Smartwatches are one of the most modern and popular pieces of smart devices out there on the market. But just like any new technology that comes up, also comes up the talks about its side effects.
And one of the most common by-products that these smartwatches are believed to have is their radiation. So, do smartwatches emit radiation? Yes, they do. But is the radiation harmful? We will learn about just that in this article in more detail.
1. Do Smartwatches Emit Radiation?
As mentioned before, smartwatches do emit some radiation. But they are not the only ones with radiation. So does cell phones, and the cell phone radiation is a lot higher in dose. This means the damage is a lot higher if there is any damage at all.
Smartwatches today have a lot of features, they have Bluetooth, wifi, cellular service, and so on — essentially replacing your mobile phone. And all these features also come with some radiation exposure.
The type of radiation is emitted from the electromagnetic field or the EMF. They are called electromagnetic radiation or EMF radiation. Almost all the smart devices emit emf radiation to some extent.
And the radiation emitted by the smartwatches is microwave radiation, which is considered a subset of RF radiation or radiofrequency radiation. This is ultimately a type of emf radiation that is radiated by the smartwatches on the market.
In the electromagnetic spectrum, they are at the low-energy end and with a longer wavelength compared to the radiations. On top of that, they are a type of non-ionizing radiation.
Now, higher dosages of them can bring some health concerns, but the main question is that — is smartwatch radiation harmful or hazardous? And is the emf exposure strong and heavy enough to cause any significant harm to us? Let’s get into that now.
2. Are Radiations from Smartwatches Harmful?
Simply put, the radiation exposure from a smartwatch is just not bad enough to cause any significant or noticeable health problems. Even a cellphone is a much bigger radiation source — and even then, the radiation levels are just not enough for any health risks.
Even though there were researches done in the past deeming them to pose health issues, these were very easily debunked in modern studies. If used in moderation, such devices can cause no harm to you.
3. Why You Shouldn’t Be Too Worried?
As said above, the RF radiation from the smartwatch has a longer wavelength. And in wearable devices and fitness trackers, the dosage of RF radiation is negligibly low. Therefore, the radiation cannot penetrate the skin and cause any damage.
These watches have extremely low-powered Rf transmitters to emit the radio waves. And these radiowaves are non-ionizing radiation — meaning they cannot damage you to an atomic level. The non-ionizing radiation emitted does not have the ability to strip electrons from atoms if used in moderation.
Again, the RF energy or Radiofrequency energy emitted from smartwatches is low in energy and frequency. In the past, they were associated with negative biological effects; but they are not seen in real life with the amount of radiation from the smartwatches.
These wireless devices radiate microwave and visible light which leaves you with nothing to worry about in day-to-day usage since they are not ionizing forms of radiation.
Radiations like gamma rays and UV light with shorter wavelengths can actually damage your overall health. However, no smart devices radiate any of these. But due to them being harmful, every kind of radiation gets a bad reputation to the common public with misconceptions.
4. Do Smartwatches Follow the Safety Standards?
All the popular and branded smartwatches follow certain safety standards, be it an apple watch or a mid-tier fitness tracker. Otherwise, they are not permitted to be out on the market.
Any wearable technology using technologies like Bluetooth, Wifi, or cellular service like 4G must pass FCC standards before being released. It makes sure that the device is safe to wear for an adult using it moderately in their day-to-day life.
Even the FDA has confirmed that the radiation exposure that these wireless gadgets put you under is really negligible. And their energy is not enough to alter any DNA. So, if you are a regular user of the devices, do not be too worried.
However, does this mean they are totally harmless, and no one should be worried about them at all? Thinking like that might be a bad idea too because they are only harmless as long as they are used in moderation. But upon passing that threshold, negative outcomes start to come.
5. Myth vs. Facts: Smartwatch Usage
There are a lot of words that go around about modern technology — especially based on older research and studies. And smartwatches, too, fall victim to the misinformation. The problem is that this takes the attention away from the actual dangers.
One of the most popular myths is that smartwatch-emitted emf radiation increases cancer risk — and this is completely baseless. There is nothing directing non-ionizing radiation exposure to cancer. The dosage of these radiations from smartwatches is totally harmless.
There were also claims that smartphone and smartwatch radiation can lead to the increased possibility of brain tumors. However, that turned out to be false, too, as expected.
And when the apple watch and other smartwatches had the green light sensor, there were rumors that they were bad for your skin and mental health. Many people even claimed that they felt more tired and moody.
But that turned out to be a false claim as well — since there was no direct connection between the lights and any side effects. They are merely low-power visible lights indicating the functionalities of your watch. Some might have an allergy to visible light, but that’s exceptionally rare.
These myths and false claims are very easy to popularize since the public love a stir, leading many people to actually believe these non-scientific claim. If there is any harm from the usage of a smartwatch, that is not because of the radiation.
Even though these are myths and are totally groundless, there is some actual danger to overusing the smartwatch as well. Nothing excessive is good, and this is no exception.
The most obvious problem is that you get too dependent on it. And as a result of using the smartwatch and smartphone all day, you can get addicted to it. This can lead to some serious problems, including sleeplessness, mood swings, headaches, and so on. But, radiation has nothing to do with it.
Also, medical devices do not respond the best being around cordless electronic devices. The smartwatch radiation can sometimes alter how medical devices like pacemaker acts, which can be very dangerous in the right situations.
As mentioned already, the smartwatches do follow the FCC standards when it comes to EMF radiation. But as per the centers for Disease control, they often overlook some things
For example, the effect it might have on the smaller and less developed skulls of infants—which are more sensitive to EMF radiation, even of a lower dose. Or the non-thermal side effects, which are totally unrelated to the radiations.
Even though the number of research conducted on the long-term exposure to low EMF levels is low, being in direct contact with the device all the time might lead to some long-term health risks. However, nothing can be confirmed due to the technologies evolving so rapidly.
6. Do Smartwatches Absolutely Need to Emit Radiation?
The short answer is yes, smartwatch radiation is a must for the watch to perform properly and do all the jobs it is supposed to do effectively. Luckily for us, it does not come at a high cost.
Your watches are not just limited to showing you the time anymore. They can also send texts to you, take calls from your hand, and all of these require the device to receive data from either your phone or from the internet.
And to do this task, the smartwatch has RF transmitters installed, which transmit low-powered radiofrequency emissions. But now, some new tools are emerging which are apparently going to reduce the radiation.
7. Should You Block the RF Radiation?
This shielding material is made out of some specific metals and other materials which can effectively block out the RF signals from the watch. Now, there is a huge problem with this shield.
By blocking the radiations, it will also block the signals via which your watch will be able to send and receive data — deeming your smartwatch almost useless by eliminating the smart factor out of it.
For some radiation which is practically harmless, this is an over-the-top step that simply is not worth taking. If you want your watch to perform up to its maximum capacity, keep any shielding material away from it.