Many people are concerned that if they use their laptop for long periods at a time they could increase their risk of developing cancer, particularly testicular cancer. This has come about because of widespread reports claiming that using a laptop for extended periods of time can cause infertility, cancer and all sorts of other health problems.
Naturally, people are going to be worried when they hear this, not only for their own health and the health of the present population but also for the health of future generations. Many children now have laptops that they use daily and as they are young and still growing, the fear is that this will have a negative impact on their health in years to come. However, is it true?
Unfortunately there is no clear cut answer to this. Yes you can find plenty of information on the Internet stating that using a laptop for long periods can increase the risk of cancer, and yet at the same time there are no significant studies with irrefutable evidence to back this up. So what is going on?
Yes we all know that many appliances emit some radiation, for example our television sets, microwave ovens, DVD players and mobile phones and of course computers too, and we are all well aware that radiation can be harmful, that is why we avoid having too many x-rays, which is a much stronger and more intense form of radiation.
According to the World Heath Organisation there are no adverse effects from low level wireless radiation, even for long term exposure. Indeed physics experts claim that the radiation from Wi-fi is much less than that given off by a domestic microwave oven and well below the threshold for any effect on humans. So why is there is so much hype?
What is known though is that the male genitals are outside of the body in order to keep them cool as this lower temperature is required for sperm production and for the sperm to survive. As laptops are often situated on the lap, they are in very close proximity to the genital area and the fear is that this can raise the temperature inside the scrotum and possibly cause infertility as well as damage the cells. Cancer is believed to develop mainly because of damage to cells.
What isn’t known is what causes testicular cancer or why the number of men developing testicular cancer is on the increase. Indeed, it isn’t just testicular cancer that is becoming more common, many serious diseases and health conditions are on the increase now, and no single cause has yet been identified as to why this is the case.
Interestingly, on the BUPA fact sheet for testicular cancer there is no mention of laptops, computers or radiation as a factor that could increase the risk of developing this form of cancer. The main risk factors mentioned are genetics, i.e. if you have a close relative who has already developed testicular cancer, fertility problems, coming from a wealthy social group, being white rather than of African or Asian descent, and developing a rare complication associated with mumps which involves swelling of the testicles.
However, just because there isn’t any solid evidence indicating that using a laptop can increase your risk of developing cancer that doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t health risks associated with spending too much time in front of a computer screen. Until more research is conducted that can shed light on whether laptops are completely safe or not the negative reports are likely to continue.
If you are worried about the health risks associated with using a laptop then there are things you can do to reduce the impact of any energy fields that might be emanating from your laptop. For example, don’t sit the laptop directly on your lap but place it on another surface instead. Sit a good distance away from the screen, although the radiation coming from laptop screen is actually less than that coming from a standard computer monitor. You could even go further if you like and purchase a laptop shield that is designed to block any radiation.
In the meantime the debate rages on.