Monday, February 19, 2018

Google Glass Alert: Potential health risks from wireless radiation

On the effects of glasses on the SAR in human head resulting from wireless eyewear devices at phone call state

Lan JQ, Liang X, Hong T, Du GH. On the effects of glasses on the SAR in human head resulting from wireless eyewear devices at phone call state. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2018 Feb 8. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2018.02.001.

Abstract

This paper evaluates the effects of glasses on the specific absorption rates (SAR) in the human head resulting from wireless eyewear device at phone call state. We mainly concentrate on the SAR in the eyes since their sensitivity to electromagnetic fields (EMF). We find wearing glasses obviously alters the distribution and magnitude of the SAR. The maximal SAR in the ocular tissues with glasses is even 6 times more than that without glasses. Wearing glasses also induce the new hotspot in the eyes which may cause the biggest SAR increment in the ocular tissues. Moreover, calculated results indicate that the maximal SAR is sensitive to the size of glasses and radiation frequency. Because of this, we believe wearing glasses may possibly increase the risk of health hazard to eyes of wireless eyewear device user. These calculated results could be a valuable reference for the glasses designer to reduce the SAR in the eyes.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29428220

Conclusions


Based on the calculated results, we find wearing glasses obviously alters the distribution and magnitude of SAR. The maximal SAR in the ocular tissues with glasses is even 6 times more than that without glasses. Wearing glasses also could induce the new hotspot in the eyeballs which may cause the biggest SAR increment in the ocular tissues. Moreover, calculated results indicate that the maximal SAR is sensitive to the size of glasses and radiation frequency. Therefore, we believe wearing glasses may possibly increase the risk of health hazard to human eyes. In order to decrease the SAR in the ocular tissues, people should choose the adaptive glasses according to the radiation frequency. If possible, we advise people to take off their glasses when they use the eyewear device. These calculated results could be a valuable reference for the glasses designer to reduce the SAR in the eyes. However, due to the limited research conditions, the experiment is not included. So conclusions, in this paper, are just indicative but not definitive.

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March 22, 2017

The Google Glass, an optical head-mounted display designed in the shape of a pair of eyeglasses, was not embraced by the general public when it was introduced in 2013-2014. So Google changed its marketing strategy to target specific occupational needs including healthcare, military, and sports applications.
Recently, a colleague told me that some physician offices in California require their staff to wear the Glass. Last week, National Public Radio reported that some factory workers must also wear the Glass.
Tasnim Shamma, Google Glass Didn't Disappear. You Can Find It On The Factory Floor. WABE/National Public Radio, March 18, 2017. http://n.pr/2nDG22d
Following is a press release I prepared three years ago which provides precautionary information about this wireless device. SAR values for the latest model of the Google Glass follow the press release.
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Google Glass Alert: Potential health risks from wireless radiation
The Google Glass emits more wireless radiation than most cell phones on the market, but unlike cell phone users, Glass users may be wearing this device on their heads for more than 12 hours a day putting their health at risk.

By Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley

BERKELEY, Calif. - April 15, 2014 - PRLog -- The Google Glass emits both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radiation. Although the Glass official web site, http://www.google.com/glass/start/ , contains information warning consumers about the device's potential interference with radio or television reception, the site provides no safety information to consumers.

As a body-worn, microwave-emitting device, Google is required by Federal law to test the Specific Absorption Rate or SAR of the Glass. This is a measure of the maximum microwave radiation absorbed by the user in 6 minutes averaged over one gram of tissue. 

Although Google did not post the SAR information on its web site, the Glass test reports can be found on the FCC's web site at [https://fccid.io/document.php?id=1910822]. The FCC ID for the current version of the Glass is X1.

The official test report indicates that the SAR for the Glass is much higher than the SARs for the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S5, or most cell phones on the market.

During the last year, Google improved the antenna on the Glass which resulted in an increase in the SAR from 1.11 to 1.42 watts/kilogram (W/kg).  In contrast, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a head and body SAR of 0.57 and 0.64 W/kg, respectively. The Apple iPhone 5 has a head SAR of 1.17 and a body SAR of 1.18 W/kg.

In the U.S. no personal wireless device can have a SAR that exceeds 1.6 W/kg. The SAR standard, however, was developed several decades ago in the U.S. primarily by physicists and engineers to protect users from the acute effects of the heat generated by microwave radiation. The standards do not protect users from the non-thermal effects of cell phone radiation which have been associated with increased brain cancer risk among long-term cell phone users and other health problems in the short term including electrosensitivity, sperm damage and infertility, and reproductive health risks in children.

Just because these devices are legal does not mean they are safe

Although many health researchers, including myself, have questioned the utility of assessing only a device's SAR, currently that is all governments measure and regulate. 

Governments want consumers to believe that all legally marketed wireless devices are safe, and that the SAR level does not matter as long as it meets the legal standard.  Yet no study has proved that exposure to low-intensity microwave radiation is safe, and thousands of peer-reviewed, published studies have found biologic effects from such exposures. The research suggests that governments need to adopt more stringent, biologically-based, standards to protect consumers' health.

Medical and public health professionals should call on Google to end this experiment on Glass users or at least fully inform consumers of the potential long-term health risks from wearing this device.


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Google Glass SAR test report update

Following are the results from the SAR test report for the Google Glass Model GG1 (A4R-GG1; dated May 18, 2015):

Head test: 0.293 W/kg for Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz) and 0.790 W/kg for Wi-Fi (5 GHz)

Simultaneous transmission: 0.874 W/kg

Bluetooth was excluded from testing as the maximum output power is 2.0 dBm.