Hello Barbie radiation exposure to children
In a bid to gain more market share and turn over, a popular toy manufacturer has now launched its latest edition ‘Hello Barbie’. It can’t be denied that it is an amazing product that aimed to fulfill the desires of millions of little children, by allowing them to have an actual conversation with their doll. It listens to you, it remembers things about you and engages the child in conversation in which the child is frequently complimented and good moral values are reinforced. It is truly remarkable and can be expected to be on kids wish-lists very quickly. But… the ‘Hello Barbie’ concept has certain dangers associated with it and due to the concerns of many, has been under fire from the very beginning.
Concerns about ‘Hello Barbie’ are based largely around the privacy issues of having these conversations stored by a third party company and the potential danger of hacking of these systems (watch a TV report on privacy concerns about Hello Barbie). I found it amazing, that the potential harm a WiFi device, and its electromagnetic radiation, could do to a child’s health has not been considered as a serious danger by parents and action groups hoping to prevent the sale of ‘Hello Barbie’.
Is WiFi a risk that parents,
schools and manufacturers
are willing to take?
Science is divided, but it is hard to keep ignoring the undeniable ever increasing amount of research linking radiation exposure from wireless devices to health concerns, including fertility issues, cancers, behavior problems, DNA damage and much much more. Slowly more people are realising that radiation from WiFi and other sources of radio frequency (RF) radiation can affect health. There are liability issues to answer by those responsible for that exposure and a precautionary approach is called for instead of just allowing our exposure to increase one handy gadget or toy at a time. When the potential danger to children is involved, companies, schools but also parents have a duty of care to carefully consider if exposing a child to electromagnetic radiation is a risk they are willing to take.
We did some experiments with ‘Hello Barbie’ to assess the radiation exposure to a child
As a GEOVITAL consultant we deal with families all the time, to often work to restore or safeguard health by reducing EMF radiation exposure by verifiable means. Minimising sources of radiation in the home is obviously part of this and WiFi routers are often an ongoing source of radiation and stress to the body as are smart meters. These devices are often not very close to the body, unlike a cell phone for which there is much research, regarding the health risks they carry. So when I heard of the ‘Hello Barbie’ workings, I feared this wasn’t going to be good.
Radiation can be assessed by using an instrument to measure the radiation in the air and also the body can be assessed, which is what we at GEOVITAL find more valuable in terms of discovering whether or not the body is under stress. A lot of research refers to ‘air’ measurements, so we did both to make it easier to relate to the information.
A 7 year old child was asked to play with ‘Hello Barbie’ whilst I investigated the radiation exposure that resulted and as expected, the news was worrying. The air measurements of EMF radiation shot up very frequently during conversation, mostly when the child was pressing the ‘talk-button’ and giving its response, as well as immediately after the response was given. This makes sense as the information of the voice needs to go to the company that interprets the response so the ‘Hello Barbie’ can be notified by WiFi how to respond best to what the child is saying. The body levels rose more at the end or after speaking.
The values found were disturbing in our opinion and I’m sure also in the opinion of many Doctors and Scientists around the world. Of course the values may very well be within the maximum exposure standards of governments around the world, so based on them, just like cell phones, this doll is likely deemed completely ‘harmless’. Parents (and I wish schools and companies) should take the available research that shows the danger of EMF radiation exposure a lot more seriously and not hide behind easy outdated government rules and a feeling of, ‘they wouldn’t sell it, if it was dangerous’ or ‘the risk is small, it won’t happen to us…’.
Government rules often run far behind;
remember that Asbestos was used as ‘safe’ for a long time, smoking on airplanes was thought not to harm anyone, and smoking used to be recommended by many Doctors(!) to people with Asthma because it would ‘open up the airways’ nicely.
Research on health affects of EMR radiation exposure
There is a lot of research on the danger and health affects of radiation, and we could go on for hours. Here are just a few — Divan et al showed, in a study involving over 13,000 mothers and children, that Pre- and Post natal exposure to cell phones was associated with higher risk of behavioural problems and hyperactivity in children (full report). Is that something we can expect as a side-effect from putting devices like phones, tablets and ‘Hello Barbie’ in the hands of children? Another study by Aldad TS et al showed that Pre- and post natal exposure to cell phones caused structural and functional deficits in the brain of mice, and brought on ADHD like behavior.
Radio frequency radiation was classified as a class 2B Carcinogen
Important to note is that the World Health Organization (WHO) investigated the available research and as a result, back in 2011, classified all radio frequency radiation, which includes sources like cell phones, phone towers, cordless phones, WiFi routers and WiFi devices, as a class 2B Carcinogen.
The Bamberg Doctors’ Report from 2005, was signed by 175 GPs, investigated 356 patients and reported on the symptoms experienced by those with exposure to RF (Radio frequency) radiation in their homes. It reported that the list of symptoms was wide ranging at, what was considered, very low levels (<10µW/m2). The report noted the following symptoms.
