Is Laptop Radiation Harmful?

laptop in desk

Computers are one of the most remarkable achievements of human intelligence. Over time, these devices have evolved and eventually became portable. Although now we can have most of a computer’s functions at the palm of our hand through our phones, desktop computers and laptops are still an essential part of our lives.

Throughout time, multiple health concerns regarding the use of computer devices have been discussed. Most of these concerns have a good foundation. 

After all, we are constantly in contact with technology as we are using laptops or with our phones in our hands, and so on. These actions may seem non-harmful, although there are too many questions surrounding them, and that makes us doubt what’s real and what’s a myth.

The truth is that this “danger” that many people fear regarding laptop radiation has the name of EMF or Electromagnetic Field radiation.

What is Electromagnetic Field Radiation?

Most electronic appliances nowadays emit EMF radiation in some form. Yes, that includes your phone, television, microwave, and many other devices.

Electromagnetic fields are a hugely extensive topic, so let’s put the concept in easy words: although you cannot see them, they are there as energy force fields (or radiation, for some people). These aspects are related to electricity and other lighting inventions from the human hand.

EMFs can be categorized into two different types, non-ionizing and ionizing. 


Non-ionizing EMFs are considered to be low level, and that’s why they won’t cause any harm to your health.


These EMFs are at a higher level. These electromagnetic fields are often associated with multiple health concerns, and that’s because they can be hugely harmful to live beings.

Why are these concepts related to your laptop?

All computers produce non-ionizing radiation. As we said, this shouldn’t be something you worry about, but there are some things you should take into account. After all, your laptop is an electronic appliance that produces EMF as it uses electricity.

Not only that, but since computer devices are often connected to WiFi signals, maybe there are more things to be concerned about than you think.

So, overall, is your laptop harmful? Should you be hugely concerned about its use and start monitoring and limiting the time you use them? Let’s explore all the different factors individually and clear some doubts that most people have about whether laptops are harmful to our health.

About the radiation your laptop emits

The main concern about laptops is that we hold them so close to our bodies without knowing whether they’re harmful to our health or not. That’s why it is so important for you to be familiar with the types of EMF radiation these portable devices emit.

Laptops produce Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) and Radio Frequency (RF) radiation types. Let’s get to know each type thoroughly.

Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) radiation

The first type is ELF. Laptops utilize this energy to perform the multiple functions that keep them going. All this ELF radiation is emitted via your laptop’s outer covering.

Within the functions that may produce ELF, we can include the following:

  • The laptop processor’s constant activity
  • Most hard drive functions, such as memory storage

The concept goes beyond that, but this is what ELF is about essentially. Still, it is crucial to note that older laptop models emit higher EMF radiation levels than new models nowadays. That is why most people recommend getting rid of your old laptop and replace it with a new model as soon as possible.

Radio Frequency (RF) radiation

Laptops produce RF signals whenever they connect to networks, including WiFi and 4G, for instance. This also includes Bluetooth. All devices capable of connecting to these networks come with receivers and transmitters integrated. Therefore, the latter aspect emits the RF radiation. When you place your laptop directly to your lap, all this radiation goes towards your body.

Additional to ELF and RF radiation, laptops also produce thermal emissions (or “Heat”). For this purpose, all computers contain fans that regulate the temperature levels of the device. However, this hot air can also be harmful to your health.

What are the dangers of the radiation you receive from your laptop?

According to studies, being exposed to heat and EMF radiation during prolonged times and considering that laptops emit these energies at high levels will cause problems such as headaches, insomnia, and many other health issues that are common symptoms of another disease. It isn’t strange for us to blame it on something else.

Similar studies have shown that your health can be affected in worse ways whenever you expose your lap to these emissions. For instance, you may have infertility and even skin damage, among many other problems. If you’re experiencing any of these issues and use your laptop in that position often, we recommend visiting your physician.

More recent studies have also shown that these emissions (not only from our laptop but also from other devices that produce similar signals) have negative effects on fertility. Furthermore, they may also cause cell and DNA damage.

EMF radiation can cause multiple problems to our health that we may overlook as they are not as immediate as other conditions.

Martin Pall has published a report listing multiple effects of EMF radiation in the human body. Some of the effects he mentions in his report include the following:

  • It may affect your nervous system and brain overall. Therefore, prolonged exposure may lead to neurological or neuropsychiatric conditions.
  • It may affect your endocrine system. 
  • The report also talks about the negative effects on fertility, regardless of the person’s biological sex.

Moreover, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has warned people about the prolonged contact with RF. According to this study, it may increase the risk of suffering from brain cancer. 

Additionally, it has been demonstrated continuous exposure to a laptop’s radiation may harm your fertility, as mentioned above. This fact is especially true for men. If the scrotal temperature increases quickly, it may lead to male fertility problems as the sperm count will be reduced.

More problems are referred to the prolonged use of laptops, including insomnia, skin burns, etc. The list of harmful effects goes on, and since the effects of radiation are updated continually, it wouldn’t be strange if we saw some new studies demonstrating new possibilities.

Many people believe these are myths because these devices are useful tools they use every day, but that’s refusing to see the full picture. 

How to avoid the negative effects of laptop radiation

We can go on and fill this article with a list of all the negative effects that laptop radiation may cause to your health if you use it for prolonged periods. Instead of focusing on the most negative effects and adding more fuel to the fire, we can start mentioning how you can start avoiding these problems for your safety.

Good news for you – there are numerous safety measurements you can implement to your daily tasks to be safe from the harmful effects of laptop radiation. Although other electric appliances may cause similar effects on your body, we often have the bad habit of being hugely close to our laptops.

Now that you know all the harmful effects that using your laptop so close to your body can cause, it is time to start learning ways to avoid it. Although the effects are still subject to research, you can do what we list here in your daily life to reduce its effects greatly.

For starters, most physicians recommend maintaining your laptop at least twenty centimeters away from your body while you’re using it, but not many people know about that fact. Still, besides this fact, there are other actions you can take starting from now:

  • If you’re using your laptop, please use it while sitting next to a table instead of lying down and placing it on your lap. Most physicians advise this to avoid the negative effects on your fertility and other cancer concerns. Additionally, as you’re sitting in an appropriate position and there aren’t any heavy objects on your body, your back pain may be relieved.
  • If you’re in a situation that obligates you to use your laptop while it is placed on your lap, there are solutions. There are protective shields available for this purpose, and they’re able to block the ELF or RF radiations from affecting your body. These shields also offer protection against thermal emissions.
  • Last but not least, please do not use a pillow between your body and your laptop. Not only can this cause harm to you, but it also can be the reason why your device stops working. When you place the laptop above the pillow, the air the fan produces won’t flow properly. Therefore, your laptop may overheat and may produce higher levels of thermal radiation.

Although we are still uncertain about all the negative effects that laptop radiation can cause on us, it would be best if you took as many precautions as possible.

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