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World Health Organization Says Mobile Phones May Cause Cancer

Roblimo posted more than 3 years ago | from the we're-surrounded-by-carcinogens dept.

Medicine 354

Schiphol writes "A new study by the World Health Organization (WHO) concludes that mobile phone radiation presents a carcinogenic hazard. Are cell phones going to be the new tobacco, then?" This seems to be a new interpretation of a long-tern WHO study of possible cellphone health risks that had "inconclusive results" last May.

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Humans didn't evolve from the monkey after all... (-1, Offtopic)

slasdotter (2218748) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307088)

They are still Baboons [wikipedia.org]

Re:Humans didn't evolve from the monkey after all. (0)

slasdotter (2218748) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307248)

Why this is modded down? I mean decision to mark phones as dangerous really shows how stupid must humans are, and really are as stupid as Baboons.

Re:Humans didn't evolve from the monkey after all. (0)

slasdotter (2218748) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307378)

See now why I post Goatse links?
If I were to post it, at least I would get myself some laughs and some lulz.
Here you try to post something normal (and yes I am really really frustrated by that decision and I really think what I wrote in this post, and I really didn't intend to troll, and yet here are the results.)

Fuck slashdot. You really desereve all my goatse posts.

Re:Humans didn't evolve from the monkey after all. (1)

bipedalhominid (1828798) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307496)

Quit talking to yourself :) Baboons? You give them to much credit. I thought it was funny.

Re:Humans didn't evolve from the monkey after all. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307630)

Maybe try posting something with visible relevance to the topic? "Hey here's a link to baboons" isn't commentary, it's just random. And people will always downvote "hey why did you downvote me", because it's annoying and petulant. The best thing you can do is learn from your mistakes and do better next time. Swearing goaty revenge like a cut-rate supervillain is not going to win you any respect.

Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307090)

I heard this on NPR and they did a better job of putting this new classification into context (and probably detoothing the newsworthiness). It's classified by the IARC as Group 2B, not even Group 2A. The serious list is Group 1 [wikipedia.org] which indicates they are carcinogenic to humans. Group 2B [wikipedia.org] simply means "possibly carcinogenic to humans."

I would like to point out that also in Group 2B are Magnetic fields (extremely low frequency), pickled vegetables, coffee, nickel and the occupation of carpentry and joinery. And you know what else? Citrus Red No. 2 which is used to color the oranges you buy in supermarkets.

So they've put it next to coffee, coinage and food coloring. Why doesn't everyone flip out when things like those are added to Group 2B?

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307158)

Why doesn't everyone flip out when things like those are added to Group 2B?

Because those lack the "radiation boogieman".

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (3, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307450)

Banananaaaaaaas are Radioactive! AHHHHHHH! AAAARRRGGHHHHHHH!!!!!

Yup, humans are idiots.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

bipedalhominid (1828798) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307566)

Technically, I am radioactive. You might go so far as to say that our very existence is due to radioactivity. We are all children of the background radiation of the Universe. We should probably be worshiping the Sun or at least one of the more radioactive isotopes. Yes, some of the individuals will get cancer along the way. Wont change the outcome for the species. Sheesh, all these pesky humans worrying about their survival rates in a zero sum game. We should focus on the real important things like grilling the best ribs possible and getting the beer down to the proper temperature before consuming it.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307588)

I think the fact that bananas aren't being hysterically shunned shows that people are not idiots.

There's a lot of denial here in the thread, though. If cellphones were conclusively proven to cause cancer, one gets the feeling people would cling to them the way people keep smoking cigarettes.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (3, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307180)

Citrus Red No. 2 which is used to color the oranges you buy in supermarkets.

Why the fuck do oranges have to be coloured? Are oranges not sufficiently orange?

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (2)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307186)

Well, they would be if they were locally produced and harvested at just the right time. But when you factor in harvesting just a little too early, packaging in an inert atmosphere, shipping around the world and then taking another few days to get distributed to the store...

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307220)

O tempora, o mores!

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

LastGunslinger (1976776) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307272)

You're correct. I live in Florida and here Florida citrus isn't dyed but California citrus is.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307372)

I didnt know about the oranges being painted orange until I came to FLorida. We have a nice sized orange tree in the backyard with amazing tasting oranges each year, but of course they are much "uglier" than the store bought.
Mostly around the top and the bottom, where the orange color starts to fade out.

Because They Sell Better and the FDA Allows It (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307198)

Citrus Red No. 2 which is used to color the oranges you buy in supermarkets.

Why the fuck do oranges have to be coloured? Are oranges not sufficiently orange?

