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Studies Find Harm From Cellular and Wi-Fi Signals

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the perennial-question dept.

Communications 474

Over the years we've discussed the possible health risks of cellphone and other microwave radiation: studies from Israel and Sweden indicating a link between cellphone use and cancer, one from England exonerating cell towers as a cause of "microwave radiation sensitivity," and a recent 30-year Swedish study that found no link to cancer. The question won't go away though. Reader Artifice_Eternity writes "I've always tended to dismiss claims of toxicity from cell phone and Wi-Fi signals as reflecting ignorance about microwave radiation. However, this GQ article cites American and European studies going back decades that have found some level of biological harm caused by these signals. Why haven't they gained more attention? Quoting: 'Industry-funded studies seem to reflect the result of corporate strong-arming. Lai reviewed 350 studies and found that about half showed bioeffects from EM radiation emitted by cell phones. But when he took into consideration the funding sources for those 350 studies, the results changed dramatically. Only 25 percent of the studies paid for by the industry showed effects, compared with 75 percent of those studies that were independently funded.'"

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WooHoo! I'm safe! (5, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048656)

...Beacuse nobody calls me :(

Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048690)

What's your number?

Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049014)

I'm not giving my number online...but -

To show how hardcore of a Slashdot reader I am, I will make a homemade pornographic video of myself and a female acquaintance. We will use a microphone stand and a special tripod to get some interesting angles, and I will have "What's up /." along with my username written on my back, or perhaps my ass. Both of us will wear masks. We will upload the video and I will post the link in a first post in an early evening story with an NSFW tag and a disclaimer of not being responsible for vomit-ruined keyboards. It could be as early as a week, but more likely a month so I can run some lard off my ass.

I'm not fucking kidding, fellas.
-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049072)

    All the noise, and we all know you won't come through. I'd view, just for the entertainment value, as long as it wasn't a pay site trap.

Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049088)

To show how hardcore of a Slashdot reader I am, I will make a homemade pornographic video of myself and a female acquaintance.

Obviously an imposter.

Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049190)

Nope.

Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049028)

0421501973

Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049082)

You forgot the +61 if you want non-ausfags to call.

Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049152)

+61 421501973

Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31048698)

the signals are all around you fool!

Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31048724)

I'll have you know I've lined my house with tinfoil and lead, you insensitive clod!

Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049128)

    That's overkill. A good faraday cage grounded to earth would do nicely. Then again, I wouldn't really want to be inside during a thunderstorm. Your house suddenly becomes one of the best lightning rods in the area. It may not hit you, but it'll sure as hell keep hitting your house. :)

    I was at a flea market buying something quite a few years ago. Their booth was surrounded with chain link on all four walls and the ceiling. They had bolted through the concrete, which must have made a decent earth ground. I was surprised that my cell phone wouldn't work inside. I guess the frequency was pretty low on that phone. I had to step outside the cage to make a call. Inside, I had no signal. Outside I had full signal strength.

Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048810)

You need to get out of the basement and play Outside MMORPG [chickencrap.com] . Watch out for the microwave and cellular towers. :P

Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31048902)

I doubt that bin Laden takes many call either... guess we'll have to find another way to get him.

Re:WooHoo! I'm safe! (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049086)

I doubt that bin Laden takes many call either... guess we'll have to find another way to get him.

That was bin Laden.

GQ? (5, Funny)

Orp (6583) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048668)

I know I always go to Gentleman's Quarterly for my journal articles regarding the dangers of electromagnetic radiation exposure.

Re:GQ? (2, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048718)

Well it's my bet that none of their advertisers are at risk in this report. Hence they run no risk by reporting it.

Re:GQ? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048826)

I only read GQ on the web when I have my laptop on my lap.

Who would know better if cellphones cause cancer (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049042)

... than an anonymous neurosurgeon?

Did I miss something?

I couldn't find one reference to a study published in a peer-reviewed journal in the last 10 years that claimed to rule out association.

Re:Who would know better if cellphones cause cance (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049164)

    Anonymous sources make the best sources for information for bullshit news stories.

    I could find you a dozen anonymous sources who could confirm anything. Hell, I could find you a dozen named (but unreputable) sources who could tie mysterious cosmic rays to brain cancer too.

Re:GQ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049090)

I know I always go to Gentleman's Quarterly for my journal articles regarding the dangers of electromagnetic radiation exposure.

And being a Slashdot poster I'm assuming you get fashion tips fro Scientific American?

Re:GQ? (1)

absurdist (758409) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049166)

A squid-eating doe in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous. Got me?

