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Brain Cancer Worries? Look Up Your Phone's SAR 165

Posted by timothy
from the before-it's-too-late dept.
CWmike writes "With recent news of a possible link between cell phone radiation and risk of brain cancer, you may have a new-found interest in knowing how much radiation your mobile handset is giving off — or, more importantly, how much your body might be absorbing. The FCC's legal limit for mobile phones is 1.6 Watts of radiofrequency energy per kilogram, using a measure called Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). The Environmental Working Group, which tracks SAR data for more than 1,300 cell phone and smartphone models, notes that several factors besides your handset affect your actual level of exposure. Look up your phone's SAR; or see a full chart of phones." And relax — have a coffee.
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Brain Cancer Worries? Look Up Your Phone's SAR

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  • only brain cancer? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by boguslinks (1117203) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @01:01AM (#36335706)
    Have they bothered thinking about other cancers in all of this? I had testicular cancer last year, and my phone spends a lot more time in my jacket or pants pocket than it does up against my head.
    • by Arbition (1728870)

      Have they bothered thinking about other cancers in all of this? I had testicular cancer last year, and my phone spends a lot more time in my jacket or pants pocket than it does up against my head.

      Also, presumably there is a lot of flesh between your pockets and your testicles.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Arbition (1728870)
        Hmm, if you click preview and edit it before the preview actually comes up, you see the old version of the preview but what you edited is posted. that quote isn't what I wanted there.
    • by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @02:43AM (#36335884)

      It also isn't continuously transmitting at full power while hugging your balls. There's a reason that phones start affecting everything around them when you actually get a call or an SMS. The power output shoots through the roof when it is actually in use.

      I'm sorry about your cancer, but I highly doubt the phone had anything to do with it.

      • by lintux (125434)

        I'm not sure if that assumption is still true in the age of always-online smartphones.

        I suppose syncing e-mail all day is not as intensive as a phonecall in progress, but if you look at duration again..

        • by Mr Z (6791) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @04:55AM (#36336182) Homepage Journal

          Well, try an experiment: Set your phone next to some powered-on computer speakers. At least w/ GSM phones you'll find you hear the "boppita-boppita-bop" of a sync every dozen minutes or so (widely variable), but most of the time its silent. If you get an SMS or a phonecall, though, your speakers will scream like a banshee.

          Always-on and always-associated phones don't actually consume much bandwidth, and therefore don't represent much transmit power. At least, when you're well within range.

          Granted, my experience has been in a major city with mostly good reception. If you're further from a tower, it could be much worse than that.

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          Well you can find the answer right now. Look at your phone, assuming you have a smartphone and you're on a broadband dataplan? When actually transferring data a little H symbol will pop up on your smartphone if you're in range of HSDPA service. I rarely see this on my phone unless I manually open the email program or a webclient, even with push emails enabled.

          Always-On does not mean always-transmitting.

    • by syousef (465911)

      With so many bugs and battery life limited to less than a day on a lot of the latest phones, I think the brain cancer worry isn't the greatest. The risk of having an aneurysm while throwing your phone at the pavement far outweighs it!

      Speaking of aneurysms, I didn't need another fucking thing to have to factor in when buying a phone. Now in addition to battery life, reliability, features and bugs, sluggish behaviour, DRM and lockdown, I have to look at the SAR? FFFFUUUUCCCCKKKK!!!

      • by cynyr (703126)

        I get decent battery life with my phone.... spends 8-9 hours a day steaming slacker radio over wifi, and when i leave I'm still at around 40%.

        HTC Glacier/T-Mobile myTouch 4g.

    • No need to worry about testicular cancer. Very little power is used when the phone is in standby. Note that the battery charge lasts a long time if you are not talking on the phone. The receiver is working, but the transmitter has a very low transmission rate.

      Any transmitted energy from a cell phone in a pants pocket would need to travel through a leg to get to testicles.

      Danger -- The Sun is a big electromagnetic radiation transmitter in the sky. Walking from the shade into the sun will heat your body much more than the energy of a cell phone transmitting during a call.

      Standing in the sun absorbing high-energy ultraviolet radiation is truly damaging; severe exposure can cause sores and even eventually skin cancer. The photons of ultraviolet light are more than a million times more energetic than cell phone radiation, and the sun emits far, far more energy than a cell phone.

      The entire earth receives [wikipedia.org] 1,218,000,000,000,000 Watts from the Sun. The earth receives more total solar energy from the Sun in one hour than is generated and used by humans in an entire year. The average energy received over the entire earth is about 250 Watts per square meter over a 24 hour day [wikipedia.org], ignoring clouds.

      The sun emits energy in the same wavelengths as cell phones.
      The only difference between the sun's energy and cell phone emissions is that the cell phone energy is at one specific frequency, and the sun emits energy at all frequencies. GSM cell phones use frequency bands at 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MegaHertz. GSM [wikipedia.org] is the most popular kind of cell phone transmitter design.

