Who does not know that - after a few hours in front of the PC, you feel exhausted and tense, your head and neck hurt, your eyes are burning or you are crying. One occasionally wonders whether radiation and electromagnetic fields may trigger serious diseases such as cancer. Computer workplaces are hardly possible to imagine working life anymore. That is why it is important to know what you and your employer can and must do.
Eyes burn and itch
Their eyes perform in front of the screen at their best: between 1, 500 and 3, 500 times, the gaze changes every hour between monitor, keyboard and desk. This reduces the number of eyelids that are so important for moistening the eye - burning and itching are the consequences.
More than one in two of the approximately ten million Germans who work on computers complains of frequent back problems and headaches. Years of working in front of the screen are often the result of long-term damage.
The RSI syndrome
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) syndrome is a collective term for problems in muscles, tendons, joints, and nerves caused by repetitive, uniform movements.
It is obvious that people are particularly affected on the computer: Constant mouse or keyboard clicks coupled with a non-physiological or cramped posture and an often ergonomically designed workplace quickly lead to problems - hence the alternative terms "mouse arm" or secretary's disease ". But other people who constantly perform uniform movements with arms and hands can also be affected - just think of cashiers, assembly line workers or musicians.
Typical signs are pain from the irritation of the tendon, which initially - as in the tennis elbow - occur in the area of the elbow, where the tendon attaches the muscle to the bone. In addition, but also bursitis, muscle tension up to the neck and shoulders as well as, by pinching or irritation of nerves, swelling, tingling, emotional disorders to deafness in the affected area may occur. Mental stress can increase the problem, among other things, because it increases the tension.
VDU work: harmful radiation from the monitor?
It sounds a bit scary: Almost the entire spectrum of electromagnetic radiation is used to make text and images visible on the screen. But they do not make you sick, at least that is the conclusion of several studies commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO). For example, the UV rays emanating from the screen are less than those that penetrate through the window on a winter day. Cancer-causing UV-B and UV-C rays are virtually nonexistent and browning is not achieved with the very low level of UV-A rays. The X-rays are far below the permissible values.
There are also strict standards for monitors. Among other things, the TCO 99 standard has tightened the limits for electromagnetic radiation. And the newer flat screens, which have largely replaced the old tube models, do not radiate. However, in very dry rooms, the air can become highly static charged, as electrical and magnetic alternating fields are created around the screen. The monitor surface charges positively and attracts mainly negatively charged dust particles - a well-known phenomenon of the fast-polluting television. Frequent airing and a sufficiently high humidity can mitigate this effect; For allergy sufferers that is only a small consolation.
One problem remains: Man is massively exposed to electrosmog in front of the screen. Scientists suspect that the melatonin secretion of the pineal gland in the brain is slowed down by electromagnetic waves. Melatonin is the hormone that controls the wake-sleep rhythm. With reduced hormone release, the immune system is weakened, which can lead to headaches and insomnia. In addition, the melatonin is said to have an anti-cancer effect, ie, conversely, the risk of cancer could increase if less of the hormone is produced. The screen alone does not seem to cause such massive changes, but its impact can be summed up with the everyday electromagnetic radiation from a variety of other sources.