Cell Phone Use Might Cause Cancer…Maybe

by Jordan Richardson on June 1, 2011

Look, I get it. Science is confusing. It seems that we’re always being told about the dangers of one thing or another only to be told years, months or sometimes even mere weeks later that the dangerous thing we were all scared to death over isn’t actually all that dangerous. Coffee, for instance, is good for you and it’s bad for you. The trick is in understanding and applying the messages. Moderation is key.

So here we are again with more research pertaining to cell phone use and cancer. Tenuous links between the radio frequency and cancer have been drawn for quite some time now, with the broadest studies failing to find any tangible connection.

Take, for instance, the massive INTERPHONE study. This, the largest study of its kind, featured 13 nations and found no tangible links between cell phone use and brain tumours. When the International Journal of Epidemiology published the findings, they noted nothing more than a “suggestion” of increased risk of glioma. But even that suggestion was hard to quantify because the nature of the studies “errors and biases” made it difficult to suggest a causal relationship. Not the most confidence-instilling study, huh?

In any event, the big news of Tuesday out of the mobile phone science department is that the World Health Organization is now saying that it’s possible that cell phone use may be linked with cancer. Yep. Drink it in.

So here’s how it breaks down: The WHO has classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic in nature.” This finding came out of a working group of 31 scientists from 14 countries. They reviewed hundreds of scientific papers on radio frequency electromagnetic fields to reach the conclusion. In classifying this sort of radiation, non-ionizing radiation, as carcinogenic, the WHO is essentially pairing it with asbestos, benzene, gasoline, X-rays, and those Hulk-inducing Gamma rays.

It should be noted that the WHO didn’t actually conduct any new research here. What happened was that they reviewed other papers and documents to reach the tenuous conclusion, probably over a few Dr. Peppers and some late night pizza. You know how those scientists get down.

The “possibly carcinogenic” tag is given to products and elements when little evidence connects it to cancer and when other explanations for the cause of cancer are just as credible. Cell phone makers were quick to chime in, as expected, to suggest that there are countless products that could be labelled as “possibly carcinogenic,” from pickled veggies to coffee.

So what does this proclamation from the WHO actually tell us in terms of new information? Nothing. The WHO hasn’t changed any of it recommendations on cell phones as of yet. Like I said, science is confusing.

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Written by: Jordan Richardson. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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