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Apple Watch: What are the Side Effects and Health Concerns?

Apple Watch: What are the Side Effects and Health Concerns?

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Apple Watch gained massive popularity upon its release in 2015. Since then, Apple has managed to dominate the smartwatch market to date. A huge number of people like Apple Watch because of the functionality and convenience it provides. From reading your messages without touching your phone to tracking your number of steps, the Apple Watch takes convenience to the next level. But, as convenient and useful the device is, it comes with a side effect – prolonged EMF exposure.

If you’ve been following Shield Your Body for some time, you know that prolonged exposure to any form of EMF is damaging to your health.

There’s a large body of scientific research to back this up, and we’ve covered the health effects of EMF extensively here.

Now, the Apple Watch operates on connections like Bluetooth, WiFi, and cellular. And all these networks use EMF to transmit data from one device to another. Some on a massive scale, and some on a quieter level, but the EMF emission is certainly there.

Since Apple Watch is fresh in the market, there’s virtually no research conducted to conclude that it’s completely safe to wear. As a result, people have started expressing concerns about the device’s safety.

So, in this article, we will answer some of your burning questions about the potential Apple Watch side effects and health issues.

Does Apple Watch Emit Radiation?

Absolutely. Apple Watch uses Bluetooth, WiFi, and cellular to connect with your devices. These network connections generate EMF when they transfer data from your Apple Watch to your phone, computer, or the company’s data storage.

If you don’t know what EMF is, give our post “What is EMF” a read. It has a detailed description of EMF written in an easy to understand way. Come back afterward to continue reading about the Apple Watch side effects and health concerns.

Is Apple Watch Completely Safe to Wear?

It is undeniable that the Apple Watch has amazing features, and for some people, those features are even crucial for health and survival.

Apart from showing the time, Apple Watch includes features like heart rate monitoring, goal planning and alerts, volume level detection, music streaming, step tracking, and many more. It can even SOS signal to your emergency contact if your health is deteriorating.

So, it’s safe to say that with smartwatches like Apple Watch, we have hit a new peak in our journey of technological advancement. Apple Watch is definitely a piece of art created by some of the most brilliant minds alive.

But until now, we don’t have a concrete answer to the question, Is Apple Watch Completely Safe to Wear?

It’s difficult for users to feel confident in the safety of the device because we lack scientific assurance, and whatever we know is told to us by the company.

Apple claims that their watches are completely safe for humans, as they comply with the SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) regulations.

For various reasons, SAR regulations are not reliable when it comes to different EMF emitting gadgets. We’ll talk more about this later in the post.

Looking at what we know about EMF and how Apple Watch operates, there’s a chance that it possesses more risk than benefits to humans.

Now, when we talk about EMF, it is crucial to understand the volume of EMF that your body is being exposed to. But there are also other factors that are equally crucial:

  • You need to take into account your distance from the EMF source. The closer you are to the EMF source, the more damage it does to your health.
  • Second is the amount of time you are spending with the EMF emitting device. Your body absorbs some of the EMF passing through your body. And the longer the absorption, the higher the risk.

With Apple Watch, the volume of EMF it emits is less than that of your mobile phone and laptop. But, the other two factors mentioned above are at a greater play when it comes to the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch is designed to be worn for extended periods, directly in contact with the body.

You wear the Apple Watch on your wrist tightly pressed against your skin. So, the Apple watch is closer to your skin than devices like your laptop and your WiFi router will ever be. Even if you use your cell phone pressed directly to your head (and we hope you don’t), you would only do so for short amounts of time. In contrast, any smart watch is intended to be worn against the body for prolonged periods.

So, the answer to the question, “Is Apple Watch Completely Safe to Wear?” is “no”. But you should definitely weigh the pros vs. cons. If wearing an Apple watch is crucial to your health, then you should not worry about things that are not optional. Instead, you can try to reduce your EMF exposure from sources that you can control.

Apple Watch Side Effects: Bigger Risk With Series 5

There is an added functionality in the recent Apple Watch Series 5, where you can connect your Apple Watch to a cellular connection. This will significantly improve the device’s connectivity issues. And connectivity is crucial if you use the Apple Watch to track your health and send a signal in case of medical emergencies.

This function also brings more convenience as you don’t have to keep your phone near your watch or be within the WiFi range.

But this convenience is not without a side effect. With the introduction of Series 5 Apple Watches, these low EMF emitting gadgets are turning into powerful EMF emitting devices.

When it comes to cell phones, Apple themselves tell you not to put your cell phone in your pocket. And even if you do keep the cell phone in your pocket, it is still a few millimeters away from your skin.

So, with the introduction of the new cellular model, the Series 5 Apple Watch could be as powerful an EMF emitter as your mobile phone.

