Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Female Infertility & Cell Phone Radiation

Although we have considerable evidence that cell phone radiation damages sperm and is associated with male infertility, little attention has been paid to studying the effects of cell phone radiation on female infertility.* 

A newly published study by Courtney Lynch and her colleagues found for women trying to get pregnant that stress as measured by the alpha-amylase levels in their saliva predicted whether they were successful. The researchers found that women with the highest levels of this enzyme in their saliva had a 29 percent lower probability of pregnancy compared to those with the lowest levels. 

Although this study did not examine EMF exposure, earlier research published by Christoph Augner and his colleagues found that people who lived within 100 meters of cell phone towers had greater salivary alpha-amylase levels. In an experimental study, the researchers found that exposure to higher levels of GSM cell tower radiation increased the levels of this salivary enzyme. 

In a 2013 review paper, Nazıroğlu and colleagues examined research on the effects of Wi-Fi and mobile phone radiation on reproductive signaling pathways. They reported that this radiation is related to "oxidative stress and overproduction of free oxygen radicals in female and male infertility."  The authors concluded that "the role of EMR from mobile phones and wireless devices in female and male fertility should be investigated."

The news story and  study abstracts appear below.

References (Last update: 12/20/2016)

Chen H, Qu Z, Liu W. Effects of Simulated Mobile Phone Electromagnetic Radiation on Fertilization and Embryo Development. Fetal Pediatr Pathol. 2016 Dec 16:1-7. [Epub ahead of print]


This study investigated the effects of 935-MHz electromagnetic radiation (ER) on fertilization and subsequent embryonic development in mice. Ovulating mice were irradiated at three ER intensities for 4 h/day (d) or 2 h/d for three consecutive days; the ova were then harvested for in vitro fertilization to observe the 6-h fertilization rate (6-FR), 72-h morula rate (72-MR), and 110-h blastula rate (110-BR). Compared with the control group, the 6-FR, 72-MR, and 110-BR were decreased in the low ER intensity group, but the differences were not significant; in the mid- and high-intensity ER groups, 72-MR and 110-BR in the 4 h/d and 2 h/d subgroups were decreased, showing significant differences compared with the control group. Moreover, the comparison between 4 h/d and 2 h/d subgroups showed significant differences. Mid- and high-intensity ER at 935 MHz can reduce the fertilization rate in mice, and reduce the blastulation rate, thus reducing the possibility of embryo implantation.



Electromagnetic radiation devices consisted of four parts: a signal source (with frequency ranging from 935 to 960 MHz and magnetic field strength ranging from –15 db to +15 db), a rectifier (220 VAC/27 VDC; 300 W), a power amplifier, and a specific antenna with a length of 15 cm.

The mice were divided into seven groups by using a random table method: low-intensity (2 h/d and 4 h/d subgroups), mid-intensity (570 μW/cm2: 2 h/d and 4 h/d subgroups), high-intensity (1400 μW/cm2: 2 h/d and 4 h/d subgroups), and control groups. 


Stress May Diminish a Woman's Fertility, Study Suggests

First U.S. review to show a possible link between stress and how long it takes to get pregnant

Mary Brophy Marcus, HealthDay News, Mar 24, 2014

Stress may increase a woman's risk of infertility, new research suggests.

The authors of the study wanted to investigate the relationship between stress and infertility. So they looked at levels of an enzyme linked with stress in the saliva of women who were trying to get pregnant.

They also tracked the women's ability to conceive over a 12-month period.

"Women with higher levels of the stress biomarker had a two-fold increased risk of infertility," said study author Courtney Lynch. The enzyme they measured is called salivary alpha-amylase.

"Alpha-amylase is an enzyme that is secreted into the mouth that helps the body start to digest carbohydrates," said Lynch, director of reproductive epidemiology at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. "It is also linked to the fight-or-flight part of the stress system."

For the study, Lynch and her colleagues collected data from about 500 couples who were recruited from targeted counties in Texas and Michigan.

"We tried to find couples who were just starting to try to get pregnant," Lynch said. "We sent a nursing team out to their houses who did interviews and trained the women how to use saliva-collection kits."

The women took saliva samples twice -- at the start of the study and again after they'd had their first menstrual period during the study time frame. For most, that was about a month into the study, Lynch said. Since alpha-amylase can be affected by alcohol, tobacco and caffeine consumption, the researchers asked the women to take their saliva samples right after waking up in the morning.

