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As of June 2009, there were an estimated 4.3 billion cell phone (mobile phones) users worldwide.  In the United States, it is estimated that more than fifty percent of children own their own personal cell phones.  A growing body of scientific evidence shows that there are significant health hazards to their use, including brain tumors; damage to DNA, an undisputed cause of cancer; blood-brain barriers (BBB) leakage (BBB protects the brain from many molecules that are toxic to the brain; and male fertility damage by cell phone use because men, especially teenagers, put their cell phones in their pockets when not in use, causing a deleterious effect on sperm count and sperm motility.


On May 6, 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel reported that “the true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated” and named cell phones and other wireless technologies as potential causes of cancer that demand further research and precaution.

On June 15, 2010, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to require retailers to post in their stores notices on the level of radiation emitted by the cell phones they offer.  San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said he would sign the legislation once it reaches his desk.  The proposed ordinance would not ban the sale of certain cell phones, but would require retailers to provide the "specific absorption rate" - a measurement of radiation registered with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - next to phones displayed in their shops. Consumers also would be notified about where they can get more educational materials.  

On June 30, 2010, U.S. Representative Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) stated that he will introduce a bill for a federal research program on the affects of cell phone radiation on users. The bill will also call for a warning label on cell phones.

Telecommunications Act of 1996

The telecommunications industry helped write Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Act), 47 U.S.C. § 332,  Under the Act, communities have rights over the general placement, construction, and modification of cell phone towers, but cannot ban them altogether.  Nor can they set zoning regulations based on "the environmental effects of radio-frequency emissions, to the extent that such facilities comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations concerning such emissions."  It is still in dispute as to whether Section 704 covers the environmental (health) effects.  It will ultimately be up to a federal court to decide whether a city or town can refuse a request to build a tower or other installation based on the health effects of radio-frequency (RF) emissions.

As of now, the FCC standards are based only on the thermal effects or the RF's ability to heat tissue, not on non-thermal effects.  The FCC has neither the money, manpower nor inclination to properly monitor radiation output of tens of thousands of commercial wireless installations and admits that it does not have the ability to physical test radiation output.

Catch 22

A plaintiff seeking to challenge an industry member's non-thermal health hazards of a cell phone or cell phone tower faces a Catch 22 situation.  All the industry member has to prove is that it complies with FCC regulations concerning thermal emissions.  The FCC has no regulations concerning non-thermal emissions.  As there is seemingly contradictory research on whether non-thermal emissions are hazardous to health, the courts so far have ruled for the industry.

However, an August 25, 2009 report, Cellphones and Brain Tumors: Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern. Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone (Report), endorsed by more than 40 scientists and officials from 14 countries, found that: studies that are independent of the telecom industry consistently show there is a "significant" risk for brain tumors from cell phone use; the electronicmagnetic field (EMF) exposure limits advocated by industry and used by governments are based on a false premise that a cell phone's EMF has no biological effects except for heating; and the danger of brain tumors from cell phone use is highest in children, and the younger a child is when he/she starts using a cell phone, the higher the risk.

The Report persuasively argues that if there is any inconsistency among the research, it is between industry-funded research with flawed design study protocols and independent research.  The industry-funded research tends to underestimate the risk of brain tumors from cell phone use while the independent research tends to show a significant risk of brain tumors from cell phone use.  In addition, the Report points out that there are thousands of studies showing biological effects -- non-thermal effects from EMF -- at exposures far below the thermal effects authorized by FCC regulations.

The Report further points out that Dr. George Carlo, leader of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association's (CTIA) $25 million research project found a statistically significant doubling of brain cancer risk.  

In addition, independent studies conducted by Professor Lennart Hardell in Sweden found significant increased risk of brain tumors from ten or more years of cell phone use with the risk of brain cancer increasing by 5 percent; for every year of cell phone use the risk of brain cancer increases by 8 percent; after ten years or more years of digital cell phone use, there was a 280 percent increased risk of brain cancer; and for digital cell phone users who were teenagers or younger when they first started using cell phones, there was a 420 percent increased risk of cancer.  This suggests that the two highest risks are ten or more years of cell phone use and the cell phone was held on the same side of the head where the tumor was diagnosed.

