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Effects of Near Field Communication?
May 18, 2017
11:42 pm
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May 18, 2017
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Hello all, after my son’s Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis at 11 months old, we ran away from all EMF and dirty elecricity problems and moved to a house that has zero RF radiation (as measured by our Acousticom meter) and dirty electricty levels below 50.

There is a blood sugar measuring device that uses Near Field Communcation (NFC) to read the blood sugar data measured by the sensor that is placed on upper arm. We are considering to use this device for my son to achieve better blood sugar control but we are concerned about the EMF exposure from NFC.

The sensor that is attached to the body is a passive device that is it does not emit any radiation, just store the blood sugar value. There is a reader which is the active device, that sends signals to the sensor in order to read the blood sugar value. So that means, whenever we want to check his blood sugar (which happens about 10-12 times a day) he will be exposed to the transmission from the reader.

The frequency of the NFC signal is 13.56MHz. I see that the communication range for NFC is a few centimeters. Based on these information, I am guessing he will not be exposed to much radiation if we choose to use this device. What do you think?

Any comments are appreciated. Thank you!

May 21, 2017
9:37 am
peter williamson

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February 12, 2016
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Hi Miray, welcome to the forum. I can’t answer your question directly, but here are some things to consider, which you may be aware of already.
The frequency is allocated for ‘scientific and medical’ applications.
I’m not aware of any research on low MHz frequencies, but Prof Trevor Marshall has suggested that MHz frequencies used for radio can cause problems. But there are key differences such as 24 hour exposure to radio, multiple frequencies, modulation techniques, polarisation……….
If the sensor is an entirely passive device then how does it get its data to the reader – surely some transmission must take place once it receives the request from the reader?
However, 10 or 12 transmissions per day is not very many, as opposed to, say 10 transmissions per second (like wifi) or even per minute.
There’s also the balance of risk to consider – is the RF exposure a bigger risk than not monitoring your son’s blood sugar?
Are there any alternatives, such as a wired device, or a monitor which doesn’t use RF at all? If I remember correctly hospitals use devices which are in contact with the skin and do not involve any transmissions to a remote reader.
Perhaps someone with more knowledge of these devices, or of the frequencies involved, will be able to help.

May 21, 2017
9:26 pm
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May 18, 2017
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Dear Peter, thank you very much for your reply. You are right about the transmisson from the sensor. I researched a bit more after your comment and found this:

“Passive NFC tags (the sensor in our case) do not have their own power source. Instead, they are powered by the electromagnetic energy transmitted from the NFC reader.”

So I think this means the sensor which would be attached on my son’s arm all the time has no power of itself and thus it makes no transmisson. Transmission would happen only at times the reader sends request to the sensor.

The other choice we have is purely mechanical. Pricking his finger with a lancet and then using a glucometer with a single drop of blood from his finger. Of course this is the safest method in terms of EMF because it obvioulsy has no EMF problem; but it has its own disadvantages (like constant scarring on his fingertips and less info on his blood sugar levels)

I do not know of the device you mention that is used in hospitals to measure blood sugar. I know there are Continuous Glucose Meters bıt they are worse in terms of EMF because they use Wifi frequencies that send data to longer ranges.

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