1. Technology

Wacom Radiation?

By November 1, 2006

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Tal asks an interesting question about graphics tablets:
"Does anyone feel an annoying feeling at the hand while using Wacom tablets, like me? I'm using the Graphire tablet at work and I tend to sense irritation if I lay my hand on the sensitive rectangular area with the 'pencil/pen'. It's as if the rectangular surface is radiating some sort of electricity. I wonder if more people feel the way I do (and this is the reason I don't tend to use it as much), or is it just me? Is it dangerous?"
I can't say that I've ever experienced this with either the Wacom Graphire or the Intuos tablets. Have you? Post a comment and let us know.
September 28, 2007 at 4:48 pm
(1) Rajesh says:

Yes I feel something unusual when using the tablet or the wireless mouse

September 28, 2007 at 5:55 pm
(2) Sue Chastain says:

Wow, that is strange now that two of you have felt this. Have you ever contacted Wacom about it? I wonder if it could be a flaw in some tablets.

July 15, 2009 at 12:13 pm
(3) Josť says:

Of course the tablet sends radiation: see http://www.wacom.com.sg/download/driver/Tech_Intuos.pdf.

Thanks for sharing this experience with us. Now I might not spend money in an appliance for which I would regret later…

July 16, 2009 at 2:57 pm
(4) hamaer says:

Jose, I think you get mixed up with ‘Radiation’ and radio waves. The tablet does not send radiation but radio waves and works with magnetism. People are multiple times stronger exposed to radio waves on a daily base when they handle (or literally live on) their cell phone. Those are radio waves as well :-) .

October 16, 2009 at 10:37 am
(5) A says:

We have measured two things:
1) Voltage. There was 12 Volt on my body, when touching my Wacom pen tablet (Bamboo). It seems that my computer was not grounded. After grounding it, there was no voltage anymore.

2) Electromagnetic fields. We measured up to 425 Volt per meter, which is very, very high. A normal value should be about 5 – 25 volt per meter. Although the penmouse is healthy against RSI, it is not for this radiation of electromagnetic fields. I use a classic mouse now again (may be temporarily).

December 16, 2009 at 3:52 am
(6) Exo says:

A: are you sure about these numbers?
The 425V/m value seems extremely high! Even a mobile phone base station emits way lower values (I thought the limit was ~40V/m but it may depend on the frequency).

These numbers, if correctly measured, are worrying!

March 29, 2011 at 12:02 am
(7) Allanx says:

It’s important to keep in mind that the Wacom tablet’s electromagnetic fields are used to induce a current in the pen itself and wirelessly provide power to the pen’s electronics. This is why the power density of the field is so high.

April 7, 2011 at 11:27 am
(8) cbean says:

Radio waves (RF) is a type of radiation. The same type of radiation that is emitted from your mobile phone in order to communicate with a base station. Like other types of low frequency radiation (such as microwave radiation), RF is damaging to health, both in short and long term.
For basic info on this, have a look here:

In modern times, we are exposed to billions of times more background radiation than before the electronic era. Best avoid wireless devices wherever possible, as these are the most harmful.

Hope this helps.

May 9, 2011 at 7:14 pm
(9) Esaeo says:

I live on the Wacom Intuos. It has been bothering me for quite some time. I knew it was EMR for RFID induction in the stylus and it felt like it was penetrating my bones. I called Wacom with my concern. They said that there was nothing to worry about (of course that’s what they said). I still use the tablet but am getting concerned about things like cancer, hence my falling on this page in my search.

I also feel even more intensely the EMFs that come off my mobile. I actually feel light pain throughout my hand when using my iPhone. For any call longer than 1 minute I put on my wired headset and keep the phone away from my body. If I ever have to carry the phone in my pocket, I turn it to airplane mode until I’m ready to use it for communication. Most of the time I text to keeps the EMFs to shortest duration.

I’m very sensitive to these things. While my old mobile was in my pocket I could feel it periodically ping the system in my femur as my femur would buzz for about 1 second. I eventually turned my phone off while carrying it.

I feel these EMFs while they are within 6″ from my body. Farther than that and the feeling fades. (~ 1/r^2).

