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Is cellphone radiation dangerous? Does it cause cancer? (Merged)
Posted: 03 July 2007 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Last night I attended a very good talk in Bilbao, Spain, by Félix Goñi, biochemist, and Joseba Zubia, physicist, at the University of País Vasco, on the topic of cellphone radiation. It was moderated by Luis Alfonso Gámez, member of the local Círculo Escéptico and head of CFI Spain. Interested spanish speakers can read a short article HERE.

The information they gave paralleled perfectly with what I recall reading in physicist Robert Park’s wonderful book Voodoo Science. Namely, that the power of electromagnetic radiation is inversely proportional to its wavelength, and that cellphone radiation is actually of longer wavelength and hence lower power than even visible light. As such it is incapable of breaking chemical bonds, and in particular incapable of causing mutations in DNA and hence cancer. All such radiation can do is to cause heating. This is the same sort of radiation (but at orders of magnitude lower intensity) as that of terrestrial radio or TV.

The regulations for these towers are keyed off of a maximum power, which is sufficient to cause a 1º celsius change in a human body. Then there is a correction factor of 50-100x, to account for the fact that there might be children, the elderly or infirm affected by such radiation. (The sun is capable of much greater changes in temperature on a sunny day). Added to that is the fact that most of us are quite distant from such cellphone towers, and we can see that there is no cause for alarm. Neither is there cause for alarm from cellphone handsets, since once again the radiation involved is only capable of heating and not of breaking chemical bonds.

Reaction from the audience was dismayingly fierce, as many had clearly made up their minds that various illnesses they suffer from were due to cellphone towers in their neighborhood. They were not going to be convinced otherwise, no matter the evidence. Gámez allowed them their time, which was frustrating for those of us inherently opposed to gratuitous insults of eminent scientists and displays of scientific illiteracy, however in the long run it was for the best.

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Posted: 03 July 2007 07:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Up to 2 Decades of Cell Phone Use Does Not Increase Cancer Risk

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Dec 05 - Fears that the electromagnetic fields generated by cellular telephones might cause cancer can be laid to rest, based on a study of more than 400,000 residents of Denmark who had used cell phones for up to 21 years.

Dr. Joachim Schz, from the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen, and his associates first reported in 2001 that cancer incidence had not increased among residents who had used cell phones up until 1996.

Their current report continues the follow-up of the same cohort, which included records of private cell phone subscriptions during the period from 1982 to 1995 (n = 420,095). These subjects’ personal identification numbers were linked to the files of the Danish Cancer Registry to ascertain incident cases of cancer up until 2002.

According to the report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute for December 6, the time since subjects’ first cell-phone subscriptions averaged 8.5 years. Among the men, 14.9% had cell phones for 10 to 21 years; the same was true for 5.5% of female subscribers.

During follow-up, 14,249 cases of cancer were diagnosed in the cohort, compared with 15,001 cases that were expected based on the general population (standardized incidence ratio = 0.95).

Specifically, there was no increased risk for leukemia or for tumors of the brain and nervous system, salivary gland, or eye.

The investigators also evaluated individual brain tumor subtypes—glioma, meningioma, and cranial nerve-sheath—and again observed no increased incidence by subtype. Furthermore, there was no increased likelihood for gliomas occurring in the temporal and parietal lobes, which are closest to the cell phone’s antenna.

An evaluation limited to persons who had used cell phones for at least 10 years also turned up no evidence of an increased incidence of cancer.

“It is reassuring that the findings from our cohort study are consistent with most case-control studies conducted worldwide, even though different approaches for exposure assessment were used,” Dr. Schz and his fellow investigators conclude.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2006;98:1707-1713.

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Posted: 03 July 2007 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The whole myth is silly, but it serves the purpose of allowing some to find a scapegoat on which to blame their disabilties or illnesses.  It’s also a nice way of keeping people frightened because fearful people are less likely to want change or criticize authority.

However, I think this thead did one good thing - I may need my glasses changed because at my first glance, I thought, “are they crazy?” since I read it as “Is Cellophane Radiation Dangerous?”    grin

Occam

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Posted: 03 July 2007 09:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The other good thing about this nonsense is that maybe it will cut down on the number of public cell phone conversations!? :grin:

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Posted: 03 July 2007 09:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Occam, I red this as ‘is colphane… ’  three times. Of course, I don’t know what ‘colphane’ is grin

Brennen, of course it won’t. Since they have a magical trouble, they want a magical solution. Of course they have decided that cell phone radiation is dangerous and evil as hell, but this won’t change any behaviour. I think that people just want towers to be far from them (but they also want good coverage… ) because they don’t understand what electromagnetism is, it sound dangerous and is usually linked in the media with dangerous things (radiation… radiation… is what a nuclear reactors produces, right? wink ) , they don’t want to change any habit.  ‘This won’t happen to me’ is, as far as I know, a common biased way of thinking.

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Posted: 04 July 2007 01:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Whilst 3cm waves are unlikely to cause cancer due to heating effects (although I’m reliably informed that studies have shown that drinking water that it is not at body temperature (in either direction) is carcinogenic), it is highly penetrating and can cause electron density within the conduction band of metals to move.  This is why you should never put metal objects in a microwave oven. If you happen to wear a pacemaker it might still be a good idea to avoid areas of high coverage or blue tooth systems in confined spaces.  I don’t think anyone’s done any research on this, but I haven’t really studied it.

