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Health Consequences of CRT Monitors?

Cliff posted about 9 years ago | from the invisible-death-rays dept.

Displays 306

DigiMan asks: "I was wondering, what are the effects of working on a CRT are on your health - long term. It has recently bothered me that EVERYONE seems to be switching to LCD's - I noticed that Bill Gates was one of the 1st people to do this, even when the cost was super high, and many, many government offices switched to the much more expensive LCD's - despite budget cuts and having to go with the lowest bidder strategy they operate under. Was this ONLY for style and space savings? Is there some health consequence that no one talks about publically. I know that they do emit very low amounts of X-Rays and have a 60Hz magnetic field as well as a 12.5 kHz electro magnetic field (for the raster scan). I work in front of typically 3, 19" CRT's for 12 - 16 hours per day at an average distance of 18". Can these magnetic fields cause Leukemia, or anything else? Is being behind the a cathode ray tube that bad for you?"

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Probably bad for eyesight. (4, Informative)

suso (153703) | about 9 years ago | (#12114721)

I'm sure that CRTs affect your eyes. A local eye doctor told me once that this is because your eyes actually tend to focus about an inch behind the glass on your CRT because of the way the image is projected. Eventually this probably causes problems. Almost everyone that I knew before and after they started using computers (back in the 80s and 90s) had to get glasses within 6 months of using a computer with a CRT. Some of those people that I've talked to about this say that they most likely bought glasses because they were reading more or for longer periods of time. Unfortunately, I don't have any hard evidence to back up this claim (and many slashdotters will slam me for it) but its kinda obvious and I have a good gut feeling about it. Probably many other people feel the same way.

There is also a book by an eye doctor named William Bates (kinda a punny name for April Fools) where he talks about how to restore your normal eyesight through training. He mentions in his book that reading at close distances strains your eyes enough to distort the lens or something like that.

For reference, the rate of change of my eyesight (nearsidedness) has slowed down since I started using flat panels, but that could just be because I'm getting older. I would recommend taking breaks once or twice a day, going outside and looking out long distances.

(I hope this wasn't some kind of weird April Fools Ask Slashdot article)

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 years ago | (#12114775)

Even if it is a joke, it allowed for you to bring up a good topic. So how is that bad?

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (2, Funny)

suso (153703) | about 9 years ago | (#12114804)

I don't know, maybe with my bad eyesight I failed to see that this might have been some kind of joke and everyone was going to slam me for it. I think the dangers of CRTs are still relavent. Especially since old used ones are now in abundance and probably lots of people are using them for special things like server consoles or multiple monitor setups.

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (2, Funny)

HTTP Error 403 403.9 (628865) | about 9 years ago | (#12114812)

There is also a book by the eye doctor named William Bates...

As a prosperous young man, Dr. Bates was referred by his staff as Master Bates.

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (4, Informative)

bmw (115903) | about 9 years ago | (#12114817)

I'm probably an exception and just generally have strong eyes but I've spent the better part of my life behind CRTs and still have perfect vision. I'm very sure that sitting in front of a computer screen (of any kind) isn't good for your eyes but I still haven't developed any problems from it. I do seem to be getting carpal tunnel though :-\

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (1)

senatorpjt (709879) | about 9 years ago | (#12114896)

Same for me. My only problem seems to have come about when everyone switched from the old white-on-black displays to having everything be black-on-white. Staring into a sea of bright white pixels to read black text seems to give me a headache after a while. I try to set stuff to display as white on black, but it causes a lot of other problems with "poorly designed" webpages, etc.

I worked with a woman... (1)

MisanthropicProgram (763655) | about 9 years ago | (#12114820)

whose eye doc told her to get up at least once an hour and look out of a window into the distance. He said her eye muscles that focus were getting weak becuase she was mostly looking at close objects. After a few weeks, her vision improved.

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (1)

neoform (551705) | about 9 years ago | (#12114823)

Funny, i've been using a CRT for 10 years and my eye sight is still great..

as for disease, i doubt there would be such side effect since CRT tubes have been around forever and we don't see people dropping dead from it..

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (1)

kiehlster (844523) | about 9 years ago | (#12114932)

I've been using CRT screens for 16 years of my 24, and probably stared at a TV screen for the other 8 years of my life, and I still have 20/20 (or at least that's where my doctor stops having me read off the chart.) And I haven't developed anything like carpal tunnel or cancer or anything. I still wouldn't doubt that you could probably get cancer from a CRT monitor. But these days they have better shielding to protect the use from harmful rays, although, I find that my Mac at work makes my eyes burn unlike my PCs at home.

