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7 Ways High-Tech Gadgets Could Be Hurting You

Sure, they make life easier, but could all this technology be harmful to your health? WebMD gets the experts to weigh in.

7. Office-Related Asthma

Your sleek, high-tech office may be a source of indoor air pollution. Some models of laser printers shoot out invisible particles into the air as they chug away. These ultra-fine particles can lodge deep in your lungs. Not every printer is a health hazard. In one study of 62 printers, 40% tested emitted particles. But only 17 printers were high-particle emitters.

Technology's Legacy

So why does technology have so many harmful effects on our bodies? It may be because while traditional tools evolved over eons, technology evolves more rapidly than our understanding of how we'll use it, says Barry Katz, professor in the industrial design and graduate program in design at Stanford University.

"It may have taken 10,000 years to evolve the form of a sewing needle, or 2,500 to evolve the form of the safety pin," he says. "That gives a lot of time to work out the kinks in the system."

But modern devices, from the mouse to the ear bud, were invented from scratch. "You know about the electronics inside, but you don't know how people are going to use it," Katz says. He promises that designers are continually fine-tuning our gadgets to make them more helpful and less harmful.

Until they're perfected, though, take extra care to make sure your gizmos don't put a kink in your health.

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Reviewed on July 30, 2012

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