Are electronic devices harmful to your health?

We investigate the rapid rise in electronic device use on your body

Updated: Tuesday 17 November 2020

Office desk setup with multiple digital devices

How does technology impact our health?

We are living in a world where we find ourselves constantly surrounded by electronic devices like mobiles, computers, laptops, just to name a few. They have become embedded in our lives, and we certainly know the benefits of having this type of technology and the way it has enriched our lives – information is more accessible as everything is just at the click of a button. Not only this, but it is now easier to communicate and connect with everyone and it makes our lives more convenient.

Although there are many benefits of having an abundance of electronic devices at our disposal, however, this comes at a price as it has some harmful side effects too. Electronics that emit flashing LED or brightly lit screens cause problems with our sleep cycle because it suppresses the release of melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone), therefore making it more difficult to sleep and can eventually lead to insomnia.

Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR)

Most of the devices we use day to day emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Even people who are aware of this fact when they use their devices, tend to ignore it because in this era it has become seemingly more difficult to live without our electronic devices. However, it is important to understand what the short term and long-term EMR effects that can occur.

Short term EMR health effects include headaches, aches and pains especially in the hands and decrease sperm mobility. Long term EMR can cause brain tumours, cancer and fragmented DNA.

How you can protect yourself from EMR

  • Reduce the number of devices used
    Although it might be impossible to disconnect from electronics completely, it would be more viable to reduce the number of devices you use daily because this will reduce the radiation you are exposing yourself too.
  • Increase the distance between yourself and the device
    To protect yourself from the radiation you should keep a small distance between yourself and the device. Even increasing the distance by an inch can make a big difference in decreasing radiation exposure.
  • Reduce the time spent on the devices
    Taking frequent breaks from using your devices and spending less time on it will reduce the amount of exposure you will to harmful radiation.
  • Using wired accessories
    Although the popularity of wireless technology has increased, it is actually better to stick with wired technology. Wireless technology use radio frequencies to connect your devices, hence emitting more EMR around you.

Other ways you can protect yourself is by discarding your devices correctly and safely after they become old or no longer needed. Making sure to remove the batteries from your devices before disposing them is crucial to ensure the batteries don’t leak out.

Rather than completely detaching yourself from your electronic devices, it is better to educate yourself about the health risks and precautions, share the knowledge and reduce the amount of exposure you have to your device.

Iris Barbier

Written by: Iris Barbier

Pharmacy Assistant

Born in France, Iris moved to the UK to study Biological Sciences at London Metropolitan University. Upon graduating, Iris moved up north, where she completed an MA in Science Journalism at the University of Lincoln.

As a qualified science journalist, Iris uses her expertise to write content for Pharmica’s online Health Centre. She ensures our patients get specialist knowledge on medical conditions and how to treat them.

Find out more about how we ensure the accuracy of our content with our content guidelines.

How to Stay Healthy in the Office
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