Apple AirPods are certainly a convenient way to listen to your favorite beats when you’re up and about, but a new report shows that using a pair could have potentially fatal side effects.
More than 200 scientists have signed a petition to the United Nations and World Health Organisation to spread awareness about the cancer risk that wireless headphones such as the Apple AirPods could be posing.
According to the petition, these kinds of devices make use of Bluetooth technology, essentially data-transmitting electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radio waves, in order to send the music straight to the user’s ears. And this is where it gets dangerous. Scientists say that this close proximity to the user’s skull could be harmful to their health. In fact, the petition states that the scientists “have serious concerns regarding the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to EMF generated by electric and wireless devices,” saying that the possible harms linked to EMF exposure include cancer, neurological disorders, and DNA damage.
“My concern for AirPods is that their placement in the ear canal exposes tissues in the head to relatively high levels of radio-frequency radiation,” says Professor Jerry Phillips, who teaches biochemistry at the University of Colorado.
Despite the petition, however, there is still a debate whether or not EMF radiowaves of a level this low are actually dangerous. One bioengineering professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Kenneth Foster, maintains that when you view it as a whole, there’s no evidence that suggests that EMF-emitting devices could be harmful. Foster says, “There are many thousands of papers of varying quality and relevance to health that point in all sorts of directions.”
The conclusion still stands: more research is needed.