth radiation to be more dangerous than cell phone radiation, you would have to be using a headset whilst holding the phone right next to your body, which is counter intuitive to the point of getting a headset

  • Linda Wood said,

    Hi Alex,
    I don’t think the point of the headset is to reduce radiation. The point of it is convenience. An earbud that is connected with a wire would do a better job of minimizing radiation than a bluetooth headset surely.

  • Lloyd said,

    For most people the main attraction of a Bluetooth headset is undoubtedly convenience. But an earbud with wire is not the way to go. These conventional wired hands-free kits can actually increase your exposure because the radiation can travel up the wires from the cell phone to the earbud.

  • Linda Wood said,

    Really?
    That surprises me. Speaker phone is the way to go then if privacy is not an issue.

  • Lloyd said,

    Using speakerphone has its inconveniences also, you are better to use a headset with an airtube connection, see http://www.electricsense.com/775/how-to-protect-yourself-from-cell-phone-radiation/

  • don monty said,

    Hello, I recently purchased a mac mini and I use a samsung led monitor. I was wondering if there is a Radiation rating similar to the SAR rating used in cell phones. I have felt a buzzing in my head ever since using it and am wondering what the radiation levels is in these products. I also use the bluetooth setting for keyboard and mouse. Let me know what you think. thanks

  • Lloyd said,

    Hi Don
    The “TCO certified” label on computers ensures minimum standards have been adhered to in terms of toxicity, energy savings and ergonomics but unfortunately there is no radiation standard. The symptoms you are experiencing are quite common, some people it’s the ears, some its prickly skin, others it’s a headache. You need to eliminate as many wireless devices (Bluetooth and other) in your environment as possible, see also http://www.electricsense.com/1138/my-9-tips-to-cut-down-on-exposure-to-computer-radiation/

  • don monty said,

    what do you feel is more safe, the wired headset, bluetooth, or just putting phone to ear. also is there a difference between bluetooth 2.0, 3.0, 4.0?

  • Lloyd said,

    The safest is an airtube headset. Wired headsets can act as an antenna, amplify the radiation and increase your exposure, see http://www.electricsense.com/775/how-to-protect-yourself-from-cell-phone-radiation/.Bluetooth 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0 all refer to Bluetooth standards or versions which reflect the evolving technology, nothing to do with the Bluetooth radiation classification system-though devices which use the more recent standards (v3.0 and v4.0) tend to be class 1.

  • don monty said,

    THank You, so is class 1 is the safest bluetooth, can you recommend any devices. also are there any class 1 bluetooth 4.0s out yet? what suggestions can you make to make myself safer from radiation? (i stand about 3 feet from my monitor and computer, have a cactus in my room, hardly ever put my phone to my ear, I use speaker phone and bluetooth)

  • Lloyd said,

    In terms of radiation the safest Bluetooth devices are class 3 devices, of which there are few of on the market. The next best thing is class 2 – my article above has a list of class 2 devices. My Free Report has other suggestions for EMF protection.

  • don monty said,

    is there an additional free report? or is this the article I need to read? also, How do you know what class bluetooth you are buying in the specifications of the device?

  • Lloyd said,

    Read the manufacturers technical specification before you buy to see what the class rating is of the device in question. My free report talks about EMF protection generally – you can subscribe on my homepage.

  • praveen bhati said,

    hi lloyd, thanks for helping me purchase mw am10 rf acoustimeter, i replaced the cordless phone from the cord one,
    switched off the modem wifi mode to the wire mode. reduced the use of microwave to a great extent and THANKS FOR BEING THERE…AND BEING THE SPARK PLUG OF THE MACHINE…

  • Wondering said,

    I’m buying a used car with Bluetooth that I will not use. If the Bluetooth is not “disconnected” or able to be turned off, is there a radiation danger just sitting in the car even if you’re not using the ear piece? Would you say 90% of the risk is from the earpiece? Thanks.

  • Lloyd said,

    Proximity to the source is a big factor with EMFs, so the earpiece is more of an issue than the Bluetooth emitter/receiver installed on the vehicle…whether this is 90% of the risk or not is difficult to say.

  • Mike said,

    Hi Lloyd,

    Terrific insights. Kudos to being so forthcoming in sharing “controversial” information that affects us all.

    My understanding is that BOTH the mobile phone and the BlueTooth headset are exposing the user to some form of BlueTooth radiation, because both would require bluetooth to connect to each other, and it is BlueTooth that is emitting some form of Radioactive waves from both devices.

    So, whether you use the mobile or the headset, you are exposing yourself to that degree of radiation.

    Is that right, Lloyd?

  • Lloyd said,

    Hi Mike
    You’ve got it… both the phone and the Bluetooth headset act as emitters and receptors, so you when you use them you are being exposed to radiation from both devices.

  • Bogdan said,

    I use an Voltcraft MWT-2G Microwave Raditation Meter to verify my phone radiation and I can tell you that my phone ( Lg optimus one ) is sending more than 10 mw when I am using it and it is one with the lowest SAR on the market…My Voltcraft has an automatic alarm that starts at 5 mw… If I go further from the phone when the it transmits messages power of the radiation gradually decreases even up to 0 … If you can use an bluetooth device with 2.5 mw is better than sitting with your phone near the head. When you have to talk on the phone I suggest you leave it turned on in a room and with your bluetooth go to another room…

  • greg said,

    Is there somewhere else I can ask a some what related but not directly related question?

