Last updated: October 30, 2014 at 16:41 pm

Is Your Laptop Dangerous?

Laptop radiation dangers may be greater than you realize.

Laptop radiation is dangerous.If you use your computer for many hours a day, this may be the greatest source of electromagnetic radiation danger you’re exposing yourself to, even with all the other sources of radiation in the environment today. 

But if your computer is a laptop, you’re facing even more complex dangers. Especially if you use it on your lap.

Ironically, laptops are not safe on lap tops.

Although the results of studies about electromagnetic radiation danger from computers are controversial, there is abundant research concluding that laptops are particularly dangerous, especially when used on the lap.

If you look in the small print of your laptop user’s manual, you will probably find wording something to this effect: “Warning: Do not place on lap.” If a user’s manual actually indicates a warning like this, you know this is something you need to pay attention to. And if you research the subject, you’ll find that the FCC report regarding safety from EMFs back in 1996 states that  a laptop needs to be placed at least 20 cm from the body.

Additionally, the 1996 FCC regulations were only measuring thermal dangers of laptops (which are serious enough in themselves). However, what most researchers are concerned about these days are the non-thermal hazards of laptops—the long-term effects on the immune system and the links being drawn between laptop radiation and serious conditions and diseases.

Laptop Radiation Values Deemed Risky for Tumor Development

Research recently published in the archives of the Environmental & Occupational Health journal cites a study in which they measured EMF levels in five commonly-used laptops of different brands.

Although they found that the EMF values were within the guidelines put out by the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection, they also found them considerably higher than those recommended in recent guidelines put out by two other sources: the Swedish Board for Technical Accreditation (ICNIRP) and the Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees (TCO). The EMF values in laptops were actually deemed risky in these guidelines for tumor development.

The Closer, the More Dangerous

It was also noted that EMF values were alarmingly high when the laptop was close to the body. The power supply induces strong intra-corporal electrical current densities in both adult and fetus subjects—71%-483% and 1882%-263% higher, respectively, than ICNIRP basic restrictions recommend to prevent adverse health effects.

In conclusion, the researchers state:

“Laptop is paradoxically an improper site for the use of a LTC which consequently should be renamed to not induce customers towards an improper use.”

Laptop Radiation Danger Less when using a Table or Desk

Because of studies such as this one, health experts are recommending that if you absolutely have to use your laptop on your lap, you should insert a sturdy pillow of at least 6” thickness between your lap and the laptop. Otherwise, it’s best to use it on a table or desk, as the radiation falls away rather quickly with increasing distance.

What about your Hands on the Keyboard?

Because of the dangers of close proximity to the laptop, even typing on it can be harmful. For safety’s sake, experts suggest keeping at least 30 cm away from laptop—and, if possible, getting an external (non-wireless) keyboard and mouse.

Reproductive Health Endangered

 Laptop radiation affects sperm count.Men need to be especially careful about using a laptop on their lap, especially if they’re concerned about their reproductive health. A study to evaluate the direct impact of laptop use on human sperm was published in January 2012 in Fertility & Sterility, showing a significant decrease in sperm motility and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation. And this was after just four hours of exposure.

This study is similar to the tests done with men wearing cell phones on a belt or in pants pockets, published earlier in 2008, in Fertility & Sterility, which showed statistically significant changes in the men’s sperm count.

Although these studies on laptops measured non-thermal effects, there are other studies that have showed that sperm may also be damaged through thermal effects when a laptop is used on a lap if a man’s legs are held close together.

Testicular Cancer Linked with Laptop Radiation

According to Cindy Sage, environmental consultant and public policy researcher since 1982,

“Overwhelming evidence shows that RF can cause DNA damage, and DNA damage is a necessary precursor to cancer.”

Somewhat more graphically, David Carpenter, MD, director of the institute for Health & Environment at the University of Albany, states:

“When you hold your laptop on your lap, what you’re essentially doing is radiating your pelvis. So that all the concerns that affect that area are of concern.”

He cites a number of studies that point to a heightened risk of testicular cancer for men who keep RF-emitting devices close to their pelvises.

Carpenter adds a note about women:

“The studies aren’t quite there yet, but I think we can say that anything that might cause cancer almost always causes birth defects, so pregnant women—or those wanting to become pregnant soon—should take extra precautions.”

Which Way is your Laptop more Dangerous—Wired or Wireless?

There are conflicting reports on this question. Some experts claim that using WiFi or 3G connectivity is more harmful because of the microwave radiation from these sources (on top of that coming off the laptop itself). They say it’s better to use cable connection and keep the wireless ability switched off.

Other reports tell us that laptops are even more harmful when they’re plugged in and charging, because computer-charging devices are ungrounded. They claim that the amount of radiation you’re exposed to when your laptop is plugged in compared to that running on a battery is 100x higher.