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Posted: 04 July 2007 09:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Barto - 03 July 2007 09:56 PM

(...) because they don’t understand what electromagnetism is, it sound dangerous and is usually linked in the media with dangerous things (radiation… radiation… is what a nuclear reactors produces, right? wink

According to the Third Law of Clarke, people don´t think cell phones are magical devices just because they are told it´s a machine. But almost all people don´t have any clue about how it works…

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Posted: 05 July 2007 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Stefano - 04 July 2007 09:49 PM

According to the Third Law of Clarke, people don´t think cell phones are magical devices just because they are told it´s a machine. But almost all people don´t have any clue about how it works…

Yes, you are right.

I must admit that the concept of electromagnetism was one of the harder concept for me (I remember I was able to make the math calculation, but even unable to understand what really it was). For this reason, I don’t feel amazed when someone has one of this terrible wrong concept about this, even when the person who holds this belief is a educated person.

I remember people claiming that their right is not to receive *any* kind of radiation… or another person with a weird machine in his hands, near a electrical plant (another evil), in the street, claiming that there was a magnetic field of 4 Teslas (yes… 4 teslas… I guess its the power of a magnetic resonance equipment,)

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Posted: 05 July 2007 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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And of course, everyone hearing that shudders at being exposed to “4 Teslas” even though they haven’t the vaguest idea what that unit is, and whether four of those units is equivalent to being exposed to the electromotive pulse of a hydrogen bomb at ground-zero, or to the electromotive radiation from a small neutron star a few galaxies away. 

Occam

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Posted: 05 July 2007 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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4 teslas is the magnetic induction produced by an hydrogen bomb?. I didn’t know.

A couple of times ago, people living near an electrical plant start to suffer from cancer. The cancer incidence was really greater than the standards. My guess is that the cause of this increased incidence would be in the ground, ussually the electrical plants aren’t exactly in fancy places, and to fill poor places with toxic garbage is a relative common practice here in the underdeveloped world. So, I guess is far more likely that the cause could be any kind of ground contamination. But of course, the electrical plant an its magnetic field of four teslas was blamed… but in the show (I saw on TV) everything seemed pretty normal… the cars was still parked in their places and not flying to join the generator… weird wink

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Posted: 05 July 2007 02:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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What do you think about this ?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=443717&in_page_id=1770

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Posted: 05 July 2007 02:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Sigh! The usual mainstream media promoting such nonsense, with only a bare bones bit of skepticism attributed to “doctors and scientists.” 

I guess I can understand why people might be anxious about EM radiation and other phenomena they can’t see. I remeber standing in front of a vapor chamber at the local science museum as a kid and watching the background radiation track through it. At one point I noticed a track that, by its trajectory, had to have passed through me before entering the tank, and I’ll admit it freaked me out a bit. That is, of course, why reason and science are so useful—because education doesn’t immunize one against irrational anxiety. It only gives one better tools to deal with it.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Well, I think is a little bit unespecific. I am ‘alergic’ to closed places, to over heated places where the temperature is so warm. In this places I get headhache. Also I feel very unconfortable with the combustion smell, or even with the air conditioning smell. I have a couple of hypothesis: I am picky enough and I cannot stand unconfortable places, or, since I sweat a lot, maybe I lose too much water and I start to feel uncorfutable.

I am not a physician to tell what is the disease this lady in suffering (and I guess it would be impossible for any expert just looking the picture), but this seems like psoriasis. Also, according to the WHO (OMS, for me) there is little or no evidence of this kind of allergics to electromagnetic fields.

http://www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index1.html


If the microwaves are the real cause of this disease, I guess her physician would ear a good place in the technical library, giving supportative evidence. As far I see it, if it were the real cause, it wouldnt be hard to prove.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Furthermore, that paper is a right-wing rag tabloid rag.  Free flaming torch and pitchfork with every copy.  They were the ones who got the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Evil Dead etc. banned in the UK for many years (in my opinion) as a result of their campaign against so-called video nasties.  Their central argument was that such images corrupt people.  Yeah right, and, as these two people:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdzSgUn9tC0
showed in a follow-up piece; the corrolary is also true. “So in today’s sketch, I’m going to be nice and give Hugh £5” and we’ll see how many copycat incidents result.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 07:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Barto - 05 July 2007 12:00 PM

4 teslas is the magnetic induction produced by an hydrogen bomb?. I didn’t know.

I’m sorry, Barto.  I was being ironic (some would say, sarcastic).  Since I’m not a physicist I haven’t the vaguest idea of the size or power of a Tesla unit.  What I was saying was that it might be extremely powerful or exteremely small, but that people reading the article don’t know what power it is, or even what a Tesla represents.  Still, they say, “Aha, I’ve been exposed to 4 Teslas.  That explains why . . . .(whatever their ailment is).”

Occam

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Posted: 05 July 2007 07:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Barto - 05 July 2007 02:53 PM

If the microwaves are the real cause of this disease, I guess her physician would ear a good place in the technical library, giving supportative evidence. As far I see it, if it were the real cause, it wouldnt be hard to prove.

It would be so easy that probably even her thought how to do it. She just doesn´t do the test because she doesn´t really want to know the truth.

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