Exactly How Dangerous Is It To Use Bluetooth Devices?

I recently received this message from one of my readers, Craig, who is worried about Bluetooth radiation:

Hi Lloyd,
I have a quick question, or maybe not such a quick question.
What’s the best way to reduce radiation when listening to streaming audio on a cell phone:
– A Bluetooth headset?
– Does Bluetooth drastically cut down on radiation as compared to having the cell phone near my ear?
– A physical wired headphone?
– Does the radiation transmit up the headphone cable that’s physically plugged into the phone?
– Those “thick protector stickers” that you apply to the outside of your cell phone?
Unfortunately, I depend on the internet, and consequently cell phone, for the majority of my news; and tune into my favourite radio stations while driving for work, at the gym, or doing chores around the house.
Do you have a chart or is there an article you can direct me to that contrasts/compares methods of getting the most sound to your ears with the least amount of radiation?
Thanks for a great site and newsletters!

Bluetooth is now used extensively, in cell phone headsets, computer accessories such as keyboards, printers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), personal media players, GPS, gaming equipment, and also various medical health and wellness devices.

This Bluetooth technology is used for more and more personal and commercial applications. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group lists over 6000 products that utilize Bluetooth technology.

All the more reason that we should be really clear as to what the potential dangers are with Bluetooth radiation.

What Is Bluetooth?

Wikipedia defines Bluetooth as,

a proprietary open wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances”.

Put simply, Bluetooth is the name of a wireless technology that utilizes pulsed radio frequency signals or microwave radiation. Pulses carried by microwaves are particularly dangerous.

Here is what Dr. Andrew Goldsworthy has to say about pulsed radiation:

“Pulses carried by microwaves are particularly dangerous. This is because their very short wavelength allows the transmission of pulses with extremely rapid rise and fall times, and it is the rate of change of the fields (rather than their total energy) that does most of the biological damage” Source.

Bluetooth transmits at frequency levels in the 2.4 GHz band – the same as your microwave oven.

Is All Bluetooth The Same?


bluetooth radiation from a wireless headset There are three power classes – it’s these power classes which are your best indicator as to what level of Bluetooth radiation you’re exposing yourself to. The power classes to look out for are :

Class 1 transmitters — are the most powerful, have a range of 100 meters and peak transmission power of 100 mW (milliwatt)

Class 2 transmitters — are usually found in mobile devices and they have a range of 10 meters and operate at 2.5 mW peak transmission power

Class 3 transmitters — these are the weakest and operate in a range of less than 10 meters and have a peak transmission power of 1 mW

The first thing to do is to check what class of transmitter your Bluetooth device is. You should find this information in the guide or manual that comes with the device. I say ‘should’ because some manufacturers deem it unnecessary to share this information.

What Does Bluetooth Version Mean?

Don’t confuse Bluetooth version and Bluetooth Class. When looking at Bluetooth devices you’ll often see terms like “Bluetooth V5 compliant” or “Bluetooth version 3.0”. This tells you the Bluetooth software the device uses, but Bluetooth version has nothing to do with Bluetooth class.

Bluetooth version 1.0, the earliest version of Bluetooth transmitted at 721 kilobytes per second. Version 5.0 offers a transmission rate of 50 megabytes per second, or 50000 kilobytes per second!

Currently there are no studies on the biological effects of these Bluetooth transmission speeds. We can’t say with certainty if the higher transmission rates are more dangerous than the lower ones, but it’s highly likely that this is the case.

What Does Science Say About Bluetooth Radiation?

The science on this issue can seem confusing – this is not an accident

Two factors make it hard to come up with answers on the Bluetooth question:

  • Cell phones and the like require measuring and reporting of the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), a measure of the rate that radio frequency radiation energy is absorbed by the body. Bluetooth devices do not require SAR values to be measured or declared to the consumer. So we’re in the dark as to the radiation absorption levels of Bluetooth devices.
  • There is a huge amount of funding bias and outright manipulation of the science in order to publish studies which show favorable results. The cell phone industry has already spent and is ready to spend a considerable amount of money to protect its interests.

Nevertheless various studies show a diversity of hazards from these exposures.

One study found that, “men who keep cell phones in a trouser pocket in the talk mode while using a Bluetooth device may experience decreased fertility“. High-frequency electromagnetic fields can lead to a significant increase in blood pressure and affect biological processes in the body just the same as cell phones.

Just two hours of exposure to high-frequency EMFs from a cell phone or Bluetooth headset, can cause irreparable DNA damage.

