EMF risk in computers/monitors

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eeun's picture
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EMF risk in computers/monitors

As started in This Thread. Discussion continues here.

My response to Hawaii Cruiser's question is that EMF concerns from CPU cases - with or without clear windows - is a non-issue.

The main source of the EMF scare is a flawed late-70s study I learned of just a few weeks back.
Link - Item 9, along with a lot of other interesting information. Neat site.

Further info on the subject, with lots of references, citings, etc. is Here.

In the design process of computers, any EMF blocking measures are to keep 1) The computer from interfering with other local devices and signals, and 2) to prevent external EMF from interfering with the computer. And I had no effect either way with my case windows.

There's a lot of info. at the above links to digest, and I've only just zipped through them briefly, but given that after near-30 years of studies - including more recent cell-phone studies - there's no direct causal link between EMF and cancers, or any other serious effects that I could see, I'm not going to add it to my list of Things That Worry Me.

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Last seen: 6 years 11 months ago
Joined: Jan 20 2005 - 16:03
Posts: 1433
Proof is in the pudding

Thanks Eeun. Yes, a lot of reading. I wonder where it all goes to. The doctor's page I cited earlier,
seems to refer mostly to proclamations made around 1990, and the page you cited quotes studies up through the end of the 90's, so it would be nice to know what the consensus is now. I don't know who Dr. Mercola is or what's his agenda--I just came upon that page by googling--but he certainly doesn't seem to share your non-worrying.
The page you link to is from a website called "Quackwatch" so their agenda is obvious, and then the question becomes, since they are in the business of selling debunkery, are they being selective in their references in order to support their own business agenda? Ah, the web!

I suppose it's like the global warming issue. Who do you choose to believe--the dystopians or the utopians--to err on the side of very costly, and perhaps needless, caution, or to run joyous havoc on the side of blatant disregard? I found a website based here in Hawaii a couple of weeks ago that stated with all pomp and ceremony that since the United Nation's IPCC just came out with a proclamation that there is a 90% chance of certainty that global warming is produced by human behavior, then the global warming debate is effectively ended:
Of course, this pomp and ceremony about the inconvenient truth conveniently ignores the fact that 90% is not conclusive and that the United Nations is a political entity which a lot of American critics say has an agenda which wants to pump out just such findings as a way to simply get at the unequal wealth and power of ours and other developed nations. I posted a comment on that Kauai fellow's page with a link to a respected climatologist's opposing view and a reminder to "please remember what rigorous scientific analysis is all about." My inconvenient comment was conveniently removed the next day. Obviously, there's only one kind of comments that guy wants. So much for debate and getting to, and acting on, the truth.

All I've ever heard on the subject of EMF's is basically bits and pieces on radio shows, etc. and from what I've heard, the powerline scare usually is dismissed (but you won't find me living near 'em). I got started on this whole subject a couple weeks ago from listening to a guy on the radio warning about the dangers of EMF's from fluorescent lights and the related possible future effects from the recent ramp-up in the marketing of compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Well, I had just bought some CFL's, so my ears perked up. This led me to a webpage--my bookmark for which I unfortunately deleted, and for which I am too lazy right now to go back and find it--which detailed the possible dangers of fluorescent lights including such goodies as, a possible cause of miscarriage, possible cause of skin cancer, an increased potential for haphazard environmental mercury contamination, and EMF radiation.

But besides the powerlines, hasn't the cellphone link to cancer recently been established? I thought there was some study findings during the past couple of years regarding a preponderance of brain cancer in person's who use cell phones excessively or something to that effect. You know, some kind of 90% likelihood finding that finally brought the debate to an end. The last time I heard him on the subject, my favorite skeptic, Dr. Dean Edel, said he only uses his cellphone minimally because of the inconclusiveness of the science. So there you go.