  • Mihu said,

    Hi Lloyd,

    What do you think about this solution?
    http://www.myxlink.com/store.aspx?bt=1

    I’m looking for some solution for radiation problem at home and I came across the device that will separate me from the cell phone radiation. This device converts the signal into a wire that connects normal land-line phone.
    Maybe this is some alternative?
    Best regards

  • Lloyd said,

    Hi Mihu
    It says “the XLink™ BTTN communicates wirelessly with your cell phones. There are NO extra cables to buy. Whenever your cell phones are placed within range, the XLink™ BTTN will automatically connect to them.” So its another wireless device…which means its introducing more radiation into your home….better to have just an old fashioned corded phone in your home.

  • Maria said,

    I have a car with Blue Tooth system installed. Is it safer to use the speakers in the car or just use a cellpone by itself if I have to make a call? I do not have an earpiece.

  • Lloyd said,

    I don’t know of any studies on this so its difficult to say whats better or worse…in both scenarios you are exposing yourself to RF radiation in a confined metallic space…keep your calls to an absolute minimum.

  • Judy said,

    I appreciate all the information you have given in this article. i have wondered about this, especially the rise in cancer. a friend if mine has phone usage capability through the dpeakers in her car. Is using a cell phone through car speakers as dangerous as Bluetooth?
    Also, is it dangerous to use headphones for sound amplification watching TV?

  • Lloyd said,

    “Is using a cell phone through car speakers as dangerous as Bluetooth?” It depends on how the connection to the speakers is achieved and how the cell phone is set up. If this set up does not involve Bluetooth then we eliminate having a radiation emitting/receiving device in close proximity to the brain and the head – which is a good thing. But if the cell phone which is linked up to the speakers is within the car then there is an issue here too….the cell phone needs to on an external antenna and the connection to the speakers wired.
    “Also, is it dangerous to use headphones for sound amplification watching TV?” If the headphones are wireless then there’s an RF radiation issue (like cell phones) if they are wired this is much less a concern.

  • Margaret said,

    Hi Lloyd. I have a question. I just bought a Bluetooth keyboard for my Windows RT Tablet and I was wondering whether it is relatively safe for regular use? It says that it has Class 1 LED products, laser products etc. After reading your article, I think I might have to return this….

  • Lloyd said,

    Hi Margaret
    class 1 is the most powerful form of Bluetooth….you can expect long term health effects if you use devices like this on a regular basis – this is not at all safe.

  • Margaret said,

    Wow. Thank you so much for the info.

  • Mike said,

    I’m thinking about purchasing a FitBit, that tracks steps, activities, ect. It connects to a Bluetooth dongle on a PC to dump all of the recorded information. I understand that a bluetooth device will transmit data when it finds a paired device, but if the PC dongle is removed, does the Bluetooth device continue to emit a signal? If so, is it a reduced beacon signal?

  • Lloyd Burrell said,

    Mike,
    The only way to know for sure if the FitBit stops emitting radiation would be to measure with an RF reading.

  • brandy said,

    Hello, I wanted to know how much radiation car keys put off, and what on it puts off the radiation? Is the radiation higher when closer to the vehicle?

  • John said,

    I used a cornet EFM meter to do some experiment. Using a Samsung S3, radiation jumped to around 200 mW/m2, when a call was established. If I move the phone 1 foot from the Cornet device and turn on the speaker phone, radiation drops to under .5 mW/m2. If I use a traditional wired headset, radiation, placed one foot away from cell phone, radiation next to the earbuds is around 1.5 mW/m2. If I use a bluetooth headset at 1 foot from Cell phone, radiation next to bluetooth earbuds is 58 mW/m2…

    Is this a viable way of measuring the difference? Am I doing something wrong or expect the Cornet device to do something it is not designed for? I don’t get what is mentioned above for wired connection. Also, my bluetooth device says 10 meter range (must be class 2 or 3), yet reading is 58 mW/m2, much larger than expected.

    Any ideas?

  • ali tarada said,

    Hi Lloyd
    I am using LG HBS730 it says in the website class 3 bluetooth, is this version 3
    Please advise

    Thanks

  • Lloyd Burrell said,

    Ali,
    If the website selling the headset states its a class 3 device there’s no reason to think otherwise.

  • ali tarada said,

    Dear Lloyd

    Thank you
    so the best in bluetooth is class 3 , is this correct please advise
    is class 3 the lowest radiations

  • Lloyd Burrell said,

    Absolutely, class 3 transmitters are the least powerful and emit the lowest level of radiation.

  • Brenda said,

    I have just been on holiday and not used my Bluetooth headset at all and haven’t suffered from my tinnitus at all – now I have come home and started using it again I am getting raging tinnitus do you think the headset is causing it? Mine is a Jabra Wave.

  • april besch said,

    Hi Lloyd,

    I know you said that the airtube headset is the safest on the market. Unfortunatelym I cannot get my teenager to use it. Once he goes off to college, I’m worried about his choices because these kids think adults who are worried about radiation are freaks. But anyway, are you saying there are some wired headsets that don’t emit radiation? Btw, I tested the one he has with the Trifield meter and didn’t see radiation emitting at the earpiece. Thanks!

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