Who doesn’t use a computer today? I happily live without a cell phones but I’d find it very hard to get by without using a computer – especially for writing this blog!
But computers are not as harmless as they might seem.
All computers emit electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on many different frequencies. These EMFs can be extremely harmful to your health. Cancer and other serious diseases have been linked to these exposures – studies indicate pregnant women and small children are particularly vulnerable.
In this article I explain what you can do to minimize your exposure to these harmful EMFs. I have also written a separate report on a low emf office set up – see bottom of page.
Whether you are electrosensitive or just eager to take protective measures to protect you and your family here are my (started off as 9 tips but has now grown) computer radiation protection tips.
Laptop Radiation And Computer Radiation Tips
1. Electric Fields. More and more people are turning towards using laptops and tablets, so laptop radiation is increasingly becoming a problem. There are several issues here, the first one is electric fields:
As my tests show (see video) the best way to cut down on your exposure to electric fields from your laptop is to use it on the battery instead of the mains power supply.
2. Magnetic fields. All computers as soon as they’re switched on also generate magnetic radiation or magnetic fields. These exposures can be significant particularly if you’re using a laptop or computer tablet in close proximity to your body.
Studies show elevated health risks with magnetic field exposures as low as 2 milliGauss (mG). This video shows some typical magnetic field exposures from a laptop computer (many laptops and tablets emit significantly more than 2 mG).
3. Radio frequency radiation. The third issue is RF radiation since most computers now have WiFi functionality. This means you’re being exposed to another layer of electrosmog from two sources.
Firstly from the laptop itself; most laptops are configured by default to be in WiFi mode, so even if you are on a hard wired Ethernet connection your laptop is still emitting and receiving RF radiation. Secondly there is the RF radiation being emitted by the modem/router as shown in this video:
Be careful because many modem/routers are now factory configured to automatically re-enable WiFi when they receive an update – this can be several times a day. So even if you disable the WiFi in the settings menu it may be subsequently re-activated without you knowing.
The best solution is to replace your WiFi installation with a hard-wired Ethernet connection and make sure the WiFi function is disabled. I recommend the TP-LINK Wireless N300. It’s very reasonably priced and it’s got some excellent 5 star reviews on Amazon. It is a wireless router but it’s got a WiFi on/off button built into it’s hardware. This means you can easily switch the WiFi function off and it stays off.
If your Internet is supplied by cable you need to buy a (wired) cable modem router.
4. Laptops are not for laps. The best way to minimize laptop radiation is not to use your laptop computer on your lap. Studies show that over time using your laptop on your lap can significantly decrease your sperm count.
Use your laptop on a desk or other surface away from your body. There are some good laptop radiation shields on the market but some laptop shields only shield RF radiation (which is not a problem anyway if you disable the WiFi) and some offer no protection from magnetic fields. The laptop shield I recommend is the Elite Harapad. According to the manufacturer it gives over 100% protection from magnetic fields.
5. Computer monitor radiation. On a desktop computer the biggest problem is often the monitor, not the CPU, primarily because the CPU sits further away. Reduce your exposure by sitting further away from your computer screen. This will reduce your radiation exposure, especially if you sit at least three feet from the screen (not too far to avoid eye strain) – EMF exposures decrease significantly with distance. If you’re using a desktop computer you can use a computer radiation filter over the screen or better still purchase a degaussed screen.
6. Introduce houseplants. Those of you who enjoy houseplants will be happy to learn that some cactus plants have the ability to absorb the electromagnetic radiation coming from the computer. It was actually NASA who discovered this and ever since Cactii have become my best friend; I have lots of cacti in my office. Put some cacti around your computer, I use Cereus cacti.
7. Use a natural crystal salt lamp. I’ve had one in my office for a long time.
Salt crystal lamps release negative ions into the air, thereby creating an effect similar to an ionizer. These negative ions supposedly help cancel out the electromagnetic radiation being emitted by your computer by helping to maintain a normal ionic balance in the air. What the exact effect is regarding EMFs is difficult to know, but what is sure is that they bring your office environment closer to nature.