Now the problem is, unlike mobile phones, you can’t keep your watch at a certain distance from you. Doing that would defeat the purpose of a ‘watch.’

That’s why the Series 5 Apple Watch poses a bigger risk compared to previous versions.

New York Times Says Apple Watch Can Cause Cancer

In 2015, journalist Nick Bilton from the New York Times wrote an article on how wearable tech possesses potential health risks.

The article explains how little we know about the hazards of EMF. And he says additional research must be done in this area.

Nick compared our current knowledge of EMF with the knowledge people had about the hazards of smoking in the earlier half of the twentieth century.

People then didn’t know that smoking was injurious to health.

He then links to an advertisement from 1946 by cigarette brand Camel. In the advertisement, Camel said, “More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette.”

At that time, even doctors weren’t aware that smoking had health hazards. And it was widely encouraged and seen as an epitome of cool and glamour.

But now, as medical science advances, we know that smoking can cause numerous health issues, including chronic illness like cancer.

Similarly, wearable tech like Apple Watch lack proper research, so there’s no evidence it’s completely safe to wear. In fact, there’s a large and growing body of evidence linking EMF to various health issues like cancer and DNA damage, infertility, and more. And since fitness trackers emit EMF constantly, the logical conclusion is that we should approach them with caution.

Later in the article, Nick explained the reason for his concern regarding the Apple Watch. He cited the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the British Medical Journal. Both of these institutions say that there can be a link between cell phone radiation and increased risk of cancer and tumor.

Nick finished the article by saying, “I’ll still buy the Apple Watch, but I won’t let it go anywhere near my head. And I definitely won’t let any children I know play with it for extended periods of time.

Is It Bad to Wear Apple Watch All the Time?

Even though we lack proper research specifically on Apple Watch, scientists have established in multiple papers that EMF is harmful to humans, animals, and nature.

As I already mentioned in this article, the biggest risk Apple Watch possesses is its minimal distance and prolonged usage.

So, if you wear the Apple Watch for a long time, you are exposing your body to both these conditions.

Many people have reported feeling a tingling sensation in their arms after some period of wearing the Apple Watch. Now, it’s not certain that EMF emitted by the watch is causing this tingling sensation, but it’s surely a possibility.

Some people say that the tingling sensation is because of nerve compression in the wrist or an allergic reaction to the metal, which can be true. But this symptom is also one that’s common to EHS (Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity).

Electrohypersensitivity is sensitivity to EMF. Extreme cases of EHS are rare, but minor cases are pretty common. Typical symptoms of EHS include headache, fatigue, stress, sleep disturbances, skin prickling, burning sensations and rashes, and muscle aches.

So, if you’re experiencing these symptoms after wearing the Apple Watch for some time, try doing these:

  • Wear your Apple Watch a bit loose, so it doesn’t press your veins too hard
  • If the symptom persists, don’t wear your watch for a few days
  • Consult your doctor
  • Use EMF shielding to reduce your overall exposure to electromagnetic radiation
  • If the symptom continues growing, seek diagnosis and treatment for EHS

So, is it bad to wear your Apple watch all the time? Honestly, the choice is yours. EMF is harmful, but then the EMF emissions by Apple Watch are generally lower than that of other devices.

If you want to wear it all the time, I would suggest that you work on reducing your EMF exposure from other sources as a way to compensate. That way, the watch won’t cause such a big increase in your cumulative radiofrequency radiation exposure over time.

You can find lots of tips for reducing your exposure in everyday life here.

Apple Watch Radiation Level

Till now, we have established that the Apple Watch emits radiation. Now, let’s look into the question, what level of EMF are you being exposed to when you wear an Apple watch?

We will have a look at the radiation levels emitted by one of the latest Apple Watch Model – A2092. These radiation levels are written on Apple’s official website.

Like any other electronic gadget manufacturer, Apple is required to keep their radiation emission levels under the SAR limit.

So, here are the EMF emission levels of the Apple Watch Model – A2092:

1.6 W/kg (over 1 g) SAR Limit
Head: 0.31

2.0 W/kg (over 10 g) SAR Limit
Head: 0.09

4.0 W/kg (over 10 g) SAR Limit
Wrist: 0.07

We have a separate post explaining SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) limits in detail.

Featured Video: The 8 Problems with SAR, Explained

In short, SAR is an assessment of how much radiation is being absorbed in your body. SAR decides the level of EMF that is safe for human tissue to absorb.

Now, if we look at the chart provided by Apple above, the radiation from the Apple Watch is under the SAR limits. So, it means Apple is allowed to circulate the device, and it will not pose a risk to its users.

The risk part is not entirely true.

Many experts dispute the SAR limits. Why? Firstly, these radiation limits are not set after testing on a human, these tests were performed on a test dummy called SAM. SAM (Specific Anthropomorphic Mannequin), is a replica of 6’2” (1.88 meters) and 220 lbs. (99.7 kg) man.

