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Cell Phones Linked to Cancer?


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#1 locally pwned

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 06:00 PM

Do cell phones pose a health risk?

This has been an issue kicked back and forth for several years. Most research has been inconclusive. The main problem is that heavy cell phone use is a relatively recent behavior and the data just doesn't go back very far. The research is uncontrolled - that is, it is retrospective, looking back at data which contains many variables.

Here is an article on the recent WHO findings and report.

"Results from the largest international study on cell phones and cancer was released in 2010. It showed participants in the study who used a cell phone for 10 years or more had doubled the rate of brain glioma, a type of tumor."

Sounds scary yet I am still skeptical.

1. Correlation does not equal causation. What other variables are different in the lifestyles and behavior of the two groups?

2. What is the actual mechanism for cell phones to cause cancer? As the article points out:

"The type of radiation coming out of a cell phone is called non-ionizing. It is not like an X-ray, but more like a very low-powered microwave oven."

Ionizing radiation - radiation that is energetic enough to break certain atomic bonds. Generally, light becomes ionizing radiation at the Ultraviolet portion of the spectrum; that's why the sun causes skin cancer (UV's can damage DNA). Cell phones, on the other hand, are using radio waves (microwaves, specifically) at a frequency of 2.4 gHz. So, they can't damage cells the way X-rays and UV's can.

2.4 gHz is roughly the same frequency most microwave ovens operate. Microwave ovens heat food because radio waves of this frequency cause water molecules to oscillate; the argument of the WHO is that phones are raising the temperature of brain cells.

Cell phones emit far less energy than ovens. So the question is, how much can they heat the brain? And, how exactly does the increase in temperature cause cancer? After all, wouldn't the brain's temperature increase while we spend time in direct sunlight?

Here is another article that covers some of the problems with both sides of the argument.

The verdict is still out. In the mean time it is suggested that we limit our use of cell phones, text when possible, and use hands-free devices. Of course, BlueTooth also uses microwaves...

It is an interesting debate. Part of me wants to err on the side of caution. Better safe than sorry, right? However the skeptic in me asks, "how is this even possible?" I guess I am frustrated that the WHO would make such strong statements without any real controlled scientific research to back it up; without even providing a detailed mechanism by which phones could cause cancer. True, it might be a good thing to get the word out early so people reduce cell phone use early. On the other hand most people don't understand radiation and the mention of the word can cause fear and stress.

Stress also increases the odds of disease!
"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." - Albert Einstein

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

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#2 georgehenry

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 04:02 PM

I don't have a problem with any of this. My wife bought me a mobile phone, and it just sat on my bedside table. When hers eventually conked out I gave her mine. I didn't take it out with me because it would be just another thing that I could lose. I have never had this, seemingly, irristable urge to talk on a mobile phone

#3 locally pwned

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 01:44 PM

You don't have a problem with this - personally, since you don't use phones? Or you don't have a problem with the way the WHO has dealt with the issue?

True, if you don't use a cell you're probably don't care one way or another. The thing is, more and more folks are using them. In the States (not sure how this works in the rest of the world) most cell phone service includes free long distance. For my wife and I to have two cell phones, we pay less than we did with a land line plus long distance charges. At that point there's no reason to have both the cells and the land line. Many folks I know have gone this route.

Also, I don't like the idea of getting in the car without a cell phone. Call me paranoid, but I feel that the day I leave my phone at home is the day I'll break down somewhere - to be fair, until recently I was driving a car that was old enough to drink and had more miles than the distance to the moon.
"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." - Albert Einstein

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands." - Douglas Adams

#4 dcJeff

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 04:24 PM

I do the same thing as far as using a cell phone rather than land lines. I know quite a few people that have totally done away with their land lines. So I think you're on the mark as far as cell phones becoming more and more prevalant. I wouldn't be surprised if they outnumber land lines soon.

But concerning cancer...I'm not sure I buy this. I've heard it before, but it just doesn't seem like it would be any more dangerous than cooking with a microwave or using walkie talkies (or any other radio wave communicator). So I don't totally buy the cancer thing, but who knows.

#5 JosiahK

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 02:55 AM

Of course the point of microwaves is to trap the radiation within the oven. It reflects from the sides, constructively interferes with itself, and becomes more powerful on the inside. Outside the oven they don't want to find radiation. Even the transparent door has a metallic mesh over it which prevents (because of funny things involving EM induction) the waves from getting out of the box while light (another EM wave) can pass with impunity.

The point is that cell phones are the opposite, they want to transmit the radiation so that it can be used as a communication medium, and they'll transmit through your head if needs be. That, at least in my mind, makes any analogy between the two a very sketchy point.
Also Radiation (like many waves) diminishes according to the square of the distance it travels. The distance between you and an on microwave is typically many times larger than that between you and a cell phone, so the radiation of the first is diminished many times times many times compared to that of the second. And of course in the modern world most people spend far longer on their cell phones than they do cooking with a microwave.

