While its very name suggests that your lap is the ideal place for a laptop, the convenience may have some serious health consequences.
Ailments from using a laptop on your lap can range in severity from superficial skin discoloration, to potential fertility issues.The electromagnetic fields produced by laptops can likely induce currents within the body at unsafe levels.
Toasted Skin Syndrome
When under heavy use, laptops tend to heat up. Exposure to this heat can cause a condition scientifically known as “erythema ab igne”, also known as “toasted led syndrome”. The affected area develops a blotchy pink or red rash. The condition develops with time depending on how frequently your laptop is on your lap, and how often it becomes excessively hot.
One of the more serious risks associated with laptop use involves male fertility. Setting a laptop on your lap can cut off air flow to the genital region of the body. Urologist Yelim Sheynkin warns laptop users that scrotal temperatures can reach unsafe levels with just 10 to 15 minutes of exposure to the heat of a laptop. Widening the legs for airflow and using a lap pad only delayed the rise in testicular temperatures to about 30 minutes.
One study examined the relationship between human sperm health and internet-connected laptops utilizing Wi-Fi. Researchers found that just 4 hours of using a Wi-Fi connected laptop significantly decreases the quality of sperm. Accompanied by the damage was an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation.
Dermatologist Anthony J. Mancini warns that prolonged skin inflammation can potentially increase chances for squamous cell skin cancer, a cancer that is even more aggressive than the most common skin cancer. Since laptops are a relatively new technology, long-term studies and results have not yet been made.
Fortunately it is easy to prevent these problems from happening to you. Instead of using your laptop directly on your lap, try sitting at a table where the laptop has no contact with your legs.