Is the Electromagnetic Radiation from a Laptop Computer Dangerous?
I don't know how many people use laptop computers on their lap, but their name implies that this is common practice. If you've ever used a laptop on your lap for even a short period of time, you may know that it can get pretty hot. Have you ever felt the tingling sensation or the feeling of a 'deeper' heat in your lap area? I have wondered about the potential safety risks involved with this, so I did some research and was surprised with my findings.
As it turns out, every electronic device in the world emits a form of electromagnetic field (EMF). This EMF is actually a type of radiation. It isn't the same type as uranium or plutonium; rather, it is a non-ionizing radiation. This means that the energy emitted is not strong enough to remove electrons, or ionize the atoms. Instead, it just excites the electrons. It already sounds a little Different devices emit different types and amounts of this EMF radiation. For example, microwave ovens emit a high-frequency field that is detectable even a few yards from the microwave. The radiation field generated by most other electronic devices seems to fade out after only a couple of inches. So unless you use a device very close to your body, this doesn't seem to be much of an issue.
Laptop or notebook computers are one of those devices that are used directly on the body. Many college students, travelers, gamers, and other people use a laptop on their lap (essentially at zero distance from the body). The research I've done seems to be inconclusive as to whether or not this is dangerous. There is a common recommendation though: limit exposure to fields over 2.5 mG. A laptop computer can emit an incredible 150 mG, which is 60 times the recommended amount!
Effects and Solution
Some health professionals believe that this EMF exposure can lead to cancer. Since a laptop is used near the groin area, infertility or birth defects are also believed to be possible. These risks are the results of a few EMF effects. First off, the EMF warms body tissue. Normal cellular functions occur at tightly-controlled temperatures. The EMF radiation from a laptop computer can change these temperatures. The radiation emitted also causes premature cell division. The cells actually divide before the DNA is correctly established, which may possibly lead to mutation.
I've found an interesting product that may alleviate these concerns. It's called a HARApad and is found at http://www.harapad.com. It looks like it's a pad that you set your laptop computer on while it's on your lap. They have a video of it in action; it definitely seems to reduce the EMF field detected by the meter. I'm not sure it will save your life, but it may; and it definitely can't hurt.
In conclusion, I don't mean to tell you that your laptop computer will kill you. This EMF radiation was just a concern of mine and I thought I'd share my findings. I'll tell you that I've found many other people- friends, family, and on the net- who share these concerns. Many health professionals seem to think there may be something to worry about. I'm starting to agree.