Because oranges aren't always orange and they have imperfections. Shipping and storing only exacerbates this. But suppliers noticed that people bought more oranges when they looked "pure" orange. And the FDA allowed it [fda.gov] (for whatever reason). Go to an organic food store sometime and look at the produce. You'll think it looks like shit. But it's really just not coated in dye.

Oh, but if the big bad evil government stopped oranges getting coated with food dye then everyone would complain that the nanny state is killing capitalism. So vote with your dollar and be lost in the sea of people who put perception above knowledge.

Re:Because They Sell Better and the FDA Allows It (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307384)

"Oh, but if the big bad evil government stopped oranges getting coated with food dye then everyone would complain that the nanny state is killing capitalism."

Amen. Makes perfect sense to me now:
If oranges aren't allowed to be colored, the dumbasses (sorry, dumb masses) wouldn't buy them.
If GMOs weren't allowed to be labeled, the ignorant masses wouldn't buy organic. ...Oh, wait...
Guess I'm off topic here, or made some terrible logical mistake?
Naaaah, this is Slashdot! Who the hell am I foolin'?
Makes perfect sense! /sarcasm

Re:Because They Sell Better and the FDA Allows It (0, Flamebait)

osgeek (239988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307386)

Because oranges aren't always orange and they have imperfections. Shipping and storing only exacerbates this. But suppliers noticed that people bought more oranges when they looked "pure" orange. And the FDA allowed it [fda.gov] (for whatever reason). Go to an organic food store sometime and look at the produce. You'll think it looks like shit. But it's really just not coated in dye.

Oh, but if the big bad evil government stopped oranges getting coated with food dye then everyone would complain that the nanny state is killing capitalism. So vote with your dollar and be lost in the sea of people who put perception above knowledge.

Why is it that slashdot is all about crowd sourcing things and peer-to-peer distributing the load until it comes to government? Then, suddenly, there's all kind of trust and faith in consolidation of power, authority, (re)distribution of resources, etc..

The fact that there are stores that openly and proudly sells uncolored produce tells me that many consumers know the difference and make a strong choice based upon those differences.

As a person who believes that going against capitalism often has unintended negative consequences, all I really ask to be mandated by government in this kind of case is truth in labeling.

Re:Because They Sell Better and the FDA Allows It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307468)

People complains about the government, and you count that as "all kind of trust and faith in consolidation of power!"?

I Can't Believe Your (Lack of) Critical Thinking (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307586)

Why is it that slashdot is all about crowd sourcing things and peer-to-peer distributing the load until it comes to government? Then, suddenly, there's all kind of trust and faith in consolidation of power, authority, (re)distribution of resources, etc..

Why are you trying to pigeonhole a complex and (in most respects diverse) group of people that often exhibits conflicting but strong opinions? I think crowd sourcing is stupid or nothing more than marketing except for very special cases and I strive for a balance of government regulation so that we get the best we can from capitalism while avoiding some of its horrors that used to happen in our country and still happen worldwide.

The fact that there are stores that openly and proudly sells uncolored produce tells me that many consumers know the difference and make a strong choice based upon those differences.

Tell me, right now, how close you live to an organic produce store or farmer's market that sells oranges without dye? And how far do you live from (many) regular orange dying super markets? The "choice" has many dimensions and factors and the way you simplify it down is laughable. Do you step outside and see two identical orange stands in front of your house, one dyed and one uncolored? The fact of the matter is that you are subject to the options of the population around you.

As a person who believes that going against capitalism often has unintended negative consequences

Well, I'm glad that you cling to a generic belief when it comes to policy. For me, it's not so simple and I have to make an effort to become informed and make a rational and logical decision that I hope strikes the right balance between capitalism and government regulation so that the people benefit the most. What "unintended negative consequence" did stopping child labor have? What "unintended negative consequence" did banning CFCs have? Oh, of course, the profit margin of some companies.

, all I really ask to be mandated by government in this kind of case is truth in labeling.

And where does it stop? Hmmmm? Should they have to label how these oranges were delivered so I can calculate my carbon offset? Should they be required to list which country and company provided the harvest of the oranges and what kind of labor was employed? Labels can be just as extreme as regulation, you know. And labeling food can be just as detrimental to the population as a whole. You can effectively inundate a consumer with information on a product to the point that they just don't care anymore. That's just as big a danger as absolutely no label. Do you think the average high school graduate can look at two dietary labels on two competing products and tell you the precise differences those labels mean for their particular diet?

What ever happened to critical thinking?

Re:Because They Sell Better and the FDA Allows It (1)

JTsyo (1338447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307514)

Doesn't the dye just stay on the skin? Does it defuse to the center?

