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Computer Radiation Now at Danger Level If you are a computer user, computer radiation may be your largest single source of electromagnetic radiation. Although the intensity of radiation from computers may be far less than from, say, a high-voltage power line, people get much closer to their PC. Many of us spend our working days in front of computer monitors, surrounded by nearby electronic equipment, each item emitting radiation. Because of the duration of this exposure (many hours every day), c
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  Computer Radiation Now at Danger Level If you are a computer user, computer radiation may be your largest single source ofelectromagnetic radiation.Although the intensity of radiation from computers may be far less than from, say, ahigh-voltage power line, people get much closer to their PC. Many of us spend our working days in front of computer monitors, surroundedby nearby electronic equipment, each item emitting radiation. Because of theduration of this exposure (many hours every day), computer radiation is a realhealth hazard.  This type of radiation, known as Extremely Low Frequency (ELF), is also emittedfrom power lines, electrical sub-stations, TVs and other electrical and electronicappliances.Another type of dangerous electromagnetic radiation found near computers is microwave radiation . Microwaves are used to provide radio communicationbetween wireless-networked equipment, including computers, printers, modems,routers and other cordless or wi-fi devices.A typical computer user, not too careful about equipment choice and placement,could be exposed to Type of Radiation   Field Strength  ELF radiation from computers 3-6 milligaussMicrowave from wi-fi devices 100-200 µW/m 2   Each of these levels individually is far from safe. Taken together they create avery serious health risk. Fortunately there are simple measures to reduce this radiation, which you will readabout on this page. Computer Radiation Health Effects For many years it has been known that ELF radiation can cause, or contribute to,various health problems - ranging from sleep interference and allergic reactions,through to heart disease, cancer and alzheimer's disease. To learn more about howcomputer radiation causes these health problems, see our EMF Health Effects page. Most people would not want to sit at a desk under high voltage power lines.But they will happily sit a foot away from a computer screen, with a computerand printer on the desk next to them, and perhaps a power supply (UPS) neartheir feet.  They will work like this for several hours every day, for many years, absorbing asmuch (or more) ELF radiation than if their desk was close to a high-voltage powerline! See our table of Power Line EMF Levels for comparison. Computer radiation is easily subdued! Computers contain power supplies, fans, drives and other electrical units whichgenerate ELF radiation strong enough to cause concern at distances up to about 60cm (about 2 feet).For example, the desktop PCs in our office each produce computer radiation of about1 milligauss (borderline safe) at 60 cm, stronger towards the rear of the unit. The magnetic portion of this electromagnetic radiation is the most dangerouspart. It can penetrate just about anything (including, of course, you). It does nothelp to place a shield or screen between you and the computer. (See our pageWhat is Electromagnetic Radiation.) But this ELF radiation naturally falls away very quickly with increasing distance,because the radiation is from a low power source.   The simple solution is to position your computer as far away from you ascables allow (at least 60 cm, preferably more). If possible, keep it on the floor,not on your desk.  You want to minimise the computer radiation to all parts of your body, but especiallyyour head and your trunk. Computer monitor radiation The item most likely to cause a health hazard in some offices is the computermonitor, or screen. The old box-shaped cathode-ray tube (CRT) computer monitorsgenerally have quite high levels of radiation at around 30 cm.The CRT computer monitor in our office produced 3 milligauss of radiation at 30 cm,measured from the front and 4 milligauss at the same distance from the sides. This isa fairly recent model. Computer monitor radiation from older equipment can be evenhigher.A constant 3 mG of computer monitor radiation is a health hazard in itself, butremember that this same user is probably also absorbing low-frequency radiationfrom computers, printers, power supplies (ups), florescent lights and mobilephones as well as microwave energy from wireless modems, routers, networks andprinters.No wonder computer users get sick so often!Fortunately, technology has come to our aid with the LCD monitor (the flat one),which emits minimal radiation. For example, the LCD screens in our office create an  EMF of 0.3 milligauss at 30 cm, from the front or back - and practically nothing at thesides. This is a much safer level.More recent still are LED monitors. I have one fitted to my laptop. EMF levels on thismonitor are very similar to the LCD monitors, so nothing to worry about there.If you use the older CRT type for long periods every day, perhaps it's time it wasreplaced. (Speak to the boss!) Pregnant women should be particularly careful about using CRT screens -which have been associated with higher rates of miscarriage and possibly birthdefects.   