“Sleep disturbances, tiredness, disturbance in concentration, forgetfulness, problems with finding words, depressive mood, ear noises, sudden loss of hearing, hearing loss, giddiness, nose bleeds, visual disturbances, frequent infections, sinusitis, joint and limb pains, nerve and soft tissue pains, feeling of numbness, heart rhythm disturbances, increased blood pressure episodes, hormonal disturbances, night-time sweats, nausea.” and the report mentioned that “It is no way only a subjective sensitivity disturbance. Disturbances of rhythm, hearing problems, sudden deafness, hearing loss, loss of vision, increased blood pressure, hormonal disturbances, concentration impairments, and others can be proved using scientific objective measures.“
It was also important to realise that this report also indicated that symptoms disappeared immediately when the sources of the radiation were removed or radiation shielding was applied and that is what GEOVITAL does best.
A study led by Papageorgiou investigated the attention of young men when utilising their working memory. This blind study saw Wi-Fi device placed 1.5meter (5feet) away and showed significant effects.
A disturbing fact is that safety standards set by governments are mostly in relation to very old testing methods and testing was set up to figure out effects on an adult male. Doctors fear that as children’s physiology is very different and their skin is thinner, the potential damage done to children was never really considered or investigated.
Much more research links can be found on our research page.
Radiation exposure test with ‘Hello Barbie’-use by a child
Our test was conducted in a radiation shielded children’s bedroom to reduce EMF radiation exposure from outside sources adding significantly to the reading. Of course we did need an active WiFi signal to use, so a mobile phone with a portable WiFi signal activated was placed outside the room, but being in line with the open door, and through this could get to the ‘Hello Barbie’ doll as shown in the video. It seemed the WiFI signal was not very strong as the Hello Barbie doll lost WiFi connection several times during the 15min of filming. When ‘Hello Barbie’ was speaking for a longer period of time, or when connection was lost, we can see the values go right down. The soaring values when ‘Hello Barbie’ was being spoken to or shortly after the talk-button was released, seem to therefore clearly indicate a dramatic increase in the child’s exposure to EMF radiation from playing with a ‘Hello Barbie’ doll, not unlike what we could expect if the child was using a cell phone or tablet that were not switched to flight-mode.
Our assessment of the radiation exposure with use of ‘Hello Barbie’ in µW/m2 during a simple test:
|Distance||Radiation exposure of ‘Hello Barbie’|
we measured in µW/m2 when transmitting
|40cm (16 inch)||200 – 360 µW/m2|
|30cm (12 inch)||600 – 1700 µW/m2|
|20cm (8 inch)||600 – 2000+ µW/m2|
|10cm (4 inch)||1500 – 2000+ µW/m2|
(mostly at 2000+ µW/m2)
Please note the manual’s recommendation is to hold ‘Hello Barbie’ within 12″ (30cm).
The levels of radiation from ‘Hello Barbie’ when measured at various distances were higher than the levels reported in a recent study on the link between cell phone towers and increased risk of diabetes. This study saw a significant increase in levels of HbA1c (Glycated Hemoglobin) and therefor the risk of diabetes mellitus in school children, when EMF radiation exposure rose from just 19.09 µW/m2 to 96.01 µW/m2!
The levels found during our test was also higher than the levels commented on by the Bamberg Doctors’ Report. Fair enough, that exposure from cell phone towers would have been relatively continuous in the lives of the subjects reported on in the Bamberg Doctors’ Report, but there is a fair chance that those same levels of exposure are already present in the homes of many children. ‘Hello Barbie’ would be adding to this and in close proximity to the child. The same danger exists for children’s use of cell phones, tablets and even having wireless baby monitors nearby.
Radiation sources close to the body
Sure, all this exposure to wireless radiation is taking its toll, but putting the source close to your body makes it worse. That is why the evidence in case of cell phones is so undeniable. Did you know that the SAR exposure limits, which cell phones are tested for, are normally instantly exceeded when a phone is held against the body or a head? That is why testing, supposedly meant to help protect you, is done at 1cm distance instead so phones can be deemed acceptable under government limits. Now we are putting ‘Hello Barbie’ in the arms of thousands of children and let them cuddle her.
Kids behaviour with Hello Barbie doesn’t promote holding-at-arms-length to reduce radiation exposure
It was easy to see that the charm of ‘Hello Barbie’ creates an intimate bond with the child very quickly. In order to investigate the interaction we had to use one child as the guinea pig. It was wonderful to see how she lit up ‘A talking Barbie!’ but the distress welled up inside me as I realised I would have to be the ‘big meanie’ that had to take it away from her later. I tried to explain… ‘this Barbie is for our work. I have to test it because it makes radiation. You can’t have it. Do you want to help me investigate?’
I told her; ‘Hold it away from your body, and you can’t cuddle the ‘Hello Barbie’ Ok?’ but moments later as the Hello Barbie started asking her questions about her day, animals and fashion, the desire to make sure ‘Hello Barbie’ understood clearly, quickly saw the ‘Hello Barbie’ be pulled into her face to clearly speak towards the doll. The idea to keep it at arms length went out of the window immediately and seemed impossible to keep correcting. This of course would increase the exposure of any child to the RF radiation from the ‘Hello Barbie’ doll even more.
