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California Government On the Dangers of Cellphones ( 237

mi quotes a report from CBS Local: After keeping it hidden for years, California's Department of Public Health has released a draft document outlining health officials' concerns about cellphone radiation exposure. The previously unpublished document was released this week after a judge indicated she would order the documents be disclosed. Health officials' overall recommendation is to "increase the distance between you and your phone" by using a headset, the speaker phone function and text messaging. Health officials recommend not sleeping near your phone and not carry it in your pocket or directly on your body, unless it is off. The fact sheet also states that "EMFs can pass deeper into a child's brain than and adult's" so suggests parents limit their child's cellphone use to texting, important call and emergencies.
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California Government On the Dangers of Cellphones

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  • Sigh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @06:11PM (#53972377) Journal

    If that's the case, then the entire human race needs to move to the bottom of salt mines, because the amount of radiation being produced by the sun ought to fry our brains by the time we're six months old.

    • by methano ( 519830 )
      By sticking their head in the sand, looks like some judge is well on their way.
    • Re:Sigh... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @06:17PM (#53972423) Homepage

      The document was unreleased because it was a factually wrong draft. A corded phone produces a weaker EMF than a wired headset? Really?

      • Re:Sigh... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @07:46PM (#53972935) Homepage Journal

        Several years ago, the IEEE Spectrum had a big article in which they tried to find the best current evidence on whether cell phones emitted harmful radiation. So they reviewed all the major studies.

        They had 2 interesting results:

        1. In the best evidence for the harms of EMF, the radiation wasn't steady over long periods of time, but intermittent, with exposures of minutes to hours every day.

        2. Studies of household radiation found the highest levels of EMFs from 2 sources: hair dryers and blenders.

        So if you're really worried about EMFs, you should get rid of hair dryers and blenders.

        I showed the IEEE Spectrum issue to Louis Slesin, the editor of Microwave News, and asked him about it. He refused to comment. I said, why not? He said, I just don't want to comment.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        Yes, really. The corded phone doesn't have to emit microwaves strong enough to reach the nearest tower. The wired headset will conduct at least some of the microwave radiation directly to your ear.

        The question of harm is a different matter.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The tissues do get warmer according to some studies with heavy use in areas with bad cell reception (equals maximum handset power), but whether that is harmful within the recommended maximum power limits of 2 watts, that is the question.

    • Or, simpler, move out of California, as nowhere else cellphones produce such deadly amounts of radiation.

    • If that's the case, then the entire human race needs to move to the bottom of salt mines, because the amount of radiation being produced by the sun ought to fry our brains by the time we're six months old.

      I'm pretty sure that by the time the sun's radiation reaches us, the amount of it that can penetrate more than a millimetre below the skin is vanishingly small. OTOH, the radiation from a cell phone, can and does penetrate much farther - as in all the way through.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        More importantly, cumulative exposure is important. Just because you use your phone does not mean the sun stops shining. Just because you use your phone, does not mean power lines stop generating powerful electromagnetic fields. Just because you use your phone does not mean airfield radars stop. Just because you use your phone does not mean radio and tv transmissions stop. On it's own, with limited use, probably not a problem, added to the rest, yeah, a problem ie using you phone, next to an airport, whilst

    • Non-native EMF (such as from devices) is not the same as EMF from the sun.

    • by Misagon ( 1135 )

      Your point is moot because the sun does not produce electromagnetic radiation in the microwave spectrum ...

      Seriously. Who moderated the parent post up?

    • Next... the California Assembly mandates the wearing of tin foil hats by children using cellphones.

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      The Sun is the least of our worries. The amount of "high energy" infrared (compared to microwave) EM radiation that we've being bathed in at room temperature is nearly 3 magnitudes greater. The deep tissue heating caused by sleeping next to someone is going to freak these people out.
  • How many times are we going to go through the whole cellphone radiation thing?

    • I'm so confused....

      That said, RF is dangerous depending on signal strength and exposure time. I don't, out of long time habits instilled in the Military, keep a cell phone by my head. I use headphones. Can the body tolerate the cell phones? Probably, but it's kind of like eating bacon. It tastes really good but in large quantities is not very healthy. Everything in moderation was coined quite wisely.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Let me ask you. Can the body tolerate solar RF?

        • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @06:30PM (#53972515)
          With or without a tinfoil hat?
        • Not very well, tbh. I get sunburned and theoretically could get cancer. The side of a house that is facing the sun will need repainting sooner. Sunlight destroys fabric, carpet, plastic, and a lot of other things. The sun is dangerous, and that's before you even arrive at it.
          • by msauve ( 701917 )
            It depends on what one means by "RF". If it's a synonym for EM radiation, sure, you can get sunburn. But it's more often used to refer to much lower frequencies (Wiki says <300 GHz, for what it's worth). Sunburn is caused mostly by ultraviolet, at more like 1000000 GHz (1 PHz).

            I believe the OP was using the more limited, and common, definition, and I don't believe there's enough solar energy at those frequencies to cause harm.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by dfsmith ( 960400 )

          Your head receives less than 10^-12W at 850MHz from the sun [1]. Your phone delivers probably 0.5W. So if you scaled the sun to match microwave radiation levels, then no, you'd be fried in a millisecond. B-)

          [1] [] fig.1 at 1MHz bandwidth.

        • Let me ask you. Can the body tolerate solar RF?

          I thought you were just having an unreasonable knee-jerk reaction, but now I realize that you're trolling.

        • Does that mean that you should stand outside uncovered in 110 degree sunny weather for hours at a time every day? How about standing in front of a microwave transmitter at the minimum safe distance for a prolonged time every day? Your point is both irrational and illogical.

      • People on a ketogenic diet would disagree with you about bacon. Carbs are the real unhealthy food.

    • We are going to keep going through it for as long as there are so-called "news" organs that need attention. I'm not even sure that the Singularity will rid us of this.
    • How many times are we going to go through the whole cellphone radiation thing?

      Hey, we still have folks who think the Apollo program took place on a sound stage and it's been half a century. We are almost 20 years out from 9/11 and folks still think it was a building implosion that brought down the World Trade Towers... There are people who think vaccines are causing autism after that was disproved 20 years ago... I'm guessing we are going to be going though this cell phone "radiation" as long as I expect to be alive...

    • How many times are we going to go through the whole cellphone radiation thing?

      As long as there are politicians who breathe and can wiggle their fingers behind their back while cupping their hand, and useful hyperbolic idiots to do their scare tactic bidding.

  • by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @06:19PM (#53972427) Journal

    Recently there was a story here about a room that can charge any device that enters into it. I cannot wait to see the health issues that arise from that.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @06:27PM (#53972497)

    Protecting rats from cancer since 2007.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Protecting rats from cancer since 2007.

      Why are politicians getting extra protection?

  • ... tablets on or about the body, using WiFi, which produces the exact amount of _____. (Hint: EMF)

    Health officials recommend not sleeping near your phone and not carry it in your pocket or directly on your body ...

  • This was a draft document someone whipped up that wasn't used because there were no facts to back it up. It wasn't "hidden", it just wasn't used.
    • This. This document doesn't list a single reference. Not a single reference to a case study, a research institution, or even the name of a doctor.

      The article has this to mention:

      "n the draft fact sheet, state health officials list their recommendations for members of the public who wish to reduce their exposure to the radiation emitted from cellphones, but state that as more studies are done the recommendations on the fact sheet may change."

      Okay, I'm down with that, but can you tell us what their original

  • Given multiple other studies have already concluded that there actually is no danger from EMR, I seems this must necessarily prove one of:
    a) every one of those other studies were wrong or have been corrupted, presumably by "big telco"
    b) CA are just a bunch of ultra-paranoid wingnuts that want to live in fear.

    So which is it actually?

  • "After keeping it hidden for years, California's Department of Public Health...

    It's pretty fucking bad when you can't even make it through the first fucking sentence of TFS before wanting to dial a damn lawyer.

    You had one fucking job to do, Department of Health .

    This bullshit, coming from the land that gave birth to "known to the state of California to cause" warning labels.

    Fucking hell.

    • Don't worry, there are worse examples. Hawaii is considering a law that says, essentially: "It might be bad for your health if you're homeless, so doctors should be able to prescribe houses. And just like every other medical prescription that some people can't afford, don't worry, there's Medicaid for that. Enjoy your new house! We'll just have to raise taxes on the people bought their own houses in order to pay for that."
  • by coldandcalculating ( 1311907 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @06:48PM (#53972623)
    Cell Phones and Cancer Fact Sheet []

    "Exposure to ionizing radiation, such as from x-rays, is known to increase the risk of cancer. However, although many studies have examined the potential health effects of non-ionizing radiation from radar, microwave ovens, cell phones, and other sources, there is currently no consistent evidence that non-ionizing radiation increases cancer risk (1).