"independently funded"? (5, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048696)

Or "in part funded by opponents of radiation"?

Re:"independently funded"? (5, Informative)

electrostatic (1185487) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048794)

The energy of a carbon bond is a few electron volts. IOW, that much energy is needed to cause a chemical change in the molecule.
The energy of a 2GHz cell-phone photon is about 0.00001 eV. Cell-phone photons cannot cause a chemical change.

Here's the QM version in more detail http://www.who.int/peh-emf/meetings/archive/valberg_bsw.pdf [who.int] :
"A repeatable, explicit, and predictive mechanism capable of producing biologically significant responses (modulation dependent or not) from low-level RF fields has not been found." You can accept quantum mechanics as a valid standard, or you can base your understanding upon who provided the funding.

Re:"independently funded"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31048832)

Laws of physics for the win!

in other words... mod parent up!

Re:"independently funded"? (1, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048948)

What about 1 million cell phone photons?

I'll agree that the electromagnetic absorpotion due to a single photon is small.

But a cell phone release more than 1 photon, and the total energy and absorpotion of the electromagnetic wave is much larger than one photon.

And might be sufficient to cause heating of tissue and other effects given a sufficient period of direct exposure to a sufficiently strong cell signal.

Re:"independently funded"? (5, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049056)

Electrical energy adsorption from a low energy photon is not small. It is zero. A million such photons and it is still zero.

Quantum mechanics baby.

Re:"independently funded"? (1)

naasking (94116) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049076)

Probability of absorbing more than 1 photon on that one molecule is vanishingly small. Yes microwaves cause heating, but it's very, very unlikely to cause anything else. Terahertz waves [technologyreview.com] are much more cause for concern.

Re:"independently funded"? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049136)

Doesn't work that way. If the photon doesn't have enough energy to put the molecule into a new state, it simply doesn't get absorbed. There's no difference between one not being absorbed and a billion. Saying that more photons = more energy is like saying that if you have a bunch of red lights and point them all at the same place, they turn blue.

Re:"independently funded"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049010)

I am not convinced. If a chemical mechanism happened to be in a transitory state as the photon hit it could have an effect even at that energy level. Remember, we don't have to be the instigator only the observer.

Re:"independently funded"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049084)

That's theory, and it may be valid for the scenario posed.
However, there may be mechanisms beyond the scenario posed.
The (disputed)findings are experimental test of the theories.

And regarding "opponents of radiation", they have nothing to gain financially in either outcome, unlike the cellular industry.

Re:"independently funded"? (1)

viking80 (697716) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049100)

At 40Wm^-2, there is a field E=100V/m. As you say, it is certainly not ionizing radiation, but with sufficient field strenght, the effects can be just as bad. It is similar field strength to what you have in your car battery, and it will polarize molecules, and have effects on electrolytes. Structures in your head will also function as an antenna, and can focus the energy to higher levels in some areas. Polarized molecules resonate well at 2.4GHz. Water in your microwave certainly is effected by the field even if each photon has low energy.

Would you go around with 24V wired ear to ear? The DC voltage in the electric chair, as you know, has a photon enegy of 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 eV (do a fourier transform of a 2 minute puls) Again not ionizing by any measure, but it may create plasma. Not sure if RF is any better or worse than DC.

Re:"independently funded"? (3, Informative)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049300)

Water in your microwave certainly is effected by the field even if each photon has low energy.

but then again, a microwave works around 750 watts, whats the watt of a common mobile phone again?

Re:"independently funded"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049106)

I agree that we should be basing our understanding of phenomena on understood physical phenomena verse funding. Your statement that a 2Ghz cell-phone photon at 0.00001eV could not modify the carbon bond is completely correct. However I would point out that you are just comparing the carbon bond. There are many mechanisms in a cell that may be modified by energy at 10^-5 eV or lower that has nothing to do with a carbon bond.
May I suggest an experiment: Grow a model organism (or several different ones) through several generations in the field of interest. Look for increased cancer risk/DNA damage by comparing to the same population without the field. Should be a simple experiment but the analysis could be difficult.

Re:"independently funded"? (4, Interesting)

izomiac (815208) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049184)

Protein folding relies heavily on very lower energy Van der Waals interactions, ionic interactions, and even the hydration shell. Theoretically, the perfect type of low energy radiation could denature tumor suppressant proteins in a nucleated keratinocyte and generate a squamous cell carcinoma.

