Washington Post reporter Rob Stein, explains the new classification for cell phones by the World Health Organization, which placed the devices in the "possibly carcinogenic to humans" category
I was not sure whether Mr. Stein was just uninformed, or afraid to say anything negative about cellphones. While concrete information on how cellphones may affect health has hardly been a mainstream media topic in the US, there have been numerous studies and reports published worldwide. Check the Environmental Working Group website (www.ewg.org) for up-to-date information on cellphones and health and their Science Review on Cancer Risks and Children's Health published in 2009, and chock full of references. Also, check the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization at www.iarc.fr for a copy of the report "discussed" by Mr. Stein. Check the fact sheet on Cell Phones and Cancer Risk at the National Cancer Institute of the NIH (www.cancer.gov).
Consumer Affairs.com (23 May '11) & Kurzweil online (24 May '11) cite a Council of Europe/Environmental Health Trust group of studies done by Mosgeller @ U/Vienna, Nisran Seyhan @ Gazi U/Ankara & Siegal Sadetsky @ Tel Aviv Un (ISR also heavy cell traffic.
The reporter also didn't mention the cell phone repeater transmitters that are often grouped and otherwise concentrated due to multiple phone co. redundancy.
also - good note below on radio waves creating heat - as does InfraRed & UltraViolet rays.
Hugh Sansom said "Cell phones use microwave frequencies. Bluetooth and cordless phones use radio frequencies." But microwave frequencies ARE radio frequencies -- just short ones. Somewhere in the same range as kitchen microwaves.
The journalist doesn't seem to be aware of the fact that radio waves can create heat. The heat from the phone may be insignificant, but what about heat created in the brain from the nearby radio source? As I understand it, microwave cooking technology was discovered when someone in the 1940s found that water got hot when a particular radio frequency was directed at it. Water is a molecule. If one molecule takes on energy from a particular radio frequency, what about all the others? Doesn't it make sense that other molecules have their own frequencies that would make them hot? The brain is made of many types of molecules, including water, DNA and many others. Has anyone mapped those frequencies and excluded them from use in our daily environment? Probably not, if they can't make a profit. The increased brain activity that has been documented recently (to find articles, Google "cell phone increased brain activity") from cell phone use may represent particular cell phone frequencies transmitting their energy to particular molecules in the brain. Other wireless technology like Bluetooth and land-line wireless phones use other frequencies and might affect other molecules. The best defense is to use wired headsets and keep the phone away from the body, especially when in use, since the energy level falls off dramatically with distance. (That's why WiFi is a small danger).
Mr. Sansom is correct about the frequencies used. That was part of the study I mentioned. That same study prompted my sister & brother-in-law (both tech/sci savvy) to limit use of their routers in their house.
To Smokey, Bluetooth transmits @ a frequency (radio & light). I'd get a wired headset.
The safest handset in the study I cited has an extendable area that tilted away from the body & areas of concern were the heart & reproductive organs.
1) The studies phone cos cite are old & posited 1 call or fewer per day (i.e., emergency usage). More recent data show 25-50 calls/day ( EU study of a few months ago.2) One unmentioned risk is not counting indoor wireless phones (+their base stations) & wi-fi routers & wi-fi phones connected to laptops, iPads, etc. These are all cellular phones of one sort or another. Don't leave your own wireless routers on all day, especially with children in the household.
I'm looking for the cite above, but it was conducted in Scandinavia where cell use is heaviest.
This hysteria over a tiny chance of something with no scientific proof is silly. People are overreacting to this possible toy risk while they go about their day earig horribly, smoking, texting while driving, having unprotected sex and many other scientifically known proven high risk behaviors. Really people!
Stein really doesn't know whathe's talking about.
Cell phones use microwave frequencies. Bluetooth and cordless phones use radio frequencies.
And thank you SO SO much to the idiots at WNYC whose unhelpfulness ensured that my question was not answered.
You make me regret that I became a member. (This year was my first time. Now its my last.)
I remember this interview and the doctor said "Distance is our friend". It has really stuck with me.
How about WiFi??
What are some other things listed on the WHO's "Possibly Carcinogenic" list? Sunlight, Car Emissions,...?
How about pituitary microadenomas and other non-cancerous tumors? Do you think they grow as a result?
I remember hearing about this risk back when Lee Atwater got a brain tumor. (Early 1990's). I heard rumor that it was caused by cell phone. Since then, I have been wary.
A 1% risk of getting a very rare cancer. This is NOT something I'm going to worry about. I have a higher risk of dying in a car crash since I drive a lot everyday. But no one is telling me I shouldn't drive because there is an "X%" risk of crashing and dying. LIFE is full of risks and we're all going to die.
Please, don't mix "theories" with "hypotheses" when talking about science. This kind of sloppiness is what the creationism depends on.
One of the reasons motivating WHO concern is the quality of risk with brain tumors. Brain cancers are often very severe and inoperable. So even if the risk is low, the outcome for those who come out on the downside of that equation is very severe.
As for the guest's claim that phone radiation levels are being reduced, he is just wrong. A certain amount of energy is required for a signal to reach a cell tower.
Moreover, one of the concerns turns on the frequencies used by cell phones. If the guest doesn't know what "skin depth" means in electromagnetic theory, he has no business pretending he understands what he is talking about.
As I understand the news report this morning, this report does not identify the possible casual mechanism. Without a hypothesis about causality, the correlation is highly suspect and likely to be an artifact of the method.
What are the carcinogenic elements in cell phones? Are manufacturers able to "shield" users from the effects?
How about the risk of using BlueTooth headsets that are just as close to the brain as holding a cell phone?
What about wearing a cell phone on your belt, or carrying it in your front pocket?
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