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EMF’s are all around us, both in nature and man-made. But where do we draw the line when something that’s designed to help is actually harming us? This is why I wanted to learn more about the EMF levels of diabetes devices.
EMF’s of Diabetes Devices
There is no question that getting almost real time blood sugar readings from CGMs help with sugar control.
Or that the precision of an insulin pump helps to fine tune insulin delivery, typically leading to tighter blood sugar control.
But knowing that these devices use EMF’s to function I had to wonder if this control was worth the EMF exposure.
Are EMFs Safe?
We know that some EMF’s pose little to no risk (like the sun and the earth ), others pose a very high risk (like 5G, smart meters, power lines, x-rays, etc).
We know that plants that are fed microwaved water die shortly after, that people living near power lines have higher rates of cancer, that we’re not supposed to keep our phones in our pockets (and especially not our bras), and that we should limit x-ray use as much as possible.
But what if the devices that are supposed to help your health are actually harming your health? Where do you draw the line?
This was a concern I had in regards to diabetes devices, which is exactly why I decided to test the EMF’s of diabetes devices that I have.
So I ordered an EMF meter and have tested the following diabetes devices:
Contour Next One Meter
Freestyle Libre 1 (aka 14-day wear)
Freestyle Libre 3
Currently, in the United States, EMF safe limit guidelines are between 2 to 10 mW/m2 (200 uW/cm2 to 1000 uW/cm2) depending on the frequency. See how we stack up against other countries:
Below are the EMF ratings of the diabetes devices I’ve tested.
These readings were taken at the point of communication. For example, the Libre 3 communicates every minute to your phone’s bluetooth. So every minute you’re getting a pulse of 0.5 mW/m2. The Dexcom G7 communicates to your phone’s bluetooth every 5 minutes.
Something important I need to mention about the Dexcom G5 & G6 “phone as the receiver” readings is that when I was taking the readings I had the EMF reader next to the phone and not next to the sensor… so it was picking up the EMF’s of the phones wifi antenna, cellular data antenna, and location antenna, in addition to the bluetooth antenna. So while that is the EMF levels of your phone with Dexcom G5 & G6, it is not the EMF levels of the part that’s on your body (the sensor & transmitter). I believe the G5 is discontinued, but I plan on retaking the Dexcom G6 reading this summer (summer 2023).
1. Contour Next One Meter
This blood sugar meter is bluetooth enabled and can pair with Omnipod Dash. The Contour Next One meter has very low levels of EMF’s. Zero when off, and pulsed to a peak of 0.50 mW/m2 when being used. This is below the recommended 1.0 mW/m2
2. Dexcom G5
Using the receiver from Dexcom (as opposed to your phone) the devices throw off a reading of 0.15 mW/m2 during communication, which is great. This is below the recommended 1.0 mW/m2
HOWEVER, using a phone as a receiver throws of a much higher reading of 6.8 at its peak during communication, and around a 4-5 mW/m2 every few seconds just from the phones bluetooth alone. This is above the recommended 1.0 mW/m2.
3. Dexcom G6
Using your phone as the receiver for Dexcom G6 throws off a reading of 17mW/m2 at its peak. This peak communication happens every 5 minutes. This is higher than the G5 which has a peak of 6.8 and MUCH higher than the recommended 1.0 mW/m2 .
This reading was taken using the EROS pods (not Dash pods). The EROS Pods use Radio Frequency (RF) for communication and the Dash Pods use bluetooth.
During communication, like a pod change or a bolus, levels peak to 4 mW/m2, which is more than the recommended 1.0 mW/m2.
While this level is quite high, I personally feel okay continuing use of the Omnipod because it only throws off EMF’S when directly communicating with the pod (like a bolus, setting a temp basal, changing a pod). The rest of the day the pod is running on a pre-programmed basal meaning there is no continuous communication is taking place. This is why your PDM doesn’t need to be near your pod to deliver your basal rates.
This is a risk benefit ratio that I am okay with, however, everyone has to determine their own levels of comfort and their own risk/benefit ratio.
5. Freestyle Libre CGM
The Freestyle Libre allows you to use both their receiver or your phone to check your sugar. Both the phone (which is on airplane mode) and receiver don’t emit EMF’s when not actively scanning sensor. When looking for the sensor, the receiver emits over 17 mW/m2 and the phone emits 2 mW/m2. Both are more than the recommended 1.0 mW/m2.