8. Take regular breaks. If you use a computer for several hours a day then you’re probably all too familiar with the phenomenon of eye strain. Computer screens not only cause eye strain but the electromagnetic radiation also causes dryness and irritation.
Take regular breaks, get out of your chair away from your computer every 20 minutes or so. You can also help to counter damage and irritation to your eyes by adding bananas to your diet. Bananas contain significant amounts of potassium which will benefit the health of the eyes.
9. Antioxidant food. Much has been said about the value of antioxidant foods in keeping us healthy generally but these foods can also help to deal with free radicals caused by computer radiation.
Tomatoes, cherries, apples, broccoli, and carrots all contain significant amounts of vitamins A and C. These foods supply your body with the raw materials it needs to create its own natural form of EMF protection.
10. Wash your face. Your face is usually the closest part of your body to the screen, and the particles of radiation can attach themselves there.
It might come as a surprise to you to learn that simply washing your face after using the computer can remove the radiation that has settled there.
11. Go fully wired. Use a wired mouse, wired keyboard and wired peripherals.
Even if you are using a laptop, using a wired external keyboard and wired mouse will significantly reduce your exposure to the EMFs emitted by the electrical components situated under the keyboard of the laptop.
12. Other People’s Computers. It’s not just your computer you need to be wary of it’s other people’s as well. If you work in an office where there are several computers make sure you are not in close proximity (6 feet) to the back of someone else’s PC screen, and make sure you are not sat in close proximity to the office modem/router or any other electrical device which may be a major source of EMF exposures.
Is Laptop Radiation The Biggest Threat?
Here are my observations on laptop radiation:
- In my tests I’ve not found that laptops necessarily emit higher levels of radiation than desktops. EMF emissions vary from brand to brand and can even vary between different models of the same brand.
- The only way to know for sure your exposure levels is to measure with an EMF meter. To get a complete picture you need to measure the RF radiation levels, magnetic fields and electric fields, which usually means buying several meters. Start by buying a basic EMF meter.
- The biggest single problem with laptops is improper use. A lot of people use them on their laps and on their knees which is very dangerous. Laptops are tested 20 cm, that’s about 8 inches, away from the body. Keep your laptop at least 20 cm away from your body, if not further.
- Radiation levels vary from computer to computer. Interestingly I have found the Macbook Pro to emit RF radiation from the mouse even with WiFi disabled.
- The radiation absorption (SAR) is related to the position of the WiFi antenna as the image below – source.
Other Things You Should Know About Laptops And Tablets
Here are some other things you should know about computer laptops and tablets:
- They emit heat (EMFs) from the mechanical equipment inside them plus the radio frequency radiation from the WIFI antennas.
- Laptops and tablets are tested at 20 cm from the body (FCC,Bulletin 65, 1997).
- These devices have fine print warnings about keeping a distance.
- When they are switched on they are susceptible to send out bursts of RF radiation.
- Streaming video produces the highest radiation emissions.
FCC exposure standards are designed only to protect you from thermal (heating) effects. They do not protect you from non-thermal adverse biological effects which are very well documented.
Grounding and Computer Radiation
An effective way of reducing the effects of your exposure to computer radiation is grounding. If the plug on your computer is a 3 pin plug that means its already grounded. If its a 2 pin plug you can ground your laptop or desktop computer by attaching a wire from a metal component (screw or socket) of your computer to the ground terminal on your electricity wall socket. Or you can use an alligator clip on a wire (as in photo), which you then ground by plugging into an electrical socket. Electricity follows the path of least resistance, so doing this will enable EMFs generated by your computer to ground through the wire and not through you. You can also earth yourself using a grounding mat but I don’t recommend doing this when using your computer (or in any environment where there is electrical equipment), see my article on earthing.
Use the tips listed on this page to reduce your exposure to computer radiation and reduce the effects of that exposure on your health.
This article was last updated: February 2015