No connection between cancer and cell phones, experts argue

By on July 5, 2011 at 6:00 PM.

No connection between cancer and cell phones, experts argue

In May the World Health Organization published a report that said cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic.” Last month The Economist published a different report suggesting it simply wasn’t possible for the radio waves emitted by a cell phone to cause cells to mutate. Now, another group of research experts from Britain, the United States, and Sweden — who have studied the WHO report — are also arguing that there’s no connection between cell phones and cancer. “Although there remains some uncertainty, the trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumors in adults,” the group said in a recent report published in Environmental Health Perspectives. According to Reuters, a number of other studies have also been unable to find a link between increases in brain tumors and cell phones in the 10 years since cell phones have become commonplace. “This is a really difficult issue to research,” David Spiegelhalter, the Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge told Reuters. Spiegelhalter was not part of the study but said that it’s “clear that any risk appears to be so small that it is very hard to detect — even in the masses of people now using mobile phones.” More →

16 Comments

No way cell phones cause cancer, Economist contends

By on June 15, 2011 at 2:37 PM.

No way cell phones cause cancer, Economist contends

Following a report issued late last month by the World Health Organization suggesting cell phones may be carcinogenic, The Economist has published a response column dismissing the report as overblown. According to the report, low-frequency microwaves such as those emitted by cell phones simply do not have enough power to produce anything but extremely low levels of heat. “No matter how powerful the transmitter, radio waves simply cannot produce ionising radiation,” the column reads. “Only gamma rays, X-rays and extreme ultra-violet waves, which operate in the far (ie, high-frequency) end of the electromagnetic spectrum, along with fission fragments and other particles from within an atom, and cosmic rays (those particles’ equivalents from outer space) are energetic enough to knock electrons off other atoms to break chemical bonds and produce dangerous molecules called free radicals. It is these highly reactive free radicals that damage a person’s DNA, causing mutation, radiation sickness, cancer and death, depending on the dose.” The energy carried by these microwaves, the report contends, is approximately one million times too weak to produce free radicals. More →

42 Comments