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Studies Find Harm From Cellular and Wi-Fi Signals 474

Posted by kdawson
from the perennial-question dept.
Over the years we've discussed the possible health risks of cellphone and other microwave radiation: studies from Israel and Sweden indicating a link between cellphone use and cancer, one from England exonerating cell towers as a cause of "microwave radiation sensitivity," and a recent 30-year Swedish study that found no link to cancer. The question won't go away though. Reader Artifice_Eternity writes "I've always tended to dismiss claims of toxicity from cell phone and Wi-Fi signals as reflecting ignorance about microwave radiation. However, this GQ article cites American and European studies going back decades that have found some level of biological harm caused by these signals. Why haven't they gained more attention? Quoting: 'Industry-funded studies seem to reflect the result of corporate strong-arming. Lai reviewed 350 studies and found that about half showed bioeffects from EM radiation emitted by cell phones. But when he took into consideration the funding sources for those 350 studies, the results changed dramatically. Only 25 percent of the studies paid for by the industry showed effects, compared with 75 percent of those studies that were independently funded.'"
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Studies Find Harm From Cellular and Wi-Fi Signals

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  • Re:GQ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:20PM (#31048718)
    Well it's my bet that none of their advertisers are at risk in this report. Hence they run no risk by reporting it.
  • by mysidia (191772) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:54PM (#31048948)

    What about 1 million cell phone photons?

    I'll agree that the electromagnetic absorpotion due to a single photon is small.

    But a cell phone release more than 1 photon, and the total energy and absorpotion of the electromagnetic wave is much larger than one photon.

    And might be sufficient to cause heating of tissue and other effects given a sufficient period of direct exposure to a sufficiently strong cell signal.

  • Insulation. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by headkase (533448) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @08:05PM (#31049018)
    This brings up what would be a desirable setup: Insulate the scientists doing the studies from the sources of funding. A bit of bureaucracy is the price to pay for greater truth. Industry wanks put their money into a committee to fund studies in predetermined areas. Scientists apply to the committee and receive funds from it with no future consequences because of the results they find. The committee decides who actually gets the money not the industry lackey who decided it needed to be studied. This would greatly root out the "self-confirming" type of study while still getting studies done.
  • by izomiac (815208) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @08:26PM (#31049184) Homepage
    Protein folding relies heavily on very lower energy Van der Waals interactions, ionic interactions, and even the hydration shell. Theoretically, the perfect type of low energy radiation could denature tumor suppressant proteins in a nucleated keratinocyte and generate a squamous cell carcinoma.

    That said, possible doesn't mean practical. The probability of 2 GHz being that perfect frequency, of denaturing a single type of tumor suppressant protein causing unchecked DNA replication, and that replication introducing a cancerous change is negligibly low. Plus, researchers would've sounded the alarm ages ago if a common/well studied cancer like SCC increased in incidence in a specific area of the body. Deeper tissue wouldn't get as much radiation exposure, and a non-skin cancer on the thigh is kinda rare (blood vessel, muscle, bone, and fat cancers have prevalences of ~.1% - 1%).
  • Re:Biased Reports? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 7-Vodka (195504) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @08:59PM (#31049380) Journal

    I'm not quite sure I understand. So you're saying either Hippies were pushing for global warming or... Nobody was?!

    Those are some crazy choices and I'd like to see how you ruled out every other person and motivation on the planet and were left with hippies.

    First I'd like to point out that the way academia is funded and the political and social pressures within can motivate scientists to come to incorrect consensus. Hey if you're climatologist and your options are to side with the man-made global warming consensus to continue to get funding, or denounce it, lose funding and be ostracized and fired; you have a pretty strong reason to say you see the man made connection.

    Also, I think you are completely missing the real big money and big power interests behind pushing global warming. Governments are SALIVATING at the proposition of a new way to exercise power over people with all the new carbon regulations. Downright jumping over themselves to start taxing. It puts them in an incredible position of power and control. What aspect of your life do you think does not depend on some sort of carbon exchange and release many times over? The only thing I can think of is growing plants and you better sure as hell not intend on eating them.