    "The only consistently recognized biological effect of radiofrequency energy is heating. The ability of microwave ovens to heat food is one example of this effect of radiofrequency energy. Radiofrequency exposure from cell phone use does cause heating to the area of the body where a cell phone or other device is held (ear, head, etc.). However, it is not sufficient to measurably increase body temperature, and there are no other clearly established effects on the body from radiofrequency energy."

    Sleep easily next to your smartphone tonight.
    • by alexo ( 9335 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @07:17PM (#53972771) Journal

      On the other hand:

      The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radio-frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use.

      -- []

      If scientific bodies are still not on the same page, what can we expect of laypeople?

      • by coldandcalculating ( 1311907 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @08:12PM (#53973055)
        That's a fair point. Just remember, according to that classification system cellphones are in the same group as Carpentry and Joinery (p.7) [].

        Granted, I cherry picked that from the list but the reason for a 2B designation is that they don't have the statistical power from their study to rule it out as a cause of gliomas, which means that the incidence is very low in exposed vs. unexposed populations. I think it's safe to say that as long as laypeople are okay with living in a house made of carpentry then they should be okay with using a cell phone.
        • by alexo ( 9335 )

          "Carpentry and Joinery" includes adhesives, which often contain formaldehide []. High exposure (such as, say, being a carpenter) does carry a risk.

          You need to pick your cherries better :)

          • The whole point being that dosage [] is critical in all of these cases.

            "Formaldehyde is also produced naturally in the human body. It is essential for the production of some basic biological materials, such as certain amino acids. Amino acids are necessary for important life processes as they are the building blocks of proteins in the body."

            It's normal but unnecessary for laypeople to be afraid of cell phones, just like it's normal but unnecessary for them to fear formaldehyde in small amounts. Now, as fo
    • by Misagon ( 1135 )

      There are some newer finds than what are referenced (directly or indirectly) in that Fact Sheet.

      The most interesting is this one:
      Tumor promotion by exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields below exposure limits for humans [].
      Alexander Lerchl et al. April 2015. Jacob's University, Bremen, Germany.

      The thing that most people don't understand about cancer is that cells are turned into cancer cells quite often but that the human immune system usually is very good at identifying and killing microtumours bef

  • by slapout ( 93640 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @06:50PM (#53972633)

    This post is known to the State of California to cause cancer

  • Are we getting an early start on this or something?
    • California has so many warnings that it is desensitizing people to warnings. Now, they have an Assemblyman that wants to put warnings on soda indicating consumption causes obesity and tooth decay (no kidding)

      Nevermind that eating too much of anything could likely have the same effect.

      California.... the land of fruits and nuts.

  • Sadly I can't find it now, but I definitely remember reading a study that found for radiation exposure, using wired headphones when your phone was transmitting (i.e. during a call) was actually significantly worse than holding the phone to your head, because the headphone wires/headphones themselves directly conducted the EM radiation straight into your ear canals.

    • How do you think hearing aids work with telephones? Well, at least the old kind of telephone...
      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        Without the same concern, because the old kind of telelphone didn't use microwave radiation to communicate to the exchange.

    • But that makes no sense due to the way antennas work. The electromagnetic energy, rather than being conducted through the wire as current, is instead radiated outwards into the surrounding environment.

      I could see the headphones having a slight affect on the shape of the field, like any metal object would, but I find it hard to believe it's either significant or consistent. They could just as easily reflect energy away from your head.

  • A few subtle warnings over the next few years, And finally: A warning label on the side of the phone.
  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @07:05PM (#53972723)

    The referenced draft document simply states that IF you are concerned about it, here's how to reduce exposure. It doesn't state that RF exposure is dangerous.

    In fact the National Cancer Institute [] says the opposite:

    What the study showed: No association was observed between cell phone use and the incidence of glioma, meningioma, or acoustic neuroma, even among people who had been cell phone subscribers for 13 or more years

  • This is why everybody around me seems to come off like drooling idiots! It's the cell phones! They really ARE cooking the brains! Lets call it a disease, and sell the plebs some medication.... you know for "symptoms"

  • What is particularly ironic is that the same people who obsess over the possible health effects of cellphone radiation will send their children outside to play in the sunshine without a moment's thought ... to be exposed to ionizing radiation that causes about 10,000 deaths per year from melanoma in the U.S. alone.

  • Always love seeing those labels "The product is known to the State of California to contain chemicals that may cause cancer." Nobody else knows, though, which should tell you everything you need to know about the State of California thinking they're smarter than its citizens who wouldn't be able to go about their lives without the State telling them to.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle