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Your Laptop, Your Laps, and Your Health

By Reuben Rine

One of the most common and highly productive tools used today in all fields of human endeavor are the laptops. Designed primarily to provide user-mobility, laptops are portable, convenient and powerful. As often as we’re carried away with the name, using laptops on the laps are paradoxical; hence, laptops aren’t really meant for your laps. Truth be told, laptops can be quite harmful, and detrimental to your health when left on the laps for longer periods. Although there are few scientifically proven findings, use of laptops on the laps are considered of high health risk due to theemission ofharmful electromagnetic fields (EMFs) radiationat different frequencies, increase temperature, and posture problem. The following are health implications that may arise as a result of prolong use laptops on your laps:

Cancers: Laptops have electric circuits and power supplies that produce EMFs which penetrates deeply into your body and induce electric currents. Once the threshold limit of such current densityis exceeded,excitation of muscles and nerves due to membrane depolarization is possible. Also, when youare connected to Wifi or Bluetooth,higher frequencies of EMF radiation known as radio frequency (RF) and microwave (MW) radiation are emitted by your laptop.Recently, different researchers link exposure to these types of radiation to more severe health effects, including cancer. This kind of EMF has been grouped asClass 2B carcinogen by the WHO.

A renown dermatologist Anthony J. Mancini, reported that a more aggressive form of skin cancer known as squamous cell skin cancermight result from prolonged skin inflammation as a result of prolong use laptop on your laps. Also, Drs. Andreas Arnold and Peter Itinof University Hospital Basel, Switzerland from their studies discovered that hot laptops could lead to skin damage on your laps, and that might even develop into skin cancers. In consonance to the previous reports, Dr. Martin Black of Columbia University recently proved that EMF radiation from laptops causes changes in DNA structure and DNA damage leading to an increased risk of cancer. Also, the chances of having testicular and ovarian cancers become high since laptops as held close to reproductive organs.

Infertility: The proximity of laptopsto reproductive organs poses risks on a male user’s sperm count and a female’s egg release. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine revealed in their study the effect of laptop use on the laps and male fertility.“To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the direct impact of laptop use on human spermatozoa. Ex vivo exposure of human spermatozoa to a wireless internet-connected laptop decreased motility and induced DNA fragmentation by a non-thermal effect. We speculate that keeping a laptop connected wireless to the internet on the lap near the testes may result in decreased male fertility.” Furthermore, the temperature of the laptop may cause a lower sperm count as a result of prolonged exposure to heat.

In females, prolong laptop use can delay egg production and release, and can make it extra difficult for women to conceive. Also, pregnant women who use laptops in close contact with the body are at risk of detectable impairment to the health of their offspring.Sometimes when these babies are born, they may show signs of congenital and developmental problems.

Toasted Skin Syndrome also known as “ erythema ab igne ” develops with frequentuse of laptops directly on the skin. This is most common with individuals that spendmuch time studying or playing games with laptops on their laps. Here, the skin almost looks like a rash with blotchy brown spots all around the lap. Toasted skin syndrome typically occurs when the heat generated by the laptop reaches around 43.89°C. Generally, heat produced by laptops between42.78 to 46.670C can also cause mild burns.

Insomnia: This is a health problem characterized byhabitual sleeplessness. The artificial light from screens of laptops which often is within eye-level do suppresses the release of melatonin, which helps you to sleep.A severe case of insomnia can further degenerate to other more complex health conditions.

Posture Problems: Keeping your laptopconsistently on your laps will affect your posture, with various degrees of aches developing from your head, neck, shoulder, hands and most times wrists. Improper posture can also create discomforts and the inefficient use of your body parts.

Final thoughts: Avoiding the above-mentioned health hazards associated with laptop use is simple. The single, safest and the most efficient thing to do is to always place your laptop on flat surfaces such as tables or deskswhile in use. Also, using a laptop shield, which protects you from hazardous radiation and heat is expedient. You should spend less time when connected to the internet, and never always plug your laptop to power when online. It is advisable that you sit at a 100 to 110-degreeangle with your wrists flat or using a supportive device while using your laptop.

Reuben Rine [email protected]