The 'blue light' from the phones and PCs affects levels of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep cycles, says Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer.
The simple remedy is to turn off your mobile phone and computers before going to bed at night, she says. Light from mobiles and PCs is 'short-wavelength-enriched', which means it has a higher concentration of blue light than natural light has. Blue light can damage our eyes, and also disturb melatonin levels and this, in turn, increases the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Mobile phones contribute to environmental pollution in the home, and chemicals from shampoo, household cleaners and furnishings can also add to a toxic atmosphere that can cause disease.
"As a society we need to regain a focus on pollution as a threat to human health. Our children are affected by noise pollution from roads near their schools, our homes are washed with light pollution every night, we are exposed to chemicals in the almost invisible dust in our houses," she said.
It's estimated that 40,000 people in the UK alone die from air pollution every year, and yet we need to understand more about other types of pollutants, she says. "There's so much made of air pollution that it's important from a public health perspective to look at other types of pollution—light, noise, chemical—because are we missing something?"
Right now, nobody is measuring levels or the impact that all kinds of pollution can be having on our health. "What I don't want is in 10, 20, 50 years that we look back and say: 'If only we'd measured X, we'd have picked it up earlier'".