    And don't forget the big corporations who are also dying for "carbon trading" like the financial industry. In fact don't forget big corporations, full stop. This is another way for the big boys to keep small business from ever posing a threat. Another way to squash your smaller competitor in a non-competitive manner and prevent a functioning capitalist system.

    In fact, even proponents of global governance, population control, eugenics and entities interested in creating a more powerful world bank have seized on to this issue to further progress their causes. Look at the club of rome [wikipedia.org]. When you have dodgy science about to command this much power every loonie wants in on the action. And don't tell me it's not dodgy, every prediction and every model ever made by a global warming supporter has always proven wrong and al gore's little film was not worthy of even being called science there were so many convenient errors.

    Of course, not everyone is on board. The oil companies probably don't like this, only because it is the *perception* that their business is the only one that deals in carbon. Don't worry though, if they get their wish and convince us to switch to a hydrogen economy we can drive our fuel cell cars blissfully unaware that the only way to make that hydrogen economically is to use their hydrocarbons. Oh and as a bonus we can pay them to keep using their fueling infrastructure.

    The bottom line is this, there are many more well proven pollution causes to champion and many many more worthwhile humanitarian causes to fight for. There are wars right now killing millions of people. Disease killing millions when prevention and cure is available. Starvation, rape, slave trafficking. Look at the damn pollution we've slung into the seas. You can't even eat fish more than once a month now without getting high mercury and dioxin levels. So you've got to be kidding me focusing on this, an issue that is FAR from settled and trying to introduce taxation and control by force.

    And you're giving me this line about hippies....

  • by students (763488) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @09:09PM (#31049450) Homepage Journal

    If the photon doesn't have enough energy to put the molecule into a new state, it simply doesn't get absorbed.

    For cell phone radiation and carbon bonds, that is an excellent approximation, but it is not generally true. There is such a thing as two photon excitation, where for example two 1 eV photons cause a 2 eV transition. In my lab we often observe two and three photon excitation using high power lasers and a sensitive spectrometer, though it is much less likely than single photon excitation. One would need to wait a very long time to observe million photon excitation.

  • by GooberToo (74388) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @10:06PM (#31049696)

    Something to keep in mind, as smart phones become more common, so is WIFI radiation exposure right next to your head. That's going to be roughly 4x as much TX power right next to your ear where the skull is less likely to stop it all.

    I'm just say'n...

  • funding realities (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stimpleton (732392) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:16PM (#31049990)
    My initial time at undergrad university thru to Masters was in German Literature back in the day. Then computers came along and I was hooked by this magical technology(PDP-11 days).

    Over the coming years I worked thru a Comp Sci degree, Post Grad work, and more in GIS(info in Geographic Info Systems). All the while also doing part time work back at the old dept teaching German Lit. I have been out of academia and in the industry for 15 years now.

    But the Comp Sci gave me research exposure to the Food Research Industry.

    Research, scholorships, and funding in the Arts we almost pure in their implementation. Food research and funding was rotten to the core. I have been on the recieving end of table thumping food industry ceo's. You are then told to bend over, take it, then go inform relevant parties of desired outcomes.

    Thank christ I am out of that sewer.

    In todays world I can only imagine what jewels lie in the communications gold veins and how that drives research.
  • Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Sunday February 07, 2010 @12:13AM (#31050266) Homepage Journal

    if this video shows you with a bunny head on, I may have to hunt you down.

