Need to know
- Wavepro is using dubious health claims to sell its $180 ‘cancer blocking’ laptop covers
- Experts, health and regulatory bodies say there’s no evidence that using your laptop can cause cancer or affect fertility
- The ACCC says people should be sceptical in general of health claims made by companies
An Australia-based start-up is looking to cash in on people's concerns about radiation and their laptops, charging a premium for a laptop cover that can supposedly block 'potentially harmful' radiation when on your lap.
The company claims that the 'nanocrystal' layering of its Wavepro laptop cover blocks up to 99.9% of electric and magnetic field (EMF) radiation from laptops, reducing the risk of cancer, infertility and nerve-function damage.
And all those layers of protection from 'potentially harmful' radiation will only set you back a cool $180.
Lack of evidence
But the Cancer Council of Australia says there's absolutely no evidence to link using a laptop on your lap with cancer, infertility or cell damage.
"Computers, like many other electrical appliances, produce electric and magnetic fields, however most are in the extremely low frequency range," the Cancer Council says.
The Cancer Council of Australia says there's absolutely no evidence to link using a laptop on your lap with cancer, infertility or cell damage
"According to the World Health Organization [WHO], the field strengths are far below international exposure limit guidelines and there is no scientific evidence of health effects from long-term, low-level exposure."
Wavepro also carries the logo of WHO and the American Cancer Society on its webpage under the headline 'The Experts Have Spoken'.
But after CHOICE sent questions about the logos and whether they created the false impression of an endorsement for Wavepro, the website was amended to remove them.
Wavepro used the World Health Organization (WHO) logo on its website, but WHO says "current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low level electromagnetic fields". Wavepro removed the logo after we questioned its use.
ACCC warns customers to be wary
Wavepro is just the latest company that appears to be cashing in on people's health concerns with dubious products.
Last year activewear company Lorna Jane was fined $5 million in the Federal Court after the ACCC took action against its claims that its clothes could 'prevent COVID-19'.
Consumers should be wary about businesses that make claims about the particular health benefits of their goods, and charge a premium price for those goodsACCC spokesperson
We sent screenshots of the Wavepro laptop cover's claims to the ACCC, along with some questions. The ACCC told us that under Australian Consumer Law (ACL), businesses should not engage in misleading or deceptive conduct, or make false and misleading representations.
"Consumers should be wary about businesses that make claims about the particular health benefits of their goods, and charge a premium price for those goods," the ACCC says.
"Consumers should also do their due diligence and research any health or endorsement claims made by businesses prior to purchase.
"In addition to obligations under the ACL, businesses that make claims about the health benefits of goods must also comply with requirements under the Therapeutic Goods Act, which is regulated by the TGA."
The ACCC warns businesses that make claims about the health benefits of goods must comply with requirements under the Therapeutic Goods Act.
We sent questions to Wavepro and the company replied denying that it's engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct. It also says its intent was never to provide false or misleading information.
"What we know is that this is an evolving space, we believe there simply isn't enough evidence to irrefutably conclude that there are zero risks of long-term, frequent exposure to electromagnetic radiation caused by a laptop or other electronic devices," Wavepro says.
"Blocking technology aside, we believe our genuine leather cases are pretty darn stylish."
We believe there simply isn't enough evidence to irrefutably conclude that there are zero risks of long-term, frequent exposure to electromagnetic radiation caused by a laptop or other electronic devicesWavepro spokesperson
When we asked Wavepro why it featured the WHO logo on its webpage (now removed) and whether the logo implied an endorsement that didn't exist, the company said that WHO had made comments about EMF radiation in the past.
"We believe in being consciously minded and are on a mission to normalise EMF protection," Wavepro states.
"We are currently undergoing a project to revamp our website with a strong focus on education."
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.