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TitleBluetooth's impact on radiation emissions
LanguageEnglish
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Page 1




1




Michael Nguyen
1
, Bobby Sidhu
2

1. Lead Author, B. Tech Student, School of Health Sciences, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 3700 Willingdon Ave, Bu
rnaby, BC V5G
-
3H2

2. Supervisor, School of Health Sciences,

British Columbia Institute of Technology, 3700 Willingdon Ave, Burnaby, BC V5G
-
3H2



Abstract

Introduction:

Cellphone usage has increased leaps and bounds over the past decade. With the growing
popularity of cellphones come numerous studies on the effect
s of mobile radiation on human health.
Cellphone radiation has been associated with many health implications such as: sleep deprivation, hearing
loss, slower sperm, cancers and tumors to name a few; however, more research is needed to confirm these
claims.

Purpose:

The purpose of this research is to determine the Bluetooth impact on radiation levels when it is
paired with a cellphone. This is a two
-
fold process: firstly, to determine radiation levels emitted by the
pairing of a cellphone and a Bluetooth hea
dset and comparing it to a control group of the cellphone alone
and secondly, comparing the radiation emissions of a paired cellphone with the associated paired Bluetooth
headset.

Methods:
An Extech RF EMF strength meter was used to measure the radiation e
mission levels (µW/cm
2
)
of various phone types by Apple and Samsung when they were unpaired and paired with a LG HBM
-
220
Bluetooth device. The radiation emissions of the paired Bluetooth were also measured.

Results:
There was a statistically significant i
ncrease in radiation emissions (µW/cm
2
) observed in a
cellphone paired with a Bluetooth when compared to an unpaired cellphone. This was statistically
significant as the p
-
value (0.00026) was less than the 0.05 and 0.01 values and the power was near 100 %
(99.8%). When comparing the paired cellphone with the associated paired Bluetooth, the Bluetooth emitted
much more radiation than the cellphone. This data was statistically significant as well as the p
-
value was at
0.00000 and the power at 100%.

Discussion
:
The findings in this study suggest that Bluetooth headsets increase radiation emissions;
however, it is important to note that only one Bluetooth headset model (LG HBM
-
220) was tested. The
results also conflict with Health Canada claims that Bluetooth he
adsets decrease radiation emissions. More
research is needed to confirm the results found in this study. A key limitation of this study was that only
Samsung and Apple Inc. brands were tested. Additionally, the equipment used to measure radiation levels
(E
xtech RMF meter) was subject to background radiation sources.

Conclusion:
The pairing of a LG HBM
-
220 Bluetooth to a cellphone increases radiation emissions in both
the cellphone and Bluetooth when compared to an unpaired cellphone. These increases in emis
sions when



Key words:
Bluetooth, cellphone, EMF radiation, Apple, Samsung


Introduction



The
effects of mobile radiation on
human health have

been the subject of many
recent and current studies

thr
oughout the world;
this is attributed to the
growing popularity of
cellphone
s
.
In 2013
, it was reported that

approximately half of the world


population use
mobile phones
and there was
an estimated 6.8

b
illion subscriptions worldwide

(mobiThinking,
2013)
.
With
the vast amount of growing users
, it
is imperative to investigate, monitor, research,
and understand any potential pu
blic health
impact that
long
-
term
mobile phone usage may
cause.






In response to the increasing use of
cellphone
s
,

the
WHO
(2011)
has recommended

Bluetooth hands
-
free head
sets
in attempts to
lower
radiation exposure
. However, the British

ciation has reported that
radiation could actually be increased
significantly when

a Bluetooth headset

is

paired

with a mobile phone;
it depends

on where the
phone

is positioned
around

the body

(The British

.

This raises the
question of whether or not Bluetooth headsets
contribute
additively

to the ra
diation
exposure on
humans.





Page 2




2


Interest to conduct

this study arose as
the author spends a significant amount of time on
his smartphone. The author wishes to determine
the amount of radiation levels emitted through
mobile phones and whether or not a Bluetoot
h
headset would decrease radiation levels. This
topic was also proposed in a presentation done at
British Columbia Institute of

Technology by
Lorraine MacI
ntyre of the British Columbia
Centre for Disease C
ontrol.

Literature Review

Electromagnetic Radiation


Radiofrequency
(RF
) energy and its
association with adverse health outcome
s has
been a growing concern
, especially as cellphone
use has been
increasing

leaps and bounds over
the past decade
. RF

energy
produced by mobile
phones
releases non
-
ionizing radia
tion

which
mobile phone users are exposed to
.
This

energy
is not capable of breaking
the chemical bonds
in
the

body, however i
t is important to

note

that
low
-
levels of RF energy

are

absorbed into

the

body
(Health Canada, 2011)
.



The energy that is absorbe
d
through
human body tissue
is called electromagnetic
radiation (EMR).

EMR is made up of RF and
thermal radiation and it

causes dielectric heating
once it penetrates through human body tissue.
The skin around the ear
-
skull area is very thin, so
EMR is abso
rbed quite easily and is known to
affect the human immune system
(Mat et al.,
2010)
.


In the study performed by Mat et al.
(2010), they found that the specific absorption
rate (SAR) was higher in cellphones that
operated in higher frequencies (Mat et al.
compared
cellphone frequencies of 900 MHz and
1800 MHz),

as they

produced higher levels of
EMR.


RF radiation is known to cause
biological stress on the body through heating
effects.
Long
-
term use of mobile phones has
been found to cumulatively increase

the blood
-
b


permeability. The
blood
-
brain
barrier

is vital for the protection of the brain
from potential harmful substances in the blood,
and with the frequent exposure to EMF, the

overtime
(Nittby et al., 2009)
.


