If you are always sitting on your couch with a laptop or tablet resting on your lap, you’re not alone. It seems like all of us are using our devices the same way and for extended periods of time and this is prompting many researchers to investigate if there many be any potential health issues linked with this type of use. Research findings are beginning to suggest that there may be some health risk associated with their use, especially for women who are pregnant or who are hoping to conceive.
Electromagnetic Field (EMFs)
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary the Electromagnetic Field (EMF) is defined as:
“[a] field (as around a working computer or a transmitting high-voltage power line) that is made up of associated electric and magnetic components, that result from the motion of an electric charge, and that possess a definite amount of electromagnetic energy.”
Even before the use of laptops, tablets and smart phones, we were been immersed in Electromagnetic Fields. EMFs have been all around us for over one hundred years, but often at a relatively safe distance away. In the last decade or two, there has been significant increased use of personal electronic devices like laptops and tablets which emit EMFs very close to our bodies, often for many hours at a time.
Studies are are beginning to identify the possible health risks of laptop and tablet EMFs, especially for pregnant women as shown in a recent publication, “Exposure to electromagnetic fields from laptop use of “laptop” computers”. In their summary, they conclude that the use of the word “laptop” is misleading because, when used in the lap, a laptop increases EMF body exposure and therefore should not be used in a lap. They say, “Users should be aware about such risks: recommendations for safe use of laptop should avoid close contact between laptop, power supply and user, particular during pregnancy.”
In a press release from the Karolinska Institute, Department of Neuroscience, Stockholm, Sweden, “Scientists Urge Halt of Wireless Rollout and Call for New Safety Standards: Warning Issued on Risks to Children and Pregnant Women,” scientists with wireless technology frequency radiation expertise caution women. They warn of growing evidence that wireless radiation exposures may be harming to the development of children at levels now commonly found in the environment. They caution pregnant women to avoid using wireless devices themselves and distance themselves from other users.
In 2012, Myung Chan Gye and his colleagues from the Department of Life Science and Institute for Natural Sciences, published “Effect of electromagnetic field exposure on the reproductive system.” They found that the effect of EMF exposure on the reproductive function differ according to frequency and wave, strength (energy), and duration of exposure. They evaluated ‘in vitro’ and ‘in vivo’ studies, and found that EMF exposure was found to alter the reproductive endocrine hormones, gonadal function, embryonic development, pregnancy, and fetal development. They concluded that in modern society, although humans cannot avoid various kinds of EMFs, they should be aware of the biological hazards they can present. It is recommend that people should make an effort to avoid EMF exposure and use techniques to protect or relieve EMF radiation required to preserve reproductive potential.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that devices like laptops should be re-engineered to lower emissions. They suggest that laptops are a source of increased EMF exposure and users should be aware of increased health risks, particularly during pregnancy.
While we are still learning the effects of EMF radiation, it may make sense for women to take precautionary measures and avoid using laptops and tablet close to their body during pregnancy. With laboratory studies and data collection still being conducted, scientists will continue to study the potential effects of EMF, but it may take many years before we have solid conclusions. In the meantime, take steps to minimize EMF exposure while the long-term health effects are determined.