    Galactus, [wikipedia.org] my first choice, is out of the question for obvious reasons. I'll likely don a Spider-Man mask, though nothing is yet set in stone. She will most likely wear a generic mask. [wordpress.com]

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <(deleted) (at) (slashdot.org)> on Sunday February 07, 2010 @12:24AM (#31050302)

    1. Cancer levels HAVE risen.
    2. Add incubation time.

    Then again, I still hate you all acting so black/white in this discussion. EVERYONE of you, who can’t discuss it without “taking sides”, no matter what “side”, is a dogmatic idiot, and should suck a bag of dicks as punishment! [;)... (half-serious)]

    Guys, what we need is a single reference page of straight out “facts”. Meaning a formal system to enter logic statements and common paradigms. Then a reader can choose which paradigms he accepts too, and following the logic reasoning, get to the same conclusion... or weave in his own paradigms / mark conclusions with “non sequitor” etc. (It should be specifically designed so that people who don’t understand formal logic, can’t argue with it.
    Resulting from that, a layman-readable page should be generated, which allows everyone to follow that logic, as long as he accepts the paradigms (e.g. laws of quantum physics) and logic itself.

  • by pydev (1683904) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @12:40AM (#31050386)

    The energy of a carbon bond is a few electron volts. IOW, that much energy is needed to cause a chemical change in the molecule. The energy of a 2GHz cell-phone photon is about 0.00001 eV. Cell-phone photons cannot cause a chemical change.

    Where do you get the idea from that the only thing that can cause cancer is changes in chemical bonds?

    In fact, anything that alters regulatory mechanisms within the cell might cause cancer. A lot of the structure and function of cells are determined by electrical fields, conformations of molecules, and vibrations of molecules. 2GHz microwave radiation can certainly change those.

  • Re:Biased Reports? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pipingguy (566974) * on Sunday February 07, 2010 @01:05AM (#31050488) Homepage
    You think that hundreds of millions of dollars via government grants is something that doesn't inspire a certain degree of corruption? Sheesh. But, for you, I guess it's always all about the big bad corporations, isn't it.
  • by ShawnDoc (572959) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @02:12AM (#31050752) Homepage
    Where do you live that WiFi is limited to 20mW? In the US the limitation is 4W (EIRP) (PTP links are different). In most of Europe it is limited to 100mW. The typical home WiFi router is usually in the 80-100mW EIRP range.
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @08:49AM (#31051862)

    This guy's post was modded "Insightful"?

    Are you kidding me? He spent his entire post justifying (poorly) why he didn't read the article.

    And yes, I happen to know what I am talking about because I've put in the effort of reading tons of stuff, much of which I find disagreeable in the extreme. (At the moment, I'm working up the balls to dive into Ayn Rand's, "The Fountainhead".) -Why do I do this to myself? Because while reading and listening to people's arguments, I regularly find that despite the tone or bias of the author in question, despite my own views on various matters, there is nearly always a nugget or two of useful information I didn't know about previously and from which I can benefit either directly or through researching further. That's why I trust my opinions more than those of people who are apparently scared of reading.

    Think about it; even a dedicated lunatic who spends his life studying something I find silly is naturally going to put a LOT of energy into researching and digging up buried patterns which I simply don't care enough to do myself. Then that lunatic will present his prize nuggets for my approval. This is a gift! I can look at that stuff and weigh it according to my own powers of deduction without my having to do any of the heavy lifting. And sure, a high percentage of those nuggets may well be flawed, but even flawed thinking will reveal information which can be useful, and in some cases, the lunatic will turn out to NOT be a lunatic at all. There are numerous famous examples of people being ostracized by the herd even when they had lots of great things to offer. You know some of the famous names. Heck, most of us here were probably laughed at in school because we had the misfortune of not fitting in with the herd groupthink. Geeks should be the LAST people to judge others in a sheep-like manner. "But I don't have the time to read; I have to judge books by the cover." BULLSHIT. Turn off the damned TV and stop playing video games. MAKE time. Jeezuz.

    Reading things you disagree with should be a priority. How else are you going to strengthen your own views? Not by pretending you are right, by fortifying ignorance, but by continually challenging and updating what you think you know. If this poster and I were plopped in a library for 100 years, and we followed our personal methods, (me of reading and weighing everything and his of only reading what he agreed with), is there any doubt which of us would come out more capable of dealing with the world? (And who would come out one of those old men who closes his eyes and shakes his head and says, "No, no, no" to everything anybody says, who never listens and who talks too much about nothing, and who has generally devolved into a state of old-man cartoon uselessness?)

