Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wireless, Is It Dangerous?

Just a while ago I posted about the fun of going cordless, and the benefits it bring to my work environment: much less clutter.

Today I finally got my BH-503 bluetooth headset from DealExtreme, and boy do I enjoy it. I use GTalk and Skype A LOT, and not being tied to a microphone makes life better. Sound quality is also very good, and it gets along just fine with my eye-glasses (not a trivial thing with other headsets).

So what's the problem?
The 2.4GHz spectrum near my desk is awfully crowded: wireless mouse, keyboard, WiFi router and two bluetooth devices (smartphone and headset). This gets me thinking: could this be dangerous?
All of the above products came with a disclaimer saying it is perfectly safe to use them, and none of them generates a bad kind of radiation or something. And still, just because I cannot see all those "waves" in the air, I'm a little bit disturbed.

What do you think?

See you all on the Linkin Park concert soon :)


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  2. Since we are talking about radiation its pretty natural to be afraid of it, what most people do not notice is the Specific absorption rate or SAR measured by W/Kg (Kg of body weight) and usually measured individually both for head and body (Not all cellular phone makers provide both, Nokia specifies only one).

    This formula helps you determine how dangerous the product is, the only problem is that posting this kind of information is not obligatory or each and every wireless device, meaning you can find this info for almost every cellular phone out there but not for your wireless headset.

    The allowed levels of SAR differ between Europe and the United States, The European Union allows up to 1.6 SAR (some sources claim 1.5) while the US permits up to 2.0 (In Israel we follow the European regulation).

    I would like to make an educated guess, since I know that Bluetooth is about 0.01 (some say its 0.1) but either way its not lethal, and cellular phones are usually about 1.0 I would say the radiation in your room should be less than 0.4 but if you use your headset quite a lot you can probably guess that its like using your cellphone only it takes much more time to achieve the same effect (An hour with your headset on would be like 30 seconds of speaking on the cellphone approximately).

    My suggestion is: lose the wireless mouse and keyboard if you don't have to use them.

    And another good advice: most people select their phones by their features, I select them by their SAR, eco friendly phones and smart phones usually cost much more than a "normal" phone but will usually omit up to 0.3 W/Kg of radiation, meaning that you better live in an urban environment (Tel Aviv for instance) if you have one of these otherwise you'll get a really weak signal.

  3. Thanks Yaron, that was really insightful. I'm much more calm now.

    As for the last paragraph you wrote, if I understand correctly, when a phone has a weak signal, it "tries harder" to transmit, a thing that causes higher levels of radiation to be emitted. A friend of mine sleeps in a MAMAD, and claims that if the door is closed, his signal drops to ~0 and the battery drains in an hour. Moreover, he wakes up with an headache.