Research by the British Columbia Institute of Technology studied radiation from Bluetooth headsets when used in conjunction with a cell phone, it concluded that, “a Bluetooth headset emits higher radiation levels than the paired cellphone and also causes the cellphone to emit higher levels than it normally would had it been unpaired”.

Does Bluetooth drastically cut down on radiation as compared to having the cell phone near my ear?

Not necessarily. Research shows that Bluetooth devices that fit in or around the ear typically have a Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of 0.23 watts per kilogram (W/Kg).  Compare this average Bluetooth SAR level with any website that shows cell phone SAR levels and you’ll find that some Bluetooth devices are worse than some of the low SAR cell phones.

In theory a Bluetooth device does drastically cut down radiation exposure compared to having the cell phone next to your ear if you could be sure that you were only exposing yourself to Bluetooth radiation.

The problem is that when you use a Bluetooth headset that the transmission strength from the cell phone itself is not decreased. If for instance you are putting the phone in your pocket or clipping it to your belt then you are at the same time exposing your internal organs to radiation.

The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health states that cell phones should not be kept in the pocket when making calls and in fact, it’s best to hold it away from the body. A study in 2008 by Whittow also said that metallic objects like coins, rings, belt buckles etc. increases the SAR in the body.

Does the radiation transmit up the headphone cable that’s physically plugged into the phone?

The headphone can act as a sort of antenna for your cell phone giving the radiation a fast route into your brain. The science is sketchy on this but, in my view, having tried wired headphones they are not the solution to reducing your radiation exposure. Recognition of these dangers is growing in acceptance and yet wired headphones continue to be sold by the boatload to the population at large.

To overcome the antenna effect of wired headphones use an air tube headset.

Do you have a chart or is there an article you can direct me to that contrasts/compares methods of getting the most sound to your ears with the least amount of radiation?

I don’t know of any comparative resource on this topic but to answer your question, “what’s the best way to reduce radiation when listening to streaming audio on a cell phone?” the golden rule is, distance is your friend.

In other words, avoid holding your cell phone next to your ear. If you absolutely need to hold a cell phone next to your ear, a Pong case can reduce your exposure.

Do cell chips offer protection from cell phone radiation?

I’ve tried cell phone chips, diodes and neutralizers from many different suppliers. None of the devices I’ve tried offer satisfactory protection. In some cases using these devices can be more dangerous than not using them.

Low EMF Bluetooth Headsets

Despite reading all of the above if you’re still committed to using a Bluetooth headset the best information we have to go on is the power classification, or the Class.

The worst offenders are Class 1 headsets. There are quite a few of these on the market, for instance the Beats Solo2 Wired On-Ear Headphones and the TaoTronics Wireless 4.1 Magnetic Earbuds are Class 1 Bluetooth headsets and therefore to be avoided if radiation exposures are your main concern.

In an ideal world you’d use a Class 3 headset, which are the lowest powered headsets and therefore the safest. Unfortunately because most people’s top priority is having a good strong signal Class 3 headsets are a relic of the past. That leaves us with the Class 2s.

The problem is the power classification of a headset takes some rooting out. The manufacturers are very ‘low profile’ about sharing this information. I’ve tried contacting a few of them – most of them don’t reply and the one’s that do are blissfully unaware of the dangers.

Nevertheless I’ve rooted some out. Here are some options for Class 2 Bluetooth headsets:

Plantronics Voyager Legend

Plantronics Backbeat

Mpow Jaws V4.1 Bluetooth Headphones

LanAuBluetooth Headphones

Avantree Super Comfortable Bluetooth Over Ear Headphones


The frequency of Bluetooth wireless headsets is the same as that of microwave ovens. Microwave ovens use much higher power levels. But the power levels themselves are not the issue. It’s the nature of the signal and the rate of change of the EMFs, the pulsing, that causes most of the biological damage.

Two other important points:

  • Bluetooth headsets and earpieces are particularly dangerous because they are held within centimeters of the brain and they are used in conjunction with a cell phone. So you’re getting double exposure.
  • If you use Bluetooth in a car the effects are multiplied due to the Faraday cage effect.

Clearly Bluetooth headsets and of particular concern because they are used in close proximity to the brain. The bottom line is avoid Bluetooth headsets. Avoid Bluetooth devices generally and practice safe cell phone use.

Some people are electrically hyper sensitive, they can feel the effects of these exposures. But don’t think that because you can’t feel anything that you’re not being affected by Bluetooth radiation and similar exposures. This is not what the studies are saying.

Bluetooth radiation is dangerous. Use the information outlined on this page to safeguard your health and the health of your loved one’s.Save