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Cell Phone Cancer

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Christopher Ketcham has a fantastic article in this issue of GQ, wherein he explores the dangers of prolonged cell-phone use. Long story short, the dangers are real, but of course no one in the US government (notably the FDA) wants to consider this anything more than an vague “conspiracy theory”. One recalls the decades of industry and government denial over the dangers of  cigarette use.

Excerpt:

It’s hard to talk about the dangers of cell-phone radiation without sounding like a conspiracy theorist. This is especially true in the United States, where non-industry-funded studies are rare, where legislation protecting the wireless industry from legal challenges has long been in place, and where our lives have been so thoroughly integrated with wireless technology that to suggest it might be a problem—maybe, eventually, a very big public-health problem—is like saying our shoes might be killing us.


Though the scientific debate is heated and far from resolved, there are multiple reports, mostly out of Europe’s premier research institutions, of cell-phone and PDA use being linked to “brain aging,” brain damage, early-onset Alz­heimer’s, senility, DNA damage, and even sperm die-offs (many men, after all, keep their cell phones in their pants pockets or attached at the hip). In September 2007, the European Union’s environmental watchdog, the European Environment Agency, warned that cell-phone technology “could lead to a health crisis similar to those caused by asbestos, smoking, and lead in petrol.”

Interphone researchers reported in 2008 that after a decade of cell-phone use, the chance of getting a brain tumor—specifically on the side of the head where you use the phone—goes up as much as 40 percent for adults. Interphone researchers in Israel have found that cell phones can cause tumors of the parotid gland (the salivary gland in the cheek), and an independent study in Sweden last year concluded that people who started using a cell phone before the age of 20 were five times as likely to develop a brain tumor. Another Interphone study reported a nearly 300 percent increased risk of acoustic neuroma, a tumor of the acoustic nerve.

In college I knew someone who swore off cell phones for good, calling them “devil machines”. We laughed at him then, but he probably had the right idea.

It’s hard to talk about the dangers of cell-phone radiation without sounding like a conspiracy theorist. This is especially true in the United States, where non-industry-funded studies are rare, where legislation protecting the wireless industry from legal challenges has long been in place, and where our lives have been so thoroughly integrated with wireless technology that to suggest it might be a problem—maybe, eventually, a very big public-health problem—is like saying our shoes might be killing us.

Except our shoes don’t send microwaves directly into our brains. And cell phones do—a fact that has increasingly alarmed the rest of the world. Consider, for instance, the following headlines that have appeared in highly reputable international newspapers and journals over the past few years. From summer 2006, in the Hamburg Morgenpost: are we telephoning ourselves to death? That fall, in the Danish journal Dagens Medicin: mobile phones affect the brain’s metabolism. December 2007, from Agence France-Presse: israeli study says regular mobile use increases tumour risk. January 2008, in London’s Independent: mobile phone radiation wrecks your sleep. September 2008, in Australia’s The Age: scientists warn of mobile phone cancer risk.

Though the scientific debate is heated and far from resolved, there are multiple reports, mostly out of Europe’s premier research institutions, of cell-phone and PDA use being linked to “brain aging,” brain damage, early-onset Alz­heimer’s, senility, DNA damage, and even sperm die-offs (many men, after all, keep their cell phones in their pants pockets or attached at the hip). In September 2007, the European Union’s environmental watchdog, the European Environment Agency, warned that cell-phone technology “could lead to a health crisis similar to those caused by asbestos, smoking, and lead in petrol.”

Perhaps most worrisome, though, are the preliminary results of the multinational Interphone study sponsored by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in Lyon, France. (Scientists from thirteen countries took part in the study, the United States conspicuously not among them.) Interphone researchers reported in 2008 that after a decade of cell-phone use, the chance of getting a brain tumor—specifically on the side of the head where you use the phone—goes up as much as 40 percent for adults. Interphone researchers in Israel have found that cell phones can cause tumors of the parotid gland (the salivary gland in the cheek), and an independent study in Sweden last year concluded that people who started using a cell phone before the age of 20 were five times as likely to develop a brain tumor. Another Interphone study reported a nearly 300 percent increased risk of acoustic neuroma, a tumor of the acoustic nerve.

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Written by pavanvan

February 9, 2010 at 11:18 am

2 Responses

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  1. governments not going to say anything till the problem becomes too big to handle.

    on new fields, there is always an absolute idiotic amount of lax regulations. heroine for example was used as a cough medicine as late as the 60’s.
    WHAT THE

    Sarwat

    February 10, 2010 at 10:27 pm

  2. For me its just obvious that the cell phone industry knows about cell phone’s implications in brain cancer, in just the same way tobacco companies knew about cigarette smoking and lung cancer. The GQ article lays out the research very nicely. But lets not forget the human angle to this. People are getting tumors, they are saying very clearly that their cell phone is to blame, and a number of brain surgeons that are saying the same thing, see http://electricsense.com/2010/04/26/brain-cancer-survivors-angry-over-cell-phone-subterfuge

    Lloyd Burrell

    May 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm


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