      But no one has shown any frequency-specific interaction, and the physics is quite clear that there cannot be any. High energy electromagnetic waves definitely can have a strong effect on chemical bonds, but not low energy waves. The energy emitted by cell phones is perhaps 1/10,000 or 1/100,000 of the energy needed.

      I haven't yet calculated how much energy is received from the Sun at those frequencies. However, there is no way for the energy from cell phones to be resonant in the body; the wavelength of cell phone radiation is too long. So the cell phone energy just heats the body, as does the Sun's energy. Without resonance, there is insignificant coupling to specific chemical processes.

      Instant fame There are many, many very well-educated people in the world who would love to discover a new way that electromagnetic energy interacts with matter. Such a discovery would make any physicist or chemist instantly famous, and would earn him or her a Nobel Prize. The motivation to make such a discovery is enormous for people working in those fields.

      The fact that no such discovery of a new kind of interaction has been made indicates at least that it is not easy. Another indication is that apparently no one has even proposed a mechanism for low-energy long-wavelength electromagnetic radiation to have an effect on chemistry.

      It's not as though it hasn't occurred to anyone to do research.

      People may say that there may be some subtle effect that we have not yet discovered. And there may be. However, those comments often give the impression that they think that the discovery of a new subtle interaction would have a subtle effect on our understanding of the world. That isn't true. In fact, the discovery of a new kind of interaction between electromagnetic radiation and matter would create a revolution in Physics, in areas we think we know well, in areas where our understanding has been stable for many decades. For example, Planck's constant is known with an uncertainty of only 89 parts per billion.

      That makes a new discovery seem less likely.

      Einstein's discovery of relativity revolutionized our understanding o
      • by hey! (33014) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @05:48PM (#36338304) Homepage Journal

        While I agree with your conclusions, I don't think much of your arguments. In some cases they are red herrings (the amount of solar radiation received over the entire earth's surface is impressive, but irrelevant; the list of red herrings goes on). In other cases they are factually wrong (cell phones do not emit on a single frequency) or imply things that are factually wrong (e.g. that we get more radiation from the Sun in the 1.8GHz band than we would from regular cell phone use). The claim that physics rules out *any* possible interaction is overstated to the point it becomes unsupportable. It would be better to say that physics rules out the easily hypothesized mechanisms of causation. In absence of any proof a link exists, that's more than enough justification to doubt; but if a link were demonstrated to exist then we'd be forced to look for causes that were more plausible.

        That, by the way, is where the proof of any cell phone/brain cancer link actually fails: demonstrable existence.The case *against* the link hypothesis amounts to this:

        (A) the claim is based on a meta-study and doesn't control for confounding factors enough to be conclusive.
        (B) the reasoning and evidence supporting the claim is preliminary, and further scrutiny is certain to reveal methodological flaws (this is true even when the conclusion eventually pans out, but not all conclusions do).
        (C) were the link to be proven, it would point to significant holes in our knowledge in areas of physics or anatomy where we are pretty confident there are no such holes.

        Taken together, this is strong justification to doubt the hypothesis. I'd go further than that and say that were it not for the panic invoked by reporting, this probably wouldn't be worth pursuing. But do we have something that could be called disproof? I don't think so. The world is full of possibilities like this; things we can't categorically rule out, but which we have no compelling reason to believe.

        This is just another case where the null hypothesis happens to be more credible than the hypothesis.

    • I had testicular cancer 5 years ago. I bought a cell phone 4 years ago. Have they looked into cancer causing cell phones?
    • Yes. Only 2 types of cancer had anything resembling a vague correlation, and so are in the "maybe causes cancer, if we dont determine it was chance, or bias, or sampling error" category.

      In other words, anyone claiming we need to start changing our lives based on this is full of it, there is neither a suggested mechanism (non-ionizing radiation, only known bio effects are thermal), nor anything resembling a good study linking cancer to cell phone use.

  • Have a Coffee? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 04, 2011 @01:06AM (#36335718)

    ...But coffee is also in the 'may possibly cause cancer' that mobile phones have recently been added to

    "IARC conducts numerous reviews and in the past has given the same score to, for example, pickled vegetables and coffee" [http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20067593-266.html]

    • ...But coffee is also in the 'may possibly cause cancer' that mobile phones have recently been added to

      Yes but coffee has been around an awful lot longer in order to gauge long term effects.

      • by jd (1658)

        True, and look at all the people who have died throughout history! If you draw a graph plotting coffee consumption vs. people dying that year, there's a clear possibility of some correlation or other.

        (Sarcasm mode off)

        Seriously, the problem is that substances can be healthy at one dose and toxic and/or carcinogenic at another. The media can't handle complexities like that, and as departments are increasingly reliant on sponsors, citation indexes and other ephemera, scientists are increasingly aware of the p

        • A really good tea tastes best when it is warm, not hot, because the higher temperature doesn't allow you to taste all the nuances.

