When it comes to the future of technology, it seems that there are some truly incredible innovations coming in the next couple of years. However, not all of this tech is going to be beneficial to us, at least in terms of health.
For instance, it seems that the current trends indicate all wired technology that can become wireless will undergo said transformation. With that in mind, most smartphones and cell phones that can be charged wirelessly will operate on that mode of charging. As of now, however — wireless chargers function like docks and small pads that are found in your car and your household.
In the very near future, we may experience technology that allows you to charge phones over even bigger distances; something like WiFi, but for energy. There is huge demand for this sort of technology, as everyone hates leaving their phones on a wired charger or a dock.
However, the real question here is — can such wireless charging present a health hazard? We’re going to explore the consequences of said technological developments in dept in this article.
Before we do that, however, we’ll tackle the most elementary question here — do wireless chargers emit EMF (electromagnetic fields), and can these be harmful to our health?
In short, wireless chargers are definitely sources of EMF radiation. And there are plenty of studies that point towards this kind of radiation being bad for human health.
These days, however, the ranges at which wireless chargers work are really not big enough to cause any significant damage; they mostly work as pads that only emit to a phone that touches them. Plus, a majority of these chargers don’t emit any energy when a phone is not in contact with them. However, while wireless chargers are practically some of the least dangerous EMF devices now — the tech that’s under development in this field could pose a far larger threat to our health in the future.
What Are Wireless Chargers and How Do They Work?
While wireless charging may first make you think about some sort of sci-fi advanced technology, it actually isn’t. In fact, that basis for the wireless chargers that we use for our phones today is more than a century old. In the end of the 19th century, Nikola Tesla first started testing and proposing theories of power transmission without wires.
Tesla’s idea was that, with the right technology, power could easily be transmitted between any two points on the globe. Obviously, we aren’t exactly there yet — but wireless power transfers are definitely practical nowadays. The only question is: how do they work?
Firstly, it’s basically electromagnetic induction that exists between the two technological devices. One of the two devices is the charger, and it is composed (at least in part) of a transmission coil. Conversely, the device that is being charged — the phone — has a receiving coil.
The charger generates an electromagnetic field. And when you put the phone (which contains a receiving coil) inside this field, the electric current of the charger is intercepted; thus filling the lithium-ion battery in the phone.
As you may have surmised on your own, these electromagnetic fields are quite small, seeing as the chargers are not powerful. The range of their fields is extremely small, and they cannot transmit power far away. That’s the main reason many wireless chargers are conceived as pads or vertical docks on which you simply place your phone. Often enough, they need to be in direct contact for the charging to work.
Obviously, this has some negative and positive sides. On the one hand, you don’t need to worry too much about EMF radiation when it comes to currently marketed wireless chargers. Even the basic distance between you and the charger is enough for the emitted EMF to fall off significantly.
On the other hand, the currently employed wireless chargers are simply too impractical for most people. Sure, you don’t have to keep your phone plugged into a wall charger with a cable. But you still can’t use it, because it has to be on the pad at all times. At the end of the day, a majority of phone users simply find it more practical to use a wire charger; that way, at least they can still use their phone as it charges.
And that brings us back to the dangers of wireless chargers. These require the charger and the phone to be in touch; if you want to use your phone while it charges on a wireless charger, it may be possible — but it will also mean dealing with the consequences of subsequent EMF radiation. Even at such short distances, if you’re touching the charger — you’re receiving as much radiation as the phone itself.
Now that the inner workings of the wireless chargers are pretty much apparent, and seeing as we’ve seen some of the more obvious pros and cons of such technologies; we’ll take a look at the hypothetical health hazards that stem from the use of wireless charging.
Do Wireless Chargers Emit EMF?
If we haven’t come across as clear up until now, we’ll state this once again — wireless phone chargers indeed emit EMF waves and radiation. The way that they are currently conceived, the opposite would be unthinkable. But in order to fully understand the implications of this type of radiation, we’ll explain the three types of EMF that make up the entire spectrum of radiation.
We’ve got radio frequency, electric fields, and magnetic fields. The RF (radio frequency) is something you’re bound to hear about a lot once you get into the topic of radiation. Basically, this is what devices and technologies like 5G, Bluetooth, and WiFi use most potently. While any cell phone will radiate all of the three that we’ve outlined above; radio frequency represents the most dangerous kind of radiation.
When it comes to wireless chargers, however, the story is a little different. Namely, because these devices don’t emit everything like smartphones do. Instead, magnetic fields are the only kind of radiation you need to fear here. This is important information for people who use EMF meters. If you want to measure the amount of radiation that comes from a wireless charger; you need to set the meter to magnetic field detection for any kind of trustworthy reading.
Now that we’ve taken a closer look at the emissions that come from wireless chargers, the next logical question is — how dangerous is this radiation?
Can Wireless Chargers Be Harmful to My Health?
When you read all of this, your first thought may be that throwing away all wireless charging pads is the way to go. However, you should think twice about this. Remember, most of the electronics found in the average household end up emitting some sort of radiation. From your smartphone to your microwave; all of it is dangerous in one way or another.
As we’ve mentioned above, some of these devices can radiate a lot of energy; but wireless chargers are pretty much at the bottom of that list. If you spend time out in the sun for a minute or two, you’ll take in more radiation than your wireless charger can emit. That’s why you should not be that fearful of keeping one in your home — but you should still take care of how you use it.
