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Healthy Electronics and Gadget Tips

Healthy Home 2008, Spring 2008

We live in a high-tech world, in which every electronic device -- even a seemingly low-tech lamp or stereo -- emits an electromagnetic field (EMF). Scientists aren't sure how EMFs affect the body, but some speculate that they may cause cancer. The closer you are to an electronic device, the stronger the EMF exposure.

Because cell phones are held against the head, they've received particular scrutiny. So what about all those wireless Internet networks in homes and cafes around the country? As with mobile phones, they are so new that long-term research hasn't been conducted.

"It's easy to take steps to minimize your exposure to EMFs," says Dr. Patrick Breysse, a professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Don't sit directly in front of the TV or press your nose to the microwave while it's running.

If you install a Wi-Fi hub in your home, place the beacon away from frequently used areas, and set your laptop on a desk instead of directly on your lap. Always use a headset when using a cell phone. "It's healthy to be asking questions about what's in your home, but at the end of the day, you shouldn't be running around in a panic," Breysse advises.

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