Fatigue from the refresh rate, and productivity (1)

mollog (841386) | about 9 years ago | (#12114840)

I know that my eyes get tired from the flicker, and I'm sure that others experience the same. It seems to me that the high tech industry ought to start scrapping monitors wholesale to improve productivity - cheaper than outsourcing.

Well my equally invalid evidence (4, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 9 years ago | (#12114854)

I started using computers at age 5. At age 9 I had one with it's own dedicated CRT (they used the TV before that). I'm now 24. So, I did need to get glasses at 22, however that was for an astygmatism in my left eye, my right eye still has perfect vision.

Now I'm a computer junky, I use them all the time, at work and at home. Until about a year ago, it was always CRTs. I now have an LCD at work, but still a CRT at home (which I am soon going to replace with another).

So in my case, an excessive amount of CRT usage doesn't seem to have caused any nearsightedness. Also not being nearsighted is counter to my genetics, my mother and father are both nearsighted, as is my sister who doesn't make much use of computers and got her glasses much younger than I did.

Again, just a personal anecdote and not a valid representation of the overall situation, but it runs completely counter to yours. I know it's compelling to think your experience is representitive, but it's very often not the case. Trust emprical research, not personal anecdotes.

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (3, Insightful)

Leadhyena (808566) | about 9 years ago | (#12114856)

I have firsthand experience to the easing of the eyes created by switching to LCD screens. I run an IT department at a trucking firm, and recently converted our dispatch department to LCD screens. Immediately there was a noticed difference; the dispatchers didn't get the headaches that they used to get at the end of the week from spending 5 days staring at a CRT screen, and they also commented on better eyesight in general (one dispatcher uses a higher resolution now that he can see the screen better).

I think the "healthiness" of the LCD screens as opposed to the CRT screens has to do with the flicker. On an LCD the pixels don't fade, so there's not that pulsing and required brightness as there is with a CRT display. Ask anyone who has discovered their HZ setting on their monitor drivers and pressed the HZ from 60 to 75 what effect the flicker has on eyesight problems with CRTs. Some people can't even look at a 60hz screen for longer than a minute without it hurting their eyes. Think of a CRT as a finely tuned array of strobe lights and you'll understand why LCDs are better on the eyes.

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (1)

B'Trey (111263) | about 9 years ago | (#12114857)

I'm sure there are some bad effects from CRT's, both in eyesight and other health areas. But whatever those ill effects are, I'd wager that they're not near as bad as the effects of sitting on your butt for 12 to 16 hours a day.

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (1)

PopeAlien (164869) | about 9 years ago | (#12114864)

(I hope this wasn't some kind of weird April Fools Ask Slashdot article)

my friends and I regularly get together and laugh over the health consequences of CRT monitors. I think its hillarious. One of my favorite topics is VDU WORK AND THE HAZARDS TO HEALTH [lhc.org.uk] its a laff riot!

sarcasm aside, I guess it wouldn't be that suprising if it was a joke article.. seeing as how today is all about funny funny joke suprises! I for one am really suprised by all the funny funny joke stories. I fall for everyone!

wait.. that wasnt really sarcasm aside was it? my bad.

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | about 9 years ago | (#12114870)

I recently broke down and bought an LCD monitor because I'm having more trouble with my eyes. I'm only 24, and have experience issues focusing on the monitor, sensitivity to bright light, and headaches. Since getting this LCD, the problems have gone away a bit. I'm still tweaking the settings - brightness is an issue - but I think it's helped.

With the LCD, I don't suffer from screen glare as with my CRT. That lets me keep the window open, allowing me more natural light and fresh air. I'm sure that all contributes greatly. The sensitivity to sunlight has gone away. I no longer need sunglasses at all times.

Maybe my story is unusual. It's certainly not proof of anything, but Slashdot doesn't exactly require scientific process for comments.

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (1)

DunbarTheInept (764) | about 9 years ago | (#12114877)

In the '80s the computers I used had gigantic letters. Today the fonts are tiny (and I prefer it that way - I can fit more on the screen) and that means more time spent focusing on tiny minutia at close range - which leads to nearsightedness. My bad eyesight got worse faster after it became possible to fit 1280x1024 on a screen and the temptation to do so and fit 200 characters across the screen was too good to ignore for mere heatlh reasons. Now I'm beginning to regret it.

