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People are more health-conscious than ever these days. Whether it’s diet, exercise, or technology people seemingly can’t get enough of optimizing their lifestyles for healthy living. One concern such people might have is the topic of this article, cancer. Specifically, can your Fitbit cause it?
Do Fitbits Cause Cancer?
In short, there has been absolutely no evidence to connect fitness trackers with cancer. Fitbit research has been brewing up a storm in the scientific community recently. Over 457 studies have been published on the handy fitness trackers since 2012, with over half of these coming in 2017 alone.
The good news is that the reason for this research is the health tracking benefits the watch brings to the table, not the possible negative health connotations.
Fitbit’s emit very little radiation and is completely safe for use. The device uses only about 0.5-1% of the output power of a mobile phone and can be used even while you’re pregnant with no worries.
The worry comes from radiation emitted by the watch’s Bluetooth features. These features only emit 800MHz to 2GHz, which is a minuscule amount, and harmless to most humans.
Is Bluetooth Bad for My Health?
Not particularly, no. It is an incredibly hard field to study, and research material on the matter is scarce, but what we do know is that, for the most part, you have nothing to fear from using Bluetooth enabled devices.
The reason for this is that Bluetooth is what is called non-ionizing radiation. This means that it cannot break the bonds of atoms and molecules in your DNA, which means that it doesn’t lead to the growth of tumors or cancers.
That being said, there is still a serious concern amongst healthcare professionals about the potential dangers of non-ionizing Electromagnetic fields (EMF), which is the type of technology used by Bluetooth enabled devices.
Scientists on the other side of the fence argue that it is harmless, as the radiation emitted by the watch is low-frequency and non-ionizing, so the radiation is non-thermal and contains no heating element.
How does it relate to your Fitbit? Well, your mobile phone gives off 10 times as much radiation as your Fitbit or a pair of Bluetooth wireless headphones. Even this 10 times increase is nothing to worry about, however.
Say that you are still worried though. How do you stop the Bluetooth from functioning?
How to Turn Off Bluetooth
Long story short is that you can’t. Much to the anger of many health-heads, you currently do not have the option of disabling Bluetooth entirely on your Fitbit device.
As of writing this article, there is no option included with Fitbit OS that allows users to turn off Bluetooth connectivity. That being said, there is an upside. Your Fitbit comes with a built-in Bluetooth tracker, which is what alerts it when another device calls for its attention.
This feature is disabled while not in use, and your Fitbit goes into what is called listening mode. In this mode, while still technically active, the Bluetooth functionality and activity is minimal, meaning there is nothing for you to worry about.
Are There Any Other Side Effects of Using My Fitbit?
While you don’t have to worry about cancer, there are some other side effects of EMF (electromagnetic fields created by your Fitbit) that you ought to know about. Firstly, however, there are possible non-EMF related side effects you may experience.
Users have reported cases of irritated skin, burning sensations, and wrist pains with some models. This is likely due to an allergic reaction to some of the metal used in the Fitbit’s construction, however, it is still possible to attribute this to EMF radiation.
Some health issues that you may experience that can be caused by exposure to EMF radiation are things like bad migraines and headaches, drastic changes in mood, trouble sleeping, irritated skin, feeling sick or nauseous, and being unable to concentrate.
Should I be Concerned?
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, chances are they are being caused by something else. If it is from EMF exposure, then you would do better to lose your phone than your Fitbit. That being said, if there is one thing you should monitor with regards to EMF radiation, it’s your sleep.
Many Fitbits come with functionality that is used while your sleeping. They can track your sleeping patterns, your breathing rate, heart rate, and all the other useful information you might want to know. So naturally, you would assume they’re safe to wear at night.
However, there have been several studies conducted on how EMFs interact with our sleeping, and the results aren’t great. The general gist is that EMF exposure can radically affect our sleeping patterns by messing up our bodies’ production of melatonin.
Our bodies interpret EMF radiation as light. This tricks the pineal gland, which is where melatonin is produced, into thinking it’s daytime. This then causes the gland to cease melatonin production, as it does not want the body to sleep during the day.
What About the Infamous Fitbit Rashes?
While a rash can be caused by EMF radiation, it is very unlikely. There were over 100,000 complaints in 2014 alone of Fitbit related rash issues. The company put this down to allergic reactions and recalled the product. When the same issues were reported with the re-release, they claimed it was due to an allergic reaction to the copper and nickel.
So if you have a rash and you’re worried, chances are it’s an allergy, or you’re wearing the Fitbit wrong.
Your Fitbit cannot cause cancer. This is because the radiation emitted by the watch is non-ionizing, meaning it does not stimulate the growth of cancer-related cells and tumors.
Most people are worried about the EMF, or electromagnetic field, that their Fitbit gives off. The level that it creates is nearly harmless, and nothing to worry about. However, that’s not to say it’s completely safe.
There is a hand full of other side effects you may experience. These side effects are mainly things like skin irritation, headaches, wrist pain, feeling sick, and trouble sleeping.
If the issue is skin-related, chances are you have had an allergic reaction to something in the watch, otherwise, chances are that it is something unrelated entirely.