Laptops have become tremendously popular since their emergence into society. Despite the manifold benefits, however, they can pose some serious health risks when held where, as their name suggests, they are meant to be held: the lap. The intense heat emitted by laptops poses a health hazard to both men and pregnant women, while the poor posture that comes from hunching over a laptop can cause chronic muscular pain.
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Studies by researchers at the State University of New York have shown that using laptops on the lap can have a negative effect on healthy sperm production in males. The heat put out by the laptop raises the scrotal or testicular temperature to an unhealthy degree, which can lower sperm counts and, in turn, can cause sterility.
Although rare, there have been cases of severe burns from a laptop overheating on an individual's lap. Burns can also come from the combustion of laptop batteries. Also rare, there have been instances of this happening when the laptop is held on the thighs in such a way that the venting fan is blocked.
There has been some concern about hazards to pregnant women from radiation emitted from laptops. According to research at Radiation Answers, the amounts of radiation that may be emitted are so minimal that there is no cause for concern. However, doctors advise pregnant women to avoid holding a laptop on their lap or stomach because of the heat that functioning laptops produce.
Using a laptop on the lap encourages bad posture, or slouching. While this may not seem like a serious problem, long-term usage can result in serious injury to the neck or spine. Michael Durtnall, a chiropractor featured in a Times Online article, estimates that 80 per cent of the clients that come through his doors are suffering from pain brought about by poor laptop posture.
Due to an increasing awareness of the health hazards posed by using laptops on the lap, new "gadgets" have emerged onto the computer scene, allowing users to use the laptop comfortably positioned somewhere other than the lap. This eliminates the risks of infertility for men or the heat hazards for pregnant women, and at the same time encourages correct posture. An example of this is the LapDawg, which provides users with multiple options for use. The stand is portable and can be converted into a TV tray position, breakfast tray position, book holder position, bed tray position, or lap desk position. For more information, visit www.lapdawg.com.>
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