Finally, the telecommunications industry, on the one hand, disputes the non-thermal risk of cell phones, but yet, their user manuals warn customers to keep cell phone away from the body even when the cell phone is not in use.  Are these industry members erring on the side of caution or are the warnings an implicit admission that a health hazard exists?   For example, Nokia 1100 warns:  "This product meets RF exposure guidelines . . . when positioned at least 1.5 cm (about 1 inch) away from the body . . . and should position the product at least 1.5 cm away from your body."  Similarly, Motorola V195 GSM manual warns to keep the mobile device 2.5 cm from the body.  And the BlackBerry 8300 manual warns to keep the device at least 0.98 from the body and "should not be worn or carried on the body."  But how many owners read their manuals?  If the warnings were meant to be read, they should be on the device itself.  And if these companies were truly concerned about safety, the device could be manufactured so it cannot be used closer than the "safe" limits.  

Children's Use of Cell Phones

In April 2009, the European Parliament by a vote of 559 to 22 (8 abstentions) voted for a set of changes based on the health concerns associated with EMF.  Among the actions called for are a review of the scientific basis and adequacy of the EMF exposure limits, finance a wide ranging awareness campaign aimed at young people to minimize their exposure to cell phone radiation, to increase research funding, condemnation of marketing campaigns for the sale of cell phones designed solely for children, require labeling requirements on all wireless operated devices, and expressing concern that insurance companies are tending to exclude coverage for the risk of EMF liability insurance.

There have also been numerous governmental warnings about children's use of cell phones.  France is about to make it illegal to market cell phones to children and recently banned cell phones in elementary schools, is requiring manufacturers to develop a new kind of cell phone for children under eight, which would allow only the receipt and sending of text messages so the cell phone would not be placed at the side of the head.  Russian officials have recommended that children under the age of 18 not use cell phones at all.  Similarly, the United Kingdom, Israel, Belgium, Germany, and India have discouraged the use of cell phones by children.  Toronto's Department of Public Health has advised that children under eight should only use cell phones in emergencies and teenagers should limit calls to ten minutes.

The Report recommends a number of personal actions parents can take to reduce their children's exposure to cell phone radiation.  Children should use a wired headset (not a wireless headset like Bluetooth), or use the speaker-phone mode, or only send text messages.  The cell phone should be kept away from the body or use a belt holster designed to shield the body from cell phone radiation when not in use. Avoid cell phone use in a moving car, train, or bus, or in buildings -- particularly with steel structures -- as this will increase the power of the cell phone's radiation.  Keep the cell phone off until you want to see who called.  Whenever possible, use a corded land-line phone instead of a wireless phone.  Do not allow children under 18 to use a cell phone except in emergencies.  I do not underestimate the difficulty parents will have in enforcing this last recommendation.

Shifting the Burden of Proof

Who should have the burden of proof on the health hazards of cell phones: the industry or the individual user?  Assuming for argument's  sake that the scientific evidence is insufficient, inconclusive or uncertain, if there are reasonable scientific grounds for concern about the potentially dangerous effects on the environment, human, animal or plant health, the burden should shift to the industry.  After all, a drug cannot be sold without proof that it is safe, nor can a food be launched without prior approval.  Yet, we can use mobile telephony, including masts, and introduce WiFi and cell phones, without restrictions around our children, a double-standard gone insane.

Report Recommendations

The Report recommends the following:

* Ban marketing campaigns of cell phones designed solely for children.

* Require proof of liability insurance coverage for potential health risks associated with cell phones and        similar wireless devices prior to their being offered for sale.

* Review the scientific basis and adequacy of the EMF exposure limits.

* Allocate research funding independent of industry funds and influence, to evaluate long-term effects from cell phones and other harmful effects from different sources of EMF, particularly where children are involved.

* Finance a wide-ranging awareness campaigns aimed at young people to minimize their exposures to cell phone radiation.

* Require warning labels on all wireless devices.

* Make available maps showing exposure to high-voltage power lines, radio frequency and microwaves from telecommunications cell towers, radio repeaters, and telephone antennas.


The following is a quote from L.Lloyd Morgan, the main editor of the Report:  

"Exposure to cell phone radiation is the largest human health experiment ever undertaken, without informed consent, and has over 4 billion participants enrolled.  Science has shown increased risk of brain tumors from use of cellphones, as well as increased risk of eye cancer, salivary gland tumors, testicular cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia,  The public must be informed."

