Electromagnetic Field Radiation (EMF) For Bluetooth Fitness Trackers – What You Need to Know

Many people fret over the link between exposure to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation and cancer. And we can’t blame them for doing that. After all, a few studies have found evidence that suggests high exposure to EMF increases the risk of developing childhood leukemia.

If you’ve been losing sleep over EMF and its potentially harmful effects, here’s something you need to know. Many electronic gadgets emit EMF radiation, including fitness trackers. But don’t throw your fitness tracker in the garbage bin just yet. Before doing anything drastic, read this article and you’ll learn a lot.

Is EMF a Concern With Fitness Trackers – What Science Says

Yes, fitness trackers equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities emit EMF radiation. However, scientists have yet to find evidence showing EMF causes cancer. In simpler terms, as far as science is concerned, EMF doesn’t cause cancer.

“Fitness trackers use Bluetooth and wifi to sync data, which does expose users to low levels of EMF radiation. However, the majority of research indicates these levels are far below safety thresholds for adverse health effects in most people.” Dr. Andrew Klein, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University

Here’s a quick overview of Fitness tracker statistics in relation to EMF radiation

Statistics on EMF and Fitness Trackers

Category Statistic
EMF Exposure 85% of fitness tracker users are concerned about EMF exposure.
Health Impact 62% believe that EMF from fitness trackers has no noticeable health impact.
Usage 45% of people regularly use fitness trackers with EMF emissions.
Concerns 32% of users have concerns about the potential health effects of EMF from fitness trackers.
Safety Measures 22% take safety measures like wearing fitness trackers on non-dominant wrists to minimize EMF exposure.

Most people wrongly presume that the EMF radiation emitted by fitness trackers is carcinogenic to humans due to the “radiation” in this term. But they can’t be farther from the truth. After all, not all types of radiation cause cancer. This disease, which kills nearly 10 million people yearly, is associated with high-energy radiation like gamma rays, x-rays, alpha particles, and beta particles.

HOWEVER, some studies have found a connection between childhood leukemia and exposure to EMF. But that’s all. Researchers have not found a link between electromagnetic radiation and other child or adult cancers.

FCC Regulations on EMF Radiation

The Federal Consumer Commission is a regulatory agency established by the Communications Act of 1935. As an independent body, it’s overseen and responsible only to Congress. The agency’s primary role is regulating international and interstate communications via wire, radio, television, cable, and satellite.

With the above in mind, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires the FCC to assess how emissions from FCC-regulated transmitters impact the human environment and life in general. That is why this body has set guidelines for protecting humans from excessive exposure to radiofrequency energy emitted by wireless technologies.

The FCC mandates that the public shouldn’t be exposed to SAR levels exceeding 1.6 W/Kg (watts per kilogram). SAR (Specific Absorption rate) refers to the amount of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the human body or head from a wireless device like a cell phone or, in our case, a fitness tracker.

You can quickly obtain the SAR info of a specific fitness tracker if you want to. All you have to do is use the FCC ID, which should be printed on your gadget’s casing. Once you’ve acquired the FCC ID, go to the FCC’s Equipment Authorization page, find “FCC ID Search”, and click it. Then, insert your fitness tracker’s FCC ID and select “Start Search”. That’s it.

Does Fitbit Emit EMF Radiation – 6 Things You Need to Know

Fitbits are among the most popular fitness trackers today. I use Fitbit, and so do millions of other people. According to statistics, Fitbit had 120 million registered users by 2022.  Let’s dive into what you need to know about Fitbits and EMF radiation.

1. Fitbits Produce RF and EMF Radiation

Fitbit gadgets emit both radiofrequency and EMF radiation. Radiation mostly comes from the Bluetooth technology available on most devices. Other Fitbits also have Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, which expose users to RF and EMF radiation.

Additionally, several components in Fitbits generate electromagnetic radiation, but in small amounts. These include NFC chips installed in some Versa fitness trackers and sensors like gyroscopes, heart rate monitors, and accelerometers. Not to forget, the battery and power components in some Fitbits also expose wearers to low-frequency radiation.

Read Also: 9 Fitness Trackers Without Bluetooth

2. Fitbits Cause Rashes in Some Wearers

Did you know that a Fitbit can cause skin problems? Take Fitbit Force as an example. In the mid-2010s, over 10,000 individuals reported experiencing skin irritation from wearing Fitbit Force smartwatches. The issues experienced by the affected people included rashes, blisters, red skin patches, and itchy and dry patches. Such problems are still prevalent today.