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12114892)

They make glasses called Prios that adjust for the difference in focus on the CRT. While CRTs affect your eyes, please don't use anecdotal evidence about whether they're better than CRTs, as that just makes everyone want to repeat what you said like it's a fact and not pure conjecture. Reading or "overusing your eyes" (within reasonable extent, see Euler for unreasonable example) has nothing to do with getting glasses. Also, in direct contradiction with your story, I can say that LCDs in the lab where I work destroy my eyes and I can't look at them for more than an hour without serious discomfort. However, my nice 19 inch crt at home is lovely. It works best if you have a monitor big enough to sit a good distance back with the letters big (long periods of reading on it will also hurt my eyes, but less).

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (1)

The Angry Mick (632931) | about 9 years ago | (#12114897)

I also suffer from poor eyesight. What I've noticed is that I can spend more time in front of an LCD monitor without feeling the eyestrain I used to experience with a CRT. In the CRT days, I could only code for about three hours before I began getting severe headaches and that "sleepy eyed" sense of being visually tired. With the LCD, I can go a full workday (which may or may not be a good thing...) switching between Windows and CLI Linux without any noticeable irritation.

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (1)

Werrismys (764601) | about 9 years ago | (#12114905)

I'm 32. I've been staring at CRT since I was 13. 50Hz, 60Hz, now whopping 85Hz. Good low-latency 21" LCD is on the shopping list, but they're too expensive right now.

I've stared at these flickering pieces of S all my adult life.
First at evenings (basic school)
Then during highed ed etc (most of day, all night).
Now at work and at free time (most of day, weekends).
Yes, at the moment, I don't have a life... But my eyesight is good looking near, and looking far only the right eye is somewhat fuxxored. Nothing to warrant glasses, or cause headache.

Maybe humans just are genetically programmed to have bad vision and the fact we get more flawed vision today is because today we measure more and measure more accurately. Maybe humans have ALWAYS had crappy vision that deteriorates fast, it's just not have been documented because it was deemed normal.
It's not like fuzzy vision makes life impossible... not everyone is a fighter jock.

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (1)

rouge86 (608370) | about 9 years ago | (#12114906)

CRTs also give off some heat. I am epileptic, and the heat that CRTs gave off caused some seizures as well as some discomfort. The only solution that I ever found was one of those screens that you put on the monitor. I was able to use the computer for longer periods of time after that. Now, I have a LCD and don't worry about such things anymore.

What has worked for me... (4, Insightful)

ErikTheRed (162431) | about 9 years ago | (#12114913)

1) I've been wearing rigid gas-permeable contact lenses for 22 years now (not the same set, and I take them out at night you smart-asses). I notice that when I wear these versus glasses, I can stare at most monitors for a long time without significant strain.

2) Use the best CRT monitor you can get your hands on. I've noticed that my eyestrain actually goes up working on my laptop versus my CRT (a 22" NEC MultiSync FP-series set to the highest possible resolution and very tiny fonts). It's one of those things you have to try for a few days before you realize how nice it is.

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12114926)

This got my interest. I took a piece of paper and put it next to my monitor (a flat screen CRT). I focused on the text then moved my eyes (not refocusing) to the piece of paper and slid it back until it was in focus. It actually came into the focus exactly with the pixel plane (as it appears) which, true, is a distance away from the glass. Despite being a "flat" screen, this distance from the front class is much thinner in the middle than the sides. It's hard to gage but I'd say about a half an inch on the sides and maybe between a quarter and an eight in the middle.

I don't have any conclusion, I'm just bored. I don't see any particular problem with the pixel plane being behind the glass, although perhaps imperfections in the glass can screw with your eyes.

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (2, Informative)

Janitha (817744) | about 9 years ago | (#12114936)

I have been using CRT Monitors since 1990 (I was 4, my love, my dad's commodore) playing price of persia and BASIC programming) well as of today, I spend daily 2-18 hours infront of one. My eye sign has never been bad, just slighly less than perfect before 2000. Now I have perfect vision, there for the use of it has no effect. Cycled around 20 CT monitors so far. I could possibly say that CRT's have no effect on your eyes as long as you excersise them (my uncle told me, that, I do it daily), which goes as below. Go to a clear window (without a mesh) and then look really far. Then quickly switch back looking a the window's frame. Do that multiple times, then try to track birds and other moving stuff. Spend 5 minutes of youd day doing that.