That said, possible doesn't mean practical. The probability of 2 GHz being that perfect frequency, of denaturing a single type of tumor suppressant protein causing unchecked DNA replication, and that replication introducing a cancerous change is negligibly low. Plus, researchers would've sounded the alarm ages ago if a common/well studied cancer like SCC increased in incidence in a specific area of the body. Deeper tissue wouldn't get as much radiation exposure, and a non-skin cancer on the thigh is kinda rare (blood vessel, muscle, bone, and fat cancers have prevalences of ~.1% - 1%).

SO THE ELECTIC CHAIR IS HARMLESS????????? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049196)

A DC pulse have a photon energy much lower than the photon energy in a cellphone signal. Maybe 1pEV. So the electric chair must as a consequence also be harmless?

A couple of questions... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049222)

The energy of a carbon bond is a few electron volts. IOW, that much energy is needed to cause a chemical change in the molecule.
The energy of a 2GHz cell-phone photon is about 0.00001 eV. Cell-phone photons cannot cause a chemical change.

There may not be an observed direct change, but certainly, we have no idea what all of the indirect effects might be. 0.0001 eV (10 times more), is enough to bend or deform some organic molecules for sure. What effect would that cause? What downstream effects could there be? You could have a cell phone bending or wiggling one fat molecule, which gets stuck, and, as that particular body is already at a tipping point, more fat molecules pile up, blocking a vessel, and then, your cell phone just caused a stroke.

You just don't know.

Re:"independently funded"? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049176)

That's part of the problem - the other part is people like this:

http://mybroadband.co.za/news/Wireless/11099.html

In short, a bunch of local "sensitives" claimed that the tower was giving them rashes, etc. that faded within hours of leaving the area. The telco responded by pointing out that the tower had been switched off for 6 weeks prior (unbeknownst to said yobs) and told them to STFU.

And at this point, is there really an alternative? We can't exactly just switch off all the RF, even if it *is* causing problems.

Finally, the balls on people who complain about this (while, for example, most of the lakes in the US are so polluted with mercury that it's only safe to eat a handful of fish from them every year) must be enormous - rivaled only by the "third-hand smoke" hand-wringers. Howsabout they all get back to us after we've stopped burning dirty coal as a primary fuel source?

Re:"independently funded"? (1)

DMiax (915735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049182)

Sure, they were funded by tinfoil hat producers...

But seriously, do you have to invent a lobby that does not actually exist only to feel better for using your cell phone? People still smokes after it was proven harmful, can't you be mature as well and accept that you are taking a risk?

Anti-science groups fund studies too. (5, Insightful)

ZuchinniOne (1617763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048704)

Although it can be fair to argue about whether or not the industry studies are biased, I think it goes the other way too.

There are A LOT of people out there who are 'convinced' that cell phones and wi-fi cause cancer. And it doesn't matter how many studies you show them that it doesn't, they just won't believe you.

And if you consider that many of these so-called 'independent' studies are in fact paid for by fringe anti-science groups, then perhaps their results are aren't as unbiased as they would have you believe.

Re:Anti-science groups fund studies too. (4, Funny)

sackvillian (1476885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048770)

And if you consider that many of these so-called 'independent' studies are in fact paid for by fringe anti-science groups, then perhaps their results are aren't as unbiased as they would have you believe.

That seems strange - I'm having trouble imaging what an anti-science directed study would consist of. And how unbiased would they have you believe their study is, if it's anti-science by definition? It seems like they would want to show off their own maximizing of bias if it's really anti-science.

Re:Anti-science groups fund studies too. (5, Funny)

Zen Hash (1619759) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048872)

And if you consider that many of these so-called 'independent' studies are in fact paid for by fringe anti-science groups, then perhaps their results are aren't as unbiased as they would have you believe.

That seems strange - I'm having trouble imaging what an anti-science directed study would consist of. And how unbiased would they have you believe their study is, if it's anti-science by definition? It seems like they would want to show off their own maximizing of bias if it's really anti-science.

Check with the people behind these sites for some excellent examples:
http://www.creationstudies.org/ [creationstudies.org]
http://www.creationbiology.org/ [creationbiology.org]
http://www.icr.org/ [icr.org]
http://theflatearthsociety.org/ [theflatearthsociety.org]

Modded funny (1)

linumax (910946) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048994)

Should be +5 Sad.

As a side note, of the above links, The Flat Earth Society is merely satire and most people on the forums are actually very intelligent.

Re:Anti-science groups fund studies too. (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048918)

you have never argued with a deeply religious person have you?

It is like arguing with idiots on the internet. doesn't matter if your right it is all some one else's fault.