San Francisco's  proposed legislation and Rep. Kucinich's proposed bill requiring retailers to post in their stores notices on the level of radiation emitted by the cell phones they offer is a modest beginning to warn the public about a serious health problem.  It is better to be safe than sorry.

Finally, I highly recommend reading the Report; it is a sobering read.

Originally posted to stonehenge on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 02:24 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My cunning plan of being a cheap curmudgeon (13+ / 0-)

    when it comes to cell phones is looking pretty good. I'm not worried about the health risk I just don't want to be constantly reachable 24/7. People who take cellphone calls in the restroom creep me out.

    Republican ideas are like sacks of manure but without the sacks.

    by ontheleftcoast on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 02:34:01 PM PDT

    •  Heh. (7+ / 0-)

      People who take cellphone calls in the restroom creep me out.

      "Can you hear me now?"

      "Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul." Twain

      by Gentle Giant on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 02:36:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The amount of energy put out by a cell phone (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kevskos, LookingUp miniscule. The range from your cell phone to your head is not really relevant because we're talking about so little energy. You likely get more exposure from the average microwave oven in your office.

        As noted by thegrump (among others), thre's nothing here except people worried about something they don't understand. Anyone that passed basic Physics in Hish School should be able to figure this out.

        Until there is some convincing science done by reputable people linking cell phone use to any disease, I'm not buying this. Be glad I didn't HR this diary, stonehenge.

        "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success." -7.75/-6.05

        by QuestionAuthority on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 04:25:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I wouldn't have a cell phone, (6+ / 0-)

      but for my sons who bought one for me when we made a trip to DisneyWorld in 2005. Now I use it all the time, but I, too, don't like being reachable 24/7. So when I'm trekking in the woods, I press the off button.

      "Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul." Twain

      by Gentle Giant on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 02:38:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The "ringer off" button is underrated. (12+ / 0-)

        Seriously. I have the right to collect my thoughts for periods of time. I don't give up that right without a very, very, VERY good reason.

        I find it rude when people have conversations next to me without including me. So I make it a point always to offer helpful suggestions, information, or at minimum, a greeting to the person they are talking to. I'm always very polite about it. It's never failed to get them to either (A) leave the area, or (B) feel a bit of shame and STFU.

        •  nicely, done. (10+ / 0-)

          What's even worse is those tiny little wireless ear pieces that allow people to walk down the sidewalk, through the mall or grocery store while loudly laughing or having intense conversations with entities no one else around them can see. Unnerving, as though Reagan came back to life and again evicted the institutional inmates into the public.

          "Yeah. YEAH. I TOLD you not to touch the pumpernickel. Cheese Louise. Because I SAID SO, DAMMIT. Sheesh. Hello. HELLO?!? WHERE THE HELL DID YOU GO?!?"

          Peace on Earth, good will toward men.

          "Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul." Twain

          by Gentle Giant on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 03:10:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I wonder what would happen.. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            denise b, thegrump, Aquagranny911

            .. if you stood in front of one of those call walkers? Would they see you, or would their inner sight (mental image of who they are talking to) be blocking their outer sight?  I wouldn't try it, probably, but it would make for an interesting experiment.

            Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

            by billmosby on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 03:31:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'll find out.. (3+ / 0-)

              I have to go to the grocery store before dinner. I am quite certain I can find at least one test subject.

              My plan is not to actively obstruct them, but simply to make a very big point of stepping around some non-existent hazard in midair, possibly pointing it out to them at the same time.

              I'll post my results later. Not much science in this thread, but a lot of comedy gold.

              •  That'll be interesting! n/t (0+ / 0-)

                Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

                by billmosby on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 03:42:59 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Here comes the science: (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  billmosby, LookingUp

                  I tested this theory on two subjects. Number One was a male, approximately 40 years of age, buying various produce and bread. Subject was using a blackberry (unable to determine model). I pointed out to him an actual hazard, a display which he was about to hit. He acknowledged the warning, and hit the display, at which time he interrupted his call to curse and pick up the boxes he knocked over.

                  Subject number two was a female, approximately 30 years of age, with a cart containing produce, pasta, and beverages. Subject was using an iPhone. I pointed out to her a non-existent hazard, which she steered her cart around correctly, without interrupting her conversation or acknowledging the existence of any person.

                  Conclusion: Talking on a cellphone makes you clumsy, gullible, and rude, but does not cause cancer.

                  •  Errr... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    The first three parts of your conclusion can be inferred from your data, but the fourth part cannot be.

