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Like most people, I’ve been spending the better part of the day in front of my computer for all of my adult life. Only recently have I realized that my kids adopted the same habit. That’s when I also began to worry about the adverse effects of computer radiation.
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One of the ideas was to sell our possessions – including all electric devices, of course – go off grid, buy land in Neverland, grow our own food, and make the necessary stuff with our bare hands… Yeah, right.
Let’s get real – it’s the 21st century. We can’t function without PCs or laptops. We can’t forbid kids from using computers. But we can make informed choices and we can reduce the adverse effects of computer radiation. In this article, I’ll share everything you need to know about this type of radiation, and I’ll guide you through the steps that you can take to be less exposed to it.
- What Is Computer Radiation?
- 7 Ways to Protect Yourself from Computer Radiation
- Final Thoughts
What Is Computer Radiation?
If you already know what electromagnetic radiation is – or you don’t really care about technical details – and you only need advice on how to protect yourself, you can skip this part and go directly to the section called “7 Ways to Protect Yourself from Computer Radiation.” Otherwise, stay with me – I have some valuable info to share.
While we enjoy the comfort of modern life, few of us know that our favorite gadgets may threaten our health. Our computers – as well as Wi-Fi routers, mobile phones, microwaves, and other useful devices that we can’t imagine living without – radiate invisible energy that changes our physical environment.
Literally, every piece of technology that we use creates electro-magnetic fields (aka EMFs), which we don’t see, but it nevertheless affects us at the cellular level.
Unfortunately, since it messes with our cells, it may also cause cancer. If you think I’m exaggerating, check this comprehensive article on Electromagnetic Fields and Cancer atcancer.gov and thisresearch on cancer epidemiology.
Truth be told, radiation has always been present on this planet. The Sun emits visible light that we need and, technically, that’s radiation, too. But since the beginning of the 20th century, the growth of the industry has been causing all kinds of pollution – including the so-calledEMF pollution.
It all started with indoor lighting and electric power lines. Today, it’s 2G/3G/4G/5G and Wi-Fi. And everything else. And almost the whole planet is covered with some kind of wireless signal.
The mainstream view on this matter is that the risks of computer radiation and EMF exposure, in general, are low. The minuscule health effects of EMF are not worth stopping progress over. Perhaps they’re right. We have a powerful civilization here, and it’s been built on electricity. But I still don’t want to put myself at risk of getting cancer, and neither do you.
2 Types of Radiation
I don’t want to overwhelm you with too many technical terms, but for now, it is important to notice the difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. Fortunately, computer radiation – as well as the waves that come from cellphones, routers, and such stuff – emits non-ionizing (or low-level) radiation.
High-level (ionizing) radiation refers to X-rays and ultraviolet rays. It impacts our health dramatically. Non-ionizing radiation, on the other hand, causes less damage and does it slowly, but it’s still happening.
The Intensity of Computer Radiation
The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) is an organization that has been monitoring the situation on a global level for years. After numerous studies and experiments, they devised a way to measure our exposure to computer radiation and other sorts of EMF radiation.
The unit is called volt per meter (V/m), and now there’s a limit that regulates the number of volts per meter that one device can emit. Manufacturers and sellers should test their products against the ICNIRP’s guidelines, and most reputable brands do, but there’s still a chance of purchasing a computer that hasn’t been tested. Luckily, now we have numerousEMF meters available for purchase, so you can test your computer and other devices at home.
That being said, computers, in general, emit a low level of EMF radiation. The problem is that we’re getting ALL of it. The level of computer radiation emissions depends on the distance, but we typically don’t have any distance from our devices at all. We have monitors in front of our faces. Keyboards under our hands. Laptops on our laps. You get the picture.
That’s just too close. We have to do something about it, and I’ve learned something that helps.
7 Ways to Protect Yourself from Computer Radiation
I didn’t want to scare you, but I had to let you know that the problem exists. Your computer emits EMF radiation, and so does mine. Luckily, there are a couple of things that we can do to prevent computer radiation from affecting our health.