My personal favorite time was arguing with someone shortly after 9/11 that the f-22 and yF-23 were in fact real planes that were built and under development, and no amount of articles, logic, or truth would make them believe it. They kept saying they were alien designed.

Re:Anti-science groups fund studies too. (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049210)

If you look at the advancement of human technology from the 1950's to today, you could make a very good argument that many technologies currently in use were influenced from alien technology. They may have been reverse engineered, or supplied directly.

    I love making that argument with people. If you do it well enough, it'll leave their heads spinning. You have to be well prepared though. It's best to strike up a conversation in a bar with, so their suspension of belief is already well in place. It's the same suspension of belief that makes them think that the really pretty girl at the other end of the bar would be willing to go home with them, regardless of the fact that she's with someone who rates several points higher than him in many aspects (mainly the fact that he's out with her, and your mark isn't.)

    If they had an understanding of the technology, and had done some research, they would recognize that the advances in technology were logical steps forward, and not some conspiracy driven idea.

    Come on, if we were building aircraft on alien designs, wouldn't we have an advanced space program by now, and our flagship spacecraft wouldn't be a 40 year old design, easily compromised by styrofoam or a leaky o-ring??

Re:Anti-science groups fund studies too. (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049126)

Most of them do literature reviews, not real science. Literature reviews in which they don't understand what they're reading.

I'm embarrassed to see this funded by The Nation Institute. The people on the left usually understand science better.

Re:Anti-science groups fund studies too. (1)

DMiax (915735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049220)

And if you consider that many of these so-called 'independent' studies are in fact paid for by fringe anti-science groups, then perhaps their results are aren't as unbiased as they would have you believe.

Do you just know that? Can you tell me how many of them were funded by ant-science groups exactly? Can you even point me at a single example of what you say?

Biased Reports? (4, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048712)

Surely not. People skewing tests in accordance with funding would never happen.

Re:Biased Reports? (-1, Troll)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048760)

Look at the global warming scam. It took years to uncover the fraud that it was.

Re:Biased Reports? (5, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048804)

It took years to uncover the fraud that it was.

Yeah right, the Big Money Hippies will be exposed for influencing the studies done by the poor little oil and energy conglomerates.

The fact that you think global warming is a fraud is a good case study in how money can buy science, and can especially buy people's perceptions of science.

Re:Biased Reports? (0, Troll)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048838)

The fact that you think global warming is a real is a good case study in how money can buy science, and can especially buy people's perceptions of science.

See? Two can play that game.

Re:Biased Reports? (4, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048890)

You can believe that the proposed mechanism of global warming is correct and that the earth has gotten warmer - and still believe that a scam was perpetrated upon the public. Because it was.

When the big names on one side of the debate turn out to be engaged in avoiding freedom-of-information requests, carrying on back-channel actions like squeezing people out of journals, and making ridiculous claims about Himalayan glaciers, it weakens their case. That doesn't mean global warming isn't happening; it's just the story of the boy who cried wolf.

Re:Biased Reports? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049074)

If some scientists are publicly humiliated because of said scams and, in the process, thousands are saved from floods, storms, freezing to death, getting cooked by heat... well, I think they'll grin in happiness while being scorned.

I know I would.

Re:Biased Reports? (1, Insightful)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049036)

Yeah right, the Big Money Hippies will be exposed for influencing the studies done by the poor little oil and energy conglomerates.

The fact that you think global warming is a fraud is a good case study in how money can buy science, and can especially buy people's perceptions of science.

Al Gore was worth 2 million before he started warning people about manbearpig now he's worth 100million because he sells manbearpig repellent.

Re:Biased Reports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049180)

If a bullet-proof manufacturer told you that bullets can kill, you wouldn't believe him just because he profits off of the "repellent"?

Re:Biased Reports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049258)

You Sir, are a liar.

Re:Biased Reports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049040)

CNN reports record warming [cnn.com] Q.E.D

Re:Biased Reports? (1)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048914)

I wonder if replies such as this are an automatic reply, and if a study really confirms that cellular and WiFi signals increase the chances of cancer, without skewing the tests, would the responses on Slashdot be the same? I was about to make one like your before looking at the article, and then I thought, whoa, what if the studies were correctly executed? While I'm absolutely unconvinced that there is a link between cancer rates and microwave signals in cell phones and other wireless networks, but if a study shows the opposite I would have to reconsider this.

