Smartwatches and wristbands have been taking the market by storm for a long time now. Apple Watches have become a popular wearable device, with many people using them to track their health and fitness. Almost every technology lover wears one, and an Apple Watch is, for some, the best of all. But, did you know that the Apple Watch also emits EMF radiation?
And this EMF radiation can be harmful to your health. Although in small amounts, it may affect your health when you’re exposed to it for long periods of time. Proximity to your skin throughout the day and night can make it quite dangerous.
We’ll leave the subject of how reliable or helpful they are to monitor health, and today we’ll talk about the risks of an Apple Watch radiation and how harmful it can be to your health.
Yes, recent reports have shown that the Apple Watch emits radiation, like any other fitness tracker. But don’t worry – there are ways to protect yourself from these emissions.
Apple claims the radiation is well under the recommended Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) value; but, is it still a health hazard? Are you concerned about EMF radiation emissions from it?
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the risks of EMF radiation from an Apple Watch and how to protect yourself from it. Stay safe!
IN THIS ARTICLE:
- The Dangers of Radiation Exposure
- How the Apple Watch Could Be Exposing You to EMF Radiation
- What Type of Radiation the Apple Watch Emits and Why You Should Be Concerned
- Apple Watch Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) Value: Is It A Reliable Metric?
- What Are FCC Limits?
- Bluetooth: Another Source of Apple Watch Radiation
- How to Understand the EMF Readings of an Apple Watch
- How to Protect Yourself from The Harmful Radiation Emitted by The Apple Watch
- How to Reduce Radiation from An Apple Watch
- Final Thoughts on The Apple Watch and Radiation Protection
The Dangers of Radiation Exposure
Cell towers and wireless technologies like cell phones and routers produce two types of EMFs (electromagnetic fields): ELF (extremely low frequencies) and RF (radio frequencies).
The dangers of EMF radiation come from the non-ionizing EMFs used by cell towers, cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers, and other wireless communication devices, which are higher frequency EMFs with enough wattage to damage cells.
In the 1950s, researchers discovered that exposing cells in a petri dish to EMFs caused them to change their rate of division from mitosis, which leads to cell reproduction, into a process called “random movement,” where cells move towards or away from EMFs.
The research was conducted using animals to determine whether EMFs affect cell division in living organisms. Lab mice were given EMF exposures, then their semen was collected after nine days of exposure. The semen showed a decrease in sperm motility and an increase in sperm abnormality.
When human breast cancer cells were exposed to EMFs in a petri dish, the EMFs caused an increase in calcium release. Cells with a healthy membrane easily release calcium in response to EMF exposure. However, when cells have damaged membranes from radiation or from other EMF-induced conditions, they cannot release excess calcium and cause cell death via apoptosis.
In three separate experiments involving human blood cells cultured in a petri dish, EMF exposure was found to cause a change in blood chemistry. EMFs caused a decrease in calcium ion concentration and an increase in nitric oxide concentration which activated stress proteins, production of free radicals, and increased lipid peroxidation.
Three recent studies have found that cell towers are associated with higher rates of cancer in children, particularly brain tumors. Children are more susceptible to damage from EMF exposure because their bodies are still developing, and they lack the protection of a fully formed blood-brain barrier. EMFs can disrupt cellular growth during early childhood development, which is a critical time in a child’s life when brain cells are multiplying rapidly, forming connections between cells, and determining how brain cells function later in life.
If people are exposed to electromagnetic radiation often enough, EMFs can cause cancer. EMF exposure damages the DNA in cells and prevents the repair of this damage, which is how EMFs lead to cancer. EMFs also increase oxidative stress that causes cells to mutate into cancerous cells.
In order to avoid EMF exposure from wireless technologies as much as possible, each EMF-emitting device should be placed as far as possible from the body of a person.
If it is not possible to move wireless devices or appliances further away, EMFs can be blocked by placing EMF insulators on the wall where the device sits or lining objects in front of devices with EMF shielding.
But what happens when you are wearing the wireless device 24/7? How does wearing an Apple Watch affect your exposure to electromagnetic radiation?
How the Apple Watch Could Be Exposing You to EMF Radiation
Apple Watch is a versatile wearable device that resembles a watch. It has connectivity to the internet (via Bluetooth, WiFi, and Cellular) and can sync with your smartphone.
The Apple Watch has a lot of health-related features. You can do daily activity tracking, monitor workouts, and heart rate, track sleep quality, measures the blood oxygen level, and it’s water-resistant. It can even detect if you have taken a hard fall and connect you with emergency services if you are immobile.
To track your daily activity you can set goals for workouts, stand hours, and minutes of exercise. The watch tracks all movement throughout the entire day to give you an accurate picture of how much time you are spending active or sedentary. You will get a notification to stand up if you have been sitting for an hour, this way you are reminded to move your body every so often.
When it comes to workout tracking, the Apple Watch has different exercise options including quick workouts and outdoor workouts. The watch tracks calories burned during workouts along with the estimated distance traveled. You can also start, stop, and pause workouts directly from the watch.
