Is Your Fitness Wearable Putting You At Risk?


Fitness trackers are supposed to ease our daily lives by keeping our exercise and diet in check, right?  But what if that very same device you keep glued to your body all day could actually be opening you up to a world of harm?

A recent New York Times column compared ’40s cigarette advertising incorporating doctors to recent campaigns touting wearable technology as a smart and safe aspect of a healthy lifestyle.

And one doctor recently came out and said in an interview with that he believes the radiation released by wearables could cause reduced sperm counts, eye irritation, headaches, reduced appetite, nausea, mood swings and sleep ad

“These devices have become so ingrained in the regular lives of people, despite the cost, and these people are surely paying a high price, in more ways than one,”
Dr. Rajan Pandey, who is also a blogger and columnist, said in the interview. 

While there’s not yet definitive evidence that wearables cause adverse health effects, we might speculate based on research into cellphone radiation.


The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, a panel that incorporated 31 scientists from 14 countries, suggested in 2011 that cellphones were “possibly carcinogenic.” The Centers for Disease Control, on the other hand, concluded in 2014 that “more research is needed before we know if using cellphones causes health effects.”

That WHO panel also concluded that the farther away a device is from one’s head, the less dangerous it is. But what does that mean for the fitness trackers we’re supposed to keep around our wrists all day? How does that affect our cancer risk? Well, no one knows quite yet. 

But here is the opinion of Dr. Joseph Mercola, who focuses on alternative medicine and writes of cellphones’ potential negative effects: “The radiation really comes from the 3G connection on a cellphone, so devices like the Jawbone Up and Apple Watch should be OK,” Mercola said in a phone interview with the New York Times. “But if you’re buying a watch with a cellular chip built in, then you’ve got a cellphone attached to your wrist.”

So will the recent buzz deter people from trying out wearable technology? My guess is a hard “no.” But will they think twice? Maybe.

And as Dr. Pandey suggested, cellphone radiation could put children at higher risk due to their skulls being thinner. So if we’re going by that theory, the same could be said for wearable tech. For my piece, just as I wouldn’t let a child play with my cellphone as a toy (aside from the fact that I naturally distance myself from children), I wouldn’t let him or her play with an activity tracker or other wearable for a long period of time.

In my own opinion (as with most things in life), wearables, cellphones and any other technology is probably fine in moderation. Just don’t overdo it, and “unplug” whenever you can.

What do you think? Does research on cellphone radiation make you think twice about your fitness wearable? Would you consider not wearing it due to potential risk? Let SHEables know in the comments below!



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