                    (My own personal jury is still out on cell phone cancer; I just hate the damn things on general principle. I figure in another 20-40 years we'll have enough data to not need specialized studies, as far as cancer goes. I might get one then, since there won't be any such thing as a public phone by then. It's damned hard to find one now.)

                    I sure wish my government gave me as much privacy as they demand I give them.

                    by Daddy Bartholomew on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 05:10:26 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Wonderful, thanks for the report! n/t (0+ / 0-)

                    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

                    by billmosby on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 05:23:34 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  You know, I learned about that "inner sight" (6+ / 0-)

              before cellphones, and it was sort of scary.  I had a kid who was enthralled by mathematics (and is now getting his math PhD).  When he was young, we'd drive to the country and he'd talk about a math problem he was thinking about.

              I soon realized that I didn't dare have such a conversation with him while I was driving.  Everything went absolutely blank except for an image of the geometry, equation or whatever he was talking about.  I just couldn't do the two things at once.  It was, as I said, scary.  So I just don't talk on a cell while I'm driving.

              •  Inner sight. So that's what it's called. (3+ / 0-)

                My kids wondered how I could add up the grocery bill while shopping or do Math in my head. I explained to them about my inner whiteboard. I thought everybody had one.

                "Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul." Twain

                by Gentle Giant on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 04:00:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Playing Cranium (5+ / 0-)

                  The part of the game where you have to spell a word backwards, I was treated like a freak of nature because I never had any problems with it.

                  I didn't realize before then that not everyone sees the words that they hear. It never occurred to me that spelling something backwards would be a challenge for other people.

                  P.S. I am not a crackpot.

                  by BoiseBlue on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 04:08:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I am something like that. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pandoras Box, BoiseBlue

                    Once, when a therapist was trying to diagnose some tinnitus-like noises, he thought he would subject me to some stress by having me count backwards from 1000 by 17s. Dang near put me to sleep instead, I found it so easy!

                    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

                    by billmosby on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 07:24:54 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I just made up the term when I wrote it. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pandoras Box

                  But it seems to fit.

                  Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

                  by billmosby on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 05:24:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  now, could that "inner sight" be a kind (0+ / 0-)

                  of synethesia?

                  a neurologically-based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway

                  perhaps a kind of number form synesthesia?

                  Number form synesthesia
                  Main article: Number form

                  A number form from one of Francis Galton's subjects.[9] Note how the first 12 digits correspond to a clock face.
                  From Wednesday is Indigo Blue[3] Note this example's upside-down clock face.A number form is a mental map of numbers, which automatically and involuntarily appears whenever someone who experiences number-forms thinks of numbers. Number forms were first documented and named by Francis Galton in "The Visions of Sane Persons".[27] Later research has identified them as a type of synesthesia.[10][11] In particular, it has been suggested that number-forms are a result of "cross-activation" between regions of the parietal lobe that are involved in numerical cognition and spatial cognition.[28][29] In addition to its interest as a form of synesthesia, researchers in numerical cognition have begun to explore this form of synesthesia for the insights that it may provide into the neural mechanisms of numerical-spatial associations present unconsciously in everyone.


                  "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

                  by Pandoras Box on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 06:44:25 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Math and language are very closely related, in (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pandoras Box, billmosby

                terms of brain activity. It's quite common for people to be unable to do math-related activities (like arithmetic, or geometric visualization) simultaneously with other, non-math activities.

                Mama Bartholomew used to be a reporter. She could simultaneously transcribe a written column into her word processor, carry on a phone conversation or interview, and covertly listen to her co-workers conversations, all without missing a beat.

                If she had to type a list of numbers, everything else came to a dead stop, while she pecked in the digits, one at a time.

                I sure wish my government gave me as much privacy as they demand I give them.

                by Daddy Bartholomew on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 05:15:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  really? see, I disagree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bluebrain, Justanothernyer

          I don't feel the need to participate in other people's conversations even if those conversations happen to be on a cell phone.  I answer my husband's business cell phone and schedule his appointments, even if I happen to get that call in the grocery store.  I appreciate the freedom the cell phone gives me to perform my daily tasks, and yet be able to leave the desk to go to the bank, store, post office...whatever.

          I try hard to be respectful of others around me when doing so and watch my surrounding (so I don't bump into others) and volume, but I think this attitude people have of getting offended that people speak on cell phones in public around them is silly.  People have public conversations all the time and no one gets offended.  WHY does the presence of a cell phone make others mad?  