Humans generate their own
electromagnetic fields

(
EMF
)
; this is essential for
repairing damaged cells, reproduction, and DNA
replication. Weak EMF from cellphones can
interact with the weak EMF generated by

humans; thus potentially impacting the immune
system

(Jalil, Tai
b, Abdullah, & Yunus, 2012)
.

Although not confirmed, there have been
associations
fo
und with fatigue, headaches
,

difficulty in concentration, increases in reaction
time,
increase in resting blood pressure,
and
alteration in electroencephalogram pattern an
d
disturbance in sleep
from the EMF emitted by
cellphones

(Deepinder, Makker, & Agarwal,
2007)
.


Since mobile
phones are
usually held
right
against the ear
,
EMF exposure is
considerably higher than any other EMF sources
in the
RF

band
(Huber et al., 2002)
.
Health
Canada (2011) has developed guideli
nes that
provide
recommendations
to reduce RF
exposure. This includes: c
utting t
he time you
spend on
cell
phone calls, u
sing hands
-
free
headsets
, and s
ubstituting
cell
phone calls with
text messages
.


This study will help reveal whether
radiation emissions w
ill increase or decrease
when a mobile device is paired
with a Bluetooth
compared to an unpaired cellphone
; this
information can be further used to determine
possible ways to limit EMF exposure.

Health effects


Cancer

and tumours


The most significant pub
lic concern
with exposure to low
-
level RF is the potential for
cancer. Epidemiological studies have been
conducted in attempts to determine

whether RF
exposure contributes

to an increased risk of
cancer, and there have been some positive
associations that
linked it to

leuke
mia and brain
tumors; however, the results were
always
inconclusive
(Repacholi, 2001)
.
These studies
were subjected to serious limi
tations such as
uncontrollable confounding factors, potential
biases, and misclassification of exposure or
simple chance. Therefore, the positive
associations between EMR exposure and
increased risk of leukemia and cancer is not

yet

definitive
(Calvente, Fernandez, Villalba, Olea,
& Nuñez, 2010)
.






Page 7




7


Ethical Considerations



Ethical considerations are not applicable
to this study, because it is n
either a survey nor a
human based study (H. Heacock, personal
communication, November 5, 2013).

Pilot Studies


On November 15, 2013 a pilot study
was conducted in which procedures within the
methodology section mentioned earlier was
followed for
sampling a

variety of c
ellphones 30
times; this ensures

that the study is reliable and
valid
.
The pilot study was conducted at BCIT in
the courtyard between SW1 and SE1 buildings
on a table; it allowed the author to determine an
optimal condition and place for
minim
al

EMF
interference
.


Statistical Analysis


The following statistical analysis was done using
NCSS.

Hypothesis


Hypothesis 1:


Ho:

The radiation emission
(µW/cm
2
)
from a
n

unpaired phone is greater than or equal to the
radiation emission of a
cellphone pair
ed with
Bluetooth
.






Ha.

The radiation emission
(µW/cm
2
)
from a
n

unpaired phone is less than the radia
tion
emission of a cellphone paired with Bluetooth
.



Ho < Ha



Hypothesis 2:

Ho:

There is no difference in the radiation
emissions

(µW/cm
2
)
from a p
aired Bluetooth

to
the
paired

cell
phone.



Ho = Ha


Ha:

There is a difference in the radiation
emissions
(µW/cm
2
)
from a paired Bluetooth
to
the
paired

cell
phone.






Numerical Data and Descriptive Statistics


The measurements collected by the

Extech EM
F strength meter
yield
ed

continuous
numeric data. The unit for EMF field measured
was measured

in
µW/cm
2
.
The 30 samples
taken
for
Readings of the cellphone unpaired (CUP)

had

a mean of 0.0246, median of 0.025, mode of
0.025, and standard deviation of 0.00
4839.

The
30 samples taken for
Readings of cellphone
paired (CPP)

had

a mean of
0.02836

µW/cm
2
,
median of
0.0295, mode of 0.03
,

and standard
deviation of 0.005898
.
More variation
was

observed in CUP compared to CP
P as can be
seen by the differences in the

standard
devia
tions. CP
P had slightly higher mean and
median

values
than CUP which indicated that
CP
P emitted

slightly higher radiation than CUP.


The 30 samples from
Readings of
Bluetooth paired
(
BTP) had

a mean of 0.0600,
median of 0.0595, mode of 0.066
,

and standard
deviation of 0.00713
.
BTP

tended to have more
variation than
CPP
as evident in the differences
between standard deviations between the two
groups
.
BTP

showed a higher mean and median
EMF strength which
is
indicative of hig
her
radiation emiss
ions than CPP
.


Below
are three groups

of data (
CUP,
CP
P,
and BTP
) analyzed separately for
descriptive statistics using Microsoft Excel
.







Page 8




8


Table 2: Descriptive Statistics


Readings of the cellphone
unpaired

(CUP)


Readings of the cellphone
paired

(CPP)


Readings of the Bluetooth
paired

(BTP)









Mean

0.0246


Mean

0.02836


Mean

0.060033

Standard Error

0.0008


Standard Error

0.00107


Standard Error

0.001302

Median

0.025


Median

0.0295


Median

0.0595

Mode

0.025


Mode

0.03


Mode

0.066

Standard
Devia
tion

0.00483


Standard
Deviation

0.00589


Standard
Deviation

0.00713

Range

0.016


Range

0.021


Range

0.027

Minimum

0.016


Minimum

0.019


Minimum

0.048

Maximum

0.032


Maximum

0.04


Maximum

0.075

Sum

0.738


Sum

0.851


Sum

1.801

Count

30


Count

30


Count

30



Figure 3
: EMF Strength Plot Results








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