The Apple Watch can track your sleep quality in three stages: light, deep, and REM. It’s water-resistant so you don’t have to take it off when sleeping or showering. You can also set a silent alarm on the watch that will vibrate to wake you up without disturbing your partner.
The last version has a feature that automatically detects when you are washing your hands and encourages you to go for a full 20 seconds. It can even remind you to wash them when you get home!
Although it is capable of a huge amount of health features, the main purpose many buy an Apple watch is because of its notification sharing, calls, messages, music control, and other nifty little features.
While it does all of that pretty well than most of its competitors, it might have some adverse effects on health in the long run.
EMF radiation is unavoidable, like in any other electronic device. With a variety of communication transmitters and receivers in the device, you can’t escape radiation. This problem is not just with Apple watches. This happens in all smartwatches and fitness trackers.
What Type of Radiation It Emits and Why You Should Be Concerned
The Apple Watch’s major component responsible for sending and receiving signals is its wireless chips. These allow Apple Watch applications to communicate with other devices and servers.
The Apple Watch emits radiofrequency (RF), and electromagnetic radiation. Magnetic radiation from electronic devices of this size is usually negligible. But due to the very close proximity to the body, it cannot be neglected. RF emission is similar to that of mobile phones, as it can be connected to WiFi or Cellular.
The Apple Watch may emit radiofrequency (RF) levels that are up to 2.5 times higher than allowed by FCC/ICNIRP standards when worn next to the skin, as Apple recommends.
At 2 inches from the Apple Watch, the RF emission was 4 times higher than the accepted FCC limit. This will cause problems if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator implant of any kind, due to potential interference from this device. And yes, Apple knows about it.
On page 195 on the Apple Watch white paper, Apple says: “Apple Watch contains a magnet. It is recommended that you do not wear it in close proximity to any medical implant such as a pacemaker, defibrillator, or insulin pump.”
RF-EMR from cellular phones can be easily minimized by keeping the phone at a distance from the head. Imagine the Apple Watch being kept on your wrist day in, day out for 24 hours a day.
That’s why the Apple Watch needs to be kept at a safe distance from the body. There are tips on how to minimize exposure, which I will cover later on in this article.
Apple Watch Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) Value: Is It A Reliable Metric?
The Specific Absorption Rate or SAR value is a metric developed back in the 90s to measure and regulate EMF radiation emission in cell phones.
It measures the rate at which energy is absorbed by a human body when exposed to RF-EMF radiation. The test readings are taken for the head and body separately, for a contact period of 30 minutes.
In accordance with the FCC, a cell phone is required to have a specific absorption rate (SAR) value under 1.6 w/kg of body tissue by default.
Apple Watch users should be aware of the radiation the device emits since there are no standards for energy emissions by FCC or any other agency. Without standards for the Apple Watch safety levels, it’s the user’s responsibility to understand Apple Watch radiation levels and how to minimize exposure.
What Are FCC Limits?
FCC limits are guidelines for safe energy emission levels by electronic devices. These guidelines apply to the Apple Watch but the FCC limits are not very strict.
Some official sources may quote figures as high as 2 W/kg for SAR values within phones intended for the US market, depending on the type of wireless connection used and the network itself, but that’s misleading because it’s just a way of reassuring the general population about minimal exposure to RF-EMF radiation.
While this method was based on cell phone use, it is less appropriate to measure EMF emitted by smartwatches.
There are no official apple watch specifications for SAR limits. However, Apple does have an entry that mentions that SAR levels are compliant with FCC guidelines. Apple Watch provides an estimated SAR value of 1.34 W/kg for cellular use and 0.98 W/kg for Wi-Fi only (all versions) according to the FCC filing.
This implies apple watch falls under FCC limits and is in compliance with FCC guidelines which specify a SAR limit of 1.6 W/kg averaged over one gram of tissue for the head and extremities.
For comparison, from a device use standpoint SAR limits for other devices are listed in the table below:
- Apple Watch 42mm LTE model – 1.34 W/kg (head), 0.98 W/ kg (body)
- Apple Watch 38mm LTE model – 1.34 W/kg (head), 0.98 W/ kg (body)
- Apple Watch 42mm GPS model – 1.32 W/kg (head), 0.96W/ kg (body)
- Apple Watch 38mm GPS model – 1.32 W/kg (head), 0.96W/ kg (body)
- Apple Watch Series 1 – 0.90 W/kg (head), 0.70 W/ kg (body)
- Apple Watch Series 2 – 1.08 W/kg (head), 0.90W/ kg (body)
Apple claims the Apple Watch is safe since it features a ceramic back and it doesn’t have any metallic components that could cause a change in SAR limits.
Bluetooth: Another Source of Apple Watch Radiation
SAR is not Apple Watch’s only issue. Apple Watch also uses Bluetooth to transmit information like heart readings and exercise activity. Bluetooth energy emission has never been tested for safety, even though it can be compared with WiFi, which is known to cause severe health issues in the long term.
Apple Watch can be connected to WiFi or Cellular networks, which means it can emit EMF radiation at the same level as a cell phone or a router.
