While Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) has been around for over 90 years, few people had any idea about it. Nonetheless, it has stealthily grown to be a significant part of everyone’s life. Today, most likely not a day passes without you using some sort of RFID reader, and the things you purchase are certainly scanned at least once every week. Of particular interest is the growing use of RFID chips in our children for various purposes, like tracking and medical monitoring. Today, the focus is to examine whether or not these chips are medically safe for children.
RFID in Humans
RFID technology is designed in a way that the personal information that is encoded on it can be read remotely without anyone realizing that it’s being read. While there are several types of chips, the passive chips are the ones currently being implanted in people. For passive tags, they can only emit their signal out after being triggered by a reader.
The power with which the tag uses to respond to the trigger signal also comes from the reader. The passive tags do not provide information. They just contain something like a unique ID number, which is read for the software to connect it to your personal information.
Medical Benefits of RFID
All innovations in the medical industry, including mdsandbox, are meant to improve health care delivery, and RFID is no exception. There are significant benefits of RFID in the medical field. With access to your child’s medical history, a doctor can quickly reach informed decisions about medications among other treatments. Moreover, the ID is implanted in the patient, hence no risk of being misidentified in the hospital.
The Safety of RFID Chips
The RFID chip is passive, owing to the fact that it does not contain an in-built energy source. Thus, a tag alone cannot emit waves, posing absolutely no danger. It communicates when it falls within a reader’s electromagnetic field. It is this reader that releases electromagnetic waves at a given power.
The readers may emit electromagnetic waves in three frequency bands depending on the RFID technology – 900 MHz for ultra-high-frequency (UHF), 13.56 MHz for high-frequency (HF), and 125 kHz for very low-frequency (LF) readers. Consequently, the effects of these waves on children’s body will depend on the frequency band that’s used.
On measuring the electromagnetic fields produced by the reader, in laboratory conditions, it has been found that the field generated in the HF and LF bands fades rapidly and is only effective in the immediate proximity of a reader. Whatever the case, the radiation remains below the recommended threshold limit value for humans; according to the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). Although the magnetic-field spans greater distances in UHF frequency bands, the radiation never surpass the threshold limit values.
Therefore, for children who are occasionally exposed to RFID reader’s emitted waves, the risk is minimal. Nonetheless, in the event of continuous exposure, even with low radiation levels, it is recommended that you maintain a minimum distance of about 20 cm from the reader at all times.
A passive RFID chip does not pose any medical risk when implanted in an individual, as it doesn’t emit any waves while outside of the reader’s field. While readers emit waves, they have only a limited range. The same applies to active chips, which are somewhat rare and are like sensor networks. Therefore, the RFID chips are medically safe for our children and there is nothing we should worry ourselves about.