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Cell Phone Use Study Sees Increased Cancer Risk 222

Posted by Zonk
from the i-use-those-for-tasting dept.
Dotnaught writes "Frequent cell phone users face a 50% greater risk of developing tumors in the salivary glands than those who don't use cell phones, according to a recently published study. The study, led by Tel Aviv University epidemiologist Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, appeared last December in the American Journal of Epidemiology 'Sadetzki's findings are sure to add to confusion surrounding the already contentious debate about the health effects of cell phone radiation. Many other studies in recent years have found no increased risk of cancer due to mobile phone use, but a few have stopped short of ruling the possibility out and a few have said increased risk of cancer is small but real.'. Even with the increased risk, however, you're still about three times more likely to die in a car crash in a given year."
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Cell Phone Use Study Sees Increased Cancer Risk

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  • Good! (Score:2, Funny)

    by yada21 (1042762)
    Good, their constant chattering gets on my nerves!
  • I wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['o.c' in gap]> on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:32PM (#22437990) Journal

    Even with the increased risk, however, you're still about three times more likely to die in a car crash in a given year.
    So, how much does talking on your cell while driving increase those odds?
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:37PM (#22438068)
      How does talking on a mobile compare to having a friend in the car next to you, while talking?

      • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MBGMorden (803437) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:40PM (#22438114)
        Actually, I read a study a while back (several years ago) that showed talking to a non-present individual to be far more distracting than talking to someone who was physically there. Not sure the rhyme or reason, or if they compared hands-free options or if it was "phone to the ear" sytle, but there was definitely a difference.
        • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by zappepcs (820751) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:47PM (#22438232) Journal
          Talking to a person that is not present requires more concentration as you lose out on all the visual clues that are absorbed during a discussion.

          On top of that, many people CANNOT talk without using their hands. This is a direct conflict with driving, which requires use of at least one hand (for normal people). Yes, I have seen people driving down the road, with a headset on, AND talking with both hands... at this rate I believe that it is an activity which should get its own subcategory rank in the Darwin Awards runner's up list.
          • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by oyenstikker (536040) <(slashdot) (at) (sbyrne.org)> on Friday February 15, 2008 @04:49PM (#22439146) Homepage Journal
            It is more than visual clues. There is a huge sound quality loss over the phone, and your brain has to work a lot harder to process the information.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Timmmm (636430)
            I think it's deeper than that. When I talk on the phone I'm definitely less aware of what I'm seeing. It's as if your brain transports you to an imaginary vision-less world that you and your friend occupy. Probably similar to when you become 'immersed' in TV and don't notice anything outside the screen.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I only used the "Friend in the car" as an example of distracted driving.

          It matters not if you are eating, talking on the mobile, using the computer, reading a magazine/newspaper, or what have you.

          All show signs that complete concentration are not being used for driving. When we're using directly controlled missiles with 3 sicks of dynamite of energy in them, we need our best concentration.

          I also remember what the original "Cell phones cause Cancer" was about: somebody called the Larry King show about them b
          • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Sen.NullProcPntr (855073) on Friday February 15, 2008 @04:53PM (#22439200)

            It matters not if you are eating, talking on the mobile, using the computer, reading a magazine/newspaper, or what have you.
            True, but your food, person on the other end of the line, computer, or magazine/newspaper are much less likely to tell you to keep your eyes on the road when conditions suddenly change. Your friend sitting next to you has a vested interest in collision avoidance.
            Oh, and you missed screaming child in the back seat as a distraction/stress enhancer;-)

            I will usually ignore the buzzing of my phone while driving - if it's important they can leave a message.

