Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

October 11, 2010

Is Your Laptop Toasting You?

86490691Avoiding “toasted skin” is just the beginning – protect yourself from infertility and worse.

Have you ever noticed a sponge-patterned skin discoloration on your thighs? If so—and you use a laptop computer—you may be literally “roasting” your skin.

Last week, the journal Pediatrics reported on a 12-year-old boy with this condition. “He recognized that the laptop got hot on the left side,” researchers say, “however, regardless of that, he did not change its position.”

A Virginia law school student suffered a similar ugly rash, resembling skin damage from long-term sun exposure, after using her laptop approximately six hours a day. The temperature underneath her computer registered 125 degrees F. Unfortunately, ugly skin discoloration isn’t the only problem with holding a computer on your lap.

“The heat generated from laptops can impact sperm production and development,” says Suzanne Kavic, MD, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, “making it difficult to conceive down the road.” Currently, experts attribute 40% of couples’ inability to conceive to males.

Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:

“Toasted skin” is just the tip of the iceberg. As my latest book Zapped shows, while your laptop is connected to its AC power adaptor, it can cause high AC magnetic and AC electric field exposure. And your computer can emit harmful electric magnetic fields (EMFs) even when it’s not connected to a power adaptor, especially when you’re logged on through a wireless internet connection.

“Cells in the body react to EMFs as potentially harmful, just like other environmental toxins,” says Martin Blank, PhD, associate professor of physiology and cellular biophysics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. “The DNA in living cells recognizes electromagnetic fields at even very low levels of exposure and produces a biochemical stress response.” Different parts of the body absorb radiation in different intensities, and reproductive tissue appears particularly vulnerable.

Protect Fertility
Biochemical stress from electropollution can affect a man’s testosterone, and sperm production and maturation, potentially leading to erectile dysfunction. For example, a 2008 study shows that cell phones can reduce sperm motility and vitality, negatively impacting fertility.

In women, biochemical stress may reduce blood flow to the reproductive organs and interfere with proteins in the uterine lining involved in implantation of a fertilized egg. It’s especially important to limit EMF exposure during pregnancy as it can impact the baby’s development—long before birth.

Experts also suggest that chronic stress—and believe me, electropollution stresses our bodies 24/7—accounts for 30% of fertility problems today. And EMF exposure has been linked not only to poor sperm quality, but also to miscarriage and fetal abnormalities after conception.

Be Smart with Technology
Despite their name, laptops belong on a desk or tabletop—and manufacturers like Apple and Dell will tell you that. Also, avoid using a wireless internet connection whenever possible and plug in to a wired network. Learn more about this in my latest book Zapped, where you’ll find over 1,200 ways to outsmart the hazards of electronic pollution.

How Zapped Are You?
Getting “un-zapped” doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. Take the quiz at and start identifying simple changes you can make to protect you and your family from the dangers of EMFs.

Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Bruce Scrogin

    Dr. Ann Louise – I recently purchased a “Cool Pad” that reduces the heat retained by laptops or more correctly, notebooks , (especially my plastic cased MacBook) by creating a space between the notebook computer and whatever surface it is sitting on (including ones lap) that allows air circulation underneath the computer. The purpose is to improve the life and performance of the computer, but it also helps nearly eliminate any heat getting through to your lap (if used that way). Adding little shielding could help reduce any RF radiation generated by the computer’s EMF. There are a lot of regulations about allowable RF radiation that are incorporated in the design of most electrical devices, but most of us users are operating with wireless routers, making the computer a source and a receiver for microwave radiation – just like cell phones, but probably at a higher amplitude. I would guess that metal-cased laptops (like the newer MacBooks, etc.) are less of a problem for EMF radiation, but these still have to send and receive wireless transmissions. I am not a techie or even remotely qualified to comment technically on this subject, but I couldn’t help saying something. Hope it helps.

  2. Annie

    I just ordered an Earthing pad to use with my laptop and my regular computer. It’s wonderful to find those kind of “grounding” products on your website!

    Thanks for all that you do.

  3. Joel

    I am also using one of Earthing pads, they are fantastic!

  4. Cris


    Thank you for addressing this issue with Zapped. I’ve been looking for legitimite things I can do, and have trouble deliniating hype from proven strategies.

    Can you please address how “plugging in ” the earthing units helps REDUCE your exposure? It’s a bit counter intuitive. We’ve always tried to keep electrical sources away from the body, especially at night. So sleeping on a pad or wearing a band that is “plugged in” is a hard one to reconcile.

    many thanks,

  5. Joel

    Hi Cris, the Earthing products are not plugged into a charged current, they are plugged into the “ground” on an electrical outlet or into the Earth itself. It basically is correcting what modern life has deprived us from; free electrons from the Earths surface. When we are connected to the Earth (either by walking barefoot outside and connected by an Earthing devise) our bodies equalizes to the same electric potential as the Earth. People that ground themselves daily notice less inflammation, better sleep, more energy, and less aches and pains. The free electrons that grounding supplies also help reduce the oxidative stress caused by EMFs.


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