          I drink a lot of tea, about 2 liters a day. Many kinds of tea, really - Japanese and Chinese green tea, Oolong from India, China, Taiwan and Indonesia, black tea from India, Indonesia and Nepal... all of them definitely warm, not hot, because, while I drink a lot of tea, its taste is most important to me.

        • by WillKemp (1338605)

          Seriously, the problem is that substances can be healthy at one dose and toxic and/or carcinogenic at another.

          Another serious problem is that substances can be healthy for one person and toxic and/or carcinogenic for another.

    • Causing cancer (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TuringCheck (1989202)
      Judging by the labels the entire state of California seems to cause cancer :-D
      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        >>Judging by the labels the entire state of California seems to cause cancer :-D

        Prop 65? One of the biggest jokes of a law, ever. We now have, as you say, spammed signs everywhere saying that the area may (or may not) contain cancer causing agents (of whose natural and severity is completely unknown). There's no penalty to putting up a sign even if you don't know if there's a cancer causing substance in the area, so most businesses do it to CYA. I asked once when I was working in an office what the ch

        • You've spammed the world.
          Now I know why my headphones came with a warning label saying: "Chewing this cable could cause cancer in the state of California".

          • by ShakaUVM (157947)

            Does it really?

            That's as bad as my bench saying "Improper use could cause serious damage - please consult with a doctor before using."

      • by reboot246 (623534)
        White mice cause cancer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuricouRaven (1897204)
      Life causes cancer.
      • by jd (1658)

        That's not too far from the truth. At least certain forms of cancer are believed to be fossil genes and/or genes from an earlier phase of life being reactivated. In other words, life exists because of cancer. Other forms have other causes (if a telemere runs to zero length, so the next cell division corrupts the encoding, then that may also cause a cancer; you also have retroviruses which are compatible enough with modern human DNA that they can infect it and thrive but which are incompatible enough that th

    • by Mr Z (6791)
      Urgl... one of my favorite treats in China when I visited it recently was the pickled vegetables! Dammit! Not to mention the fact that I drink coffee like most people breathe air.... I'm screwed.
      • by pjt33 (739471)

        You drink coffee through your nose into your lungs? No wonder you're screwed...

  • by B33RM17 (1243330)
    Anyone else smell that?

    *sniff sniff*


    Kinda smells like someone spreading FUD...
  • Quick lets look up how much things are killing us rather than getting rid of them.....
    • You don't seriously think that a fraction of a watt of RF (using a high estimate, 1.6W/kg * 0.2kg = 0.32W) is actually causing harm, do you? The WHO, being extra cautious, said that they don't have enough evidence to say whether or not a cell signal can cause cancer. Understandable, since cell phones haven't been around long enough to do long-term studies. Keep in mind, though, that other things generally considered benign, such as coffee, are in the same WHO list.

      If you're concerned about your cell pho

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Great scott! Mine is listed as having 1.1 million gigawatts!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Just don't be talking on your phone when your car hits 88 mph and you should be fine.

      • by jd (1658)

        I dunno, it would be a neat way to never have to pay the phone bill.

  • I'll worry when someone proves non-ionizing radiation causes cancer.

    http://www.epa.gov/radiation/understand/ionize_nonionize.html [epa.gov]
    • by TheLink (130905)

      Just because it's non-ionizing radiation doesn't mean it can't damage cells, or alter proteins. Otherwise a microwave oven wouldn't be able to cook stuff. Or people wouldn't have to be careful about radar exposure[1].

      Damage cells enough and the odds of cancer go up.

      The risks are probably not that high (compared to smoking and some toxins). But the phones often operate rather close to heads. And there are measurable effects ) http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/305/8/808.abstract [ama-assn.org] ). So I'd keep my cellphone usa

      • by EdZ (755139)
        Remember that the energy pumped out by a microwave is roughly 1000 times that of the peak output of a CDMA phone. And that the energy of said phone is focussed away from your head (for the simply reason that you don't want to waste transmission power), whereas the energy of the microwave is bouncing around a small box.
        Radio antenna output can be orders of magnitude more than the microwave oven, depending on antenna application, and increased proximity causes an exponential increase in exposure (in addition
        • by WillKemp (1338605)

          [......] And that the energy of said phone is focussed away from your head (for the simply reason that you don't want to waste transmission power) [......]

          Ridiculous! Phone antennas are omnidirectional. Suppose the BTS was the other side of your head from the phone - focussing the RF away from your head wouldn't work very well, would it?

        • by Bengie (1121981)

          "Remember that the energy pumped out by a microwave is roughly 1000 times that of the peak output of a CDMA phone"

          More than that. My CDMA phone peaks at 0.2watts and my microwave is ~1200watts(very typical). That's about 6,000 times stronger.

        • by TheLink (130905)

          increased proximity causes an exponential increase in exposure (in addition to beam shaping, this is why hugging a mobile phone antenna is a Bad Idea, but standing under one is of little effect).