In this case, fortunately, it looks like out of the three studies tried to show a link, one was obviously skewed, one was complete bull, and the third I didn't bother to look at because TFA itself was full of crap (I stopped reading when I was the "Warning" idiocy). But if a study that's not obviously flawed, I'll hold my horses until someone finds the holes in it (this guys should at least try to make their studies *look* correct. Come on...)

Confirmation bias. (2, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048720)

The /. demographic sees it as fact that studies funded by the oil industry regarding environmental effects are to be dismissed out-of-hand.

This same demographic sees it as fact that studies funded by the tech industry regarding biological effects are to be accepted out-of-hand.

We like our echo chambers just like everyone else.

Now cue the nerds screaming about RF radiation is harmless, and always has been, and always will be:

Re:Confirmation bias. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31048836)

Not to worry, those demographics on /. that dismiss it out of hand for being full of crackpots will be balanced by those who raise it up as true because it's not corrupted by corporate funding.

I know I'm safe... (2, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048728)

...because I have a hands-free phone setup in my car. I just mow over other people when they cross the street and some bitch is breaking up with me over the phone.

Re:I know I'm safe... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049286)

I don't know if you are making fun of the anti-cell phone folks, or if you are trying vilify cell phones, and you couldn't help going off subject to put in a jab. Either way, you make good show of why we would see so called 'independent' studies showing the dangers of cell phones. There is a very large contingent of neo-luddites that see the cell phone as evil, and they will make any crazy claim they can to try and turn people away from them.

Obama has doomed his party. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31048740)

Can't wait to kick some jackasses out of office! Yeah boy!

Caveat Emptor (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048746)

And what restaurant's head waiter is going to tell you the daily special is bad?

Re:Caveat Emptor (3, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048998)

Any waiter that wants a tip.

Just use bluetooth (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048748)

and keep your cellphone away from your balls. Let everyone else find out if it causes brain cancer.

Re:Just use bluetooth (2, Informative)

nicknamenotavailable (1730990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048866)

Bluetooth is just another version of wifi.

The bluetooth frequencies range from 2.402GHz to 2.480GHz
Just the power output is different.

Re:Just use bluetooth (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048886)

Yes from my understanding bluetooth and wifi are harmless, the main reasonable health debate revolves around cellphone radiation risk.

Re:Just use bluetooth (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048988)

The fact that the receiver is in your house (if not even on your person) might well indicate an effect on the required power output from the transmitter.

Matters not (5, Insightful)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048750)

It matters not one whit how many studies show result X. What matters is what is shown by peer-reviewed studies done under controlled circumstances and having a significant sample size.

For example 100 studies done shoddily using sample sizes of 3, 4, and 6 subjects do not outweigh one ten-year study across 1,000 subjects.

Now just on general principles, if one watt of radio energy was harmful, you'd think that people like RF welders, tower steeplejacks, plasma researchers, and radar disk repairers wolsd be covered in suppurating pustules. But they're not. Even people whose heads are hit by 100 watts of much stronger photons (sunbathers, cowboys), they do just fine.

So I suggest you use GQ to check up on the latest fashions, maybe not so much on the best science.

Re:Matters not (3, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048784)

"For example 100 studies done shoddily using sample sizes of 3, 4, and 6 subjects do not outweigh one ten-year study across 1,000 subjects."

Depends. If one of those 100 shoddy studies gets me the $50M research grant and the ten-year study does not then the shoddy study wins.

Re:Matters not (3, Informative)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048820)

People around RF welders have serious shielding, and most plastics welding is automated. There have been 'accidents' such as seared skin, blindness, and neurological disorders among those who worked around these welders. Of course, we haven't heard much about them. Then again, we had not heard about brain injuries to football players for over 100 years.

Re:Matters not (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049046)

The shielding is to prevent the microwave like burning that could occur.

Re:Matters not (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048928)

I mostly agree with you but be careful before using sunbathing as an example. UV light can over a very long period of time increase the risk of skin cancer. The reason is that UV light is capable of breaking molecular bonds while the microwave bands used in a multitude of applications are far far too low in energy to do anything of the sort.

Re:Matters not (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049224)

they do just fine.

People that work around x-ray machines do just fine too.

The problem with measuring damage caused by EM radiation is that old waterbucket scenario. The same one that applies to global warming. You can keep dumping water in until it spills over the edge. While dumping water in, you only get drops spilling over when it's approaching the brim. As soon as it passes it, you have a wet floor.

The problem is, EM radiation is everywhere. Would you give up electricity and powerlines - perhaps living in a log cabin - to get away from it? I would not. So although I acknowledge that in 50 years this'll probably bite me in the ass... oh well. I can't say I wasn't warned.

