Do Notebook PCs Pose Danger to Health?

April 03, 2010

   laptop I am a person who uses the Notebook for 6-8 hours a day for work and leisure. I cuddle with it in my bed to watch movies, while I precariously position it on my ironing board when the literary muse knocks me down. I decided to google about laptops and their health effects when the laptop (on bed) began to get hot and started to shut down on its own. The area of bed which had the laptop was so hot that it alarmed me. Are laptops really safe?

Laptop is a personal computer mainly designed for portability and easy mobility. It makes sure that more work is done then and there with a low power consumption.  Now, laptop is not the monopoly of entrepreneurs alone but of people from all walks of life. It is equally useful to a professional and a student allowing immediate information at their finger tips with the help of Wi Fi.The only thing that laptops may seem to lack is a method to prevent injuries to their long term users. Many professionals especially those from the IT field end up with back, neck and shoulder injuries due to their excessive laptop use. Here, the blame doesn’t go on the laptop alone. The neglected ergonomics, the hunching positions due to the seating arrangements (hot desks) unsuitable for such long hours of work also contribute to upper limb disorders or Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). RSIs are mostly work place injuries where pain and other symptoms occur in an area of the body which has done repetitive tasks of excessive movement without break. Since it is a matter of livelihood many of us tend to ignore it till it becomes unbearable making normal life impossible.

Thanks to my height, I always had problems with my school desks and armchairs on which I cocooned the whole of my school years. I cannot leave behind the back pains I endured all the while. RSIs can be prevented and rectified with some extra thought from the management and with some extra common sense from the employee.

  1. Change the task first, or let your employer know. Think of practical solutions to change your working environment for your well being.
  2. Make sure to take enough breaks be it office work or household chores. Women often find themselves with back aches (thoracic back pains) due to bad postures at work and during sleep.
  3. Correct your posture. Don’t cocoon in your workplace like I did in school.
  4. Talk to a physio.
  5. Embrace yoga or other relaxation techniques. Exercise regularly!
  6. Get medical assistance before symptoms worsen.

Late 2004 came up with a shocking finding that long hours of laptop on the lap may pave way to male infertility. Researchers point out that conception can be delayed due to the laptop use which increases the scrotum temperature declining the sperm production. The scrotum is a vulnerable part located outside the body exposing itself to more heat than a woman’s reproductive organs. There is more to do with the sitting posture that is required to position the laptop that increases the scrotum temperature. It is not the laptop along that can play a role in male infertility. Hot baths, saunas, electric blankets, heated waterbeds and tight shorts or underwear can also contribute to it, says experts.

However, laptops are said to be safe for women, expecting and otherwise. Though no studies proves any harmful effects of the low amount of radiation emitted by laptops no evidence suggests any harm either. So it is maintained that neither laptops nor laptop kid desktops pose danger to the developing foetus with their heat or radiation as the laptop is positioned not on the belly but on the thighs.

Whatever be the case, laptops with a Wi Fi internet connection are not advised for children due to radiation hazards unlike desktops.

-AparnA K V