Laptop radiation Laptop or notebook computer radiation is generally lower than from desktop PCs,partly because the components are smaller, the laptop is battery-operated and thelaptop screen is invariably an LCD or LED.But the problem with laptop radiation is that you may be very close to it indeed,especially if you operate the laptop on your laptop!In fact, as you will see from our Table of EMF Values, laptop radiation may be as littleas 1 milligauss at 30cm, but as much as 20 milligauss at point-blank range.So keep your distance when operating your laptop computer. It should be positionedon a table or desk. Make sure that you are at least 30 cm away from it (except foryour hands on the keyboard) to minimise computer radiation. A separate keyboardand mouse (not wireless!) would also be a good idea.Laptop computers produce RF EMF when they are being used wirelessly, either withwi-fi or 3G connectivity. I use the wireless capabilities of my laptop for short periodswhen I am on holiday, but for normal usage in my office, I use a cable connection,and keep my laptop's wireless ability switched off.EMF from netbook computers (the little jobs) is similar to that from notebooks.The Kindle book reading device produces no EMF in normal use. (The page displayuses no power.) Only the tiniest flicker on my Trifield needle was observed when thepage-turn button was pressed. But when using wi-fi or 3G communications asubstantial RF EMF is produced, similar to a cellphone or laptop computer. Radiation from computer power supply (UPS) Many people have a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) to provide backup power fortheir computers. These little guys pack a powerful radiation punch.My UPS produces radiation of 20 milligauss at 30 cm, and over 1 milligauss at 1metre, even when apparently switched off (but still connected to mains electricity, andcharging its battery).  If you need a UPS, position it as far away from yourself and others as cables allow - Isuggest at least 1.5 metres. Radiation from larger computer/office equiment. For larger (generally floor-standing) computer equipment such as printers,photocopiers, mini-computers and all racked equipment, assume that a substantialamount of computer radiation will be produced, unless you know differently.Position these items at a safe distance (at least 1.5 metres) from where people work.(The occasional visit to the photocopier or printer need not be a cause for concern,because the duration is short).For mainframe computer operators, engineers and other personnel, it is essential tomeasure both types of radiation with suitable meters, and minimise your contact withhigh-EMF areas. Radiation from printers and other computer devices Small (desktop) computer printers generally produce less than 0.5 milligauss at 60cmin standby mode and up to twice that amount when printing. As this is probably notbe the only source of computer radiation at your desk, do not keep your printer tooclose to you.Some corded  desktop devices are practically harmless, including keyboards,mouses(!), small speakers and modems. The same applies to telephones (landlinesonly). You can have these as close as you like.Large sub-woofers that are becoming popular as part of a home computer's soundsystem can emit more than just (astonishing levels of) bass - ours produces 20milligauss of ELF radiation at 0 cms, 3 mG at 60 cm (1') and .5 mG at 60 cm (2')whenever the speaker is powered (even when it is producing no sound).So don't use your sub-woofer as a footrest! It needs to be at least 90 cm (3') awayfrom you. (Closer than that it would deafen you anyway!) Wi-fi Radiation from wireless networks, routers, printers and modems Wi-fi information networks, wireless routers, modems and other wireless devices arebecoming very pervasive. All of them emit electromagnetic radiation, mainlymicrowave or radio (also known as RF) radiation, as they keep in touch with eachother. These wireless devices are not safe. In fact there is strong evidence that theinformation content (pulsed digital signal added on to the microwave carrier)may interfere with biological processes. Wi-fi networks are now installed in many public and private places. You may beexposed to them without knowing it.
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