1. Hardwire your computer.
One of the greatest sources of radiation that comes from your computer is its integrated Wi-Fi card. The good news is that you don’t need a wireless connection. Instead of using Wi-Fi, you can opt for a wired connection via an ethernet cable.
Some years ago we all had a choice either to use a wired connection or we had to buy a Wi-Fi card. Most computers today have a built-in Wi-Fi unit, and we’ve got accustomed to using this capability. So, you’re most certainly receiving lots of EMF, and now it’s time to eliminate this source of radiation.
If you’re not sure how to do it, here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Put your computer or laptop on the desk where you’ll be using it from now on.
- Get an Ethernet cable of a suitable length.
- Find a free Ethernet port on your router (there are typically several ports on the back of the modem, and one is already in use – connected to your modem).
- Plug the Ethernet cable into the port.
- Put the other end of the Ethernet cable into your computer.
That’s it, you’re wired! But there’s another detail you have to take care of if you really want to solve the radiation exposure problem. Even though your computer is using a wired connection now, if the Wi-Fi is on, you still haven’t eliminated the EMF radiation.
The next step would be to disable Wi-Fi on your router. Ideally, you’ll find the right button and switch it off. However, this is not always easy. Some routers can be a bit tricky. Moreover, if someone else is using the same Wi-Fi, they probably won’t be happy if you turn it off. In that case, make sure your router is as far from you as possible.
Also, you should disable Wi-Fi on your computer. Even if you’re not using it, it remains active, searching for an available Wi-Fi network. This is the easiest part. Under the Internet Access menu, find Wi-Fi: one click and you’re done. Just make sure to check it once in a while, to make sure it’s not turned on automatically after an update or something.
If you’re the kind of person that can’t imagine living without Wi-Fi, I feel your pain. In that case, at least keep the wireless signal off at night.
One problem solved, let’s see what’s next.
2. Your Lap Is Not the Best Place to Put Your Laptop
That’s just too close. Put a source of EMF radiation on your lap, and it’ll be affecting your entire body. Furthermore, if you happen to be male, computer radiation may lead to reproductive problems. If you’re looking for scientific evidence, here you are: A reputable urology professor at the American Center for Reproductive Medicine has proven that EMF reduces the motility and viability of semen.
If you just can’t imagine sitting at the desk all day long and you must take the laptop with you on the sofa, at least have some sort of protection. Not a pillow or a blanket, that would overheat both your laptop and you. Opt for a protective pad or mobile mini desk, or something like that. There are many radiation shields that you can use, that are both more comfortable and safer than just having your laptop where it shouldn’t be.
And as I already said, if possible, don’t use Wi-Fi. Even if you prefer sitting on a sofa, an ethernet connection will work – you’ll just need a longer cable. Either way, I’d still recommend taking the next piece of advice.
3. Keep Your Distance
It’s similar to social distancing, but more like human-machine distancing. Just be as far from your computer as you can. Get a larger monitor so that you can still see everything. Get some longer cables and only take the keyboard with you. Do what it takes, but move away from the screen – as well as from the computer.
The one thing we know for sure about computer radiation is that its intensity declines dramatically with distance.
When you’re having a break, make sure to get up and move away from the computer completely. Better yet, go to another room, or out for a walk. Don’t just continue to sit there and be exposed to EMF without any particular reason.
It’s not only EMF risks, either: the light gets in the way of rest. No excuses. Get a dog if you have to and spend some time outdoors regularly.
4. Don’t Use Your Computer at Night
Do all your work during the day, and then turn off your computer. This is more than just a good habit. When we sit at the screen at night, we’re affecting the natural cycle and suppress the normal production of melatonin.
Okay, this is only loosely related to EMF, but it’s really important for cancer prevention. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm. But it also has an enormous role in strengthening our immune system, slowing down the aging of cells, and killing tumor cells. Numerousstudies have proven that melatonin protects against cancer and helps during all stages of therapy.