November 8, 2011 at 3:34 am
(10) Michelle says:

How very interesting! I have been using a Wacom Intuos tablet for a few years now, as using a regular mouse was causing such strain on my wrist that I found it hard to work at my computer. I never had a problem with my tablet until recently. In the past few weeks, my legs started to burn and tingle when I use the tablet (that is where I rest my tablet to work at my computer – in my lap). It has gotten to the point where I notice it within minutes of putting the tablet on my lap. I now set the tablet on my desk to work, to avoid the tingling pain. I have been rather worried about it. I’m glad to have found this page. Yikes! Perhaps I should re-think the amount of time I spend at the computer. Anything that causes pain like that cannot be good…

May 20, 2012 at 6:58 pm
(11) David L says:

I have used tablets for a very long time beginning with an A3 unit
I began using the Intuos 3 and have noticed a series of symptoms that before coming here, had caused me to disconnect it.
The symptoms began with small subcutaneous lesions and progressed to thinning skin that is easily cut than it should be.
It looks as though despite wanring our youngsters about the dangers of wi fi and blue tooth gaming untis, mobile landline phones, mobiles…. I have been hypocritically cooking my right hand and arm.

Thank you to all that have posted here. If this entry updates you, perhaps you would be kind enough to comment.

March 6, 2013 at 1:58 am
(12) Kevin says:

I have been using a variety of Wacom tablets since 93′ . When drawing, my right hand holding the stylus tingles and goes numb. My right shoulder also seems to be absorbing rf signals and actually aches quite often. I also have become extremely sensitive to cell phone signals and anything bluetooth.
I was searching for a rf shield for my hand, when I stumbled upon this post.

I will be looking into this more seriously.

July 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm
(13) Tucker says:

Nerves are electrical by their nature. They are regenerative to some extent but can lose some of their protective covering. I strongly suggest that you improve your nerve health by not smoking (if you smoke) and enhancing nerve friendly nutrition (getting enough of the right fats and antioxidants). As your nerves are being thrashed by ambient radiation and these special exposures, you need to give them the strength to resist and repair. It would be like having wires around your house without the plastic coating. Your hand is being bathed in radiation, but your shoulder is not absorbing radiation. I suggest you chat with an ergonomics person or physical therapist about how you position yourself for drawing. Numbness is usually from pressure on the nerve and impaired blood circulation to the nerve. Most of the time it is positional and in the case of your arm the position of your wrist and elbow are key. http://www.slideshare.net/mardev/ergonomics-for-the-graphic-designer http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/03/health/research/vitamins-b-c-d-and-e-and-omega-3-strengthen-older-brains.html

February 3, 2014 at 7:09 pm
(14) Kati says:

I used to be a Wacom user for some years before I started feeling sick. I didn’t know what was happening but noticed when I disconnect the tablet while moving my desk to a new position. My symptoms was more like a burning in my stomach, tinnitus, tingles on legs, shortness of breathing, anxiety feelings and some more all related to this stress, unbelievable or not . Once it was disconnected all the issues just dissapeared, but I was so used to the the pen that I had forgot how to use a mouse. I look about the technology and discovered it worked with magnetic resonance. After some period feeling worse I disconnected it forever. Now, I am a electrosensitive person, I can’t even use smartphones or wifi. I got so sick. What Tucker says is so true. EMF make a bad disruption on our ‘wires’ affecting our own magnetic field. One thing that is very compromised is the sypmathetic system, adrenals are one of the most affected glands, and they are so determinant in health and metabolism. We, designers and people who work with computers and this stuff need to nurture our bodies more that anyone. I still work with a pc, no wifi, just cat5 wire, monitor with a good distance from body and not a big one anymore, no blutooth (got me sick), no lamps nor speakers near it because the magnetic field just got increase. Use earthing mats (earth yourself), sleep your needed hours to help with detoxing and repairing, eat antioxidants and good food. Keep yourself far from EMF devices (cell phones included).
EMF stresses the body and this consume a lot of their minerals affecting all the system.
Peace to all.

February 11, 2014 at 7:06 pm
(15) Cynthia Mehaffey says:

I am feeling lots of discomfort in the hand I use to draw, and I’ve only been using it for about 2.5 months. I’m going to stop using it and only use it when I need to do pinpoint stuff. It’s a little scary.

April 29, 2014 at 1:45 am
(16) CTmanGer says:

… Reminds me of the huge radio antenna Vodafone build in a small town, to cover a huge area with 3g

After a few moths people started complaining about health issues, turned to the media, started petitions…

Vodafone reacted in a polite manner. Stated something like this:

We are very sorry for the discomfort and health problems our radio tower has caused.
Certainly we are afraid how much worse it will get, after we have sorted out some regulatory and technical problems in a few weeks, so we can finally connect it to the power grid
and turn it on.

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