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I bought a new set of headphones, but the insert said that the package contained materials known to the state of California to cause cancer. Can headphones cause cancer? Why isn’t anyone talking about this?

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Headphones—wired or Bluetooth—won’t give you cancer.

What that insert is talking about is the fact that there are a few materials used in the construction of your cans that on their own are known carcinogens. However, you never actually come into contact with them as these materials are almost exclusively found in the solder on the wires and circuitboards of your headphones. Even if you did come into contact with them, these chemicals are extremely low risk—and incidental contact will not give you cancer.

If you don’t plan on grinding up you headphones to eat or burning them and inhaling the fumes, you should be okay.

Bluetooth headphones also won’t give you cancer. The way that it was once theorized that they could is because like any wireless signal, Bluetooth exerts energy over a medium, and enough energy can damage your DNA. Damaged DNA can lead to cancer if your immune system doesn’t act accordingly to the damaged cells.

The truth of the matter is, Bluetooth is much lower-energy than even radio frequencies like you’d be exposed to by your cell phone, and even those aren’t even CLOSE to enough to damage your DNA. It’s not physically impossible that they could, it’s just that the amount of exposure needed is so ludicrously high that you’d span several lifetimes before you got cancer from it.

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