          Instead of spending so much time engaging the one annoying you, why don't you just pretend the cell phone is another person, and leave them alone like you would any other two people having a conversation?

          "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

          by Pandoras Box on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 05:54:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't know exactly why (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but it does. Just like I don't know exactly why being stared at is irritating, or being overtly eavesdropped on, or having to listen to people humming. If it were only me who were offended I would think it was my problem, but it's not only me.

            Probably there is an explanation. I trust some social scientist will study it.

            I changed cafe seats two times at lunch today because of people talking incessantly on cell phones right next to me. In each case I endured more than 15 minutes of yapping before I moved. If I ever figure out a way to make them move instead, I will do it, and I won't care if it's rude or not.

            It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man. --H.L. Mencken

            by denise b on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 07:14:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  believe me, I'm not saying (0+ / 0-)

              that there aren't people who are very rude about their cell phone conversations.  I've seen my share of screamers, cursers, and just plain talking way too loud.

              I wonder if it's our brains trying to make up for only hearing one half of the conversation... I've learned to turn that curiosity off I guess, but it was unsettling when cell phones first arrived on the scene.

              "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

              by Pandoras Box on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 07:25:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  furthermore, (0+ / 0-)

              you intend to address the perceived rudeness of others by being rude yourself?


              "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

              by Pandoras Box on Sat Jul 03, 2010 at 06:05:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  There are always good reasons (0+ / 0-)

            to answer a cellphone. If a cardiologist gets a call from the surgical scheduling desk, I won't begrudge him that, even in the middle of a movie. Me, I'm not that important, so I turn the thing off. Nobody's going to die if I don't answer it for 103 minutes.

            Realistically, most of these people are holding zero-content conversations and doing it either because they are unaware of other people, or, are aware of them but choose to have an excuse to ignore them. It gives them the isolation that a car would otherwise provide, to cut you off or simply stand in your way.

            If two people walk by in the supermarket chatting about something I like, I'll always offer my two cents. It's how we make friends. If someone is clearly discussing urgent personal or business matters, I'll STFU and keep going. But if someone's conversation is limited to monosyllabic grunts or profanity-laced blather about how hot it is outside, They are going to get my two cents as well.

            Avoiding contact with people by using a cellphone is no more illegal than farting loudly in an elevator, nor is offering commentary to the offensive emitter of effluvia.

        •  LOL (4+ / 0-)

          When I am in face to face meetings with people and the fool thing rings, they stop in mid-sentence. They are stunned that I'm not answering. I'm still waiting for them to finish their sentence. They say "do you need to get that?" I say "no, that's why God invented voice mail. You were saying?"

          "I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction." Rep Joe Barton

          by Catte Nappe on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 06:11:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Put down drink before reading. (7+ / 0-)

      It took me five tries to read it to the end without breaking out in hysterical giggles.

  •  The main risk from cell phone use is distraction. (11+ / 0-)

    The radiation risk has been way overblown in the media and by some researchers who use data selectively.  A fairly good summary can be found here:  Mobile phone radiation and health

    The basics:  

    The World Health Organization, based upon the consensus view of the scientific and medical communities, has stated that cancer is unlikely to be caused by cellular phones or their base stations and that reviews have found no convincing evidence for other health effects.

    I find the noise radiating from cell phone conversations in public areas to be annoying but not fatal.  Otherwise there is more noise than signal in the claims of negative health effects.

    "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

    by LookingUp on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 02:43:30 PM PDT

  •  You don't drive a car, right??? (4+ / 0-)

    It's very dangerous, you know.  Also, crossing the street leads to lots of deaths.

  •  Bob Parks has been on a rampage about the over- (7+ / 0-)

    blown dangers of cell phones. The following is one of many, many emails he has sent out. You can find more here:


    An opportunity to explain one of the simplest and most powerful concepts of
    science to the public is slipping away.   A month ago WHO released its long-
    awaited Interphone study of cell phones and brain cancer in 13 countries.  
    The 10 year, $14 million, case-control study reports that "no increase in
    risk of glioma or meningioma was observed with the use of mobile phones."  
    That's the right answer, so why am I pissed?  We already knew that cell
    phones don't cause cancer. We've known it for years. From the media
    coverage you would think these guys just discovered it.  Let's go to the
    next sentence:  "There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma at
    higher exposure levels, but biases and error prevented a causal
    interpretation."  So is there a supernatural interpretation? That one
    sentence undoes everything in the study.  Case-control requires human
    recollection; at their best case-control studies are to science as polls
    are to elections.  They may come out the same, but you can't count on it.


