The Health Hazards of Plasma TVs


Plasma televisions are inherently safe devices. Although their energy efficiency is slightly less than their LCD-based cousins, worries of radiation and "leaking plasma" are old myths long dispelled. However, plasma televisions offer a feature known as 3-D that has been shown to affect individuals. Although the effects of 3-D displays are not universally dangerous, examining them prior to use may be prudent, especially if you fit into certain categories.

The Young

  • Mainly affecting adolescents, photosensitive seizures occur when the brain subconsciously processes the flickering and alternating nature of the dual-frame 3-D display. Although these seizures may occur to inclined individuals under normal viewing circumstances, the special nature of 3-D television takes an extra toll. This is due to the eye-brain developmental process being adversely affected by the 3-D process. Samsung, a major producer of 3-D technology, specified "children under 6" as one group that should avoid the technology. However, that warning has since been removed from their website at the time of publication.

The Elderly

  • While 3-D technology is a new experience for most, the elderly are warned against prolonged usage of the technology. The elderly are suspected by manufacturers as being especially susceptible. Given that seniors are often in the midst of some degree of ocular degeneration, the increased eye strain and subsequent re-adjustment of the eye -- after removal of the 3-D glasses -- may cause disorientation and falls.

Pregnant Women

  • Although 3-D television viewing poses no direct threat to a fetus, the disorientation and decreased postural stability often reported as a side-effect of the technology is something to avoid. In addition, the increased tendency for pregnant women to experience nausea is thought by manufacturers to increase the frequency of motion sickness, resulting from unusual eye movement required by 3-D tech.

The Inebriated

  • People under the influence of alcohol are told to avoid prolonged use of 3-D plasma technology. Concerns over increased eye strain, compounded by the intermittent loss of eye muscle control caused by alcohol, is cause for concern. Use of the technology with alcohol may result in mishaps on stairs, or in other cases where depth perception is critical to safety.

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