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Laptop Radiation: The Invisible Threat

Laptop radiation cannot be seen by the naked eye, but it can pose real dangers to our health.

This danger is not new.

All mobile devices and other electronic devices and appliances such as desktop computers, televisions and microwave ovens all emit Electromagnetic Field (EMF) radiation, but there are certain aspects that makes radiation from laptops unique.

Forms of Laptop Radiation Emissions

Laptops are different from other electronics because they are used so close to the body. Laptops are used directly in our laps and expose us to more intense levels of EMF radiation that would be harmless otherwise if we were only a few feet away.

Laptops emit two forms of EMF radiation: Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) and Radio Frequency (RF) radiation.

First, laptops produce Extremely Low Frequency (ELF). When converting energy to perform the various functions, the internal parts of the laptop generate ELF radiation which then emits out of the outer shell of your computer. Functions such as processor activity, hard drive operations, memory storage and other computing functions produce ELF. Older laptops tend to emit the highest levels of EMF radiation.

The second from of EMF is Radio Frequency (RF) radiation. To connect to the internet, laptops, tablets like iPads and other computer devices use RF signals such as Bluetooth, WiFi as well as 4G and 5G. To make these connections, your laptop is equipped with a receiver and a transmitter. The transmitter produces RF radiation, and when placed in your lap, the laptop radiates the emissions directly into your body.

Finally, laptops also emit high levels of Heat (thermal emissions). Laptops have fans that exhaust hot air and can greatly exceed 110º Fahrenheit. These fans keep the operating temperature stable inside the computer, insuring proper performance, but the exhausted hot air exposes users to potentially harmful health effects.

The Dangers of Radiation from a Laptop

Leading experts have known for many, many years that heat and EMF radiation exposure, particularly when prolonged at high levels, coincide with fatigue, dizziness, headaches, breathlessness, insomnia and other health concerns.

When emissions are exposed directly to the lap, more serious health conditions, including infertility and skin damage have occurred. For example, after an hour only an increase of 2.7º Celsius in temperature can increase in scrotal temperature which decreases sperm count in men. You should see a doctor if you experience any of these health issues.

In recent years, studies on radiation from laptops have shown effects on fertility as well as cell and DNA damage. With radiation-emitting devices used so close to our bodies as a normal part of our daily lives, further studies may create more consensus of understanding.

Martin Pall, PhD, has compiled a list of the various effects that EMF radiation, from laptops and other devices, can have on our bodies.

  1. Nervous system and brain effects, leading to widespread neurological/neuropsychiatric effects.
  2. Endocrine/hormonal effects.
  3. Oxidative stress and free radical damage, which have central roles in chronic diseases.
  4. DNA effects, producing single strand and double strand breaks in cellular DNA and oxidized bases in our cellular DNA, which can lead to cancer and mutations.
  5. Elevated levels of apoptosis (programmed cell death), which can cause neurodegenerative diseases and infertility.
  6. Lower male and female fertility, lower sex hormones, lower libido and increased levels of spontaneous abortion. With laptops this effect is especially pronounced, since the source of radiation is in very close proximity to male and female sexual organs.
  7. Excessive intracellular calcium [Ca2+]i and calcium signalling which can lead to pathophysiological (disease-causing) responses.
  8. Cell effects via 15 different mechanisms to cause cancer.
Laptop EMFs

Laptop Radiation Protective Guidelines

While experts are evaluating the impacts of radiation on children, adults and seniors, we may want to take precautionary measures to protect ourselves. Why risk it?

When used off the lap, your laptop presents little danger. When using your laptop near your body though, use EMF radiation protection device like a laptop radiation shield which minimizes radiation dangers.

Doctors recommend that exposure should not exceed Electromagnetic Radiation levels from 1-3 mG (milliGauss). Many laptops on the market can emit up to 150 mG on the bottom surface of the laptop. Moving even just a few inches away greatly reduces the intensity of the field and the associated dangers.

The following are a few suggestions for limiting the danger of radiation from laptops:

  • When using a laptop, place it on a table or desk if possible.
  • If you plan to place your laptop in your lap, use a shield that blocks both Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) and higher frequency, Radio Frequency (RF) radiations such as WiFi and 4G transmissions as well as heat radiation.
  • It is best not to place your laptop on a pillow as a buffer for your lap. This disrupts the flow of air ,which is essential to cooling the laptop so it could cause you laptop to overheat or malfunction.

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Daniel T. DeBaun

Daniel T. DeBaun is an internationally recognized and influential expert in Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF) and shielding electronic emissions, with a particular focus on the effect of exposure from mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and cell phones. Daniel’s concern regarding the health impact of electronic radiation emissions grew from over 30 years of engineering experience in the telecommunications industry, where he held a variety of leadership and executive positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, SAIC and Telcordia. Daniel is co-author of recent bestseller, Radiation Nation: The Fallout of Modern Technology, a complete guide to EMF radiation safety and protection. Daniel is also a highly regarded industry consultant, speaker as well as frequent guest national radio and television programs discussing EMF health issues.