Common Symptoms of Non-Thermal Radiation Exposure

  • Chronic Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Digestive Disorders
  • Sleep Disturbances
 
  • Concentration problems
  • Fatigue
  • Depression, Anxiety
  • Chronic colds & flus

Avoiding Laptop Radiation Dangers

Avoid laptop radiation with EMF protection.No matter is you’re feeling symptoms at this point or not, it’s clear you should use your computer with care. And if you use your laptop a lot, you might consider getting laptop radiation protection, which is relatively inexpensive, considering laptop radiation health risks.

Is your laptop dangerous? It’s clear it probably is, especially if you use it on your lap. But there’s no reason to stop using it, if you have protection. Just as we use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, and wash our hands to prevent illness in our digestive systems, using laptop radiation protection in today’s world just makes good sense.

 


 

 

 

23 Responses to Is Your Laptop Dangerous?

  • Michael says:

    What is the actual source of the allegedly harmful amounts of radiation?  Yes, ‘the laptop, but WHAT in the laptop is generating it?  At what intensities and frequencies?  This article speaks in generalities and has the sound of alarmism, especially given the lack of references provided…

    • Vidya, Editor says:

      It’s both the WiFi and the large battery in a laptop that generates harmful EMFs.

      It was not within the scope of this blog post to put in the actual intensities and frequencies involved with the dangers of WiFi radiation. There is a lot you can find in a search on Scholar Google that may give you the information you’re looking for. But, for starters, here are some references:

      1. Lai, Henry. Biological Effects of Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Encyclopedia of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering. G.L. Gowlin and G. Wnek: Taylor and Francis Books, 2005.
      2. Persson, Salford, Brun. Blood-brain barrier permeability in rats exposed to electromagnetic fields used in wireless communication; Wireless Networks, Vol 3, Issue 6, Dec. 1997; pg 455-461.
      3. BioInitiative Report, 2012.
      4. Mariea, Tamara and Carlo, George. Wireless Radiation in the Etiology and Treatment of Autism: Clinical Observations and Mechanisms; Journal of the Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, August 2007.
      5. Havas, Magda. Analysis of Health and Environmental Effects of Proposed San Francisco Earthlink Wi-Fi Network. May 31, 2007.

      Another specific source on the dangers of laptops is:
      http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19338244.2011.564232#.UpPvA7RShEw

  • Mike Majer says:

    Aine,
    Why don’t you use any statistics?  I’m searching for specific values on amount of radiation emitted and in what frequency range, and was sad to learn nothing.
    Mike

  • Alex says:

    Hello, I’m a frequent laptop user and have owned one for the past 5 years. Until recently I spent a considerable amount of time with my laptop on my body (generally around my lower stomach,  or groin area) whilst lying in bed. Recent symptoms have been diagnosed as Crohn’s disease, this came out February 2013. I sit at a desk now. My point is this; nobody knows what causes Crohn’s disease and have you ever seen a pattern with radiation. Crohn’s is most common in males 15 – 25 which is probably the largest consumer population for laptops. I’ve always had an odd inkling about this ever since my Geography class three years ago where my friend told me I’d get a serious illness from using my laptop on my lap. I laughed at the thought of it at the time.
    Would appreciate some feedback, cheers,
    Alex

    • Aine, Editor says:

      Alex-
      I haven’t found any definitive research specifically linking Crohn’s Disease to laptop use, which is not to say it isn’t happening. This kind of research is extremely complicated. Imagine trying to filter out each of the possibilities that impact each person’s life, history and genetics! Even so, diligent scientists are involved in more research all the time to discover the causes of many diseases. And when the issue of the rapid rise in radiation from all our technology is considered among the possible factors, it isn’t as often laughed at as you did in Geography class just 3 years ago. That’s progress in itself as is the fact that you use your computer at your desk! Consider EMF protection also, Alex.

      The Best of Health to You,
      Aine

    • Alex says:

      I laughed at the idea that such a commonly used and accepted tool could have the ability to inflict serious harm to people, not laughing at the prospect of developing cancer from radiation.

  • Summer says:

    I have been using a laptop on my laps for a couple of years now for a 3-4 hours a day and for the last year I have developed UTI symptoms for which i have had various tests for and they have all come back clear.  I am now wondering whether using the laptop; which gets heated quite a bit, might be the cause of my discomfort.  Has anyone got any ideas? BTW I am a female.

