Are Wireless Chargers Safe?

Technology is like a speeding train that goes 200 mph from one destination and only looks back once it has arrived at its destination to analyze the damage. Wireless charging technology is a concern to consumers nowadays as more information has been released that shows how little many big tech companies predict the possible dangers of the device before development.

So the question “Are wireless chargers safe” is one that requires a deep dive into the details of the way the device was designed, as well as the other factors that influence the amount of radiation in your immediate environment.

Is a Wireless Charger Safe to Humans?

To learn whether or not wireless charging is safe, it’s important to do research on how the technology works in order to analyze the risk. A wireless charger focuses on electromagnetic fields and resonance and the use of radio frequency to charge your phone. 

3 Types of Radiation

Wireless charges emit 3 types of EMF radiation during the charging process:

1. Electric field– Wireless charges do emit high levels of this type of radiation, but luckily, it is not the most dangerous type of radiation.

2. Magnetic field– (EMF) This type of radiation is the most dangerous according to most experts, but again, you are not directly exposed to this type of radiation over a long period of time. One benefit is that this magnetic field is only active when the charger is in the process of charging your device.

3. Radiofrequency- Wireless charges emit low levels of this type of radio as well so it is of minor concern in general unless the device is located too close to your body or head on a regular basis. RF radiation, in higher amounts, is very dangerous to the human body and may cause tumors or cognitive impairment.

What is Qi Technology?

Qi technology is the current and most frequently used standard for wireless charging devices. It is likely harmless when it is not charging a device, even if you leave it plugged in for an extended time. But in the charging mode, it emits up to 3mGs levels of radiation. Anything over 1 mGs of radiation is considered harmful to humans. Therefore, during the charging phase, you should keep a safe distance from your phone when it’s on the Qi charging pad. 

Simply moving a few inches away from a wireless charger may keep you from begin in harm’s way of EMF radiation, and will l lower your risk of exposure significantly. 

What about Wireless Car Chargers?

Since the best way to avoid overexposure to radiation is to widen the distance between yourself and the charger when in charging mode, it follows that a car charger will put you closer to danger since it is harder to widen the distance from the charger while in your car.

Larger cars would be safer because of the ability to separate yourself from the radius of the radiation path. Likewise, placing the charger on the dash and further away from your head, rather than between the steering wheel and your passenger area would be best. Try to think of other places you could place the Qi charger without getting too close to the radiation field. Or, better yet, always charge your phone in your house on a countertop while you’re in the house so that there will be less need to charge it in the car. 

Cumulative Effect

One of the most essential safety measures to remember is to consider how many devices you have within a tight area that use EMF or other highly concentrated radiation. For example, having a Qi charger by your bed is one thing, but if you locate it far enough from your bed (perhaps on the other side of a nightstand), you will be mostly out of range of the radiation flow. But if you also sleep with phones under your pillow or close to your head, you may be increasing the electromagnetic field, resulting in a cumulative effect of radiation and increasing the load on your body and brain.

Mentally calculating the amount of radiation you are getting based on the distance between you and your devices and then adding them up to get the total may help you obtain an educated guess on how much you are in contact with over the course of a day. Information is power. Start by visiting sites like the EPA which also have a concern about the radiation load on the environment. 

EPA Input

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has a page that is dedicated to figuring out the approximate amount of radiation that you are receiving on an annual basis. Their radiation calculator offers both a graph to show the approximate amount of radiation that occurs in your surroundings, as well as a calculator to calculate how much radiation you may be taking in from various devices and objects that are within close proximity to you. 

Best Practices to Avoid Overexposure

Technology is here to stay. It will still be that train that is rushing to its destination as fast as it can, then looking back later to survey the damage. But, as consumers, we can still research for ourselves and visit sites like the EPA and this one to figure out how to put ourselves in the safest place regarding wireless devices and other things that could threaten our health and safety.

  1. Check the radiation amounts of any device before you purchase it. This might take doing more than average research on how well a device works. Look for forums that are discussing concerns over radiation and EMF that most wireless devices emit before making a purchase.
  2. Memorize the amounts of EMF and radio frequency waves that are unsafe and make sure you stay below that amount. Share information with your family and friends so they will be aware of how much is too much. Then locate devices carefully in your home or car.
  3. When driving, use a “wired” charger rather than a wireless one. Is it really that important that you use a wireless charger while driving? If the answer to this is “yes,”  you may want to consider whether you are doing it due to an actual need or for some other reason such as to impress your friends as to how “tech-savvy” you want them to think you are. If you were really such a tech guru, you’d know how to prevent exposure to dangerous waves.
  4. Choose the location of your devices very carefully and make sure you stay outside the range of chargers that can emit 3 times the recommended exposure to EMF radiation while your devices are charging. You may also want to consider avoiding placing too many devices on a multiple device charger at a time to avoid the cumulative effect of radiation.
  5. Look for studies regarding certain items and note if any of them had recalls due to too much radiation exposure. If someone has gotten sick due to the exposure, it will eventually make its way to a publication, forum, or complaint page. Learn to be a consumer protection expert for your own good, as well as the health of others. 
  6. Do not buy cheap wireless chargers from China. Some of these do not meet the standards preferred by the EPA or other agencies that focus on safe levels of radiation.

If you follow even some of these basic self-protection ideas regarding wireless chargers, you will decrease your chances of overexposure greatly and that of your family. Teach children to avoid being too close to charging devices while they are in active mode and never sleep with cellphones or chargers too close to their bed.

If you are still not sure where to start, begin with this video about EMF exposure on YouTube. it is quite thorough and addresses all of the concerns you may have about EMF emissions. 

FAQs

Are wireless chargers safe?

Yes and no. They are safe as long as you understand the levels that pose a danger to your health. Information is powerful and the more you know, the better. Once you discover the limits that you need to be exposed to in order to stay safe, you can practice a safe distance from the device to make it safer for you and your family.

What is Qi?

Qi technology is the most current type of wireless charger that uses an inner coil that conducts energy between the charger and the device. It works similarly to Bluetooth connections where a device locates and pairs with the Bluetooth technology to produce sound from a sound source in the device. 

What are the dangers of wireless chargers?

The main danger of wireless technology is the fact that it includes 3 types of radiation. Radiation in low doses is not dangerous, but larger amounts can threaten your health and well-being. The radiation is fairly low as long as you keep within a safe distance away from the device while it is in active charging mode. 

How do I avoid radiation in my car?

Radiation comes from many sources, including the sun itself. It is difficult to avoid natural sources of radiation. But using a “wired” charger in your car or relocating the place where you keep your wireless chargers in the car can reduce the number of harmful rays that you receive. 

What is the ‘cumulative effect’ of radiation? 

The cumulative effect of radiation is the combination of a number of different radiation sources that can add up to dangerous levels of EMF and other dangerous types of radiation. Simply calculating the approximate amount of radiation that you are receiving from various devices with radiation fields can drop your level of exposure greatly and take it down to a safer level. 

What federal organizations are involved in watching levels of radiation in the environment?

The EPA is a federal organization that focuses on the environment and how various devices or environmental factors can affect the earth and/or individual health. Visit them at epa.gov to keep up with the latest information.

The key to safety regarding wireless charging devices is to know the amount of cumulative radiation that is safe for a human being on an annualized basis and how much of the more dangerous types of radiation are emitted by your devices. In general, if you follow some basic safeguards, the answer to “Are Wireless chargers safe?” is ‘Yes.’

Brett Jones
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