            I agree that the cancer threat is overblown.
        • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by techpawn (969834) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:57PM (#22438384) Journal
          People who are in the car with you are more likely to respond to road conditions like rain or dark than someone not there. I.e. changing topics, getting quite. At least, if we're thinking of the same study...
        • Why that is (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LockeOnLogic (723968)
          I read a similar study if not the same one. If I recall, one of the main reasons for the increased distraction is there is a need to always fill all silences in phone conversations handsfree or not. Think about it, how often is there a large pause in a phone conversation? Never basically. Normal conversation with a present person is less taxing on us socially, and thus less distracting.
        • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Informative)

          by FleaPlus (6935) on Friday February 15, 2008 @08:14PM (#22441428) Journal
          Actually, I read a study a while back (several years ago) that showed talking to a non-present individual to be far more distracting than talking to someone who was physically there.

          Is this the study you're thinking of?

          Effects of remote and in-person verbal interactions on verbalization rates and attention to dynamic spatial scenes [sciencedirect.com]

          Leo GugertyCorresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author, a, Mick Rakauskasb and Johnell Brooksa
          a Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA
          b HumanFIRST Program, University of Minnesota, USA
          Received 23 July 2003; Revised 1 December 2003; accepted 11 December 2003. Available online 24 April 2004.

          Abstract

          This study focused on how teams allocated attention between a driving-related spatial task and a verbal task, and how different kinds of verbal interactions affected performance of the driving-related task. In Experiment 1, 29 two-person teams performed an interactive verbal task while one team member also performed a simulated driving task. Of the team members performing only the verbal task, half could see their partner's spatial situation, as a car passenger can (in-person condition), and half were remotely located, similar to someone speaking to a driver using a cell-phone. Teams interacted verbally at an overall slower rate during remote than in-person interactions, suggesting that remote verbal interactions are more difficult than in-person interactions. Verbal interactions degraded situation awareness for driving-related information while performing the spatial task; and this degradation was not greater during remote than in-person interactions. Experiment 2 used a faster-paced verbal task and found greater degradation of situation awareness due to the verbal task. These findings are potentially relevant to the issue of how passenger and cell-phone conversations affect driving performance.
      • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Carnildo (712617) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:42PM (#22438144) Homepage Journal

        How does talking on a mobile compare to having a friend in the car next to you, while talking?


        More dangerous. The friend can see what's going on around you, and can shut up when needed.
        • by sm62704 (957197)
          What if he''s blind?
        • More dangerous. The friend can see what's going on around you, and can shut up when needed.

          That most assuredly depends on what kind of friend you have. Somebody fooling around or doing stupid actions would assuredly be worse.

          My original question was making the connection to distracted driving: what difference is there in a conversation over a phone vs. in person?

          • My original question was making the connection to distracted driving: what difference is there in a conversation over a phone vs. in person?

            Whenever you're trying to understand somebody over a cellphone, a huge portion of your brain has to be dedicated to signal processing to reconstruct the meaning of sounds that had been compressed down to a couple of kilobits per second. The dynamic range, signal to noise ratio, and freqency spectrum have all been hugely limited, and you get zero spacial information after the sound has been piped through a single tiny 1/4-inch microphone. The random short dropouts of sound common on wireless calls make th

        • by syousef (465911)
          More dangerous. The friend can see what's going on around you, and can shut up when needed.

          You're not married are you.

          (Just kidding honey, Honest!)
      • I'd like to see how likely developing cancer from a cell phone is compared to say... second hand smoke. Maybe we need to ban cell phones in bars and public places, like smoking.
      • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Informative)

        by dreamchaser (49529) on Friday February 15, 2008 @04:05PM (#22438504) Homepage Journal
        There have been numerous studies that shows it is far more distracting to talk to someone on the phone than if they are in the seat next to you. The person next to you knows when to shut up, and there is in general better feedback. When you talk on the phone, even on a handsfree, you dedicate a lot more attention to it than you do to speaking to someone who is physically there. I'm not sure what that is, but it is what it is.

        It is FAR more dangerous to talk on the phone while driving than to talk to another person in the car.
        • by Chris Burke (6130)
          The person next to you knows when to shut up, and there is in general better feedback.