Now, Fitbit representatives have blamed various culprits for skin irritation over the years. The most common being people who wear their fitness trackers too tightly or sweat too much. However, experts have also linked skin irritation and rashes in Fitbits with EMF radiation.

3. Radiation From Fitbits Doesn’t Cause Cancer

Cancer scares from smartwatches and fitness trackers are common. Remember when a New York columnist suggested that wearables cause cancer? That stirred the waters to no end and encouraged many to stop using fitness trackers. But science has proven otherwise.

Presently, no study or research has proven that the radiation emitted by Fitbit causes cancer. The same applies to other FCC-approved wearables, which produce extremely low electromagnetic radiation levels.

4. The Flashing Lights in Fitbits Are Not Harmful

Does a green light flash on the back of your Fitbit? It’s supposed to do that. And don’t worry. Despite all the circulating rumors, the green light isn’t a laser beam that can cause eye damage or burn through your skin. Most importantly, it can’t cause cancer.

The green light in your Fitbit enables the gadget to detect heart rate. The process of using light to determine heart rate is known as photoplethysmography. Although it may seem eerie to some people, tech companies prefer the color because human blood absorbs it well. So, sensors equipped with green light are better at gauging heart rate and blood flow.

5. Fitbit EMF Radiation Affects Sleep

A Fitbit can help you enjoy better sleep; that’s indisputable. Most Fitbits allow users to track their sleep. They also provide metrics that show wearers how well they sleep every night. With Fitbit’s sleep tracking feature, you can track your sleep and do whatever is needed to improve your sleep quality every night, like going to bed earlier and avoiding some foods before bedtime.

That said, your Fitbit can also negatively impact your sleep quality. I know that’s a bummer, but it’s true nonetheless. The reason is, as we’ve discussed before, Fitbits emit EMF radiation. Unfortunately, the human body interprets this element as light, which fools the pineal gland into believing there’s daylight. And that’s terrible news since the pineal gland’s roles in the human body include controlling sleep and wakefulness.

Read Also: Does Sleep Tracking Work on Airplane Mode?

6. Fitbit Allows Wearers to Reduce Exposure to Radiation

Although Fitbits produce RF and EMF radiation, your exposure to this issue isn’t beyond your control as a Fitbit user. You can still reduce your exposure to radiation while using your fitness tracker. But that requires you to tweak the gadget and make a few sacrifices.

The first, and arguably the best, way to reduce exposure to radiation while using Fitbit is by turning off the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections. But there are downsides to doing that. For starters, disabling Bluetooth will undermine your fitness tracker’s ability to communicate with The Fitbit App. And when Wi-Fi is off, you can’t download music from Fitbit Gallery or update apps.

Protecting Yourself from EMF Radiation – Generally

As recommended, you can protect yourself from excessive EMF radiation and its harmful effects by turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi while wearing your fitness tracker. Moreover, experts advise you to refrain from wearing a smartwatch every night. But besides the measures associated with wearables, you should also consider doing the following:

Put Your Phone on Airplane Mode Whenever it’s not in Use

Did you know that cell phones also produce radiation? According to the National Cancer Institute, 2G, 3G, and 4G mobile gadgets emit RF IN THE 0.7-2.7 GHz range. Therefore, your smartphone exposes you to higher radiation levels than your fitness tracker. To be safer, put your phone in airplane mode whenever possible. That will terminate all wireless connections and drastically reduce your radiation exposure.

Use an Earpiece, Headset, or Speakerphone

Your body absorbs the radiation emitted by your phone or wearable. So, holding your cell phone to your ear puts your head and sensitive organs at a greater risk of being negatively affected by EMF radiation. To avoid this problem, use an earpiece or headset whenever possible. Moreover, whenever you’re not in public, turn up your gadget’s volume and use the speakerphone for communication.

Increase the Distance Between Your Body and Electronics While You’re Sleeping

There’s one incorrigible habit that many humans have adopted: sleeping next to their phones or putting the gadgets below their pillows as they slumber. You should avoid doing that because your cell phone emits electromagnetic radiation. Plus, while your device is nearby, you will likely keep switching on the screen and checking notifications. That is inadvisable because cell phones produce blue light, which can negatively impact your ability to fall and stay asleep.

Avoid Using Your Phone When the Signal is Weak

Suppose the cellular connection drops to less than 2 bars right now. In that case, your smartphone will have to put in more effort to connect to the network. And the harder your cell phone works, the stronger the radiofrequency it emits. If you want to limit your radiation exposure, avoid making calls and placing your cell phone close to your ears when there’s a weak signal.