MODULATIONS ARE EATING MY BRAIN (4, Informative)

Orp (6583) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048812)

The article mentions "modulations" over and over again as if they are some sort of evil force messing with your head.

Roughly speaking, modulations are changes in the energy at the sidebands of the carrier where the information is carried. Old cell phones were pure frequency modulation, the digital ones use a different scheme. But from you're brain's perspective, it shouldn't mean more than a slight change in the total energy being radiate at 2.4 GHz or whatever. The idea that your brain is affected by "modulations" seems extremely specious.

The fact that you're warming up your brain slightly when you hold the cell phone to your ear for a long time might have some sort of long term effect, I dunno, but I'm not too afraid of modulations.

Re:MODULATIONS ARE EATING MY BRAIN (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048950)

If any warming caused by holding a cell phone near your head caused sufficient warming to actually cause damage in the long term, then exercise of any sort would kill you dead a lot quicker than a cell phone could possibly be responsible for. A two or three degree Fahrenheit increase in body temperature is completely normal during exercise and even this is larger than a cell phone is capable of doing.

Re:MODULATIONS ARE EATING MY BRAIN (1, Funny)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049058)

Thanks for the heads up bro, and to think I was just about to get up off the couch!

Re:MODULATIONS ARE EATING MY BRAIN (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048986)

I think if that warming was a problem then living where it gets to be 95 degrees outside in the shade for 6 months out of the year would have had more of an effect by now. As it stands the biggest one is a desensitization to seeing grown men riding the bus to work in animal suits.

Re:MODULATIONS ARE EATING MY BRAIN (1)

Jon Abbott (723) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049102)

Perhaps by "modulations" they were referring to the short wavelengths of high frequency signals. For example, a 2.4 GHz signal has a wavelength of 12.491 cm, whereas a 100 MHz signal has a wavelength of nearly 3 meters. 2.4 GHz signals are much more readily absorbed by the body than 100 MHz signals because we are bags of mostly water [wikipedia.org] . The measure for how much we absorb is called the specific absorption rate [wikipedia.org] (SAR).

No wai (1)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048858)

EM radation being harmful on tissue? Business with billion dollar ties to the implied products trying to tone down the issue?! No wai.

If there's an effect, it's small. (4, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048876)

The GQ article with a cell phone next to a pack of cigarettes couldn't be more misleading. We hear about "such and such % increased risk of this", "such and such % increased risk of that". But these numbers are meaningless in assessing behavior changes unless you know the baseline risk.

So here's some numbers. The article starts off with cigarettes, so what's the risk of lung cancer between smokers and non-smokers?

Well, according to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , For Men it's 1.3% for non-smokers, and 17% for smokers. Wow!

Let's compare that to Brain cancer (all types). According to the National Cancer institute [cancer.gov] it's .6% for everyone. The Swedish study from 2006 found a 240% increase. So that's 1.44% risk.

So it seems quite obvious to me that even the most alarming study only showed a small increased health risk from cell phone use, and others have shown none. Compare that to smoking, which has been consistent in showing risk over the years, and an ENORMOUS risk. Oh, and for smoking that's JUST the lung cancer risk. We all should know about the other increased health risks associated with it.

Re:If there's an effect, it's small. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049012)

Well, according to wikipedia [wikipedia.org], For Men it's 1.3% for non-smokers, and 17% for smokers. Wow!

Wow, yeah! I don't think I ever remember seeing that number, I just assumed from all the hype that it was "small but measurable" and didn't see the benefits to bother starting smoking. But I definitely think that if there had been posters around school with just that number (or a big tar-colored six-sided die), a lot of my peers would also have not bothered starting.

EXPOSURE: 1 hour of cellphone=lifetime with WiFi (4, Informative)

viking80 (697716) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048878)

There is a huge difference between a cellphone and WiFi. First, a cellphone can transmit up to 5 Watts. I can actually hear noise induced in my computer speakers every 10 minutes if the cellphone is nearby when it does it automatic call-home.

WiFi is typically limited to 20mW.

Also, a cellphone is pressed against your head, while Wifi is usually 1 m away. With area of sphere = 4PiR^2, the Wifi will have an energy flux of 1mWm^-2, and a cellphone will have 40Wm^-2 or 30,000x that. You could use bluetooth to reduce your cellphone exposure

BTW, a microwave is allowed to leak 1Wm^2.

Bottom line, 1 hour of cellphone exposure = a lifetime with WiFi.