Many people actually take melatonin supplements as additional therapy, but there’s nothing like the real thing. So, when the evening comes, turn off every device that may affect your natural rhythm – and spend your nights safe from EMF radiation.
5. Avoid All Types of Wireless Devices
If you’re going to follow advice number 2, you’re definitely going to use a mouse and keyboard, even with a laptop. In that case, opt for wired accessories instead of wireless ones. We’ve already seen that Wi-Fi rays are a major source of EMF pollution, and it’s always good to reduce their use.
Although a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse may seem like a good idea, especially while you’re traveling, wired periphery devices are much safer and still perfectly portable. There are so many models of pocket-sized wired utilities that you can just slip into your travel case and take with you wherever you go.
Since I mentioned traveling, you might need to use public Wi-Fi here and there. Don’t worry too much about it. It doesn’t mean that you’ve blown it. It’s important to reduce the exposure as much as possible. 100% is not possible, so relax – you’re still reading this and I know you’re doing a great job.
6. Make Sure Your Computer Is Grounded
Working on your laptop while it’s plugged in, but not grounded, may cause a number of issues. The most serious of all is the possibility that your wrists absorb high amounts of electrical field radiation. This can lead to a feeling of discomfort, anxiety, fatigue, and pain in your hands and wrists. If you believe you have carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s possible that your pain is actually a symptom of computer radiation exposure.
If your laptop power cord is not grounded, you’ll need to get a grounding cable. Until then, make sure to avoid using your computer while it’s charging.
Another good reason to move away from your laptop while it’s plugged is due to the transformer. It’s the small box or tube that connects two parts of the power cable. The purpose of a transformer is to convert the available electricity to the appropriate voltage for your laptop. A useful thing indeed, but it is also a great producer of magnetic radiation, which you definitely want to avoid.
7. Get Some EMF Radiation Absorbents
There are plenty of products made of materials designed to absorb the radiation that otherwise would go to you. We’ve featured some greatproducts on our site. In addition to that, you can try some natural solutions. They’re not as effective as the commercial EMF absorbents, but they might help a bit and they will definitely make your room or office look nice.
Can you guess what I’ll say next? Yeah, plants! While most houseplants will do the trick, the best choice is to get one with big fat leaves, full of water. I’m talking about cacti, aloe vera, snake plant (Sansevieria), and stone lotus flower. All these plants have been proven to help protect against EMF by absorbing and dissolving the radiation.
In addition to being useful EMF sponges, those little green guys reduce the pollutants in the air, not to mention how much they improve the overall look and feel in the room.
Oh, and I noticed that some skeptics point out that plants are worthless and you can take a water can or aquarium and it will absorb the radiation just as well. They’re probably right, and I like the notion of having an aquarium, but I don’t think having a large amount of water near a power source is a good idea. I think I’ll just stick with plants, thanks.
Easier said than done, isn’t it? It’s much easier to ignore the EMF issue altogether than to avoid wireless connection and keep your laptop far from your lap. It’s true that in today’s world, it’s impossible to protect yourself from all sources of radiation all the time. But don’t just give up.
You can definitely reduce the computer radiation that comes from your own device. Even though you’re within the range of your neighbor’s Wi-Fi, its effects are nothing compared to radiation that comes from a device in the same room you’re in.
Sometimes, you won’t be able to avoid using Wi-Fi, especially when you’re traveling and you need some sort of connection to keep in touch with friends and family. Besides, there’s free Wi-Fi everywhere. But when you’re home, following at least some of the advice on our list will reduce radiation exposure significantly.
And you probably know that, when it comes to radiation, the amount is the key. The more you get it, the greater the damage. Every time you manage to avoid or reduce the exposure, it counts.
If you’d like to find out more about EMF risks in general, check out other articles on our website. You may wish to start with thehomepage. If you’re more interested in products that will keep you safe from computer radiation, have a look at the reviews of useful stuff that we’ve tested.