Re:Probably bad for eyesight. (1)

jcostom (14735) | about 9 years ago | (#12114937)

It's all about the flicker in a CRT.

Like most of those reading this (who are employed, not still in school, or worse - unemployed), I spend the bulk of my day looking at a computer display. Last year, when my vision had gotten worse for the 4th year in a row, my eye doctor told me to stop looking at CRTs and start using LCDs. My boss got me a 17" LCD for my work system, and my (fantastic) wife got me an Apple Cinema Display for my birthday. Since then, I've gotten rid of the Cinema Display as I've gone 100% mobile (just using a PowerBook now, the G4 is now a headless OS X Server). So then net - I only use LCD displays now. The only CRTs in the house are our 2 TVs, which I don't sit close to.

A year later, my eyes haven't changed. Stayed about the same. Anecdotal evidence for certain, but it seems to be working for me.

Yes (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 years ago | (#12114731)

they may cause you to loose a sense of humor and whine about stories posted on April 1st.

Re:Yes (1)

wk633 (442820) | about 9 years ago | (#12114835)

No, we're whining about _bad_ stories posted on April 1st. The signal:noise ration of /. varies, but it just seems like it's hit an all time low today.

I've also never complained about the free crap .sig lines, so I'll do that now.

Or maybe I'm just cranky. Two complaints in one post.

Bad for your eyes (5, Informative)

freak4u (696919) | about 9 years ago | (#12114732)

The 60Hz refresh is bad for your eyes, LCDs are nicer to your eyes in general. I've heard there's a bit of radiation, but I don't think anywhere near what a cell phone puts out

Re:Bad for your eyes (3, Insightful)

snuf23 (182335) | about 9 years ago | (#12114797)

Modern CRTs and video cards can handle resolutions higher than 60Hz. Admittedly some stupid companies ship computers with the refresh rate set to 60. You should be able to run it at 72Hz or higher depending on your monitor, video card and resolution.
I am running 1280x1024 res at 75Hz using a 5 year old video card and monitor.

Re:Bad for your eyes (1)

Infinite Entropy (870073) | about 9 years ago | (#12114933)

60Hz is absolutely unbearable for me. I used to use low resolutions on CRTs just so I could have really high refresh rate, like 120Hz. So much nicer. But I love LCDs. Now I can have high resolution AND no headaches.

Re:Bad for your eyes (5, Funny)

arodland (127775) | about 9 years ago | (#12114800)

Yeah, CRTs put out a bit of radiation; so do LCDs. Scientists have theorized that this electromagnetic radiation is, in fact, what allows you to see the picture on the screen.

Re:Bad for your eyes (1)

freak4u (696919) | about 9 years ago | (#12114885)

oh yeah, prob has to do with those guns that the fbi supposedly has to read the radiaiton through your wall. (serious)

Re:Bad for your eyes (1)

wumpus188 (657540) | about 9 years ago | (#12114822)

60 or 70 Hz is what typical el cheapo LCD has. Most CRTs these days run at 80-100Hz.

Re:Bad for your eyes (1)

arodland (127775) | about 9 years ago | (#12114861)

Yeah, but "refresh" doesn't mean anything like the same thing on an LCD. LCD pixels keep their state until told otherwise (or they lose their power). CRT phosphors are only being excited for about a nanosecond at a time, 60-100 times a second. The rest of the time is a combination of the phosphor fading out while it gives up its energy, and your eyes taking a while to notice that spot isn't bright anymore. It's no surprise that something as weird as all that causes eyestrain and occasional motion sickness.

Re:Bad for your eyes (1)

DunbarTheInept (764) | about 9 years ago | (#12114909)

The technology is different such that the flicker isn't noticable on LCD's. They look solid.

(Do the video camera test - point a video camera at a CRT and the picture of the screen gets that flicker effect - but it won't with an LCD.)

Re:Bad for your eyes (2, Interesting)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | about 9 years ago | (#12114860)

Radiation from cellphones is at completely different frequencies from what is produced by CRTs and they have completely different biological consequences. Anyone who says that the amount of radiation from one isn't "anywhere near" that put out by the other, and expects that to be a useful statement, is clearly talking out of their ass. "I've heard" and this is moderated up. Please! I know this is April 1 but that's going too far.