Children need more protection EMF radiation
As children are growing and their life-time exposure to wireless radiation will be bigger over their life-time compared to any adult reading this, they should be protected from it. There is no need to be ‘anti-technology’ either. Tablets and Smart Phones can (and should!) be switched to Flight-mode before handing it to a child with the instruction to never place it on their body, but rather keep it in front of them or on the table. This is difficult with ‘Hello Barbie’ as it needs WiFi internet connectivity to work and it is actually recommended in its manual to keep it close. During experiments with the one ‘Hello Barbie’ doll we had, we experienced the occasional ‘Oh uh, I can’t find a WiFi network’ comment from ‘Hello Barbie’, even though we were at some of those occasions only 5m (16ft) away from the router. You can just imagine: a child that knows where that ‘WiFi signal’ comes from, that her ‘Hello Barbie’ needs so desperately, would see her stay closer to the WiFi router to ‘please’ Barbie, but at the same time increase the ongoing exposure to electromagnetic radiation from the router even further.
Hello Barbie manual fails to warn parents and children of potential health hazards of EMF radiation
Whilst warnings are hidden in manuals of cell phones about the risks of EMF radiation exposure, the manual of the ‘Hello Barbie’ has no mention of EMF radiation. On page 8, it actually states ‘For best results, hold the doll within approx 12” ‘.
At the end of the manual (page 12) you find, what at first impression, looks like a warning for health. But it is about interference this device should not cause with other devices. It does state that “This equipment generates, uses and can radiate radio frequency energy…” but no mention is made this could affect health.
Conclusion on Hello Barbie and EMF radiation exposure to children
Our exposure as a species to electromagnetic radiation is increasing at a rapid rate and 3-5% of the population is expected to suffer from electrohypersensitity where they feel affects of radiation exposure very quickly. What surely anyone can understand, is that in order for symptoms to appear (fertility issues, miscarriages, a cancer, diabetes, DNA-damage, eye problems etc.) the bodies defenses must first be worn down to a point where the body can no longer compensate. It are these ‘biological changes’, before the onset of symptoms, what should be avoided… not wait for symptoms to present in the hope you can reverse the problems later.
Having spent some time with ‘Hello Barbie’, I have to say that for its communication with the child, to me (not being an expert in child psychology or brain development) it seems like an amazing product. It reinforces, in my opinion, decent values. The child gets complimented regularly with phrases like ‘you’re a great friend’, ‘you care for others’, ‘that’s what I like about you’. I could imagine that in the busy home where mum and dad have trouble spending time with a child, the child might not get that reassuring compliment for their behaviour, and so ‘Hello Barbie’ would be good for the child’s confidence and morals. Of course ‘Hello Barbie’ interaction can’t be a substitute for actual adult care and interaction. — For all the pre-planned conversation and interaction, I think the caring side of the manufacturer is shining through and they can be commended for that. It is just such a shame WiFI came into it which many, who have investigated the available research, think is totally inappropriate.
If only ‘Hello Barbie” could be made, to have the voice recognition and answers built in and it was a closed circuit (not connection to outside), then everyone would be happy. If there was a wired version, that could connect to the router using a cable, then (provided the router doesn’t have WiFi blasting into the child) the health concerns would be mostly addressed, but the privacy dangers remain.
I fear the ‘Hello Barbie’ will sell extremely well the way it is. Just show 12 kids your ‘Hello Barbie’ at a birthday party and I’m guessing every child will want one. Parents have to step up and investigate this issue of EMF radiation themselves and make their own decision if the risks are worth it (just like with vaccinations…). Children are precious and some potential damage like DNA damage can’t be reversed, which is why some scientists are already scared that the damage we have done to ourselves will express itself in 5 generation, at which point it is too late to say we are sorry.
Final word of wisdom about radiation in our lives
For those who made it to the end of the article: Kids get a lot of exposure to EMF radiation over their life-time. It is now literally from conception to the grave and this is a great worry. GEOVITAL’s roots are a natural health clinic in Austria and we have evolved to radiation protection and environmental medicine. We deal with the bad results of radiation exposure in many families on a daily basis and have done so for over 30 years. The thing to remember is… the key is your bedroom.
Our bodies are designed to rest, repair and regenerate at night and therefore the bedroom is the most important place to take radiation deadly seriously. 95% of bedrooms we go into have radiation exposure at levels we have found to be significant. And this comes from the homes own wiring(!) and then we haven’t even touched on WiFi and cell phone towers. Chances are that your bedroom, and that of the kids, are in need of an improvement with solutions that perform at meaningful levels. This is where you need help, and we do that better than anyone else. If it makes sense, we’d be delighted to assist you and we also run courses for those wanting to help people in their local communities.
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Statement / Disclaimer:
The views expressed in this article and video are an opinion based on extensive experience and in light of the available research that supports the drawn conclusions. Research on the subject of EMF radiation is divided and so we encourage everyone to evaluate it and draw their own conclusions. We are not stating that the manufacturer of this device is in breach of any laws.