Do LCD Computer Monitors Emit Radiation?
By Andrew Aarons
Since computers began dominating home and work environments, health concerns have arisen about prolonged computer usage. In the late 1970s and 1980s, workplaces were more concerned with basic comfort and about the toll on people's backs of sitting in front of a screen for hours; in the 1990s, people were concerned instead about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from extended keyboard use. Since the turn of the millenium, health advocates have become concerned with radiation from the electromagnetic fields generated by computer monitors.
All computers create -- and therefore emit -- electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which are a source of radiation, however minor. In the early days of home computers, most used cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitors. Bulky, boxy monitors once populated offices, though as of July 2011, most have been replaced by the slimmer, sleeker -- and healthier -- liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors. In addition, all laptops use LCD screens. LCDs are not EMF-free, but studies have shown they emit lower EMFs than CRT displays.
EMF radiation is present in all but a few specially-designed monitors, and the jury is still out on how harmful the levels of radiation from LCD screens might prove to human health. According to Safe Space Protection, "computers typically measure from two milligauss (mG) to five mG"; 2 mG and higher can potentially damage biological organisms. Despite this claim, the article "Harmful Electrostress from Computers/Laptops" doesn't specify what kind of computers create this level of radiation, though the article does state that LCD screens and laptops are "much safer" than CRT monitors connected to desktop computers.
According to Danielle Barone, the family health editor for BellaOnline.org, even LCD monitors and laptops emit "enough radiation to affect your health and appearance." While the majority of computer users don't seem troubled by this, some may wish to exercise a bit more caution. Barone suggests buying what's called a radiation filter, which blocks between 94 percent and 99 percent of the radiation from your computer screen.
Ultra-health-conscientious computer users -- those who want to reduce their exposure to radiation at every possible turn -- can find and purchase 100 percent radiation-free LCD monitors. The website BlockEMF.com offers hundreds of EMF-preventing products, including four LCD monitors that the company guarantees to be completely free from radiation.
Living in Canada, Andrew Aarons has been writing professionally since 2003. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Ottawa, where he served as a writer and editor for the university newspaper. Aarons is also a certified computer-support technician.