          As I said, phones operate rather close to heads. About half the output is absorbed by the head. It certainly is not focused away. Designers just try to locate the antenna so it's not closer to the head than it has to be.

          You're at more danger from the thermal radiation emitted by the phone's electronics being absorbed by your skin than RF radiation absorbed by your brain.

          Skin repairs itself much faster than brains. And typically handles damage like "sunburn" better.

          Human brains can and do cope with damage, but it's typically more a result of workarounds than repair.

  • by Sipper (462582) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @02:26AM (#36335856)

    The reason is that the frequencies cell phones use are below the spectrum of ultraviolet light. It is near the spectrum of ultraviolet light where the first ionizing radiation occurs, which is required to be able to cause cancer. Ionizing means that the energy level of the individual photons of the transmission have enough energy to disturb the molecular structure of live cells. Microwave "radiation" (which has absolutely nothing to do with nuclear radiation) is far within the level of the non-ionizing radiation spectrum, so there is no possibility of it having the energy required to cause cancer.

    Cell phones use frequencies around 800 MHz to around 2 GHz or so. 3 GHz has an energy level of about 12.4 ueV; ultraviolet light where the first ionizing radiation is possible is around 124ev -- that's a 10,000,000:1 difference in energy level. Have a look at the energy level chart on the right hand side of:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_spectrum [wikipedia.org]

    or even better, see page 3 of FCC OET Bulletin 56, which is a Q&A on Biological Effects and Potential Hazards of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields:

    http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Documents/bulletins/oet56/oet56e4.pdf [fcc.gov]

    People are also afraid of the cell base stations, because they don't know how safe they actually are. The transmitters for these typically send 20 - 40 watts -- that's all. This is then sent through directional "sectored" antennas that typically have 120 degrees of horizontal beam width and only 6 to 15 degrees of vertical beam width; so the three-dimensional antenna pattern is like a 120 degree slice of a pancake, yielding gain of about 13 dBi. This focusing is where the "gain" of antennas comes from -- by focusing where the energy is transmitted.

    In the U.S., the standard for specifically what frequencies and power levels are considered safe is the IEEE C95.1 standard, which is unfortunately not freely available, however there's a an overview here: http://www.interferencetechnology.com/uploads/media/AG_07.pdf [interferen...nology.com]

    This standard is incredibly long to read, but boils down to this: the only proven effect of microwave radiation in 60 years of research is the effect of microwave heating. No cancer. Further than that, the standard narrows down to the power levels that are safe for various frequency regions concerning microwave heating.

    But if you really want something to "bite your teeth on", have a look at the international ICNIRP guidelines: http://www.icnirp.de/documents/emfgdl.pdf [icnirp.de]

    Now, if you go through the MATH of how close you have to be to the antennas of a cell tower for it to be "unsafe", the result is pretty interesting:

    Spec limit for human-absorbed power per IEEE C95-1 at 900 MHz: 50 Watts/m^2
    13 dBi gain = gain of 20
    EIRP = 20 W transmitted power * gain of 20 = 400 W
    400 W / 4*pi*R^2 = 50 W/m^2
    R = 0.636 meters
    0.636 meters = 2.09 feet

    So at 900 MHz and with a typical transmit power of 20 Watts and a sectored antenna with 13 dBi gain, you need to be 2 feet in front of the antenna while it's transmitting for it to be considered unsafe. This means the only way it's unsafe for a human being is if they're not only on the tower, but right in front of the antenna while it's operating at full power.

    The cell phones themselves have a limit on how much power they are allowed to transmit. There are different power limits in various countries; in the U.S. the limit is 1.6 W/kg SAR, in Canada I believe the limit is 10 W/kg SAR. SAR stands for "Specific Absorption Rate". What you really want to know is "what SAR power level is unsafe?", and the answer is that in lab t

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      The reason is that the frequencies cell phones use are below the spectrum of ultraviolet light. It is near the spectrum of ultraviolet light where the first ionizing radiation occurs, which is required to be able to cause cancer.

      I don't think that's the reason at all.

      A more likely reason is that UV frequencies have a hard enough time passing through a plane of glass let alone all the walls in your house, all the trees outside, that hill at the end of the street, and the big plastic shield over the antenna on the comms tower.

    • Ionizing radiation starts above visible light, radiation below visible light is non-ionizing. So if you are wondering if something has the possibility to be ionizing or not you need to ask "Is it higher frequency than visible light?" The only things that are would be ultra-violet, X-rays, gamma rays, and cosmic rays (or high energy gamma rays more properly). Anything else is below visible light and thus has no possibility to be ionizing.

