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Are fitbit's safe for constant use?

(21 Posts)
Goingthedistance Tue 17-May-16 16:58:19

I recently got a Fitbit blaze after seeing it mentioned several times on MN and it's been brilliant for getting me motivated - trying to beat the daily number of steps I take and lowering heart rate has become a serious challenge!

Thing is, I was wearing my Fitbit whilst out to dinner and my (GP) friend questioned whether the green flashing light permanently next to my body was safe. As I wear it all the time (apart from showering and swimming) I'm now wondering how safe it is to wear on that scale.

Would appreciate any info if any MNetters know and could advise.

SpeakNoWords Tue 17-May-16 17:00:13

What did your GP friend say when you asked what harm/damage a green LED light against your skin could cause?

Zame Tue 17-May-16 17:02:25

Reading the Fitbit info, the green light is the same as any other artificial light that you're exposed to frequently. So unless you're allergic to light, you're ok

Goingthedistance Tue 17-May-16 17:18:21

She mentioned there are concerns of a link between led lights and skin cancer. Particularly to the kind nail salons use.

But it's probably on a much lower strength in the fit bit and I'm being a bit of a worry wort and there's nothing to worry about at all!

SpeakNoWords Tue 17-May-16 17:31:58

So, from a quick bit of Internet research, it seems that the kind of LED lights used in nail salons, to set certain types of nail polish, are designed to emit UV light. For some types of nail polish the UV is needed to set the polish. If you had loads of sessions of this eg daily, for many years, you might increase your risk of skin cancer as a result.

The LED light used in a fitbit is the same as the more general LED lights that are used everywhere around your house and outside. They emit no, or very low, levels of UV depending on the brand or type. They are not a cancer risk.

Here's a link to a comment on the fitbit help pages about this:

There is a statement from Fitbit themselves stating that the light emitted is visible spectrum light, so not UV light.

PreAdvent13610 Tue 17-May-16 17:33:01

UV light is what causes skin cancer. Most led bulbs emit no UV. Nail salons use a specialist type of led because they require UV, your fitbit is unlikely to emit UV.

Goingthedistance Tue 17-May-16 17:51:06

thanks so much for your replies, appreciate it!

To be fair to my friend, she wasn't familiar with fitbits and I'm certain she wasn't trying to scaremonger or anything like that! More like a question about wearable technology that led to a general discussion about sunbeds, salons, uv rays etc..

Then later I found articles including from (I think) men's health and the New York Times raising concerns about wearable technology. Obviously the companies themselves refute any connection or concerns in the same way mobile phones are not proven to cause brain cancer.

But I think on balance I'll keep wearing my Fitbit!

RunnerOnTheRun Tue 17-May-16 19:00:23

There are wide spread concerns about wearable technology, depending on what you read, but I believe it is not the light causing concern but the Radiation.

SpeakNoWords Tue 17-May-16 19:03:06

Ooh, what kind of radiation?

RunnerOnTheRun Tue 17-May-16 19:06:41

Google it! Also we are exposed ALL the time just from mobile phones etc. As long as you are aware and understand it (I can't say I do 100%).

We turn off wifi overnight to try to reduce it. Wifi is apparently horrendous for children.

SpeakNoWords Tue 17-May-16 19:10:22

Oh, it sounded like you had some specific information. I wear a Fitbit daily, and I'm pregnant, so I was curious what you knew. I worry that if I just google stuff I might not get the right information. Where did you first hear about this?

RunnerOnTheRun Tue 17-May-16 19:15:35

A documentary maybe? I really can't remember, it's always just been something I am aware of really so gradually just pick up bits here and there. It's just common sense that something is happening with all the waves flying through our space/heads. It's too early to tell if there is a long term effect or link with disease though.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 17-May-16 19:17:46

I stopped wearing mine because a) it wasn't accurate and b) I was worried about getting cancer!, whether that's silly it not

Goingthedistance Tue 17-May-16 19:48:50

through I don't know if it's silly either but I completely share your concern.
As a matter of interest what were the inaccuracies for you?
I'm sort of inclined to wear it occasionally now ie when I'm exercising rather than all of the time or none of the time <sits on fence!> but other than being happy to use it as a very expensive watch, it would be annoying if it's not accurate as well!

SpeakNoWords Tue 17-May-16 20:05:42

Your Fitbit really isn't going to give you cancer or cause any other health problems as a result of wearing it daily.

Mine is accurate in the sense that it records my steps consistently. If I do the same walk I get pretty much the same number of steps each time. So it is fit for purpose in that I know that if I move more I will get more steps. I found it really useful when trying to lose weight, and I will use it to get more active once I've had the baby.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 17-May-16 20:09:44

OP - it didn't map my sleep properly - grrr - I was obsessed with that! And I used it to track distance on runs, and I know it was wrong. On my 5k Parkrun for example, it was giving me different distances every now and then when I finished. Enought that I felt I couldn't trust it.

It was actually a Microsoft band, if that makes a difference.

Goingthedistance Tue 17-May-16 20:33:58

through that would annoy me too! Fitbit does seem pretty accurate as far as I can tell so my only concern is the health issue

Goingthedistance Tue 17-May-16 20:36:39

Oops, posted early by mistake.
So my only concern is health but the rational in me says it's no more than using a mobile phone although I take on board PP's comment about wifi.

lljkk Thu 19-May-16 08:12:50

I had same inaccuracies as TTAT01 did.

Bromeliad Thu 19-May-16 09:14:57

Light is a form of radiation (as is heat) but it's unlikely to be damaging unless the UV is high.

BlackCatSleeps Thu 19-May-16 09:25:26

I think if you think it has been brilliant for motivating you to get moving, the definite health benefits there probably outweigh the concerns.

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