Re:Bad for your eyes (3, Interesting)

ePhil_One (634771) | about 9 years ago | (#12114929)

The 60Hz refresh is bad for your eyes, LCDs are nicer to your eyes in general.

LCD's have a different sort of refresh, the 60 hz isn't really a big deal unless you're talking about a fast moving action game. CRT's work by zapping phosphorous spots with an electron gun, immediately after being zapped it begins to fade, to perhaps 50% brightness in 20ms, about the time the gun makes a return trip. So a CRT pulses in time to its refresh rate; and wouldn't you know it, the AC current pulses at 60Hz, means some kinds of lights will also pulse at 60 Hz. Put the two pulses together and the can create an interference pattern that will drive some folks bonkers, strain you eyes subtly, etc. etc.

An LCD pixel on the other hand works like a switch, the pixel is on, letting the back light through, until it is told to turn off. The 60Hz refresh rate only corresponds to how often the pixel "might" get told to change, there is no pulsing.

Of course these are some gross generalizations and I'm sure someone will pop up to tell me how I have it all wrong, even when I'm right.

Eye damage (1)

Kaamoss (872616) | about 9 years ago | (#12114737)

Starring at a crt all day may induce light headedness, mild nausea, and cause your eyes to become so red that they will ignite into flames!!!! Or maybe if we're all lucky april fools day will be over soon

Two 17" here (0, Redundant)

Dayze!Confused (717774) | about 9 years ago | (#12114739)

I work with two seventeen inch monitors at work and have the same setup with my computer at home and have often wondered the same.

Health consequences (5, Funny)

VAXcat (674775) | about 9 years ago | (#12114746)

Heck ya - every time a pixel switches from a 1 to a 0, the resultant decrease in entropic state causes a photon of bit radiation to be launched right at you! Fortunately, as it slowly erodes your frontal lobes, you lose the ability to care about it happening.

Mostly Desk Space (3, Interesting)

vmcto (833771) | about 9 years ago | (#12114751)

"Was this ONLY for style and space savings?"

For me personally, Yes. It's all about the style and convenience. I can actually see my desk now.

For our SOC personnel that are in front of multiple large screens for an entire 8 hour shift, I think it is a nice side benefit that they are not being bathed in magnetic fields all day.

But they still look cool and take up less space. Not too mention, generate a lot less heat.

You do make an interesting point about being behind multiple tubes. I believe most measurements are made from some distance from the front of the tube.

Once again in a scenario like a call center or in our SOC this would tend to be the case when you have rows of monitors.

Re:Mostly Desk Space (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 9 years ago | (#12114915)

Plus the LCD image is sharp and has perfect geometry. I don't think anything beats a decent LCD hooked up with DVI for coding and most office work (and browsing slashdot). (I can't speak for other applications because those are my only applications).

Um? (5, Funny)

addaon (41825) | about 9 years ago | (#12114753)

If all of us inside the conspiracy have been keeping the secret from you this long, why would we suddenly tell you the deep, dark truth now? Because you asked nicely?

Hmmmm.... (4, Funny)

MongooseKY (760783) | about 9 years ago | (#12114754)

*Stares intently trying to find the April Fool's joke in this post*

Re:Hmmmm.... (1)

MongooseKY (760783) | about 9 years ago | (#12114782)

OMG my first first post! Obviously the /. community has been bored into submission today.

*Hangs head in shame for replying to own post*

Re:Hmmmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12114886)

OMG my first first post! Obviously the /. community has been bored into submission today.

*Hangs head in shame for replying to own post*
*holds head due to violent convulsing laughter at the guy for replying to own post, and being wrong*

Simpson know all (4, Funny)

stecoop (759508) | about 9 years ago | (#12114770)

Like a poster said one time: google knows all who knows all; therfore, a quick google search for Radiation King reveals

In episode 2F07, Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy. In it, Homer finds himself in his childhood home, and the living room wall has a shadow of Homer as a child burned into it by the Radiation King TV set. The scene then shifts to his memory of watching it in the refulgent radiation of TV the set in the process of creating that distinctive shadow on the wall.

Thus, we have answered your questions: USE LCD until such time it is determined to produces some other kind of Sexual Inadequacy Radiation.

Even Bill Gates? (3, Insightful)

PopeAlien (164869) | about 9 years ago | (#12114774)

I noticed that Bill Gates was one of the 1st people to do this, even when the cost was super high ..yeah, cause I'm sure the cost is a big concern for him huh?

