Cell phone radiation is definitely 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 to no appreciation of the magnitude of the dangers.
So what about Bluetooth and more importantly Bluetooth radiation? Now these really are unchartered 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:
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.
I was initially a bit reluctant to cover this issue because I did not want to give the impression in supplying information on different brands of Bluetooth headset that in some way I was condoning their use. I am 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).
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:
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 do not 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 and for me when I sit in his car with Bluetooth enabled it sets off exactly the same symptoms in me as using 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 I think 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). I would not advise using a Bluetooth earpiece in a vehicle because there will be a Faraday Cage effect with the Bluetooth radiation similar to that with cell phone radiation.