The researchers followed the couples for up to 12 months, collecting information on whether they'd conceived.

Of the approximately 400 couples who completed the study, 87 percent of the women became pregnant. After adjusting for age, race, income and the use of alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes, the researchers found that the women with the highest alpha-amylase levels had a 29 percent lower probability of pregnancy compared to the women who had the lowest levels of the enzyme.

The study results were published in the March 24 issue of the journal Human Reproduction.
Lynch said it's important to be clear that the results do not suggest that stress alone is the reason a woman can't get pregnant.

"The message is not that everyone should go enroll in yoga tomorrow," she said. "The message is that if you've tried for five or six months and you aren't getting anywhere, maybe you should look at your lifestyle and think about whether or not stress might be a problem for you. 

And if it is, you might want to consider a stress-management program."

The authors said this is the first U.S. study to show a possible association between a stress indicator and how long it takes a woman to become pregnant.

Dr. Suleena Kansal Kalra is a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at the University of Pennsylvania. She called the new research "a great first step -- it's presenting a way to measure [indicators] of stress."

"Part of the challenge is that we don't have validated [indicators] of stress hormones or validated questionnaires that measure stress, so the next step is that we really need to start validating some of these tools," said Kalra, who was not involved with the new research. 

"Ultimately, we want to know how we can measure stress, and then, can we intervene?"

Exactly how stress affects fertility is not well understood, Lynch said. The study's authors said the women in the group with higher levels of the stress-related enzyme had sex about as often as those in the low-level group, so frequency of intercourse did not play a role.

Kalra said some women stop ovulating during stressful times, while others conceive in high-stress environments.

Lynch said the researchers have also collected data on men but have not yet analyzed it, so it's not yet clear how much a man's stress might influence a couple's fertility.

Women struggling with infertility who have stressful lifestyles should not blame themselves, Lynch said. "I don't want women to see this in the news and say, 'It's my fault I'm not pregnant,'" she said. "We know stress is not the major indicator of whether or not you're going to get pregnant."

Kalra agreed, noting that, "Age is the No. 1 factor linked to the inability to conceive. Mother Nature is cruel and unfair. All our success rates are better in women under 35. That does not mean every woman in her late 30s is going to be infertile, but age is the greatest predictor of success."

She added that cigarette smoking is "absolutely associated with a decrease in the ability to become pregnant," and obesity is beginning to be looked at as well.

Kalra is launching a fertility wellness program this spring at Penn that will combine yoga, meditation, nutrition counseling and a psychologist-led support group to help women who are hoping to become pregnant.

"Not being able to start your family when you're ready to do so can create a lot of stress for couples, particularly women," Kalra said.

"I'm not sure stress is an underlying cause of infertility, and I often find it counterproductive to tell women if they're a little less stressed they would become pregnant," she said. "We don't know if that's true. I generally say, 'I want you to feel as good as possible when you're embarking on the journey to have a family.' "

More information

To learn more about reducing stress, visit the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

SOURCES: Courtney Lynch, Ph.D., M.P.H., director, reproductive epidemiology, and assistant professor, obstetrics and gynecology and epidemiology, Ohio State University College of Medicine; Suleena Kansal Kalra, M.D., M.S.C.E., assistant professor, obstetrics and gynecology, and director, fertility wellness program, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; March 24, 2014, Human Reproduction, online



Lynch CD, Sundaram R, Maisog JM, Sweeney AM, Buck Louis GM.Preconception stress increases the risk of infertility: results from a couple-based prospective cohort study--the LIFE study. Hum Reprod. 2014 Mar 23. [Epub ahead of print]


STUDY QUESTION: Are women's stress levels prospectively associated with fecundity and infertility?

SUMMARY ANSWER: Higher levels of stress as measured by salivary alpha-amylase are associated with a longer time-to-pregnancy (TTP) and an increased risk of infertility.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Data suggest that stress and reproduction are interrelated; however, the directionality of that association is unclear.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: In 2005-2009, we enrolled 501 couples in a prospective cohort study with preconception enrollment at two research sites (Michigan and Texas, USA). Couples were followed for up to 12 months as they tried to conceive and through pregnancy if it occurred. A total of 401 (80%) couples completed the study protocol and 373 (93%) had complete data available for this analysis.

PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Enrolled women collected saliva the morning following enrollment and then the morning following their first observed study menses for the measurement of cortisol and alpha-amylase, which are biomarkers of stress. TTP was measured in cycles. Covariate data were captured on both a baseline questionnaire and daily journals.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Among the 401 (80%) women who completed the protocol, 347 (87%) became pregnant and 54 (13%) did not. After adjustment for female age, race, income, and use of alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes while trying to conceive, women in the highest tertile of alpha-amylase exhibited a 29% reduction in fecundity (longer TTP) compared with women in the lowest tertile [fecundability odds ratios (FORs) = 0.71; 95% confidence interval (CI) = (0.51, 1.00); P < 0.05]. This reduction in fecundity translated into a >2-fold increased risk of infertility among these women [relative risk (RR) = 2.07; 95% CI = (1.04, 4.11)]. In contrast, we found no association between salivary cortisol and fecundability.

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Due to fiscal and logistical concerns, we were unable to collect repeated saliva samples and perceived stress questionnaire data throughout the duration of follow-up. Therefore, we were unable to examine whether stress levels increased as women continued to fail to get pregnant. Our ability to control for potential confounders using time-varying data from the daily journals, however, minimizes residual confounding.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: This is the first US study to demonstrate a prospective association between salivary stress biomarkers and TTP, and the first in the world to observe an association with infertility.

STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This study was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (contracts #N01-HD-3-3355, N01-HD-3-3356, N01-HD-3358). There are no conflicts of interest to declare.



Augner C, Hacker GW. Are people living next to mobile phone base stations more strained? Relationship of health concerns, self-estimated distance to base station, and psychological parameters. Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2009 Dec;13(3):141-5. doi: 10.4103/0019-5278.58918.


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Coeval with the expansion of mobile phone technology and the associated obvious presence of mobile phone base stations, some people living close to these masts reported symptoms they attributed to electromagnetic fields (EMF). Public and scientific discussions arose with regard to whether these symptoms were due to EMF or were nocebo effects. The aim of this study was to find out if people who believe that they live close to base stations show psychological or psychobiological differences that would indicate more strain or stress. Furthermore, we wanted to detect the relevant connections linking self-estimated distance between home and the next mobile phone base station (DBS), daily use of mobile phone (MPU), EMF-health concerns, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, and psychological strain parameters.

DESIGN, MATERIALS AND METHODS:  Fifty-seven participants completed standardized and non-standardized questionnaires that focused on the relevant parameters. In addition, saliva samples were used as an indication to determine the psychobiological strain by concentration of alpha-amylase, cortisol, immunoglobulin A (IgA), and substance P.

RESULTS:  Self-declared base station neighbors (DBS </= 100 meters) had significantly higher concentrations of alpha-amylase in their saliva, higher rates in symptom checklist subscales (SCL) somatization, obsessive-compulsive, anxiety, phobic anxiety, and global strain index PST (Positive Symptom Total). There were no differences in EMF-related health concern scales.

CONCLUSIONS:  We conclude that self-declared base station neighbors are more strained than others. EMF-related health concerns cannot explain these findings. Further research should identify if actual EMF exposure or other factors are responsible for these results.



Augner C, Hacker GW, Oberfeld G, Florian M, Hitzl W, Hutter J, Pauser G. Effects of exposure to GSM mobile phone base station signals on salivary cortisol, alpha-amylase, and immunoglobulin A. Biomed Environ Sci. 2010 Jun;23(3):199-207. doi: 10.1016/S0895-3988(10)60053-0.


OBJECTIVE: The present study aimed to test whether exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) emitted by mobile phone base stations may have effects on salivary alpha-amylase, immunoglobulin A (IgA), and cortisol levels.

METHODS: Fifty seven participants were randomly allocated to one of three different experimental scenarios (22 participants to scenario 1, 26 to scenario 2, and 9 to scenario 3). Each participant went through five 50-minute exposure sessions. The main RF-EMF source was a GSM-900-MHz antenna located at the outer wall of the building. In scenarios 1 and 2, the first, third, and fifth sessions were "low" (median power flux density 5.2 microW/m(2)) exposure. The second session was "high" (2126.8 microW/m(2)), and the fourth session was "medium" (153.6 microW/m(2)) in scenario 1, and vice versa in scenario 2. Scenario 3 had four "low" exposure conditions, followed by a "high" exposure condition. Biomedical parameters were collected by saliva samples three times a session. Exposure levels were created by shielding curtains.