          And even if they don't necessarily shut up, they understand that if you don't pay attention to them, it's because you're paying attention to the road, a fact that they will generally be grateful for. A person on the phone expects to receive your full attention -- in general, it's considered rude if you're talking to someone on the phone and you ask them a question and they don't answer because they're paying attention to
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by roman_mir (125474)
        How does talking on a mobile compare to having a friend in the car next to you, while talking? - well, you only get cancer from the mobile. Friend close enough to be in one car with you may end up in bed with your wife. It's not a difficult choice.
      • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Firehed (942385) on Friday February 15, 2008 @04:08PM (#22438556) Homepage
        The cell phone is much worse. The passenger can see danger and not only shut the fuck up at an appropriate time, but point it out to you. Not so much for someone on the other side of some spectrum.
      • They're both an order of magnitude less effective at causing distracted-driving accidents than eating while driving, yet you can still go through the drive-through, order a super-sized McWhopper, and drive off merrily munching away, clogging arteries both natural and national.

        Just goes to show who has the more powerful lobbies, Big "Food", vs. Big Cell and Big Friend.
    • by makapuf (412290)
      well, I guess it lowers significantly the probability of your death by cancer...
    • by blindd0t (855876)
      So how much does excessive talking increase your odds of getting cancer? Seriously, I'd love to have a good excuse to tell certain people to STFU.
  • Cage match (Score:5, Funny)

    by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:32PM (#22437994) Homepage Journal
    One sees these duelling studies, some for, some against cellular phone usage,
    and one can't help but recall the Steven Wright joke about getting a humidifier
    and a de-humidifier for Christmas. So he put them in one room and let them
    fight it out.
    Maybe there could be some kind of academic cage match between the two camps,
    wherein they have to explain their research publicly, and get to critique the
    methodology of the opposing camp.
    The match ends when intellectual honesty compels one camp to admit that their
    work is an absolut waste of human time, at which point enter John Cleese to issue
    a Wensleydale [wikipedia.org].
    • One sees these duelling studies, some for, some against cellular phone usage...

      In reviewing different studies relating to cell phone type radiation and brain cancer for a course in college, the studies could be divided approximately in half. The data is not yet conclusive one way or another. For those who are concerned about the risk, there are some ways that you can reduce your risk:
      1 (obvious) Talk on the cell phone less frequently.
      2 (best) Place your cell phone on your belt, and use a headset. Rem

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by SevenHands (984677)
        "2 (best) Place your cell phone on your belt, and use a headset. Remember, the energy waves' strength falls off rapidly with distance; having the cell phone even a short distance away from your head reduces exposure significantly."

        Doesn't anyone think of the children anymore???
    • by Fex303 (557896)

      Maybe there could be some kind of academic cage match between the two camps, wherein they have to explain their research publicly, and get to critique the methodology of the opposing camp.
      They have these. They're called research journals.
      • Judging by the increase in the number of journals over time, they lack the John Cleese negative feedback loop proposed in the third paragraph of GP, and don't meet the "cage match" requirements.
        I was subscribed to Management Information Systems Quarterly for a couple of years.
        The short form of the journal's title, pronounced "MIScue", doubled as a one-word review.
  • Talk less (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Iconoclast (24795) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:33PM (#22438000)
    Maybe its because they are talking all the time, drying out their mount and their salivary glands are stress to compensate.
    • Maybe people who have cell phones are younger, more outgoing, and more likely to partake in risky activities. Perhaps they smoke more or eat spicier foods. Maybe they give more oral sex or have odd piercings. Maybe they over-eat. What are the risk factors for salivary-gland cancer and how does this study factor them out?
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      See what you get? If you'd previewed and caught that typo you'd have gotten "interesting" or "informative" instead of "funny". I believe what you were humorously trying to say unhumorously was

      "Maybe its because they are talking all the time, drying out their mouths, and their salivary glands are stressed, causing cancers."

      Although if this premise were correct, a study would show an increase on gum disease in cellphone-using people, not unlilke the increased incidence of gum disease in pot and cigarette smok
  • "Cancer Machine ON" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zymergy (803632) * on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:35PM (#22438028)
    I love my cell phone, but every time it powers on I has the startup phrase: "Cancer Machine ON".
    So what? Chocolate makes you fat, Tobacco gives you cancer, Death and Taxes are inevitable. Until humans live forever and are tax-exempt, at least they DO have a choice on the others.
  • Skeptic (Score:2, Funny)

    by DJ Jones (997846)
    Cell phones cause cancer?

    Sounds like another one of those liberal lies... Like global warming.

    So what if my cell phone melted to my neck goiter while I was using it outdoors in the middle of January? It's totally coincidental.
  • by sam_paris (919837) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:37PM (#22438064)
    It doesn't matter whether the results of this study are valid or not. I can't stop using my mobile phone, as I work for a web startup I need to be constantly available if there is a site problem and having my mobile close by, always (even in my bed), is something that is 100% essential.

    In addition, I would basically be saying goodbye to my social life (what little I have of one after work) if I stopped using a mobile phone.

    Therefore, I hope this study is wrong. If it isn't I hope that mobile manufacturers can somehow make next gen phones slightly safer, if possible.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by timeOday (582209)
      So use a bluetooth headset, leaving the more powerful cellphone transceiver further from your head. It's not the end of the world.
      • Yes, I am for moving the transceiver further from my head and placing it in a safer place where the cancer threat is less of a problem. How about something like my pants pocket? Oh wait... hmmm... maybe I didn't think this through.
    • by toofast (20646)
      I don't think you *need* to be always available -- you're simply choosing this as a way of life. You could decide to work as a mechanic, where you don't even need a cell phone for your work.
      • by sam_paris (919837)
        Yes, I suppose you're right. I did however, choose my job and continue to choose it because I enjoy it. Also, I didn't spend years studying CS and AI to get greasy underneath a car.
    • by mark-t (151149)

      I work for a web startup I need to be constantly available
      So what you're saying is that your job doesn't allow you ever have any time that you're not on call? Ever?
      • by sam_paris (919837)
        Basically yes. It's not quite as bad as it is for the CTO of the company, but i've had plenty of calls at 3am telling me one of the sites is down and can I talk to our sysadmin. It wouldn't be so bad if we were only based in the USA but when you have sites in 20+ different countries globally you have to become a 24 hour person.

        Example, this morning, before I even had my contact lenses in after waking up I was blindly fumbling with my laptop, logging onto skype and discussing a project with some Indian de
        • i've had plenty of calls at 3am telling me one of the sites is down and can I talk to our sysadmin.
          Seems you work with idiots; why don't they call the sysadmin direct?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by petes_PoV (912422)
        yah, sure it does - all it needs is some personal choice.

        I went through a similar phase many years ago. It's quite flattering to feel that you're always needed - for a time. After that it becomes a chore, then something you hate.

        Most people grow out of it when they realise that the people who put them "on permanent call" are really just being lazy/exploitative.

        Others find it's reassuring to know that someone wants/needs them. If so, then fine - they're getting something out of it too (apart from stress

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      I work for a web startup I need to be constantly available

      You poor, poor man. I don't care how much money you have or make, you are still poverty stricken.
      • by sam_paris (919837)
        *sniff*

        On this point, I agree it can suck. I love reading and am currently working through the History of Western Philosophy. As a college student I would have ripped through this in a few weeks but with my current time commitments its more like a slog through a jungle whilst hopping on one leg. But i'm hoping that the responsibilities I have in my job, combined with the great references i'll get will give me the chance to get a job where i'm under less pressure.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by edittard (805475)