      In terms of frequency, visible light ends at about 800 THz so that is a

    • by geogob (569250)

      The reason is that the frequencies cell phones use are below the spectrum of ultraviolet light. It is near the spectrum of ultraviolet light where the first ionizing radiation occurs, which is required to be able to cause cancer. Ionizing means that the energy level of the individual photons of the transmission have enough energy to disturb the molecular structure of live cells. Microwave "radiation" (which has absolutely nothing to do with nuclear radiation) is far within the level of the non-ionizing radiation spectrum, so there is no possibility of it having the energy required to cause cancer.

      This is total bullshit. There are a lot of studies show the link between EM radiation at longer wavelengths than the UV causing an increase in cancer rates. I'm not even going to bother providing a references to one of the thousand papers on this subject. Just look at some studies performed in England and Belgian on the incidence of cancer for radar operators in WW2. We are speaking of other magnitudes of energy levels, but it still invalids your opening statement. Maybe you also overlooked non-ionizing bio

      • by the_raptor (652941) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @03:46AM (#36336024)

        Link them. I just checked the top Google results and there is a whole ONE paper with a group of 25 men which shows a correlation. There is another which covers most of the US forces in Korea and specifically looked at radar technicians which found no correlation (in fact for several categories they had lower cancer rates). All the others are mixed which screams to me "random cancer cluster" not "non-ionising radiation causes cancer".

        The thing you are missing is that early radar equipment used exciters that emitted large amounts of IONISING radiation. The stuff that come out of the antenna was non-ionising, but it wouldn't have been healthy sitting next to the actual transmitter.

        And those power levels of orders of magnitudes higher then from a cell phone. So the claim is that not only does non-ionising radiation cause cancer in a way that hasn't been identified in over a century of research, but that repeated small exposures are worse then single large exposures of the same overall magnitude. The opposite of how ionising radiation works.

        • Besides high levels of RF radiation. Including many KNOWN carcinogens like PCBs in high voltage capacitors, transformers and insulating oils, Asbestos in old wire insulation. Chlorinated solvents used for cleaning and degreasing equipment. Radioactive isotopes used inside spark gaps and transmitting tubes. X-rays and ultraviolet emitted from high voltage vacuum tubes..

          And because we are talking about MILITARY radar techs, you need to add in all the other nice stuff that soldiers were potentially exposed to,

      • by Sipper (462582) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @04:15AM (#36336092)

        The reason is that the frequencies cell phones use are below the spectrum of ultraviolet light. It is near the spectrum of ultraviolet light where the first ionizing radiation occurs, which is required to be able to cause cancer. Ionizing means that the energy level of the individual photons of the transmission have enough energy to disturb the molecular structure of live cells. Microwave "radiation" (which has absolutely nothing to do with nuclear radiation) is far within the level of the non-ionizing radiation spectrum, so there is no possibility of it having the energy required to cause cancer.

        This is total bullshit. There are a lot of studies show the link between EM radiation at longer wavelengths than the UV causing an increase in cancer rates. I'm not even going to bother providing a references to one of the thousand papers on this subject. Just look at some studies performed in England and Belgian on the incidence of cancer for radar operators in WW2. We are speaking of other magnitudes of energy levels, but it still invalids your opening statement. Maybe you also overlooked non-ionizing biological effects?

        No; as I said, the non-ionizing effects are microwave heating... and there aren't any ionizing effects. And I quoted both U.S. and international studies and standards that cover over 60 years of scientific research on the subject.

        The only thing you're correct about in your comment is that there are papers as well as books that claim a link between microwaves and cancer; it's a very popular myth, and has been for over a decade. I'm saying it's a myth, and I've told you why I'm personally sure it's a myth, and I've given you some of my research on the subject. ...and you've given me your opinion.

        And then... the eyes... Again a falsehood. The eyes are very actively cooled, and that with a very high blood flow, to cool them down from the incoming and concentrated (through the eye optics) radiation. On a very sunny day, where you have over 1 kW/m^2 of irradiance, without a good cooling, they would simply burn/cook.

        I wonder how one can present such a thought out post, with calculations and everything, but with such blatantly falls information at the same time.

        I never said the eyes weren't actively cooled; I said that they're the most sensitive part of the body because they don't have much blood flow due to only having capillaries in them. They're also the most sensitive because with a sufficient increase in temperature, cataracts will result. On other places on the body, an increase in temperature would mostly cause temporary damage or a burn that would heal later -- but not with the eyes.

      • by jmichaelg (148257)

        This is total bullshit. There are a lot of studies show the link between EM radiation at longer wavelengths than the UV causing an increase in cancer rates. I'm not even going to bother providing a references to one of the thousand papers on this subject.

        Then it shouldn't have been that difficult for you to find one or two *good* studies to link to. Absent a few worthwhile links, your post is equivalent to "because I say so...."

    • Plastics (Score:5, Interesting)

      by the_raptor (652941) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @03:53AM (#36336050)

      IMO the most logical explanation for the correlation between cell phone use and cancer is that the cancers are from the KNOWN carcinogens that leech from plastics. Like the plastic cases that most phones used until the iPhone made metal/glass cases cool. Holding a piece of carcinogen leaking plastic to your head for hours on end for a decade or more seems a much more logical culprit then non-ionising radiation.