RESULTS: In scenario 3 from session 4 to session 5 (from "low" to "high" exposure), an increase of cortisol was detected, while in scenarios 1 and 2, a higher concentration of alpha-amylase related to the baseline was identified as compared to that in scenario 3. IgA concentration was not significantly related to the exposure.

CONCLUSIONS: RF-EMF in considerably lower field densities than ICNIRP-guidelines may influence certain psychobiological stress markers.



Nazıroğlu M, Yüksel M, Köse SA, Özkaya MO. Recent reports of Wi-Fi and mobile phone-induced radiation on oxidative stress and reproductive signaling pathways in females and males.J Membr Biol. 2013 Dec;246(12):869-75. doi: 10.1007/s00232-013-9597-9. Epub 2013 Oct 9.


Environmental exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) has been increasing with the increasing demand for communication devices. The aim of the study was to discuss the mechanisms and risk factors of EMR changes on reproductive functions and membrane oxidative biology in females and males. It was reported that even chronic exposure to EMR did not increase the risk of reproductive functions such as increased levels of neoantigens abort. However, the results of some studies indicate that EMR induced endometriosis and inflammation and decreased the number of follicles in the ovarium or uterus of rats. In studies with male rats, exposure caused degeneration in the seminiferous tubules, reduction in the number of Leydig cells and testosterone production as well as increases in luteinizing hormone levels and apoptotic cells. In some cases of male and female infertility, increased levels of oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation and decreased values of antioxidants such as melatonin, vitamin E and glutathione peroxidase were reported in animals exposed to EMR. In conclusion, the results of current studies indicate that oxidative stress from exposure to Wi-Fi and mobile phone-induced EMR is a significant mechanism affecting female and male reproductive systems. However, there is no evidence to this date to support an increased risk of female and male infertility related to EMR exposure.

.. EMR exposure from Wi-Fi and mobile phones is related to oxidative stress and overproduction of free oxygen radicals in female and male infertility. Use of mobile phones and wireless devices has been increasing day by day. There are very scarce data on Wi-Fi-induced reproductive dysfunction in female and male individuals. However, carcinogenic and proliferative effects of mobile phones (Kim et al. 2010) and Wi-Fi (Kumar et al. 2011; Kesari et al. 2011; Nazırog˘lu et al. 2012b) have been reported in animals and cell culture systems, although there is no report on Wi-Fi- or mobile phone-induced cancer in reproductive tissues of female and male individuals. In the future, the role of EMR from mobile phones and wireless devices in female and male fertility should be investigated.


Shibkova DZ, Shilkova TV, Ovchinnikova AV. [Early and Delayed Effects of Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields on the Reproductive Function and Functional Status of the Offspring of Experimental Animals]. [Article in Russian]. Radiats Biol Radioecol. 2015 Sep-Oct;55(5):514-9.


The aim of our experimental research was to study the impact of radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF) on the reproductive function of male and female mice of CBA in 2 models of exposure, as well as on the morphofunctional state of progeny of irradiated animals. It was found that RF EMF under conditions of repeated short-term exposures (within 5 days for 10 minutes at PES 1.2 mW/cm2) affects the course of pregnancy in female mice, the number of litters, fertility and preservation of offspring, morphometric characteristics of the offspring of experimental animals at different models of irradiation (exposure of animals to RF EMF prior to mating and during pregnancy).


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Cell Phone Use and Salivary Gland Tumor Risk

Does cell phone use increase the chances of parotid gland tumor development?
A systematic review and meta-analysis

de Siqueira EC, de Souza FT, Gomez RS, Gomes CC, de Souza RP. Does cell phone use increase the chances of parotid gland tumor development? A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Oral Pathol Med. 2016 Dec 9. doi: 10.1111/jop.12531. [Epub ahead of print]


BACKGROUND: Prior epidemiological studies had examined the association between cell phone use and the development of tumors in the parotid glands. However there is no consensus about the question of whether cell phone use is associated with increased risk of tumors in the parotid glands. We performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the existing literature about the mean question and to determine their statistical significance.