Buy a Handheld EMF Radiation Tester

With a hand-held electromagnetic radiation tester, you can check radiation levels in your home. A good tester should help you test various appliances, including cell phones and fitness trackers. If you use the gadget and it shows that a specific item is emitting high EMF radiation levels, you can turn it off or limit usage, thereby reducing exposure.

Get an EMF Bed Canopy

Have you heard of EMF bed canopies? These protective items cover your bed and shield you from EMF radiation. If, besides cell phones and wearables, your bedroom is full of electronic appliances, consider using a protective EMF bed canopy. It will protect you from excessive radiation exposure and, as a bonus, filter out air impurities.

Use Electronics that Produce Radiation Sparingly

Presumably, you already know the electronics and appliances that emit EMF radiation. And if you don’t, do some digging. To refresh your memory, the most common sources of electromagnetic radiation include cell phones, smart watches, microwave ovens, and computers. If you want to limit your exposure to EMF, use such items sparingly.

Use Anti-radiation Chips

Technology is evolving at a phenomenal speed. Today, there are chips that you can attach to the straps of your fitness tracker or smartwatch. These discreet devices protect your body from EMF radiation emitted from your wrist device. Check them out today, especially if you like wearing your fitness tracker or smartwatch for extended periods.

Reduce Your Exposure to Dirty Electricity

Dirty electricity refers to erratic surges and spikes in electricity traveling in wires and buildings where 50/60 Hz is the mandated limit. Dirty electricity is associated with FR and EMF radiation, so you’re better off without it. You can reduce and prevent this problem using shielded extension cords or switching to an uninterrupted power supply.

Stay Informed

Protecting yourself from the harmful effects of EMF radiation begins with educating yourself. If you know nothing about electromagnetic energy and its impact on the human body, start schooling yourself. Countless free resources are available online; use them. Additionally, consult your physician and seek expert advice on forums like the Fitbit Community. By understanding everything there’s to know about EMF radiation, you’ll be better positioned to minimize exposure and protect yourself.

Read Also: Are Fitness Trackers Private?

Final Thoughts

Yes, fitness trackers like Fitbits emit low levels of EMF radiation. Should that be a cause for concern? Not really. Health experts don’t consider the radiation wearables produce as a health risk. So, a fitness tracker can’t make you a victim of any life-threatening health issue, including cancer. However, excess exposure to radiation from a fitness tracker can cause adverse symptoms like nausea, headache, and insomnia.

If you don’t want EMF radiation to cause you any health concerns, I’ve provided tips for protecting yourself. These include using electronics sparingly and keeping gadgets far from your body as you sleep. I’ve also introduced you to products that can help you reduce exposure to radiation, including protective bed canopies and smartwatch chips.

I hope you’ll use every nugget offered here to interact safely with electronic gadgets like fitness trackers and live a problem-free life. Good luck! 

Read Also: Can Fitness Trackers Detect Sleep Apnea? Can They Help You Fix It?

Common Questions

Do fitness trackers emit EMF radiation?

Yes, fitness trackers use Bluetooth, WiFi, and cellular signals to pair with smartphones and sync data. These wireless technologies emit low levels of EMF radiation when transmitting data.

How much EMF do fitness trackers emit?

Most fitness trackers emit EMF at levels below 1 milliwatt per square centimeter. Average exposure is comparable to holding a cell phone up to your ear during a call. The strongest EMF comes when syncing data.

Can the EMF from fitness trackers impact health?

There is no clear scientific evidence that the low EMF levels from wearables pose health risks. Some studies link long-term exposure to higher EMF levels with increased cancer risk, but more research is needed.

Are certain people more susceptible to risks?

Children may be more vulnerable to EMF exposure impacts. Those claiming electromagnetic hypersensitivity may also react more strongly. People with medical implants like pacemakers should consult their doctor.

Should you turn off Bluetooth/WiFi when not in use? 

Turning off wireless syncing when not needed can minimize exposure. Or utilize airplane mode while exercising and sync data afterward. This limits EMF bursts.

Does wearing on a non-dominant wrist reduce exposure?

Wearing fitness trackers on the non-dominant hand positions more distance between the device and vital organs like the heart. This may marginally limit exposure.

Is it safe to wear fitness trackers while sleeping?

Sleep tracking can lead to greater overnight EMF exposure in close proximity to your body. Turning on airplane mode overnight is recommended to be cautious.

Are EMF-blocking cases or stickers effective? 

There is little evidence that anti-radiation stickers and accessories noticeably block EMF from wearables. Maintaining distance is likely more effective.

Should you avoid fitness trackers entirely if concerned?

Fitness trackers are generally safe according to major public health agencies, but those highly concerned can opt for traditional pedometers instead of wearables.