      P.S. The plastic theory would probably explain why bowel cancer is spiking amongst the young. Young people are eating/drinking from crappy plastic containers at higher rates then ever. If you like carrying water around all the time get a metal or glass flask.

      • by MrHanky (141717)

        Right. Since phones were never ever made of plastic back in the days before wireless.

      • If you are talking about the BPA scare, please educate yourself. The BPA does NOT leach out unless you have hot (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc) or acidic (coffee, citrus juices, pop) liquids in them. Plain water is 100% PERFECTLY SAFE in BPA bottles.

        It is true however that reusing disposable water bottles CAN leach chemicals, so if that was what you meant, then ok. Just remember, those bottles are only designed to be used once, and in rather short order.
    • by arkhan_jg (618674)

      The thing that always amuses me about cancer panic regarding non-ionizing radiation from cell phones and now wifi, is that we're literally living in a sea of non-ionizing radiation, and have been for 70 years. If you look at the energy/m^2, radio and television broadcast radiation are significantly higher that cellphones, and WAY higher than wifi. TV and radio sit firmly in the 'radio band' at frequencies lower than 1GHz, while mobile phones straddle the border with the microwave band, at between 0.9GHz and

      • by dougmc (70836)

        The thing that always amuses me about cancer panic regarding non-ionizing radiation from cell phones and now wifi, is that we're literally living in a sea of non-ionizing radiation, and have been for 70 years

        s/70 years/for as long as man has walked the earth/

        The Sun itself emits a sea of non-ionizing radiation in addition to the ionizing radiation it emits. Hell, the universe itself does-- the cosmic background radiation (though it is pretty weak compared to what the Sun emits.)

        (Of course, it IS well known that exposure to the Sun does cause cancer (via it's ionizing radiation). Of course, it also helps you make vitamin D and is pretty hard to avoid for most people, so we accept the risk -- but mitigate it wh

      • IIRC, this is how the idea of microwave ovens came about - high power radar dishes (which operate in the microwave spectrum) were literally cooking birds to death that roosted in front of the dishes - and they roosted there because the air was nice and warm...

        They tested this on Mythbusters, strapping a chicken carcass to front of a high-powered radar dish. After several hours, the chicken was still the same temperature as when they started. So even high-powered microwaves won't necessarily hurt you.

    • If the frequency is not the problem, then how do you explain the large number of children having cancer, living near the radio aerials in the Vatican?

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-10634977 [bbc.co.uk]

      • If the frequency is not the problem, then how do you explain the large number of children having cancer, living near the radio aerials in the Vatican?

        How do you explain the large number of children not having excess cancer, living near the other thousands of high-powered radio aerials in the world?

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        What chemicals are they using to keep plants off those aerials?
        What is the cancer risk at similar sites around the world?

    • by starless (60879)

      The reason is that the frequencies cell phones use are below the spectrum of ultraviolet light. It is near the spectrum of ultraviolet light where the first ionizing radiation occurs, which is required to be able to cause cancer. Ionizing means that the energy level of the individual photons of the transmission have enough energy to disturb the molecular structure of live cells.

      Certain viruses, such as HPV, can cause cancer without ever producing anything in the EM spectrum more energetic than miniscule amounts of IR radiation.
      It probably is the case that cell phones don't cause cancer, and theoretical considerations are important, but it'd be foolish to not regard the observational data as the real arbiter of this. If a statistically robust connection is found, then the interesting thing is to find out how that can happen.

      On theoretical grounds, dark energy either doesn't exist,

    • Is it possible for multiple radio waves of a non-harmful frequency to overlap and produce harmful frequencies? It seems just from picturing it in my mind that it would work but it would produce a signal with less power.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ilguido (1704434)

      The reason is that the frequencies cell phones use are below the spectrum of ultraviolet light. It is near the spectrum of ultraviolet light where the first ionizing radiation occurs, which is required to be able to cause cancer.

      99% of all carcinogenic substances do not emit ionizing radiations. On the other hand it is known that microwaves alter the physiology of the brain:
      http://www.nature.com/jcbfm/journal/v29/n5/full/jcbfm200914a.html [nature.com]
      http://www.nature.com/jcbfm/journal/v26/n7/full/9600279a.html [nature.com]
      There are a lot of scientific articles pointing out that low-power microwaves can damage brain cells or alter their physiology. Since that's the primary effect of a ionizing radiation (cancer is a secondary effect of the induced dama

    • Here's the problem with this, and most of modern science: It's model based.

      To use your reasoning, airport scanners are safe because we can model the effects of radiation on living tissue.