    Ten years ago a group in Denmark published a beautiful epidemiological
    study of cell phones and brain cancer in the Journal of the National Cancer
    Institute:  Johansen C.Boice JD Jr, McLaughlin JK, Olsen JH. Cellular
    telephones and cancer — a nationwide Cohort  study in Denmark. J Natl
    Cancer Inst 2001;93:203–7.   The study was based entirely on existing
    public records: the Danish Cancer Registry, mobile phone charges, death
    records, subscriptions, etc.  The conclusion was unequivocal: There was no
    correlation between cell phone use and the incidence of brain cancer.  It
    was nice to have that fact confirmed, but it was not a surprise.  I was
    invited to write an editorial on how scientists should respond to the cell
    phone/brain cancer question, for the same issue of JNCI JNCI, Vol. 93, No.
    3, 166-167, February 7, 2001.  Cancer agents act by creating mutant strands
    of DNA.  In the case of electromagnetic radiation, there is a sharp
    threshold for this process at the extreme blue end of the visible
    spectrum.  Albert Einstein explained this with the photoelectric effect in
    1905, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1921.   Cell phones operate
    at a frequency about 1 million times lower than the ultraviolet threshold
    and hence cannot be a cause of cancer.  It's important to recognize that
    it's not the intensity of radiation that makes it a cancer agent, but the


    They can if you disable the interlock on your microwave oven and stick your
    head in it, but your cell phone operates on tiny little batteries. They
    don't have much power.  How hot does your hand get holding your microwave?  
    Your body uses blood as a coolant to maintain a pretty constant temperature
    over the body parts.  Especially the brain. It's got its work cut out for
    it today in Washington.

    Opinions are the author's and not necessarily shared by the
    University of Maryland, but they should be.

    "Reason is poor propaganda when opposed by the yammering unceasing lies of shrewd and evil and self serving men" R.A. Heinlein

    by Athenian on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 03:19:10 PM PDT

    •  The Interphone study found an increased risk (0+ / 0-)

      for the heaviest users.  There was also something wrong with the study, as admitted by the authors, as cellphone use correlated actually with a protective effect for most usage levels, indicating that the methodology used underestimated the risks cellphones pose.  

      Also, the authors indicated that none of the currently known carcinogens like tobacco would have shown a causal effect in the first decade of study, the length of the Interphone study.

      Given that the best, most comprehensive longitudinal study of cellphone risk showed a positive correlation with increased cancer risk at the highest usage levels, can't we agree at the very least that we should use our phones for talking sparingly, especially among children where any possible damage is magnified in their growing brains?  At the very least we should promote the use of non-antenna headsets for long conversations.

      On the front lines of the energy crisis.
      Peak Oil Hawaii

      by Arclite on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 04:25:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "THERE’S HOPE: IF YOU’RE A DEMENTED (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        billmosby, LookingUp


        More from Bob Park:

        A study by the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center found that cell
        phone radiation protected the memories of mice genetically altered to get
        Alzheimer's disease. The study was led by Prof. Gary Arendash who
        previously found that coffee could protect against Alzheimer's. Hmm, I
        can’t remember if I’ve had my Coffee.  If exposure to microwaves is started
        when the Alzheimer's mice are young adults, before signs of memory
        impairment are apparent, their cognitive ability is protected. The mice had
        been genetically altered to develop beta-amyloid plaques characteristic of
        Alzheimer’s as they aged.

        and from the same post (Jan 9, 2010)

        Rep. Bolden's concern was based on a 2006 study in Sweden
        showing a correlation between brain tumors and heavy cell phone use.
        However, a Danish study that came out in December found that the rates of
        brain cancer in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden had remained stable
        from 1974 two 2003. Such studies are possible in Scandinavia where record-
        keeping is an obsession. If the effect is real, the frequency of brain
        cancers should have turned up sharply in 2000. An estimated 277 million
        people use cell phones in the US. I doubt if such a label would reduce that
        number significantly.  Scientific truth becomes something to be negotiated.