Anyway, it would be interesting to me if someone here who can get hold of a Gauss meter could measure the radiation around their cpu--preferably for myself a B&W or G4 tower--and then, maybe to address my original question, see if there's a difference with your window mod, or simply with the case open. It would be interesting, and maybe reassuring (?), to get some numbers and compare them to the RDA's on Dr. Mercola's page, or any other page that happens to turn up. Thus goes science on the internet.

mmphosis's picture
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Tesla knew

cell phones and other handheld radio equipment usually do not exceed 1W of output. I remember seeing an old base cell phone system that put out more than 3W of power! If there is no risk of danger from EMF, then why are cell phones and other handheld radio equipment limited to 1W output?

Last seen: 14 years 8 months ago
Joined: Jan 13 2007 - 19:57
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Two or so things


After a decade of bouncing around working for pharmaceutical companies, I have learned that a scientist or a researcher without an agenda is a scientist or researcher without a job. To me, a lot of the global warming debate is akin to the primitive idea that the gods are angry at us. We did something wrong. Like so much of the so-called progressive political thought, it seems to be based in a Luddite fear of a future no one can envision or understand. 400 years ago a similar warming occurred. We live in a rock out in space and it's amazing that temperature fluctuations aren't always extreme. There's lies, damned lies and junk science.

I haven't studied the material dealing with EMF. To be honest, I thought it was a dead issue. Of course, once something has been settled it's only really been covered up by the [insert your favorite paranoid conspiracy theory here]. In the culture we live in now, a fear-mongering press will spread any story that will scare the viewers no matter how lacking in value or fact it may be.

Maybe I better stop rambling. I'm at work and bored out of my brain . . .


Jon's picture
Last seen: 12 years 9 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 2804
Actually, most phones won't b

Actually, most phones won't break 600mW anymore. One very important point is battery life. Sprint takes heat because of their lower signals over other carriers. The reason they use lower signal power is to boost battery life, and they make up for it by using more towers. More towers also has the effect of increasing the number of users that can be serviced for a particular area. Each tower carries the same number of users, but the coverage area is smaller so users over a similar sized area might end up with a higher coverage density vs another carrier that uses fewer towers and pumps the broadcast power up. I live in KC, home of Sprint, so we get a lot of industry info around here...

Also, those dumb blocking foil stickers that go over the speaker of the cell phone? How are those supposed to protect your head when all the radiant energy of the cell phone comes from -- the ANTENNA!? Wink Junk science vs dumb marketers. If there's a buck to be made...

Eudimorphodon's picture
Last seen: 2 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 21 2003 - 14:14
Posts: 1207
Re: Proof is in the pudding

TI don't know who Dr. Mercola is or what's his agenda--I just came upon that page by googling--but he certainly doesn't seem to share your non-worrying.

I'm sure Dr. Mercola is very well intentioned, but just quickly perusing his site sort of gave me the impression that he's more about marketing a healthy lifestyle based on trendy feel-goodies then he is about actually researching anything.

Not to say that there's no *theoretical* increase of risk of cancer before age X if you live right underneath a million-volt feeder line as opposed to inside a grounded solid-steel box, but the science supporting power line radiation risk is sketchy at best. Pointing out that the EPA was once going to classify power line radiation as a carcinogenic in the same class as PCBs and dioxins as "proof there's a risk" (Which seemed to be the strongest claim in Dr. Mercola's document) is pretty darn silly. The EPA is at least as driven by politics as it is by science. Junk science codified into public action is why every restaurant and grocery store in California has those silly signs posted warning that customers are being offered "Chemicals known by the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive harm".

Anyway. Just because a theory is popular doesn't mean it's correct, or even if it is the risk is "significant". Everything we do carries some element of risk. Some risks are worth accepting because the consequences of avoiding them would be more deleterious then the risk itself. A pretty good case could be made that on average people exposed to "high risk" of exposure to EMF radiation because they live in modern industrialized countries have a better quality of life and live longer then those who don't. (Romantic "Noble Savage" notions aside your average hunter-gatherer lived to be about forty-something. Somehow having microwaves and florescent lights around isn't stopping Americans and Europeans from pushing eighty, so we must be doing something "right" despite having all those risky technologies around.)


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