How Safe are Electric Blankets?
There is nothing better during these cold winter months than snuggling up with a warm blanket. But, before you do that, you should make sure that blanket isn’t electric.
“Electric blankets are such a great way to stay warm but are electric blankets safe?!” Not necessarily.
These toasty throws have been linked to infertility, miscarriages and cancer. All of these issues are caused by electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which electric blankets are proven to emit. EMFs are spaces of invisible energy also known as radiation. They are typically associated with light, heat and electrical power.
So, what makes electric blankets any worse than a microwave or other home appliance? Well, odds are you don’t wrap yourself up at night with your microwave. Electric blankets literally “blanket” you in low-frequency electromagnetic waves. These EMFs are capable of penetrating six to seven inches into your body. Not to mention, sleeping with an electronic blanket means continuous hours of this level of EMF exposure.
Because of these EMFs, electric blankets were studied by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania to determine their effects on fertility. The study found that men who used electric blankets were seven times more likely to experience fertility issues.
Pregnant women are also at risk from electric blankets. In a study, expectant mothers who use electric blankets were found to be more likely to have a miscarriage. This was particularly prevalent when the blanket was used at conception or in the early stages of pregnancy.
Various studies have found a connection between the emission of EMFs, like those from an electric blanket, and the development of certain types of cancers. For example, breast cancer, lymphoma and childhood leukemia have been found to be more prevalent in individuals with increased exposure to EMFs. Even the American Cancer Society recommends limiting exposure to these harmful carcinogens.
And it’s not just the EMFs…
Electric blankets can cause overheating and in severe cases, heat stroke. A forensic study found reports of numerous deaths from heat stroke caused by electric blankets raising the temperatures of individuals to over 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
Burns are another common injury from electric blankets. This one sounds like a pretty obvious and easily avoidable issue. Don’t put something really hot on your skin for a really long time or it will burn you. However, that is not always how these burns occur. Wait for it. Here comes the science.
A report detailing how a man was burned by his electric blanket revealed that, even on a low heat setting, when the fabric of the blanket is exposed to an electrolyte solution, like sweat, it reduces the insulation between the heating wires. This causes the sweaty portion of the blanket to heat up to a point capable of causing burns.
No need to panic!
Even though it seems electric blankets are bad for you, there are plenty of ways to keep your bed warm this winter that don’t include serious health hazards. Pile on the blankets, throw on more layers, crank the heat or simply turn up the heat on your ChiliPad as an alternative to electric blankets.