METHODS: Primary association studies. Papers that associated cell phone use and parotid gland tumors development were included, with no restrictions regarding publication date, language and place of publication. Systematic literature search using PubMed, Scielo and Embase followed by meta-analysis.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Initial screening included 37 articles and three were included in meta-analysis. Using three independent samples including 5087 subjects from retrospective case-control studies, cell phone use seems to be associated with greater odds (1.28, 95%- confidence interval 1.09 - 1.51) to develop salivary gland tumor. Results should be read with caution due to the limited number of studies available and their retrospective design.


Salivary gland tumors are relatively rare, accounting for 2-5% of all head and neck tumors, being the parotids the most affected salivary gland (6).

We further evaluated the levels of inflammatory cytokines in the saliva produced by the parotids according to self-reported exposure to cell phone, reporting an increase in pro-inflammatory and a decrease of anti-inflammatory cytokine levels in the sample evaluated, suggesting a pro-inflammatory effect of cell phones (8).

Cell phone use was associated with greater odds (increase of 28%) of presence of tumor in the parotid glands (O.R. 1.28 95% C.I. [1.09–1.51] p = 0.0025) (Figure 2).

Primary association studies have reported discordant results (3, 5, 10, 12, 14, 15). Possible explanations for conflicting results are differences in study design, genetic background of sampled populations or clinical-epidemiological sample structure. It is important to note that discordant results do not mean that some are incorrect. Tumor manifestation is clearly a multifactorial process whose risk factors are several. Most of the studies have not assessed other risk factors when estimating existence of association.

This is the first systematic review followed by a meta-analysis to evaluate that association. Here, we report usage of cell phone increase, on average, 28% the odds of presenting parotid glands tumors.

Our results need to be read and interpreted with caution due to important limitations that need to be addressed. Although the number of subjects compiled is reasonably large, the number of independent samples is small (n = 3) and results are clearly driven by two of three studies.


Taken together, our results provide evidence of association between cell phone use and parotid tumor although their association presents mild effect.


Histological and histochemical study of the protective role of rosemary extract against harmful effect of cell phone electromagnetic radiation on the parotid glands

Fatma M. Ghoneim, Eetmad A. Arafat. Histological and histochemical study of the protective role of rosemary extract against harmful effect of cell phone electromagnetic radiation on the parotid glands. Acta Histochemica, 118(5):478-485. June 2016.


Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are a class of non-ionizing radiation (NIR) that is emitted from mobile phone. It may have hazardous effects on parotid glands. So, we aimed to investigate the histological and histochemical changes of the parotid glands of rats exposed to mobile phone and study the possible protective role of rosemary against its harmful effect. Forty adult male albino rats were used in this study. They were classified into 4 equal groups. Group I (control), group II (control receiving rosemary), group III (mobile phone exposed group) and group IV (mobile exposed, rosemary treated group). Parotid glands were dissected out for histological and histochemical study. Moreover, measurement of oxidative stress markers; malondialdehyde (MDA) and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) was done. The results of this study revealed that rosemary has protective effect through improving the histological and histochemical picture of the parotid gland in addition of its antioxidant effect. It could be concluded from the current study, that exposure of parotid gland of rat models to electromagnetic radiation of mobile phone resulted in structural changes at the level of light and electron microscopic examination which could be explained by oxidative stress effect of mobile phone. Rosemary could play a protective role against this harmful effect through its antioxidant activity.


From this study, it could be concluded that exposure of rat models to non-ionizing radiation emitted from mobile phone has hazardous effects on the histology and histochemistry of their parotid glands. Administration of rosemary extract which is a natural antioxidant resulted in a significant improvement. Unfortunately these preliminary results cannot be further extrapolated to humans. Therefore, we should adjust our use for mobile.

Also see:

AirPods: Are Apple’s New Wireless Earbuds Safe?

December 13, 2016

Apple announced today that AirPods can be ordered online and will be available in stores next week. The wireless earbuds will be available in limited quantities in more than 100 countries and territories.

Apple originally planned to ship AirPods in October and has not explained the reason for the delay. The Wall Street Journal reported that the delay was due to problems with the Bluetooth wireless technology employed by this device.