Re:Even Bill Gates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12114838)

Bill bought second hand 15" passive LCD, but is now considering to invest on a brand new 17" TFT . there's a rebate on Dell.

Re:Even Bill Gates? (1)

green pizza (159161) | about 9 years ago | (#12114866)

>> I noticed that Bill Gates was one of the 1st people to do this,
>> even when the cost was super high
> ..yeah, cause I'm sure the cost is a big concern for him huh?

You don't get rich by writing checks!

Re:Even Bill Gates? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 9 years ago | (#12114935)

Dude, he could plaster every square inch of the walls in his house with plasma screens and it STILL would NOT put a dent in his wallet...at least from his perspective.

Gates, I hate you because I envy you. ;-P

scientific tests? (4, Insightful)

Comsn (686413) | about 9 years ago | (#12114786)

any scientific tests to show CRT cause eyesight problems?

doctors say to take breaks, when doing lots of reading, be it lcd/crt/book/newspaper anyways...

Is This Serious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12114787)

Or is this just more wasting my time Slashdot April Fools shit.

20-20-20 (5, Informative)

HybridJeff (717521) | about 9 years ago | (#12114790)

Last time I went to the eye doctor (a month or two ago) he told me basically, that staring at monitors should have NO ill effects, as long as you take a break evrey once in a while. He phrased it as the 20-20-20 rule. Basically evrey 20 minutes, look at somthign 20 feet away for 20 seconds to prevent your eyes from getting strained.

Re:20-20-20 (1)

blueadept1 (844312) | about 9 years ago | (#12114849)

What if the room that you are in is only 19 feet by 19 feet? Does your "doctor" honestly expect people to get up and find a space where something is 20 feet away? This is obviously some sort of joke on your part...

Re:20-20-20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12114893)

Basically evrey 20 minutes, look at somthign 20 feet away for 20 seconds to prevent your eyes from getting strained.

For europeans: Every 6.096 metric minutes look at something 6.096 SI-meters away for 6.096 metric seconds.

Re:20-20-20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12114920)

Or was it

Every 20 seconds look at something 20" away for 20 minutes /ac

Radiation (2, Funny)

skroz (7870) | about 9 years ago | (#12114791)

Dunno, dude, I'm blind as a bat and have to get awfully close to my monitors. I've DEFINITELY noticed an increase in heat on my face since switching to the LCD.

Go ahead, try it... put your nose up to your LCD. Feel the heat? That's your face cooking right there. Never had that problem with a CRT before. Brain cancer, sure, but no cooked face. I'd rather be pretty than smart.

Eye strain and some radiation w/ CRTs (2, Informative)

klui (457783) | about 9 years ago | (#12114799)

Long sessions in front of CRTs produce eyestrain, apparently even at high refresh rates like 85Hz from what I read. No study to back this up though.

But anyway the other problem is radiation. For the most part, the front is well shielded although some do leak out but the sides and back are not as good as the front. In some companies, as soon as someone is pregnant, their CRT is replaced with an LCD.

Of course, in the long run, LCDs save a lot more energy and that's a good thing by itself.

Umm.. (1)

Sheepdot (211478) | about 9 years ago | (#12114810)

I noticed that Bill Gates was one of the 1st people to do this

If you're modeling your life after Bill Gates, you've got worse problems than LCDs over CRTs.

Everything causes cancer (1)

sfcat (872532) | about 9 years ago | (#12114814)

Finally, a article that isn't a joke (I think). Anyway, cancer is caused by damaged DNA. This means that how close your DNA is to one of these "damaged cancer causing states" is how likely you are to get cancer. If you are unlucky enough to also get that right mutation in a cell then cancer starts. I guess magnatic fields can cause these mutations, but many other things can also cause mutations including other healthy cells(free radicals). So I guess you are screwed either way. But getting out and exercising every once in a while can't hurt (well not in the sense that is shouldn't damage your health).

electricity savings (1)

nominanuda (786275) | about 9 years ago | (#12114824)

There is also a significant savings on electricty. I worked in a computer lab, and we were able to justify switching for several reasons.

1. style and space savings
2. electricty savings for running the monitor
3 electicity savings for air conditioning...the lab was so hot from the monitors that we had to run the air conditioner constantly even through the winter.

Japanese study (1)

frazzydee (731240) | about 9 years ago | (#12114825)

Well, there was a Japanese study1 [webmd.com] 2 [bbc.co.uk] that linked computer use to glaucoma, but it doesn't seem to distinguish between people who use LCDs and CRTs.