How to Understand the EMF Readings of an Apple Watch
The first and most reliable method to measure the EMF radiation from an Apple Watch is to get a reliable EMF meter and measure it at various conditions – toggling Bluetooth, WiFi, and Cellular data, on and off. For an accurate measure, we recommend the TriField EMF Meter Model TF2.
The other way to know the EMF radiation emissions is by comparing the manufacturer’s SAR values with other smartwatches and previous generations of the Apple watch. Before that, don’t forget to read Apple’s SAR disclaimer and guidelines.
Below is a user’s testimonial on Apple Watch being worn on the wrist for long hours, which was later tested in an independent lab that revealed high SAR values when compared with other smartwatches.
“I personally bought an Apple Watch Series 2 after seeing all the hype on Apple’s website, events and press releases about the watch being so great for your health. I wore my Apple Watch constantly, for 24 hours a day. I was really excited about its health features, so I bought it with cellular, without even considering my safety. It has been on my wrist for more than 12 hours a day since the day I bought it, a few months ago. A few months ago I decided to have it tested in an independent lab for SAR values. To my surprise, apple watch had 0.99 W/kg at close range and 1.01 W/kg at 1 meter distance from apple watch. This is way over the recommended limit of 0.6 W/kg by FCC and ICNIRP standards.”
How to Protect Yourself from The Harmful Radiation Emitted by The Apple Watch
If you have researched how cell phone radiation affects health and how it increases the chances of developing cancer, smartwatches work similarly. However, it might be much worse due to the continuous and close proximity to your body.
Cell phones and Apple Watches use RF waves to send and receive signals from the cell tower. For Bluetooth, the story is a little different, but it is also EMF radiation, nonetheless.
The biggest downside with a smartwatch, in general, and an Apple Watch, in particular, is the proximity and prolonged exposure to radiation. Although the radiation emitted can be small, the effects can multiply when your body is exposed for longer periods and direct contact with your skin.
The inverse square law establishes that the closer you get to EMF radiation, the higher the radiation’s intensity, which grows exponentially. Being in direct contact with the device will capture almost all of the emitted radiation into the body tissue.
It is easy to test it out yourself with the help of an EMF meter.
How to Reduce Radiation from An Apple Watch
Finally, how can we protect ourselves from the EMF emission of this tiny electronic device that’s always on our wrists? What to do if you’re still worried about EMF radiation exposure?
#1. Turn on airplane mode, like on a cell phone, whenever you don’t need other functions, apart from just checking on the time. We know, airplane mode will downgrade a smartwatch to a simple digital watch, but you can still use it whenever you need it, and you don’t always need all the fancy features. Another way you can do this is through limiting usage time or using a device’s “do not disturb” function when you need some peace and quiet.
#2. You can also remove it when you need it the least. During work, if you work with a computer, anything on the wrist can be very annoying. As a writer, the first thing I do when I reach my desk is to get rid of everything that can restrict my hands. Removing and placing it nearby or in your pocket won’t make much of a difference. Try keeping it inside a drawer or in an EMF protective case.
#3. You can escape up to one-third of the radiation emission from an Apple Watch by just removing it at night while you sleep. Yes, you will lose the sleep tracking feature, but you’ll save yourself from unwanted EMF radiation.
#4. If you see the above table listing the different SAR values from an Apple Watch, you will understand that the GPS-only connection emits comparably less EMF radiation than the GPS+Cellular connection of the same model. If you opt for the GPS-only connection, the overall risk is lowered.
#5. You can try one of the Apple Watch radiation blocker bands in the market for EMF protection. Our favorite is the EMF Harmonizer Apple Watchband, which has a special element to neutralize negative radiation. It provides powerful EMF protection from your Apple Watch, WiFi, cell phones, and even 5G technology. It is a waterproof silicon rubber wrist band with stainless steel buckle, and it is comfortable enough to sleep in.
#6. Finally, if these ideas don’t convince you, swap your Apple Watch for another fitness tracker. Most of us don’t use all the features the Apple Watch provides, and we don’t need so much information about ourselves and our environment to live a happy life.
Final Thoughts on The Apple Watch and Radiation Protection
It’s hard not to be part of the technological revolution. Between computers, tablets, and smartphones, it can feel like we live in a virtual world that is full of innovation and convenience. However, it is important for us to remain aware of these gadgets’ risks-especially long-term ones such as EMF emissions from electronic devices.
To avoid any possible effects on your health or brain development, take precautions-like using the Apple Watch less, changing to a low EMF fitness tracker, or wearing a shielding band for EMF protection so as not to expose yourself unnecessarily to their harmful radiation waves. These little accessories will help with EMF protection and shield harmless emissions from harmful effects they may cause over time, so keep an eye out for them!
Gadgets and electronic devices are unavoidable in these times. It is very hard to skip on them and not to be part of innovation and convenience. But it is possible to be aware of its dangers and use them wisely to avoid long-term risks.
You don’t have to give up your Apple Watch, but you can still be aware of the dangers and use it wisely. Use shields like blocker bands that protect yourself from harmful EMF emissions. Not only will this help ensure safety for years to come, but it also saves money in the long run on battery replacements or repairs when something goes wrong with your device.
Use less, use wisely, and use shields to protect yourself from the harmful EMF emissions from the Apple Watch.