      I work for a web startup
      Talking of phones, 1997 called...
  • It's quite simple actually. Most of the positive studies are either funded by wireless companies or are watered down for fear of litigation.
    • I don't think I'm going to have a problem... every time I think of my cellular carrier I spit, so I'm probably clearing out the free radicals every ten minutes or so.
  • Not reassuring (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Carnildo (712617) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:40PM (#22438096) Homepage Journal
    "Three times more likely to die in a car crash"? That's not reassuring. Given how many people die in crashes each year, that would make cell-phone-induced tongue cancer one of the more significant causes of death.
  • Margin of error (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wild_berry (448019) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:41PM (#22438116) Journal
    I'm skeptical about these statistics: 500 tumour patients and 1300 control subjects can't really support a probability of 0.003% and 0.0045% for each outcome, can they? I reckon that these numbers are less likely than the false-positive error for their data set.
    • Re:Margin of error (Score:4, Informative)

      by stranger_to_himself (1132241) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:52PM (#22438304) Journal

      I'm skeptical about these statistics: 500 tumour patients and 1300 control subjects can't really support a probability of 0.003% and 0.0045% for each outcome, can they? I reckon that these numbers are less likely than the false-positive error for their data set.

      These figures comes from two different studies. The \emph{relative risk} increase of 1.5 comes from one case-control study. This is then applied to a survey of the total number of cases in the population, leading to an estimate of the \emph{absolute risk} increase of 0.0015%. That's a perfectly reasonable thing to do. The result isn't worth getting too excited about, but it's interesting none the less.

      The bigger problem I would have, (although I don't think it's a fatal problem for the study) is that overall they found no effect of being a regular phone user. They had to do a subgroup analysis of very heavy users in rural areas to find a significant increase. I'd also be worried this being a freak result given the number of negative findings.

    • Nevermind that according to the googles, it has an occurance rate of .9 in 100,000. That means that about 2000 people a year get it in the entire US population, roughly. The mortality rate is an even smaller piece of that pie.
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:42PM (#22438134)
    "...Even with the increased risk, however, you're still about three times more likely to die in a car crash in a given year."

    Particularly if you are talking on your cell phone at the time.

  • Three times (Score:2, Insightful)

    by popmaker (570147)
    I'm three times more likely to die in a car accident than of cell phone radiation? Good gracious, I'm never driving again!
  • by Grond (15515) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:44PM (#22438172) Homepage
    It seems to me that both findings of the study (more tumors and even more tumors in people in rural areas) could be due to simply talking a lot. More talking means more salivation to keep the mouth from drying out, and it is possible that heavy use of the salivary glands could lead to cancer. In rural areas, one would expect the effect to be magnified because people there are more isolated, and so even less likely to talk a lot except when using a cell phone. It's possible that the study accounted for differences in time spent talking, but neither article makes that clear.

  • by Shannon Love (705240) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:44PM (#22438178) Homepage

    Based on that data, a 50% increase would raise one's theoretical high-end risk of developing a tumor in the head from 0.003% per year to 0.0045% per year.

    This translates into an effectively zero risk. The risk is so low that an individual couldn't really justify spending any time or money trying to lower it further.

    We've got to learn that even though our advancing technology allows us to measure smaller and smaller risk, that doesn't mean that "something has to be done!" for every risk we can measure.

  • How do you hold it? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ddrichardson (869910) on Friday February 15, 2008 @03:45PM (#22438202) Homepage

    From the article:

    Frequent cell phone users face a 50% greater risk of developing tumors of the parotid gland than those who don't use cell phones, according to a recently published study.

    The parotid gland is the largest human salivary gland; it's located near the jaw and ear, where cell phones are typically held.

    Does this simply mean we should use handsfree headsets or hold the phone away from our heads?

    I happen to hold mine in front and use the loudspeaker but that's purely because I'm deaf in one ear and don't like not being able to hear anything else that's going on.

  • You're not three times more likely to be killed in a car crash if using a cell phone makes you four times more likely to be in that car crash [bmj.com] in the first place. Any probability wiz care to run with this?
  • For example, if you've got a laptop sitting in your lap you're pretty much exposing yourself to relatively high levels of microwave radiation in the 2.4GHz band. Even cordless phones now are up there.