      ...except that this model has lots of assumptions which may or may not be true, which have not been verified by evidence. In the case of airport scanners, some of the most salient assumptions are: 1) This frequency is blocked by the skin 2) Exposures smaller than a cutoff minimum have no effect, and 3) The manufacturer is

    • stressing tissues can cause mutations, and sometime result in cancer, For two examples, oxygen deprivation and heating can result in cancer. Increased incidence of eye and testicular cancer have been noted in those that work with high power microwave transmitters. Yes, this is a very different situation than cell phone use, but still it isn't accurate to say only ionizing radiation can cause cancer.
  • by Seumas (6865) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @02:51AM (#36335912)

    Stop giving so much weight to this idea that they have concluded that cell phones may cause cancer. It's listed with a ton of other things under the "maybe" level. It's only based on repost that they've read. There was no independent study involved. They read a bunch of reports and based on those, concluded that it falls under the "may cause cancer" classification. As in, they can't state that it does or that it doesn't. Prior to this, they hadn't even gotten around to classifying it. This is a non-news story, except by twats trying to sensationalize it.

    • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @02:57AM (#36335932)
      Do not underestimate the power of twats. They only need a single report to take out of context, and they have their excuse. Just look at the antivax movement. They got exactly one study linking vaccination to autism, and that was withdrawn some years later with the researcher's in disgrace. There are hundreds of studies showing no link. And yet the anti-vax movement is still going strong, driven by powerful appeals to fear.
  • Smoking and cancer?

    Cell phone and cancer?

    Humans and Climate change?

    Well, die-hards die harder, but now! Mitt Romney acknowledges Climate Change [huffingtonpost.com]!

    Times are a changing

    • by dbIII (701233)
      So did President Nixon and the Democrat Johnson before him. The anti-intellectual luddite insanity started with Reagan at a time when his brain was not as good as it previously had been.
      For decades the Republicans were inspired by him so much have been behaving as if they have had Alzheimer's disease. It's about time they recovered.
  • no (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @03:10AM (#36335956) Journal
    • You know I was about to write a rebuttal to the article when I noticed that the FCC had already done the job for me. Too bad nobody actually bothered to read the FCC link because it wasn't in the /. summary.
  • So uh... (Score:3, Informative)

    by bmo (77928) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @03:11AM (#36335960)

    Where is even the correlation, let alone causative link, to brain cancer?

    This was on NPR the other day and it was all "LOL we don't know but it /might/ cause brain cancer even though every study we have shows there isn't any correlation."

    And the brain cancer it supposedly causes is a rare type that has not shown an increase in incidence from the time of no cell phones to the time of cellphones everywhere.

    This is fucking pseudoscience scare mongering. There is a moneyed interest here somewhere for the scare mongering. Grants? Maybe. But that doesn't explain the actions of Sweden. Who wants to scare people into not using cellphones, and why?

    That would explain this bullshit.

    --
    BMO

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Mashiki (184564)

      Seems to work pretty well for global warming. Why wouldn't it work well for cell phones? Same BS science, same faulty methodology. Oh I'm sure I'll be modded into oblivion now, but whatever.

      • by jpapon (1877296)
        There is a causative link between increased CO2 and planetary warming. The scale of the warming is what is up for debate, not the fact that 'Higher % CO2 --> Greenhouse effect --> Warming'. This cell phone thing is not the same thing at all. There isn't even any shown correlation, nevermind proven causation.
        • by Mashiki (184564)

          You might want to go back and look at your models. There's no causative effect from CO2, rather that CO2 lags behind temperatures. There's other drivers.

  • Safer phone lists..
    http://www.ewg.org/cellphoneradiation/Get-a-Safer-Phone [ewg.org]

    Research..
    http://www.ewg.org/cellphoneradiation/fullreport [ewg.org]

    And there is more available from their site.

  • Once upon a time there was a country Germany that had the world leading technology in maglev trains. Unfortunately while the Germans had the technology, due to their regulatory system they could not actually build the systems in their own country, so they shopped their technology to a country that could, China.

    The Chinese paid for building one demonstration system in Shanghai and seemed to be interested in paying for more maglev business from the Germans. Unfortunately after "public protests" [usatoday.com] of radiation

  • My iPhone is at hip level, in a "dollar store" 2$ holder clipped to my Levis jeans pocket...

    It's right next to my nuts, probably incinerating them everytime I receive a call...
    I don't even mind it, since listening to every article's "OMGZ ITZ KILLING ME" will mean I'll start living like an amish... (besides, as a typical /. user, I'll never meet a woman :)

    Like my favorite satire magazine liked to put it (CROC, Quebec), Living will give you cancer :)

    They still work OK, according to some girl friends of mine,

    • by jpapon (1877296)
      I used to drive everywhere with my cell phone resting between my thighs... and then one day I thought about it, and decided to start keeping it somewhere else. I don't actually believe the phone was doing any harm, but when it comes to mah nutz, better safe then sorry.
  • If a news article about a possible link to cancer from cell phones has you worried about brain cancer I don't think you are actually qualified to get brain cancer -- so you have no reason to worry.

