Electronics and Your Health

Just about wherever we go, we are surrounded by electronic devices of all types and sizes. Upon awakening, the alarm clock beeps at us, followed by the gurgling of the coffee machine and perhaps the blare of the radio or television. While working, most of us are inevitably glued to one or even multiple computer screens when we’re not juggling cell phones and tablets. Back home, our kids are surfing the internet on their laptops and playing video games, or maybe even cooking up a storm with a host of electrical kitchen tools. Although all of these products help to make our daily lives easier in numerous ways, they occasionally also pose some health risks.

Some of the most common risks that we might encounter are exposure to electromagnetic radiation or the risk of electric shocks. In recent years, there has been much debate about additional health risks that these devices could cause. For example, rumors abound regarding cell phones and their link to brain cancer. In this case, scientists have yet to find any conclusive evidence.

However, other machines, like microwaves, should indeed be used with greater care since they emit radiation that is harmful if it comes in direct contact with humans. Of course, there are several other side effects that we should also be aware of. Electronics that emit light, such as lit screens or flashing LEDs, can interfere with our sleep cycles and lead to insomnia. When we carelessly discard electronic devices or CFL light bulbs, toxic and caustic chemicals can leak out of them into the earth. These chemicals inevitably make their way into our water, air or food, causing various types of illnesses. Electronics are to blame indirectly for many fatalities too; negligent drivers using cell phones or pedestrians who are unaware of their surroundings due to mp3 players can both end up in terrible accidents.

None of this evidence means that we should entirely shun all electronic devices. Rather, the key is to use them wisely and safely. Always ensure that the product works as it should. If it appears to be broken or malfunctioning, have it repaired or find a replacement instead of exposing yourself to potential health hazards.

frayed cable

Frayed cables can lead to electrical shock and fires

It is definitely worth it to stay up to date on product recalls and consumer alerts regarding electronic products. These are valuable resources that exist specifically to keep consumers safe from unnecessary health risks and hazards. Make it a habit to regularly check devices as well as their corresponding electrical cords. If there is any fraying or cracks in the cords, they should be replaced immediately to avoid electric shocks. You should also make sure all of your cables are properly rated for your installation. Cables that aren't up to code can be a potential fire risk. Plug appliances and machines into different sockets instead of overloading a single one. Never handle them with wet hands or near any water source, no matter how small. It only takes a little spill or splash to create a dangerous injury. If there are infants, young children, or pets in the house, install safety guards around sockets and keep electronics out of reach.

When electronic devices and batteries are old or no longer needed, dispose of them correctly. If you are storing an electrical device that uses batteries, take the batteries out before you put it away so that the batteries don't leak in the appliance, destorying the device and exposing the next user to battery acid.

There are plenty of organizations that accept unwanted or non-working electronics from the public. There are also some government programs and websites that help residents to find an appropriate place to safely dispose of their devices. Apart from educating ourselves about the potential health risks and safety precautions of electronics, we also need to share the knowledge with those around us. Explore the following resources to learn more about the hidden dangers of electronics and how they can affect our health.

Potential Dangers of Electronics

Side Effects Caused by Electronics

Handling Electronics Safely