We probably don't know the full effects of what we're doing. Doctors often don't know the root cause of problems, but it's typically considered a success if you can reduce people's chances of getting it by even a few percent.

I'm no doctor, but it would make sense that looking at close objects for long periods of time might increase your risk of myopia- countries with heavy computer use have high rates of myopia, and places like 3rd world countries where people have to look at far objects more have lower rates. It's a known fact that you adapt to changes, maybe people like myself have glasses because we use computers so heavily? But I would imagine that reading books at an early age might also cause that...so there's not much we can do about it :-) Oh well, glasses fix the problem anyways ;)

Game-specific question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12114837)

I consider Thief 1 and 2 the best games ever and will buy 3 as soon as I upgrade my graphics card but due to the very special requirements to play it (i.e. the fact that the room must be dark and gamma correctly adjusted to make the graphics look good) - I've been a bit unsure whether a flat screen would do it? I'd really like it both due to the reason this slashdotter asks and the simple desk space saved - does anybody have any experience?

Check your head (0)

Mr. Cancelled (572486) | about 9 years ago | (#12114839)

I think your tinfoil hat's a might too tight! 8)=

Coincidentally, I have a 19" LCD here at work, which is kinda on the fritz (unless you like the color blue - The monitor seems to have a fondness for coloring everything blue), and I've requested to go back to a CRT if possible, when they replace it next week.

Why? The LCD display isn't anywhere near as crisp when viewing small details. Also, I'm not a fan of the LCD's fixed resolution. You can go larger or smaller than the default size, but the image is nowhere near as good as it is at its native resolution.

I've got 2 21" Nokias at home, and although the power and heat reduction makes me constantly consider LCD's, the quality, and priciness of the LCD monitors have kept me stuck on CRT's for the time being.

I'm not neccesarily worried about the health effects per se', but I am concerned about eye fatigue! If I'm working at home in dim light for awhile in front of my CRT's, when I look away from the monitors, I'm unable to make out details for a minute or two while my eyes adjust to the dim light from the brightness of the CRT's. Not a huge concern, but it is the one that worries me most...

They're always watching.. (2, Interesting)

squison (546401) | about 9 years ago | (#12114845)

The government (and aliens) can monitor the radiation coming from your CRT and see what you're seeing on your monitor from far away...through walls..

http://slashdot.org/yro/99/10/25/2039238.shtml [slashdot.org]

official warning re:They're always watching.. (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 9 years ago | (#12114880)

The government (and aliens) can monitor the radiation coming from your CRT and see what you're seeing on your monitor from far away...through walls..

I'm sorry, but according to the Department of Homeland Insecurity, it is a crime to publish links that might impede the Department of Grande Papito from its work/surveillance. Please report to the nearest Center for Reeducation within the next 24 hours.

That will be all.

OF COURSE NOT (2, Funny)

pyrrho (167252) | about 9 years ago | (#12114846)

it's fine! don't worry!

it's great to have millions of high speed electrons sprayed at your head all day!

it's good for you.

it gives your brain conditioning... like a nano-massage... and a tan, you're brain gets a tan.

Also really good? letting a pitching machine hurl baseballs at your face.

There are two concerns (4, Informative)

merlin_jim (302773) | about 9 years ago | (#12114847)

First off, the human vision system was made to look at diffuse light sources; that is we're meant to look at things that are reflecting light, not emitting it. There are some strains from that. And especially from vivid colors side by side. I once saw someone with the apple color scheme - green on red. Instant migraine.

More worrisome, the x-rays being emitted out the front are carefully regulated for health reasons. However this doesn't apply to the back, which typically has 3-7 times as much radiation coming out of it. Lots of offices are setup in such a way that you are staring directly at the back of a co-workers monitor. So, your three CRT setup?

Should be perfectly safe. For you.

Here at the UW we use large flat-panel LCDs (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 9 years ago | (#12114852)

Some Swedish studies have shown that for some reason, there might be negative side effects to having large electromagnetic guns (aka CRTs) aimed directly at your head and upper torso.

But the CRT manufacturers swear you're safe. Just like all the SUV manufacturers do.

Re:Here at the UW we use large flat-panel LCDs (1)

doppleganger871 (303020) | about 9 years ago | (#12114923)

Good, I'll stick with my CRT. Some guy in the future will prove that the flourescent lights used for backlighting the LCD's will give you brain cancer.