Re:EXPOSURE: 1 hour of cellphone=lifetime with WiF (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049066)

There is a huge difference between a cellphone and WiFi. First, a cellphone can transmit up to 5 Watts. I can actually hear noise induced in my computer speakers every 10 minutes if the cellphone is nearby when it does it automatic call-home.

Interestingly enough, I have noticed that on 3G this feedback has completely stopped. Unfortunately, I suspect that's no indicator of decreased power usage - only a change in frequency.

Re:EXPOSURE: 1 hour of cellphone=lifetime with WiF (1)

NeuralAbyss (12335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049276)

Actually, UMTS uses a lower transmit power - 250mW peak instead of 2W for GSM. That said, the interference will not be audible in the same manner due to the modulation, even if UMTS used 2W instead of 250mW.

Re:EXPOSURE: 1 hour of cellphone=lifetime with WiF (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049094)

There is a huge difference between a cellphone and WiFi. First, a cellphone can transmit up to 5 Watts.

From [wikipedia.org] :
The radio waves emitted by a GSM handset, can have a peak power of 2 watts, and a US analogue phone had a maximum transmit power of 3.6 watts. Other digital mobile technologies, such as CDMA2000 and D-AMPS, use lower output power, typically below 1 watt, UVA.

It's Crap and Here's Why (5, Informative)

Shannon Love (705240) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048932)

(1) Based on the standard rules of statistical acceptance, a study only has to reach requires a 95% confidence level. That means that 1 in every 20 identical studies will produce a false positive merely by chance. When you have an area of study in which thousands of studies have been done over decades you end up with hundreds of studies reporting positive results just by chance.

(2) Statistical meta analysis of studies is largely nonsense unless your talking about a field in which nearly identical studies are done over and over again. Usually, when these meta studies hit the media you find they they equally weight to every study regardless of presumed rigor of the studies. In this case, the gold standard is the Swedish study that followed tens of thousands of people over decades. How to you compare that to a study that just data mined a few hundred medical records?

(3) Exposure to all types of radio range radiation has increased by literally millions of times since WWII. We know spend something close to 3% of our entire energy budget generating radio signals. Yet, in the last 50+ years, cancers rates have not increased and indeed most likely have fallen (especially when you exclude cigarette smoking.

(4) A a sociological matter, just because a study is not linked to an industry does not mean that the researchers or the people funding them are some how impartial or operating from nobel motives. A lot of people outside of industry have both inherent biases as well as professional and monetary incentive to distort science. Academic today tilt strongly to the left side of the political spectrum and many believe in the post modernist concept that every one has a moral obligation to use whatever power they have, such as that held by respected scientist, to advance their political beliefs. They are inherently hostile to the economically productive. Politicians have incentives to create crises to protect voters from. Trial lawyers stand to make hundreds of millions on law suits and they fund "studies" to contaminate the jury pool. Even competing industries can use studies to undermine competitors.

We should remember that science has its reputation because it produces the same answer regardless of the individual motives of the people who create it. When someone begins the question the motives of researchers, they are making an implicit statement that they have no science to back their position up and that they must instead fall back to human factors. If you have solid science, then you don't need to smear people's motives and call their integrity into question.

Re:It's Crap and Here's Why (2, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049114)

Yes, I agree with you. Unfortunately it is the sort of crap that gets published on Slashdot.

Rat organs affected by GMO - check.
Vermont Nuquelar plant going to kill us all - check.
Cell phone radiation causes cancer - yup.

I am waiting now for a vaccine causes autism article to balance out the Lancet story from last week...

Re:It's Crap and Here's Why (1)

the gnat (153162) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049116)

Academic today tilt strongly to the left side of the political spectrum and many believe in the post modernist concept that every one has a moral obligation to use whatever power they have, such as that held by respected scientist, to advance their political beliefs. They are inherently hostile to the economically productive.

Maybe this is true of professors in the Sociology or Gender Studies departments, but in my experience (10 years in academic biology labs) this is rarely applicable to scientists - especially the last sentence. It is fair to say that the vast majority hold center-left political views, but this usually doesn't mean outright hostility to capitalism, and it rarely translates to attempts to skew the science one way or the other. Furthermore, very few scientists are reluctant to refuse funding from industry sources, as long as it does not come with strings attached. UC Berkeley has accepted money from both Novartis and BP for various types of life-science research (the latter for biofuels, obviously), and I can guarantee you that at least 90% of the faculty in the life sciences (well, the faculty who are American citizens, anyway) voted for Obama. I have yet to see any left-wing pressure groups making similar donations.

