PCs have become the centre of a health scare, thanks to a study which claims they are responsible for so called "sick building syndrome".
The study claims that a third of headaches, anxiety and flu-like symptoms that are experienced by thousands of office workers every year are down to harmful VDU emissions. Around five million people use VDU screens in the UK screens every day.
Professor Derek Clements-Croome of Reading University and John Jukes, an ergonomic and environmental consultant, undertook a double blind crossover study of the symptoms experienced by workers exposed to low frequency radiation emitted by VDUs in the head office of Southampton and South West Hampshire health authority.
They found that the results were against the assurances by government safety experts that VDUs are not a health threat.
Following the findings John Jukes has called for health investigations to be undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive.
Jukes and Clements-Croome claim that VDU emissions have a range of 18 feet and are not easy to block out. The researchers argue that their ability to penetrate through eight feet of concrete means that that they could potentially be dangerous next door or on the floor above.
The researchers made their discovery after testing the Techno AO device designed in France which claims it can counter electro-magnetic radiation.
The devices, which sit on top of a computer screen, were given to 50 workers at the Health Authority, while 50 others were given fake devices for a month and then they were swapped around.
When the real devices were in operation symptoms fell between 27 per cent and 44 per cent with an average reduction of 36 per cent. When they were not in use symptoms went up.
"The results were surprising," said Jukes. "The conclusion is that low frequency magnetic fields account for over a third of sick building syndrome."
Jukes said it had chosen Southampton health authority to run the tests because of the "informed scepticism of the staff" due to their medical backgrounds and the building's lack of air conditioning.
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