    Next up: Breathing air and eating food can cause cancer

    • Next up: Breathing air and eating food can cause cancer

      Living for a period of time may cause death.

  • The proof is that if you look around you, there are people dying left and right from brain tumors, which the cell phones cause, since the majority of people (in "civilized" cultures) use cell phones. Right?

    What? People AREN'T dropping left and right with brain tumors?

    • by ecotax (303198)

      Well, actually they are.
      You can find the statistics here: http://www.abta.org/sitefiles/pdflibrary/ABTA-FactsandStatistics2010v3.pdf [abta.org]
      And to quote:

      Brain tumors are the:
      the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children under age 20
      the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in males up to age 39
      the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in females under age 20.
      the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in females ages 20–39.

      I'm not arguing that I'm convinced this is caused by cellphones. Clearly people don't drop dead immediately after using a cellphone, and don't develop a brain tumor after using a cell phone once or twice - we'd have noticed that. But brain tumors are a serious health problem, and all the WHO now claims is: we don't know whether cell phones are one of the causes of

  • Openmoko seems to be missing from the list. According to http://people.openmoko.org/openmoko/certificate/gta/gta02/certificate/CE/EA832514_R01_CE%20SAR_FIC_GTA02.pdf [openmoko.org] the SAR is 1.05 W/kg for GSM.
  • by MrKaos (858439) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @04:23AM (#36336120) Journal
    So apart from;
    • Getting run over while I am sms'ing and walking across the phone with my headphones on and getting run over by a stewpid driver talking on their mobile phone cause *they* wern't paying attention
    • Having to catch stupoid from a shitty provider because they all are stupoid
    • getting knee cancer in my knees cause my leg is on the phone
    • getting ball cancer in my balls because my dick dials numbers
    • getting bum cancer in my bum because my phone makes bum calls from my back pocket leading to an anus transplant
    • Almost getting hit while I am waiting at the lights in my car cause the guy has one hand on the wheel and the other talking on his phone while he is going around a corner (it really happened) DRIVING A TRUCK
    • being gps tracked, triangulated and targetted for sms advertising
    • having the cops go through it to search for any useful drug contacts that they can score from and then bust
    • My boss can call me
    • Getting brain cancer from a stoopid phone because hey when it's on your head is when it needs full power *sorta mostly*

    now your telling me I can get SARs from a phone. I'm just wondering if it's just me that would find it immensely satisfying to smash their phone with a hammer, sometimes.

  • What a curious selection of phones. The venerable Nokia 3410 is missing, but they somehow bothered to test an N-Gage.

    Here is comprehensive data for Nokia handsets. [nokia.com]
  • and the trial lawyers need something to move onto next.

    Probably because they could not get lawsuits up and running against fast food as a whole. Seriously who comes up with this stuff? Possibly is not a guarantee but I am quite sure a good legal team will find a simpleton jury out there to award damages. I can see it now, warnings on the side of my cell phone that it may cause cancer, complicate pregnancy, or cause planes to fall from the sky.

  • by Nidi62 (1525137)

    you may have a new-found interest in knowing how much radiation your mobile handset is giving off — or, more importantly, how much your body might be absorbing.

    Not really, no.

  • The table had the opposite effect on me than what the author probably intended. I'm thinking that the phones with the highest power levels might have the best call quality. I understand that networks, phone circuits and antennas are major players in call quality but then again, if the first elements are equivalent, power is going to determine what you can hear.

    .

    I'm sick to death of "can you hear me now..." when I'm on my cell.

  • The only known "cause" of cancer is a genetically deformed cell. The older you get the more your cells have divided. Cellular damage also causes more cells to divide. Nervous lip chewers (that chew their inner mouth tissues frequently) have the same approx amount of mouth cancer as snuff dippers (tobacco chewers). The more times a cell splits the more chance it will mutate and become a cancer. Cells that have split more times have a higher chance.

    Then, Cancer causes more of itself.

    Does exposure to EMF increase the chances of cancer? Do you think that adding energy to a chemical reaction may have a factor in the result? (DNA duplication == chemical reaction) Microwaves are non ionizing, but they still contribute heat, and last I checked, so did a Bunsen burner.

    Do foreign substances increase the chances of cancer? Do you think that adding more chemicals to a chemical reaction may have a factor in the result?

    IMHO, we should put more effort into researching a cure [indianexpress.com] than trying to figure out what causes (read: increases the chance of) cancer. There is no way to prevent genetic deformations of cells, but perhaps we can find a way to combat those that occur, (or use them to our advantage), and make the whole argument pointless.

  • Seems they don't have any data on the Nokia N900. That's OK; We can get it off of Nokia's web page : [nokia.com]

    "The highest SAR value under the ICNIRP guidelines for use of the device at the ear is 0.80 W/kg."

    Not bad at all, especially compared to the HTC Nexus One or the Motorola Droid Pro at 1.39 W/kg .

    jdb2

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