    We're all going to die because of wireless freedom.
  • From You've Got A Lot To See [wikia.com], performed by Brian Griffin:

    Our flashy cell phones make people mumble,
    "Gee whiz- look how important he is, his life must rule!"
    You'll get a tumor, but on your surgery day
    The doc will see it and say, "Wow, you must really be cool!"
  • Who needs salivary glands when we have beer?

    ** scratches head **

    Without those glands a lot more beer will need to flow. What's bad about that?

  • by JSBiff (87824) on Friday February 15, 2008 @04:07PM (#22438546) Journal
    Ok,

          I don't have access to the main journal article, so it's possible the answer is in there, but there are potentially a lot of variables in 'cell phone' use. The article kind of hints at that in the following:

    Sadetzki says that the Israelis were early cell phone adopters and heavy users of the technology, a tendency that suggests higher radio frequency exposure than other populations. Her study found an increased risk of cancer for frequent cell phone users in rural areas, which may be attributable to the increased radiation output required when phones try to communicate in areas with fewer antennas.[emph. added] She believes that frequent mobile phone users and children face the largest increased risk of health effects.


    I would be curious if anyone has done a larger break-down of the 'risk' seen in this study, to find out if users were using older analogue phones, or newer digital, spread-spectrum phones (which, I believe, typically run at much lower power levels). What frequencies do the phones run at? (It might be, I dunno, that different mobile phone networks around the world use different frequencies, and there might be a correlation to specific frequencies used and an increase in cancer). I would also be curious to see if anyone is able to repeat this finding in other populations outside of Israel? Maybe the increased risk is really something in the air or water? Hard to say sometimes. . .

    Honestly though, if it were me, and I were living in Israel, I think there are risks I'd be more worried about than my cell phone. . . like Hezbollah missiles, Palestinian suicide bombers, another war erupting with the neighboring countries, etc. . .
  • Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by Thaelon (250687) on Friday February 15, 2008 @04:10PM (#22438574)
    Cell phones do not produce ionizing radiation [wikipedia.org], nor do they contain any matter that does.

    Therefore, the sun is approximately infinitely more likely to cause cancer than a cell phone.

    Non-ionizing radiation [wikipedia.org] (which is all that cell phones produce) has little to no impact on the human body. See for example, light bulbs, radios, radio stations, TV stations, microwaves, ovens, the earth's magnetic field, refrigerator magnets, CB radios, MRI machines, CAT scanners, PET scanners, CD players, MP3 players, computers, monitors, TVs, cell phones, watches, motors.

    The worst a cell phone can do to your body via radiation, is make you a few nano-joules more energetic. Unless of course you installed a nuclear power source in your phone for some reason. Your freaking smoke detectors are more likely to cause cancer than your cell phone.
    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Niten (201835) on Friday February 15, 2008 @04:36PM (#22438972)

      However, the fact that cell phones do not produce ionizing radiation is in no sense a resounding argument for their safety. We do know that typical phone signals can result in cellular heating, and there may subtle results of this and other weak interactions that we do not yet understand, especially if those interactions are somehow a function of the signal's frequency.

      We do not know enough about cellular biology to make the assumption that non-ionizing radiation is inherently safe across all frequencies and power levels, especially if the source of that radiation is a cell phone -- which puts out a fair deal more radio power than the CD players and displays you compare it to, and which is typically operated right next to one's head.

      Therefore, we are not justified in categorically tossing out any new research that indicates a potential link between cell phone use and health problems. The question of cell phones and cancer does not yet have enough evidence pointing in either direction to give us a solid conclusion. So just let the scientists be scientists, since raw empirical evidence is the only way we'll ever answer this question in our lifetimes.

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Informative)

        by jeff4747 (256583) on Friday February 15, 2008 @04:54PM (#22439216)

        We do not know enough about cellular biology to make the assumption that non-ionizing radiation is inherently safe across all frequencies and power levels, especially if the source of that radiation is a cell phone -- which puts out a fair deal more radio power than the CD players and displays you compare it to, and which is typically operated right next to one's head.

