A new study by published in the journal Scientific Reports by Zhou et. al (2024) found that prolonged daily use of Bluetooth headsets was “strongly linked” to an increased risk of developing thyroid nodules. 

The authors conclude that their research is relevant to developing public health policies to reduce thyroid nodule risk:

…our research provides a scientific basis for the formulation of public health policies and personal health habit choices, suggesting that attention should be paid to the duration of Bluetooth headset use in daily life to reduce the potential risk of thyroid nodules.

What you need to know:

  • AirPods and Bluetooth headsets constantly expose you to radiofrequency (RF) radiation whether you are using them or not. 
  • The RF radiation is absorbed into your body tissues. 
  • RF radiation is the same type of wireless radiation that your cell phone emits. The World Health Organization listed RF as a Class 2B carcinogen in 2011. Now, a decade later, many scientists have published research stating this type of radiation is a proven human carcinogen.
  • While the RF exposure from Airpods and Bluetooth headsets is lower than a cell phone, published studies have documented numerous biological effects from RF exposure, even at very, very low exposure levels. 
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What you can do:

  • Do not use Bluetooth earbuds!
  • To reduce cell phone radiation exposure, use speakerphone as much as possible with the phone on a table (not in your pocket or lap or bra) away from your body. Use an airtube corded headset when you cannot use speakerphone.
  • The safest way to communicate is to use a regular corded telephone, instead of a mobile phone or cordless phone. Yes, its actually easier than you think!
  • Environmental Health Trust has resources to help you set up safer telephone systems in your home and office at our Healthy Tech at Home project website.  

Study Citation 

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Zhou N, Qin W, Zhang JJ, Wang Y, Wen JS, Lim YM. Epidemiological exploration of the impact of bluetooth headset usage on thyroid nodules using Shapley additive explanations method. Sci Rep. 2024 Jun 21;14(1):14354.  

https://ehtrust.org/new-study-bluetooth-headsets-linked-to-increased-thyroid-nodules/ Source: Environmental Health Trust