        There is a lot of bad science going around. When you say an increased risk amongst the heaviest users, how much does the death rate go up per thousand? There are serious threats out there. Cell phones do not seem to be one of them whereas pseudoscience and bad science are.

        That said, cell phones are intrusive, distracting and annoying. Perhaps simple courtesy will limit their use eventually : )


        "Reason is poor propaganda when opposed by the yammering unceasing lies of shrewd and evil and self serving men" R.A. Heinlein

        by Athenian on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 05:01:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Total number of research (9+ / 0-)

    studies cited by diarist showing cancer risk from cellphones: none
    total number of reputable scientists cited by diarists claiming evidence of cancer risk from cellphones: none

    total methods explained and sourced by diarist by which cellphones could cause cancer: none

  •  I think that pretty soon.. (0+ / 0-)

    .. there will be a new class of deniers. Or maybe two. I was 13 when the Surgeon General's report on smoking came out, but had been reading the rumblings for maybe 5 years before that in Reader's Digest. And then it took maybe another 30 years after that before smoking finally became definitively uncool. How many years will it take for iPhones?

    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

    by billmosby on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 03:28:44 PM PDT

    •  The surgeon general (7+ / 0-)

      actually had data that showed that smoking was heavily correlated with lung cancer.  And cutting open a dead smoker's lung showed why that might be (ever seen a picture of that).

      But, as Justanothernyer notes above, there is no such data in this case.  So far as any cancer causation in this situation is concerned, it's just magic, apparently.  There is simply no causal connection.

      Finally, as I noted above, if you're going to stop using cell phones because of a risk that has not even been shown, you're a hypocrite or a muddled thinker if you don't stop driving as well.  Driving is certainly far more dangerous than using a cell phone has been shown to be.

    •  Oh, come on (6+ / 0-)

      There were many, many known mechanisms by which smoking could cause cancer.   There are ZERO known mechanisms by which cell phones can cause cancer.  I suggest taking a basic science course and learning about the photoelectric effect.  The radiation from a billion cell phones right next to your ear would not ionize a single electron from a single atom.  Period.

      Yes, there can be thermal damage---although blood is an extremely good coolant, it isn't perfect.  Yet there is no evidence for any cancer ever being caused by thermal damage.

      Cell phones do kill a lot of people.  Maybe a similar number than tobacco.  But the method of killing people is distraction (drivers, pedestrians), not cancer.

      •  I know about the photoelectric effect. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        And so forth. I'm just commenting (with a little humor- too little apparently) on the way things like this often go.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 03:46:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Utility workers (8+ / 0-)

        have been exposed for decades to huge amounts of EMI. I've been in power plants (hydro) that were built during the Roosevelt administration - (Teddy, not that youngster Franklin) and several have three generations of family as current or retired workers. There are hazards - but they are electrocution, trauma, or exposure to toxic substances.

        Broadcast professionals have been working around high-wattage, high-frequency sources for the better part of a century. Radar facilities have been in place for similar timeframes, and use very similar frequencies to those in question.

        I've seen this argument used to push high-voltage lines out of desirable neighborhoods, or make a carrier change the appearance of a tower. (somehow, a cell site that is going to KILL YOUR BABIES if it's made of metal and is visible, becomes a non-hazard - with the donation of a new building to the church leasing the property to the carrier, and the installation of a nice enclosure for the antenna array.)

  •  Oh, puh-lease (7+ / 0-)

    This whole idea of cell phones causing cancer would be incredibly easy to prove considering the massive amount of cell phone usage in our society.

    When bicycles became common people got all upset and hypothesized that they would lead to promiscuity among women.

    Well, there are more promiscuous women now then there were then, and there are more bicycles now then there are then, so I guess we've got our proof right there!  

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 03:49:31 PM PDT

    •  Well, not according to my Grandma. (0+ / 0-)

      According to her, the world was thick with promiscuous women in the days of her youth, around 1910-1920 (she was born in 1895 and lived 99 1/2 years). But then she lived in Oklahoma, which achieved statehood in 1907. It must have been something like the wild west before that.

      Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

      by billmosby on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 05:34:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can't keep it in my purse (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    because it demagnetizes my BART tickets. Can't keep it in my pocket because it's too close to my body. I see a business opportunity for someone here - lead cases?

    (I recently turned in almost $200 worth of ruined BART tickets.)

    It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man. --H.L. Mencken

    by denise b on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 07:01:21 PM PDT

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