        Walk outside on a sunny day. You have just exposed your head to far more non-ionizing radiation than a cell phone.

        If exposure to non-ionizing radiation was dangerous, that gigantic fireball in the sky would have killed us all by now.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Dmala (752610)
          If exposure to non-ionizing radiation was dangerous, that gigantic fireball in the sky would have killed us all by now.

          Tell that to everyone who's died of skin cancer.
          • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Informative)

            by jeff4747 (256583) on Friday February 15, 2008 @05:19PM (#22439580)

            Tell that to everyone who's died of skin cancer.

            Ultraviolet light causes skin cancer. Ultraviolet light is ionizing radiation. that big radiation-spewing ball also puts out lots of non-ionizing radiation. Far more non-ionizing radiation reaches the surface of the earth than ionizing radiation.

        • Walk outside on a sunny day. You have just exposed your head to far more non-ionizing radiation than a cell phone.

          First, the sun does cause cancer. Just so you know, you should avoid getting too much direct sunlight. Wear sunscreen on exposed skin.

          Second, frequency matters (which is why people are worried about the UV spectrum of sunlight, not the visible spectrum). The frequency is directly related to the energy of the electromagnetic wave. Now, I'm not a crackpot who thinks everyone should stop using cell phones and turn off their wireless routers, but it's just not as simple as, "studies are irrelevant, it's

        • by Niten (201835)

          May I invite you to read the comment you just replied to, particularly the part where I said:

          ... especially if those interactions are somehow a function of the signal's frequency.

          To reiterate, we still haven't reached the point where we really understand the underlying mechanisms of cancer, not by a long shot. So to pretend that we can preclude cell phones as a potential cause of cancer when some of the empirical evidence suggests that it may be otherwise is absolutely unsound, no matter how unlikely it

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by richard.cs (1062366)

      PET scans do involve ionizing radiation, not from the machine itself but from a radioisotope such as carbon-11 which is injected into the test subject. It emits positrons when it decays which are directly ionizing in the same way as beta radiation. The positrons then annihilate with electrons producing a pair of 511 keV gamma photons. The gamma radiation is also ionizing.

      With regard to the cell phones the suggested mechanism is localized heating of the tissues near to the antenna which is possible but wou

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Informative)

      by RichardEasterling (1123929) on Friday February 15, 2008 @09:41PM (#22442144)
      Be careful with your list Thaelon.

      IAALRRT(I Am A Licensed and Registered Radiologic Technologist) ie. x-ray tech.
      You are correct that the cell phone signal is indeed non-ionizing, but CAT scanners use the maximum amount of ionizing radiation that is legal to give a person. The legal limits are set so low that the net affect of having a CT is minimal especially when weighed against the possibility of having a serious medical condition go unnoticed.

      CT scans typically use radiation with a penetrating strength of @120kvp (KiloVolts Peak). This is strong enough that when a cell is damaged it is usually either fatal to the cell or results in the inability of the cell to reproduce (this makes the chances of getting cancer very slim). This is why pregnant women in their first trimester can not have a CT scan. Our bodies can easily recover form the loss of a few hundred cells, but the baby will almost certainly not be able to recover.

      This is all assuming that by CAT scanner you meant Computer Aided Tomography. If you meant something else then please disregard this post.

      Richard Easterling
  • "...Even with the increased risk, however, you're still about three times more likely to die in a car crash in a given year."

    Look at the odds of being killed by a terrorist...Yet how much are we spending, how many rights are being trampled, and what other things are being ignored to address that 'serious concern'.
  • "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.... WELCOME TO THE MAIN EVENT!

    In this corner, with combined revenue of over 220 billion.....CELL PHONE MANUFACTURERS! In the other corner, already salivating like half-starved rabid dogs, PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS!

    "LETS GET READY TO RRRUUUMMMBLLLE!

    (CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!)

    (sounds of lawyers shuffling papers and shouting as lawyers demand settlements)

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada

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