That said, plenty of scientists are also raging assholes, and I'm amazed at how easily experienced researchers can delude themselves into believing crappy data. They're just as fallible as anyone else. However, peer review tends to weed out the bullshit in the long term, and part of the basic training of most graduate students is learning how to rip apart journal articles and search for flaws.

Environmentalism is a religion (3, Insightful)

oldsaint (736226) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048952)

"Studies" that are funded or sponsored or promoted by environmental organizations should be taken as expressions of religious dogma, essentially worthless to those who endeavor to understand the underlying issue. Environmental organizations, like religious organizations, perceive themselves as above criticism, and therefore not accountable for the veracity of their proclamations. Commercial organizations might be equally and oppositely dogmatic in their desire for lucre, but tend to have a higher regard for logic, even if they reject it when they can get away with it.

Watch the WiFi protesters have a field day (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31048974)

I'm fairly sure we'll get this study used a lot in the near future.

Like my neighbor, who recently nearly beat my door down to inform me that if I don't turn off my WiFi AP she'll call the police because she gets headaches from my radiation. Then the cellphone in her pocket rang...

GQ (1)

exabrial (818005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049002)

Is this a new scientific journal?

Wrong variable (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049008)

The relevant finding is the funding-induced bias rather than biological effect of WiFi. Bias need not be conscious one to seep into the result.

Insulation. (2, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049018)

This brings up what would be a desirable setup: Insulate the scientists doing the studies from the sources of funding. A bit of bureaucracy is the price to pay for greater truth. Industry wanks put their money into a committee to fund studies in predetermined areas. Scientists apply to the committee and receive funds from it with no future consequences because of the results they find. The committee decides who actually gets the money not the industry lackey who decided it needed to be studied. This would greatly root out the "self-confirming" type of study while still getting studies done.

Re:Insulation. (2, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049260)

These "studies" cut both ways. Greenpeace for example funded the preposterous Rat Organ study that was posted here last week.

The best and most time tested answer is independent review. Which pretty much works in the long run.

I wonder who these... (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049044)

Independent studies are funded by?

Could it be that some of them are secretly funded by organizations of luddites?

It's easy to see how studies funded by wireless technology companies / wireless technology manufacturers could be biased.

But have the funding sources of these "independent" studies been investigated, to ensure their backers don't have an anti-RF, anti-Wireless, or anti-Cellphone agenda?

There are a lot of companies' who lose or are slated to lose business as wireless technologies become ubiquitous and replace wired technology.

Also, there are many non-profits and government interests who would probably like to have cell phones banned.

Or at least require cell providers to give them a 'global off switch' to assist with crowd control.

Moreover, there might be technology companies that want cell phones banned so they can make billions selling a "non-harmful wireless" technology

Also, being able to be the study to show wireless is harmful, would make the people behind the study world-known, they'd get fame notoriety, and cash, as a result of the popularity of their work. E.g. it would be profitable, in the form of lots of media attention, fame in peer-reviewed journals, and a great resume entry for the people heading up the study.

Assessments like number of studies independent VS number of studies industry funded are worthless, unless evidence can be shown that the independent studies were really funded and done by neutral parties who have zero commercial or personal interest in biasing the outcome.

Numbers (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31049134)

The numbers in this article seem to be fishy as well. If you have a 25% sample and a 75% sample you would have to add an equal amount of both to get a 50% sample. That means that in the sample there were 50% industry funded. It also means that the industry sample found changes in exactly 1/3 as many cases as the non industry sample. The numbers are too perfect 25%, 50% 75%.

It looks to me that the scientist decided what the outcome would be and selected studies to fulfil that outcome.

900mhz-1ghz Can Cause problems. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049174)

A study at Cleveland clinic shows that the blood brain barrier opens for up to 24hrs after being exposed to radiation at low levels. So chemicals that might cause cancer that normally get through do.
  But this was only at 900MHZ to 1 GHZ frequencies. My wife had an old cell phone in that range for her only phone for a number of years.

She died 5 years ago of brain tumors. Doctors off the record say I may just have something they might want to do a study on.

  AT&T model34183narea motorola phone. Was recalled but she never got a notice.
  They should have shut off phone service till she brought it in.

What's "independent funding?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31049298)

Just because the studies weren't done by the cell industry, that doesn't mean they lack bias. There is BIG MONEY in providing lawyers with ammunition for lawsuits and "inventors" with problems to solve for only $19.99 if you act now!

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