Ever wonder if all that talk time on your cell phone or all that screen time on Facebook or MSN do your health any harm?

 

Did You Know?
Even though there is a lot of talk about the negative health effects of radiation from cell phones, there is no solid conclusive evidence to support these claims.

Cell phones and laptops, among other wireless and electronic devices, emit a type of electromagnetic radiation called radio frequencies (RF). RFs were thought to be less harmful than x-rays — remember the pictures the dentist takes of your jaw? But scientists are wondering if we should be concerned about the increasing amount of RF present around us. Some studies found that exposure to RF increases the development of cancer cells in animals and weakens bones in humans. Others say that RF can change the activity of our brain. For example, RF can affect our sleep cycles and reaction times, which are controlled by the brain. But don’t freak out yet! The World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded that these are only minor effects and further research and studies are required to confirm.

There were also concerns about radiation coming from laptops; however, laptops only emit RF from the screen and radiation coming from the internal machinery of the laptop is considered harmless. In fact, the heat coming from laptops is considered more hazardous than using the laptop itself! The increase in temperature caused by the laptop will affect the normal functions of the testes if placed on the lap, lowering the number of sperm produced (this is for you guys!).

 

Did You Know?
Staring at the computer screen for many hours a day can stress your eyes and may affect your vision.

But what can we do to protect ourselves in case we DO find clear evidence that RF cause health problems? Limit the amount of cell phone talk to reduce exposure to radiation and use a landline for longer conversations. We can also use an air tube headset to increase the distance of the cell phone from the head, as well limit the amount of electrical radiation traveling to the ear. As for laptops, keep them on a table and away from your groin. You can also buy a laptop shield for the screen that filters most of the radiation.

Learn More!

World Health Organization - Electromagnetic fields

World Health Organization - Health risks associated with cell phones

Medical News Today - Laptops and sperm count

Bone weakening due to radiation

Article first published December 22, 2009.

Amy Le

I am currently a student studying pharmacy at the University of British Columbia. In my spare time, I enjoy playing ultimate frisbee, reading, drawing and going on hikes or trails where I can capture the breathtaking scenery on my camera! I love teaching about science through the outreach programs Let's Talk Science provides. As Bill Nye the Science Guy would say,Science Rules!

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