Bad news for today world: electrical fields generated by everyday electrical equipment such as computers, and excess static charge created by many modern materials, could be bad for your health, says new research published by Imperial scientists.
The study, published in the Atmospheric Environment journal in August 2007, strongly indicates that prolonged exposure to the electric fields generated in everyday indoor environments may cause increased risk of respiratory diseases and infection from small airborne particles such as allergens, bacteria and viruses. The study also found that such risks may be far higher than previously thought.
Keith Jamieson of Imperial’s Centre for Environmental Policy, lead author of the paper, says: “Many of the factors that can cause high electric fields and increased deposition and contamination are often found in hospital ward environments and in buildings where incidents of sick building syndrome are noted.”
Keith Jamieson explains: “In the case of electrical equipment, particularly laptops, ensuring they are earthed can often greatly reduce fields. In terms of the electrostatic charge generated by people themselves, careful selection of materials and humidity levels can significantly reduce problems as can balanced bipolar air ionisation. Trying to avoid spending time in areas where high fields are created, and unplugging electrical equipment when not in use, are also good options – so there are a number of easy actions which can already be implemented in the workplace and the home to help reduce the toxic load our bodies have to deal with and the risk of illness and infection being transmitted in this way.”