Apple watch side effects: we can't rely on safety of SAR values.
SAR is measured using a dummy that approximates a 6’2″ man weighing 220 lbs.

By testing the radiation levels on SAM and setting these limits, the SAR limit is excluding 97% of the world’s population. After all, not everyone on earth is 6 feet 2 inches and weighs 220 lbs.

Meaning, even if the radiation emission of a device does not exceed the SAR limits, people below this height and weight are exposed to more EMF levels than their body can handle.

Infographic: The Problems with SAR
Click to download full size infographic

Coming back to EMF emitted by Apple Watch Model A2092: When you wear this device on your wrist, per Apple, your body will only be absorbing 0.07 watts per kilogram of tissue (W/kg).

The truth is this is not one-time exposure or for a shorter period. Statistically speaking, an Apple Watch user will wear the device for an average of 8 hours per day. That equates to a lot of added exposure over time.

So this kind of exposure is definitely not good for your health in the long term.

Negative Effects of the Apple Watch

Prolonged EMF exposure can cause a number of health effects including:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Mood Swings
  • Cardiac issues
  • Asthma
  • Infertility
  • Digestive Issues
  • Impaired Memory
  • Insomnia

The World Health Organization classifies EMF radiation as a Class 2B carcinogen. This means that prolonged exposure to EMF can not only result in minor health issues but that it’s also potentially cancer-causing in humans.

Does that mean the Apple Watch side effects are the same?

Let’s put it this way: the EMF Apple Watch emits is the same type that’s emitted by your phone, laptop, WiFi router, and smart meters. So, wearing the Apple Watch for an extended period can logically result in the same impacts to your health.

What Do We Advise?

Even though we don’t have much scientific evidence to support that Apple Watch is completely safe, we have to agree that this tech is the game changer and brings an array of benefits.

We don’t say that you shouldn’t enjoy the new technology, we just recommend you use the tech more responsibly. Which brings us to SYB Healthy Living Tip #42: Reduce Your Use of Smart Watches.

Avoid Using Smart Watches

If you use the Apple Watch responsibly, you might find it an asset to your health. If you don’t, it could be damaging.

So, here are some of our tips that you can implement to enjoy these smart gadgets responsibly, reducing your health risks from exposure to harmful radiation:

  • Use airplane mode (when possible)

Like most electronic gadgets, the Apple Watch has a built-in Airplane mode that you can use to cut your device’s EMF emissions without powering it off.

We recommend using Airplane mode whenever you don’t have a use for network on your smartwatch, or at times when you are not expecting anything important.

  • Don’t wear your Apple Watch at night

Electronic device manufacturers highly recommend against sleeping with your gadget near your body. And this recommendation applies to the Apple Watch too.

Remove the watch from your wrist at night and keep it on a table at a certain distance. Preferably use the Airplane mode while sleeping.

  • Don’t use a smartwatch if you have immunity issues

Heavy EMF exposure disturbs the immunity pattern. This disturbance results in your immune system under-reacting to foreign microbes, or hyper-reacting (autoimmune diseases).

If you have immunity issues, we don’t recommend using the Apple Watch. And if your condition is mild and you are using the Apple Watch, we suggest you visit your doctor regularly to see any changes in your condition. If your condition is declining, try cutting out the use of the watch.

  • Don’t use a smartwatch if you are pregnant

The effects of wearable tech on pregnant women is another area that’s yet to be scientifically studied. In the meantime, we can look at what broader research about EMF and pregnancy tells us.

What we know is that fetuses are far more vulnerable to EMF than our adult bodies.

A 2017 study said, “women who were exposed to higher EMF levels had 2.72 times the risk of miscarriage than those with lower EMF exposure”.

So, if you are pregnant, it’s a wise precaution to eliminate the use of Apple Watch.

  • Don’t gift Apple Watch to your children

We have an entire section dedicated to resources related to Children & EMF Radiation.

Suffice to say, children are more vulnerable to the health risks of EMF exposure than adults. So, you need to make sure that your children are not spending a substantial amount of time exposed to EMF.

On top of that, health experts say that introducing children to technology from an early age can also impact their physical health, mental health, and academic performance.

Final Thoughts

The power of EMF is strongest near the source. Although we generally recommend distancing your device from your body, it’s simply not an option with the smartwatch.

So, if you’re using a smartwatch, we strongly recommend reducing your exposure from other sources in your house. These EMF sources include your mobile phone, WiFi router, laptop, desktop, smart meters, and a growing variety of other ‘smart’ technology.

For more advice on simple and free ways you can live healthier by reducing your exposure to harmful electromagnetic radiation, check out our SYB Healthy Living Tips.

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So if you have a question, just email me and ask.

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R Blank
CEO, SYB

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