Most importantly of all however is that we don't really know how safe microwaves or any of the other analogies we're using are. We're familiar with them, and as the saying goes familiarity breeds contempt. But how much do we actually know about possible hazards? Maybe it is true that cell phones are no more, indeed perhaps even less, dangerous than a walkie talkie. However that no more means that cell phones are safe than that being shot in a lung is safe because it's less dangerous than being shot in the heart.

Overall I agree with locally pwned however. The WHO should really get some serious scientific backing including a mechanism for the danger before they start scaring people. Saying that the tiny communication device just about everyone has on their person is silently zapping them with carcinogenic rays isn't going to be helpful overall.
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#6 dcJeff

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 10:49 AM

That's a very good point. Several good points actually.

#7 ddeerrff

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 11:20 AM

"Cell phones...[operate at a] frequency of 2.4 gHz."

While microwave ovens do operate on the ISM frequency of 2.45 GHz, cell phones do not. Cell phones use frequencies around 850 MHz and 1900 MHz.

The WHO studied all the studies, could not find convincing evidence that cell phone DO NOT cause cancer, so concluded that they possibly could. I have no convincing evidence that a bigfoot does not live in the woods behind my house, so I conclude that a 'squash could be hiding there.

The WHO placed cell phones into category 2B, the same category as coffee and pickles.
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#8 locally pwned

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 02:25 PM

You're correct, ddeerrff. Many cell phones operate at a frequency lower than 2.4 GHz. I'm not sure exactly what the threshold of absorption by water molecules. However I would assume that the effects would be decreased as the frequency diverged above or below 2.4 GHz, somehow I doubt the WHO factored in into their conclusions.

It's worth noting that the new 4G networks will be using frequencies of between 2.2-2.5 GHz.
"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." - Albert Einstein

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands." - Douglas Adams

#9 JosiahK

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 03:50 PM

I'm not sure that the water heating effect of microwaves is technically EM absorption in the traditional sense. According to this it has instead to do with the change in electric field as the EM wave propogates, causing the water to rotate because as a polar molecule it has opposite magnetic charges on its two ends. I suspect that may mean that water absorbs energy from a range of frequencies.
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#10 ddeerrff

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 07:04 PM

You can google Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) or start here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_absorption_rate

It's an important number to those of us that design MRI systems.
Derfram
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#11 locally pwned

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 04:27 PM

You're correct, JosiahK, I misspoke when I used the term "absorption." Sorry for not clearing that up (and not responding for so long).

----

This made me laugh (and reminded me of this thread):

Posted Image

Edited by locally pwned, 19 July 2011 - 04:28 PM.

"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." - Albert Einstein

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands." - Douglas Adams

#12 altair05

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 01:46 PM

I highly doubt it. Cell phones give off electro-magnetic radiation, specifically microwave radiation. It is one of the weakest forms of radiation and not to mention that it doesn't have the capability of penetrating your skull and affecting your brain waves or cells. Nuclear radiation on the other hand does.

#13 myrti

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 12:00 PM

Posted Image
:grinner:

is that a bird?  a plane? nooo it's the flying blueberry!

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#14 jimbotoo

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 11:38 PM

myrti- thank you

if there is any truth in that graph i think a ten year lag would be very important to see a rise in cancers.

 

 

At the time I started using a cell, i noted a extream range of change in memory issues, that after some months scared me, so i set my phone to speaker phone upon open/answer, and would keep it at least 1and 1 half feet from face, and noted a general sense of well being return after some days. at time the phone was being used to communicate very hi functioning profiles of verbal tect data, there is no doubt

for a while in the begining of use i needed to take more notes then fall back on memory, --

 

all these fuzzy observations made above, have now been made  very clear, in the past many weeks, info from all over says every time we put a cell to our heads it takes 2 -12 hours for our brain waves to normalize, this has been clinically proven around the world.

 

google " cell phone brain waves"  for hospital white paper after white paper confirming same.

 

ad to this sleep disruption of the brain from the high UV light of flat screens and cell phones stopping the production of melatonin,, and stopping 5 stage sleep where and when the brain dumps poisens via the spinal fluid pressusre incress at 5 hours, and you got real issues.

 

make a late night "good night my love" to girlfriend -congrates you just (reset) told your sleep cycle its 12 o clock noon.

 

it is no wonder the fashion statement that rose out of the bastions of IT culture was a guy with uncombed hair, unshaven and a little kooky is ok outlook, or sleep deprivation presentation personality disorder as it is called.

 

Melatonin is the most cancer stopping chemical in the body according to many reserchers,

 

its decline can cause cancer anywhere in the body, so the brain is not really the place to look, but the whole body.

 

my life is not my own, many have to depend on me to be all i can be.

that settles my jugement of these things once and for all

 

 

:hello:


Edited by jimbotoo, 10 August 2015 - 11:43 PM.


#15 gigawert

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 04:41 PM

I noticed that if a cell phone is close to my head for a long enough time I get a headache... 


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