September 12, 2016

Apple’s new AirPods are wireless earbuds that employ Bluetooth technology to communicate with your smart phone, laptop, or smart watch. 

According to Apple, “After a simple one-tap setup, AirPods are automatically on and always connected.”

The Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for the AirPods

The left AirPod emits Bluetooth microwave radiation in the 2.402 – 2.480 GHz frequency range to communicate with a smart phone or other wireless device. The Specific Absorption Rate (or SAR) of the AirPod is 0.466 watts per kilogram (averaged over 1 gram). (1)  For more information about the SAR see my post on the iPhone 7.

If one uses the AirPods many hours a day, the cumulative exposure to the brain from this microwave radiation could be substantial. 

According to EE Times, the left AirPod communicates with the right AirPod using a different technology, "near field magnetic induction (NFMI)."

Although there is a substantial research literature on the health risks of exposure to magnetic fields, I am not aware of any biologic research that examines NFMI. Hence, this post focuses on the risks to the brain from exposure to Bluetooth radiation. 

Is Bluetooth safe?

The wireless industry argues that devices that use Bluetooth are safe because the microwave radiation emitted by such devices is low compared to FCC guidelines. The FCC requires the SAR to be 1.6 watts per kilogram or less.

More than 220 scientists who have published research on electromagnetic radiation safety believe that current national and international guidelines for exposure to radio frequency radiation are inadequate to protect human health (see the International EMF Scientist Appeal).

I could find only two peer-reviewed studies that have examined the effects of exposure to Bluetooth radiation. The studies which employed small samples evaluated the effects of brief exposure to Bluetooth radiation on the auditory system. (2) Given the study limitations, the absence of significant effects is not surprising. These studies do not provide the basis to argue that long-term exposure to Bluetooth radiation is safe.

Low-intensity microwave radiation can open the blood-brain barrier

In 1975, Allan Frey published a paper in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences which reported that exposure to low intensity microwave radiation could open the blood-brain barrier in rats. Moreover, pulsed radio frequency waves (like Bluetooth) were more likely to produce this effect than continuous waves. (3)

The blood-brain barrier is a special layer of cells in the brain that prevents chemical toxins in the blood system from reaching the brain. Breaching this barrier could potentially lead to neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases and brain cancer.

More than a dozen peer-reviewed studies have replicated Frey's findingsexposure to low intensity microwave radiation can open the blood-brain barrier (see links below). (3)  

The effect of microwave radiation on the blood-brain barrier is nonlinear—it occurs with low intensity exposures but not at higher intensity exposures.

Although other published studies have failed to find the blood-brain barrier effect, these studies tended to use higher intensity exposures or employed small samples.


We may not be certain of the long-term risks of using Bluetooth devices, but why would anyone insert microwave-emitting devices in their ears near their brain when there are safer ways to use a cell phone?

I recommend the use of corded headsets or hands-free use of cell phones, not wireless earbuds. Moreover, one should never keep a cell phone next to your body, especially during a phone call, but also whenever the phone is powered on. For additional tips on how to reduce your exposure to wireless radiation see http://bit.ly/safewirelesstips.

News coverage

In the past few days, numerous news stories have appeared citing industry-affiliated scientists who claim that AirPods are safe. Nonetheless, a few news reports have addressed the potential health risks from using AirPods:

·         CBS San Francisco"Apple Unveils iPhone 7 Without Headphone Jack"
·         Daily Mail“Could wireless headphones harm your health?”

Since the stories in the Daily Mail and CNN were posted on September 8, over two dozen online news stories have appeared that discuss the potential health risks from the microwave radiation emitted by AirPods.


(1) UL Verification Services, Inc. SAR Evaluation Report for Wireless Headset. FCC ID: BCG-A1523. Model Name: A1523. Report Number: 16U23784-S6V1. Issue Date: 8/30/2016. Fremont, CA. https://fccid.io/document.php?id=3118442

(2) Peer-reviewed studies which reported on the effects of brief exposure to Bluetooth radiation:

Mandalà M, Colletti V, Sacchetto L, Manganotti P, Ramat S, Marcocci A, Colletti L. Effect of Bluetooth headset and mobile phone electromagnetic fields on the human auditory nerve. Laryngoscope. 2014 Jan;124(1):255-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23619813