    • Aine, Editor says:

      Summer-
      Glad to hear you’ve eliminate some medical causes. Women can get UTI’s for all kinds of reasons, so checking it out with your doctor is always first.
      Next you might experiment. Stop using your laptop on your lap and see if you notice a difference. Yep, it means changing a long-standing habit. Keep it off your lap for a couple months and see if the issue clears up. Even though it isn’t a scientifically validated if your symptoms disappear it’s all you need. If you then moved the laptop to your lap and the symptoms resumed……hmmm…..very suspicious. Let us know how it turns out. In the meantime, consider EMF protection.

      Wishing you comfort,
      Aine

  • susan says:

    I quite often take my laptop to bed  watch  films  and have the laptop on my chest to see the film more closely. I have recently started feeling strange, when I sit down in my armchair it feels like the earth is trembling underneath me and the feeling is traveling through my body.  It’s a bit like an anxiety attack. That’s the nearest I can describe the feeling. Could this be a side affect of some form of radiation affecting me? I know this must sound strange, but I don’t know what else it could be. 

    • Aine, Editor says:

      These things are always hard to pinpoint even with all the information about when it started, what else is happening in your life, etc. But it wouldn’t hurt to stop the actions you think might be causing your symptoms and see if the symptoms disappear. Read the studies behind this article and consider using using our EMF protection products. If you experience no difference, we’ll honor our 90-Day Guarantee, so nothing to lose.
      Aine

  • scarlett says:

    Now, I hate computers.

    • Aine, Editor says:

      Oh no! Computers are amazing wonders of science, but like most things in this present reality, can be used with wisdom or without. This is startling information, true, however the point of this article is to encourage awareness and safety when using our laptops.

      I feel bonded to mine. Because of work, many of us spend more time with our computers than our friends, so we surely better enjoy and appreciate these hard working machines. And we have to respect their power and wisely follow recommended safeguards, then Scarlett, you may love your computer again.
      Aine

  • elizabeth says:

    I was carrying my laptop in a backpack…  because it has a sturdy case on it, I just put it into my pack and because it’s flat I wear it to the closest part of my back.  About 2 months ago, my back started to really burn; now I am thinking it is because of this…  I don’t wear it there anymore…  is there something I should do about the sensations in my back?

    • Aine, Editor says:

      Elizabeth, it’s hard to know without more details. I’m assuming however, that the laptop wasn’t on or connected to WiFi while in your backpack, so it doesn’t sound like the sensations in your back are related to the emf radiation issues discussed in this article.

      How heavy is the laptop? How far did you carry it? Pulled muscles can burn like fire. Could that be it? If you’re still concerned, consider asking your doctor. But remember the recommendation is not to use the laptop on your lap. Seriously consider emf protection in any event.

      Hope you are pain free now.
      Aine

  • Joy says:

    I am a 15 year old girl. I use my laptop everyday for hours on my lap / Ovaries / stomach ( Everywhere around my stomach area )
    It it very harmful for my body and i would like to know what can happen to me ? 

    • Aine, Editor says:

      Joy-
      Your young immune system has probably been working for you. So at this point, don’t worry about what’s happened in the past. But you are very smart to be thinking about this issue now.
      Protect yourself now. Don’t put it off. And don’t use your laptop on your lap!

      With that much time spent on your laptop, you must be very computer savvy.
      So do your own research so that you aren’t just following someone’s opinion.
      Start with http://www.bioinitiative.org/
      powerwatch.org or JustProveIt.net

      Wishing you a long happy, healthy life-
      Aine

  • Trymore says:

    I use my laptop daily with a defective battery always connected to power source. In most cases when I try to use it when on my lap I feel a deep pain on my left testis moving upwards into the middle abdomen. So is this problem related to cancer?

    • Aine, Editor says:

      Trymore- From all the research we’ve seen, we would never recommend using a laptop on your lap, or without emf protection.
      Check out our post: Low Sperm Count Is There a Link between Radiation and Fertility?
      To ease your mind about your symptoms, you might want to see a doctor. Technology is wonderful, but we have to use it wisely.
      All the Best to You!
      Aine

  • Douglas says:

    Hi I use my laptop almost all day and have recently found what looks like a burn Mark on my belly there are also small patches of skin peelling off as well is this caused by the laptop radiation.

    • Aine, Editor says:

      Douglas- You might consider getting a doctor’s opinion about the burn mark. It’s recommended that one never use a laptop actually on your lap. In addition, ALL of us here use EMF protection on our laptops and our routers, and recommend the same to our friends and family.
      Aine

  • games says:

    i use a laptop every day and it on my lap like it gets red hot i didnt know this can be bad for you can this kill you 

    • Aine, Editor says:

      Well, after learning of all this research, I’ve personally been taking precautions when I use my laptop. The point of this article is really to encourage laptop users to be aware of the dangers that are surfacing. They are real. After that, we each have to make our own decisions. Do some follow-up, read more, and see what you think.
      The Best of Health to You-
      Aine

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