An unexpected benefit (1)

Darth Muffin (781947) | about 9 years ago | (#12114867)

In addition to being easier on the eyes (the refresh rate is a big plus), LCDs save power. I have heard of companies replacing CRTs with LCDs to lower the total cost of ownership. In addition to taking less power every day, there's less heat generated requiring less air conditioning which in turn takes even less power.

Ever thought about operation cost?? (1)

brokencomputer (695672) | about 9 years ago | (#12114874)

many government offices switched to the much more expensive LCD's - despite budget cuts and having to go with the lowest bidder strategy they operate under. Was this ONLY for style and space savings?

They cost less in the end because they are so more energy efficient. This will save money in the end because of the drop in power consumption and thus power bills. When you have about 500 lcd monitors they are probably going to use less energy than 250 CRTs.

I could post a 400 page treatise about the danger (1)

Timesprout (579035) | about 9 years ago | (#12114887)

but your retinas are probably so fried by now you would no be able to read it. I will email a copy to your seeing eye dog/pony.

Space, power, risk (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | about 9 years ago | (#12114891)

No need for conspiracy theories ;-), the math alone is simple enough: Take a typical corporate or federal office building with a few thousand desktops, compute the space & power saved directly by each CRT replaced with an LCD, and indirectly by the load on power lines, UPS back-up systems & air conditioning (we're not talking one CRT, but several dozen floors full of them), sum it all up and add the savings they'll get from their insurers if they tell them there's not much left to implode - all of this is sufficient reason to spend a little more on getting rid of the big tubes.

Electrical consumption (4, Informative)

digitalgimpus (468277) | about 9 years ago | (#12114908)

In places where electricity isn't cheap (such as cities)... it's cost effective to upgrade to LCD.

They have a higher up front cost, but when used 40hrs a week (and many employees leave computers on 24x7 with a screensaver)... the savings in electrical consumption make up for the cost (some say as little as a year, some say about 2 years).

When you have a larger company with 500-1000 computers, each with a display... if you can cut 1000 units down 50%... that's a considerable savings.

Some companies during the blackouts in CA pushed laptops. Not only did it encourage people to do a little work on weekends... but it cut down on power consumption in the office.

A display can last through several CPU's. The technology doesn't change that fast. Unless your a graphic artist it's irrelevent. A 7 year old 19" CRT is just as good as one bought today if it's taken care of. For most users the really subtle differences don't matter. By an LCD today, and your investing in the next several years. Get one with DVI/VGA input, and your in good shape for most users. Just swap out the CPU's every so often.

It's not just about space savings. It's cost savings.

The other thing to note is that CRT's contain a few pounds of Lead, mercury, and other hazardous materials. Several states have (or are proposing) disposal taxes for CRT's. So in the future throwing one out may cost you some cash. IT departments are well aware of this. Throwing out 1000 CRT's at $50 a pop.. that's $50,000 in additional costs.

I wrote a paper that discusses this a bit last year for an Environmental Biology course (incorporating my Business MIS studies). You can find that here [accettura.com]. It discusses the environmental impacts of the CRT among other problems. LCD's aren't perfect, but they are much better.

Extravagant Billionaires (2, Funny)

ferret70 (154171) | about 9 years ago | (#12114911)

EVERYONE seems to be switching to LCD's - I noticed that Bill Gates was one of the 1st people to do this, even when the cost was super high

And man he had to save his pennies! Poor Guy!

Mirror Application (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12114925)

I once thought about the characteristics of a CRT as I was trying to create an app that was nothing more than a mirror. To think how many secrataries would buy this app just to have a little window open up and turn a protion of your screen into a mirror. They would be staring into thier CRT's all day. LCD monitors runied this idea as well as the laws of physics.

No blinking refresh rate (1)

enos (627034) | about 9 years ago | (#12114927)

This doesn't seem to bother most people I talk to, but I can actually see the refresh rate on CRTs. I refuse to work with anything less than 85Hz. 60Hz and a white background make my eyes water.

LCDs on the other hand are still slow enough that they look constant to me. Even at the 60Hz they run at. They even look more constant than a CRT at 100Hz. The only LCD I've seen that I can see refresh is a ginormous IBM LCD with some ungodly resolution.

Just go to a best buy and look at the LCDs and CRTs that they have side by side. Huge difference.
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