Balachandran R, Prepageran N, Rahmat O, Zulkiflee AB, Hufaida KS. Effects of Bluetooth device electromagnetic field on hearing: pilot study. J Laryngol Otol. 2012 Apr;126(4):345-8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22310164

(3) Peer-reviewed studies which reported opening of the blood-brain barrier from exposure to low-intensity microwave radiation:

Sırav B, Seyhan N. Effects of GSM modulated radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation on permeability of blood-brain barrier in male & female rats. J Chem Neuroanat. 2016 Sep;75(Pt B):123-7  23. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26723545?dopt=Abstract

Tang J, Zhang Y, Yang L, Chen Q, Tan L, Zuo S, Feng H, Chen Z, Zhu G. Exposure to 900MHz electromagnetic fields activates the mkp-1/ERK pathway and causes blood-brain barrier damage and cognitive impairment in rats. Brain Res. 2015 Jan 15. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25598203?dopt=Abstract

Sirav B, Seyhan N. Effects of radiofrequency radiation exposure on blood-brain barrier permeability in male and female rats. Electromagn Biol Med. 2011 Dec;30(4):253-60. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22047463

Sirav B, Seyhan N. Blood-brain barrier disruption by continuous-wave radio frequency radiation. Electromagn Biol Med. 2009;28(2):215-22. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19811403?dopt=Abstract

Nittby H, Brun A, Eberhardt J, Malmgren L, Persson BR, Salford LG. Increased blood-brain barrier permeability in mammalian brain 7 days after exposure to the radiation from a GSM-900 mobile phone. Pathophysiology. 2009 Aug;16(2-3):103-12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19345073?dopt=Abstract

Söderqvist F, Carlberg M, Hansson Mild K, Hardell L. Exposure to an 890-MHz mobile phone-like signal and serum levels of S100B and transthyretin in volunteers. Toxicol Lett. 2009 Aug 25;189(1):63-6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19427372?dopt=Abstract

Eberhardt JL, Persson BR, Brun AE, Salford LG, Malmgren LO. Blood-brain barrier permeability and nerve cell damage in rat brain 14 and 28 days after exposure to microwaves from GSM mobile phones. Electromagn Biol Med. 2008;27(3):215-29. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18821198?dopt=Abstract

Belyaev IY,  Koch CB, Terenius O, Roxström-Lindquist K, Malmgren LO, H Sommer W, Salford LG, Persson BR. Exposure of rat brain to 915 MHz GSM microwaves induces changes in gene expression but not double stranded DNA breaks or effects on chromatin conformation. Bioelectromagnetics. 2006 May;27(4):295-306. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16511873?dopt=Abstract

Salford LG, Brun AE,  Eberhardt JL,  Malmgren L,  Persson BR. Nerve cell damage in mammalian brain after exposure to microwaves from GSM mobile phones. Environ Health Perspect. 2003 Jun;111(7):881-3; discussion A408. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12782486?dopt=Abstract

Leszczynski D, Joenväärä S, Reivinen J, Kuokka R. Non-thermal activation of the hsp27/p38MAPK stress pathway by mobile phone radiation in human endothelial cells: molecular mechanism for cancer- and blood-brain barrier-related effects. Differentiation. 2002 May;70(2-3):120-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12076339?dopt=Abstract

Schirmacher A, Winters S, Fischer S, Goeke J, Galla HJ, Kullnick U, Ringelstein EB, Stögbauer F. Electromagnetic fields (1.8 GHz) increase the permeability to sucrose of the blood-brain barrier in vitro. Bioelectromagnetics. 2000 Jul;21(5):338-45. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10899769?dopt=Abstract

Fritze K, Sommer C, Schmitz B, Mies G, Hossmann KA, Kiessling M, Wiessner C. Effect of global system for mobile communication (GSM) microwave exposure on blood-brain barrier permeability in rat. Acta Neuropathol. 1997 Nov;94(5):465-70. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9386779?dopt=Abstract

Salford LG, Brun A, Sturesson K, Eberhardt JL, Persson BR. Permeability of the blood-brain barrier induced by 915 MHz electromagnetic radiation, continuous wave and modulated at 8, 16, 50, and 200 Hz. Microsc Res Tech. 1994 Apr 15;27(6):535-42. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8012056?dopt=Abstract

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