At the end of the day, our conclusion would be that the average wireless charger doesn’t produce enough powerful radiation to be a health concern; especially because the range of these devices is severely limited, and doesn’t spread far and wide throughout a household the way WiFi does.
Organizations that dabble in EMF research have concluded that the electromagnetic field that exists around a wireless charger doesn’t extend beyond a couple of inches. As we’ve said above, the only way you’re in danger from the average wireless charger is if you actually touch and use your smartphone while it’s simultaneously charging on a pad.
Benefits of Wireless Chargers
While there are plenty of reasons to think about whether wireless chargers are healthy for you; there are also reasons why you should consider having them in your household. For instance — from the standpoint of your phone maintenance, wireless chargers are definitely safer. Their charging is performed more slowly than with a wire-based charger. This is great for prolonging the lifespan of your battery; meaning you will be able to use your phone for a longer while before you have to replace the battery or the entire device.
Plus, there will be far less wear and tear on your phone’s charging port — seeing as you don’t have to keep inserting a cable all the time.
If you’re using a Qi wireless charger (more on that below), it’s also great because it acts as a completely universal device. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a phone made by Google, Samsung, or Android — the charger will work with all of them. Obviously, when different members of the household use different phone brands, this is highly useful.
Also, if you find a universal wireless phone charger — you’ll have a lot less clutter around your household. You can forget about tons of different cables and just have a couple of chargers that everyone in your home can use. Plus, you can find wireless chargers that can simultaneously charge more than one device simultaneously — making them even more practical for everyday use.
Wireless Chargers in Cars
Moving on from household wireless chargers, we’ll take a look at another kind of charger that may have a different kind of EMF radiation; chargers in your cars. Even if these are the same kind of charger that you’d use in your home, bear in mind that these can be more dangerous if you put them in your car. Remember — the key thing to safely using wireless chargers is to maintain your distance from it. That is the most important aspect of exposure reduction.
But when you’re inside your car, you don’t exactly have a lot of room to keep your distance from the charger; or any other kind of radiation source, for that matter. The same is true for any other device that might emit radiation inside your car — electronics like a laptop or a cell phone, for instance. When you take into account the joint effect of all these devices together with a wireless charger — that can lead to more radiation than you can safely expose yourself to.
There are other things to consider in this situation — for instance, the fact that your car has a metal body; one that can further raise the radiation levels inside. When the radiation signals hit the car’s metal surfaces, they don’t dissipate; instead bouncing around inside, and hitting you freely.
With this in mind, think long and hard about exposing yourself to EMF radiation in your car; it’s definitely not the same as using such chargers in a more spacious environment like your home. And sure, even though this type of charger won’t radiate you unless you’re actually charging your phone — knowing about all of the dangers is still a good idea.
Wireless Charging in the Future
We’ve already mentioned that the technology for wireless charging will become something even more omnipresent in the future. You can reasonably expect to find more and more of these chargers on the open market pretty soon; some of them will have more advanced versions of the current technology as well. For example, these more modern chargers will probably be able to function as transmitters; charging all of the phones that are found in the room without having to be in contact with them.
While this may seem like a great quality-of-life feature, it’s not as awesome from the perspective of public health. This kind of tech will mean a far bigger EMF radiation coming from wireless chargers; something akin to 5G and WiFi levels.
Remember, the currently available chargers only function at distances of a couple of inches; meaning that you don’t have to worry about their emissions unless you’re in an extremely confined space. However, when chargers begin having ranges that span entire rooms or households — we’ll have to reevaluate their effect on human health.
Many people like to leave their phone to be charged overnight. That brings us to another important question — can wireless charging actually detract from your sleep quality? There are reasons to believe that keeping a wireless charger so close to your person overnight is not a good idea. Generally, a nightstand is almost always right next to our heads — you may find that having too many electronic devices in your vicinity can disrupt your circadian rhythm.
Conclusions on Health and Wireless Charging
So, what does everything that we’ve covered tell us about the health implications of wireless charging? We’ll recap the conclusions drawn from reliable sources and scientific studies. Firstly, there are different varieties of wireless energy; all of which have different implications on the people in the close vicinity of them.
Most basically, wireless chargers function via magnetic induction. This process has a receiver and a transmitter — but in the case of wireless chargers, these must be in direct contact. There’s also resonant charging, but we haven’t gone over that in our article because modern chargers use it more rarely. This variation utilizes a far higher frequency; one that allows for bigger distances between the charger and the charging device, but also results in more EMF radiation.
Apart from this, there is wireless charging via radio waves; the closest relative to the functioning of a WiFi router — just without data transmission and with power transmission instead. This is currently not a commercially available type of wireless charger — but it’s what everyone in the industry is working towards. As said above, we can expect it to appear in the near future. That will add another source of strong EMF emissions that cover our offices, households, and plenty of public spaces. And a majority of people are sure to embrace this tech, as it adds further convenience to the way we use our phones.
This is the biggest danger for our health — the new ways in which wireless chargers can develop. Trust us, taking the time to carry and use a cable charger is a far better alternative to significantly increasing EMF exposure levels all around the globe. If you want to take care of your health, opt for wired chargers for as long as you can!