    Refusing to read based on your not liking the type of person doing the writing is barely a step away from book burning.

    Oh, and by the way, the poster's problems regarding the Frey Effect are just plain silly. Read the general wikipedia notes [wikipedia.org] and then follow up what you find there on your own if you don't believe me.

    -FL

  • by Antaeus Feldspar (118374) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @12:50PM (#31052950) Homepage

    Your own response really casts doubt on your claims.

    You claim that even when you read things you disagree with, you generally find "a nugget or two of useful information I didn't know about previously and from which I can benefit either directly or through researching further", and proceed to go into a long comical diatribe based on the implicit assumption this one brief "interaction" of ours entirely sums up our entire beings. Oh, yes, I'm sure you know everything about my information processing habits based on one Slashdot comment, and I'm sure that your extrapolation of that to the results of a century spent in a library is an entirely accurate non-caricature.

    Yet you fail to even mention the Myung meta-analysis which I described, which (similar to the GQ article) divided up studies, announced that a certain sub-group of those studies presented an alarming result, and failed to show adequate consideration to the possibility that sub-grouping in the fashion they did introduced a co-founder. I'm sorry, should I have buried that nugget in piles of conspiracy-mongering clap-trap, so that you would be able to recognize it as information?

    You also fail to respond in any meaningful fashion to my exposure of the original article's misconception of the Frey effect, instead pulling what I like to call "the haystack gambit." "Oh, so you argue that A, do you? Well, you're wrong! You're so totally wrong! I am not even obligated to give specific reasons why anyone should believe that you're wrong; I will just tell you that the proof that you are absolutely wrong is contained in Wikipedia article X/somewhere in the complete writings of Y/on the side of a needle located in haystack Z! Now you cannot rebut me without poring through everything I chose to throw at you in order to try and figure out what the heck my argument actually is."

    If you think that every moldering garbage heap of thought has in it, somewhere, some tiny little scrap which, even if it is not a scrap of truth, at least provides the material for a moment's consideration, you may be technically correct (or perhaps you just haven't spent enough time on the Internet.)

    But as one grows older and learns to value one's time, one realizes that not every garbage heap contains a reward worth the effort of digging it out.

  • by mangu (126918) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @05:06PM (#31054798)

    The problem is that an advanced technology does not contain information to infer the intermediate stages.

    Take semiconductors, for instance. The first transistor was patented in 1947, by coincidence the year of the alleged UFO crash in New Mexico. Some conspiracy theorists have used this coincidence to claim that semiconductors were reverse engineered from alien technology. But there is a catch.

    There is absolutely nothing in a modern semiconductor that could have been used to accelerate the development of the transistor in 1947. Not even the raw material of the chip would be of any use, the first transistors were made of germanium which is not used anymore. The first transistor was built by adding a second contact to a point-contact diode, which had been known for decades. An example of a point-contact diode is the galena detector that has been used in crystal radios for a hundred years now.

    From point-contact transistors technology evolved to junction transistors and integrated circuits. There's a step-by-step record of this development that would be much different if it consited of reverse engineering of an advanced technology. A simple look at the first transistor [porticus.org] is enough to see that it derives from the crystal detectors [wikimedia.org] that had been used for several decades by 1947.

  • Re:Biased Reports? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by joocemann (1273720) on Sunday February 07, 2010 @09:04PM (#31056598)

    corporations in the green industry

    What is this 'green industry' and where can I invest?

    Solar panels
    Organic Foods
    Clean Energy developing companies
    recycling companies
    ------

    I'm excited about JC Venter's / Exxon's algal-fuel production that will be started this year with a seed plant in the bay area and then ramped up to large scale production next year.

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