Thursday Ask Dr. Walt – Are Electric Bedspreads Safe?

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Thursday Ask Dr. Walt – Are Electric Bedspreads Safe?

Dear Dr. Walt, can electric blankets cause cancer? — Burrowed in Bed in North Dakota.

In the past, some researchers and consumer groups wondered about a possible connection between electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are two types of EMFs:

  • Higher frequencies, such as X-rays, which can damage cells and DNA.
  • Low- to mid-frequency, such as power lines and electrical appliances, which do not damage cells or DNA.

Electric blankets are a source of extremely low-frequency EFMs. Multiple studies have found no links with cancer (including thyroid and breast cancer).

There are two types of electric blankets on the market. One fits directly on the mattress and the other is a traditional blanket. Modern electric blankets are much safer than their predecessors primarily because of an automatic shut-off. Nevertheless, Columbia University offers this advice:

  • Never use both types of blankets at the same time because it may present a significant fire hazard.
  • To avoid any chance that they will get too hot or cause burns, only use an electric blanket before bedtime and turn it off before going to sleep.
  • Avoid using an electric blanket on a waterbed, bunk bed, mechanical bed, or sofa.

If you have a newer electric blanket, store it correctly, and use it properly, an electric blanket is safe. However, it is recommended that children, pregnant women, and those with diabetes or circulation issues not use them. You can read more about that here.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2022. This blog provides healthcare tips and advice that you can trust about a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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