Magnet in these popular devices may harm your heart health

Credit: Joan Tran/Unsplash.

Magnet technology is increasingly being used in portable electronic devices, such as the Apple AirPods Pro charging case, the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation, and the Microsoft Surface Pen.

In a new study from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, researchers found if the devices are carried in pockets near the chest, and the individual has an implanted cardiac device (ICD), the magnets may interfere with the ICD’s ability to help regulate the heart.

They suggest that heart patients should be aware of these risks, and their doctor should tell them to be careful with these electronic devices with magnets.

Devices and machinery with magnets exhibit a vector field or area of magnetic influence that can inhibit pulse generators for implanted ICDs and pacemakers.

In ICDs, magnets can activate a switch prohibiting the ICD from delivering life-saving shocks.

Newer portable electronic devices equipped with strong magnets can disrupt the ICD operation.

Earlier research on the iPhone 12 Pro Max demonstrated that its magnetic field is strong enough to interfere with the normal operation of an implanted pacemaker or ICD when held within an inch.

In this study, researchers tested the magnetic field output of the wireless charging case of the Apple AirPods Pro, the Microsoft Surface Pen, and the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation.

They found the maximum distance for a possible interaction between the portable electronic devices and the implantable cardiac devices was:

  • around 2 cm (0.78 inches) away for all of the Apple products; and
  • 2.9 cm (1.14 inches) away for the Microsoft Surface Pen.

The researchers said for safety the minimal distance is between 0.8 cm (0.31 inches) for the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation, and 1.8 cm (0.71 inches) for the Microsoft Surface Pen and the opened charging case of the Apple AirPods Pro .

The public needs to be aware of the potential risks of portable electronic devices in addition to the iPhone 12 Pro Max that may affect anyone with an ICD

What is most concerning is that magnets are being used in more and more portable electronic devices, and with so many magnets around us, the risk to cardiac patients is even greater.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about what you should know about heart valve diseases, and findings of heart failure more dangerous for adults under 65.

For more information about heart disease prevention, please see recent studies that tomato juice with no salt may help prevent heart disease, and results showing that why statins may be not enough to prevent heart disease.

The study is published in Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology and was conducted by Corentin Féry et al.

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