Computers have become a vital tool for use in almost every office and also at home. Students, professionals, business people, and even children use laptops or desktop computers for work or for entertainment.
If you spend hours on your computer, you’re probably worried about exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
In this article, you will learn about EMF exposure levels from your computer and how to reduce radiation exposure from them.
EMF Radiation from Your Computer
Computers expose you to some EMF from the monitor and the computer system unit. Whether you’re using a laptop, or a desktop computer, they both emit electromagnetic fields. The closer you are to them, the stronger the exposure.
Your exposure is not only from the computer screen but also from other electronic components inside the computer system. These components emit amounts of low-frequency radiation and Radio Frequency (RF) electromagnetic radiation. High EMF exposure of above 2 mG is harmful to your health.
Like other electronic devices that connect to Wi-Fi networks, computers do emit RF energies when connected to the Wi-Fi network. The World Health Organization classifies the RF energies emitted as carcinogenic.
This radiation is also linked to other diseases such as asthma, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, heart diseases, damage of nerves and the reproductive system.
Laptops emit higher levels of RF than the recommended limit of EMF exposure. Laptops do emit a smaller amount of EMF than desktop computers, but placing it for long hours on your lap can cause male infertility.
In addition, using the computer for long periods can cause other problems like injuries and back pains. Using the computer inappropriately can also result in joint and muscle pains.
Children are more vulnerable to EMFs, and if they play for too long on the computer, they can experience both physical and psychological problems.
Major EMF Sources Inside Your Computer
The major source of low-frequency radiation emissions inside your computer comes from the power supply and the disk drive motors.
The power supply unit constantly generates electromagnetic radiation since it has to power all the other components inside for them to function properly.
The disk drive motors emit EMF when reading and writing data, which happens all the time when you’re using your computer. If you have an older computer, it will emit higher amounts of EMF than the newer models.
External disk drives do emit electromagnetic radiation like the other devices inside the computer. Therefore, you should keep them 18 inches away from you.
Electronic circuits also emit low-frequency radio waves as current flows through them. All the devices inside the computer that uses two-way communication have antennas that emit radio waves.
Another device that generates EMF is the speakers. Keeping the speakers away from you will reduce your exposure.
Issues Associated with Computer Use
When working with computers, EMF exposure should not be your only concern. Long use of computers may result in eye strain, shoulder and neck pain, and back pain from sitting for long hours without taking breaks. You can also experience some headaches and injuries to your hands and arms.
Muscle and joint pains can be a result of poor desk design, posture, and sitting for long periods.
Sitting for long periods of time can result in physical fatigue and reduced blood circulation in your muscles and your bones. This is what causes stiffness and pain in your body. If you don’t have a properly set workstation or have a poor sitting posture, it will stress out your muscles and affect your joints.
Therefore, you should take some breaks away from the screen. You should also ensure you have the right furniture, correct sitting posture, and are exercising proper working habits. Ensure the computer screen is at your eye level or slightly lower to reduce overstraining your eyes.
Symptoms of EMF Exposure from Computers
Continuous exposure to EMF and RF radiation from your computer can cause some health issues which most people dismiss as caused by stress and overworking. Some of these symptoms include:
- muscle and joint pains;
- sleep disturbances;
- lack of concentration; and
- memory disorders.
If you have electromagnetic hypersensitivity, you may experience one or more of these symptoms. Even at lower levels of exposure, you will experience pain and discomfort after using your computer.
How to Reduce EMF Exposure from Computer Use
Prolonged exposure to electromagnetic radiation can affect your health hence the need to come up with measures to reduce exposure. Some of the ways you can minimize your exposure include:
1. Keeping distance
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) recommends maintaining a distance of at least 20 cm from your laptop to reduce your exposure. Keeping your laptop in close proximity can interfere with your sleep, body tissue, and cause fertility issues in men.
If you’re using your laptop, push it forward as far as you can and at the same time ensure you’re comfortable when using it. Only your hands should remain on the keyboard. It is even better to use an external keyboard that is hooked up via USB.
You should keep a distance from your computer and any other EMF emitting device. The farther away you are, the weaker the EMF signals are.
2. Reduce the time you spend using the device
If your kids like using computers to play games or watch shows, you should limit their use of the device by putting time limits on how long they’re allowed to use the device. They should also take regular breaks from watching and playing video games on the computer.
3. Switch off Wi-Fi when not in use
If you’re not using a Wi-Fi network, switch it off to reduce RF emissions. Network and radio communication facilities are the major sources of electromagnetic radiation in your computer. If not necessary, you can avoid using them.
Disable the Wi-Fi capability on your computer and other devices. You should also switch off the Bluetooth antenna which connects other devices like the mouse wirelessly to your computer.
4. Used a wired connection
If you want to connect to the internet, you can opt for a wired Ethernet connection to minimize EMF radiation associated with wireless connections.
Radio frequency signals extend for great distances which is the reason why most communication systems prefer them. Since it is impossible to maintain a great distance with your computer or laptop, you should go for wired alternatives to reduce exposure to RF emissions.
5. Invest in LCD screens
Although most EMF radiation comes from devices inside the computer, the computer screen also emits some low-frequency emissions. Flat computer screens using LCD or LED emit lower amounts of electromagnetic radiation than the old Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screens.
Investing in these modern flat screens will reduce your exposure to EMFs.
If you have an LCD screen a distance of 12 inches away from you, it is harmless. If you have a CRT screen, you have to maintain a distance of 18 inches on the front and 24 inches away from the back.
You can also use an EMF meter to determine your viewing distance. If the EMF meter records EMFs of less than 0.5 mG, then you are at a safe distance.
6. Consider replacing your computer with a newer model
Electrical engineers have been making computer power supplies, motors, and transformers that emit lower amounts of electromagnetic radiation. So, investing in newer computer devices can cut down the amount of EMF exposure you have from your computer.
7. Buy anti-radiation protection products
If part of your body is in contact with a computer box or laptop, it exposes you to high levels of EMF radiation. For this reason, you can invest in EMF protection products to reduce your exposure levels.
For example, you can buy EMF protection blankets to cover yourself especially if you’re pregnant, or buy an EMF protection laptop shield to reduce radiation exposure from your laptop. Buy any of these products to help reduce your exposure to EMFs from your computer.
Computers do emit amounts of low-frequency and RF radiation. If you spend more time on your computer screen, you expose yourself to high levels of EMF from both the computer screen and the devices inside the computer itself.
You can reduce your exposure by reducing the amount of time you spend using your computer. You should also consider using wired connections and disable the wireless capability to reduce RF emissions.