Re:Because They Sell Better and the FDA Allows It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307576)

If you open it up and the inside of the rind is orange, like weird orange - then it did diffuse to the center. I bought a batch of those a few months ago and couldn't eat them.

Re:Because They Sell Better and the FDA Allows It (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307518)

What is the problem with the food coloring? It's in group 2B, as safe as cellphones.

Re:Because They Sell Better and the FDA Allows It (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307626)

What 'knowledge' do you use to tell if an orange is a good one to buy or not? How it feels (perception)? How it smells (perception)? How it looks - bruises, etc (perception)? Or do you just buy any old orange, secure in your knowledge that they are all exactly the same, and there is no such thing as under-ripe, over-ripe, damaged, rotten, etc?

Personally, if given the choice between oranges that are dyed and oranges that cost twice as much because half of them won't be sold, I'll stick with the dye.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307476)

You should read up on what they do to other foods. the ONLY place you can get real food is the farmers market from a small grower (not the mexican in his truck with mangoes and kiwi fruit, that's all supermarket seconds) that is foods that are grown locally. Anything else has been processed... yes even the lettuce in winter.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307598)

That's why I buy all of my produce from the Amish in Lancaster county; and I learned the fine art of canning at a young age.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

AtonalMonk (1737518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307528)

Citrus Red No. 2 which is used to color the oranges you buy in supermarkets.

Why the fuck do oranges have to be coloured? Are oranges not sufficiently orange?

A lot of oranges, especially those grown near the equator, are naturally green. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_(fruit)#Degreening [wikipedia.org]

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

bipedalhominid (1828798) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307606)

Not at all. They are kind of yellowish with green and black splotches. No one will buy them if they dont all have that uniform orange color. Take a drive down to FL and look at the oranges destined for the squisher plant. They dont waste time or money dyeing those oranges orange. Or you can ask just about anyone for a real orange. Everyone has a citrus tree or three in their yard down there. You dont even have to ask, getting rid of citrus is difficult in FL. Just find the working class side of town, wait till dark and creep into the backyard. Pick all the fruit you want and sneak back to your car.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307192)

It also include lead and gasoline.

The problem is that it gives no clue of the modes of exposure to classify as such. I'm quite certain gasoline is carcinogenic, if you drink it.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307336)

Ah, so my cellphone is only harmful if I eat it. Got it. I've always wondered how crunchy that Gorilla Glass would be. I guess I'll never know...

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307422)

No, why? Won't you make this sacrifice? For the science?

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307454)

Forgive my ignorance, does lead actually cause cancer? It was my understanding it simply screwed up your nervous system; the wikipedia article on it doesnt mention "cancer" or "carcinogen" once.

So possibly thats a good point to make-- lead is on there, despite not really being recognized as a cancer causer.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307548)

Its to busy being a fatal heavy metal poison to allow you to live long enough to get cancer. But you might get cancer if you survived the fatal dose of lead poisoning? Who knows.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (2)

TheSeventh (824276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307574)

And cell phones are now in the same "Possible" carcinogenic group as Caffeine. So I shouldn't drink my cell phone then . . . ?

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307218)

Because it's the WHO. Among some people, they will not ignore what the WHO has said. It's sort of like the Pope giving his blessing or warning.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (0)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307230)

Why doesn't everyone flip out when things like those are added to Group 2B?

You must be new here.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307326)

What I find most interesting, is that Lead, used to shield you from harmful X-rays, is also on that list. This means that you couldn't make some sort of lead shielding to protect you from your mobile phone.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307524)

Why lead? My phones don't emit beta and gamma radiation... Where the hell are you getting your cellphones? The corner dealer in Chernobyl?

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (2)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307348)

Did you know that America and practically every first world country ships and sells a more dangerous radioactive substance as food? They have much more radiation than coffee, and this substance is even fed to some animals, especially monkeys.

Hint: bananas have more radiation than almost every other food available, yet nobody wants to pull bananas from the market because it's the only good source of potassium.
Double hint: you get the same amount of radiation from a banana by just lying near someone.
Triple hint: take everything you read with a grain of salt.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307490)

Quadruple hint: Taking everything with a grain of salt will increase your sodium intake which is bad, so don't use hints, they will kill you!

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

Punko (784684) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307388)

Just note, the data used with respect to cell phone usage was less than 40 minutes per day. Yes, the base data is that old. How much do folks use there phones now ?

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

ElmoGonzo (627753) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307438)

Perhaps everyone flips out because there has been utter denial of the possiblity for many years. It's not like the tobacco industry never tried to deny the link between tobacco and cancer or that the coal industry never tried to minimize the dangers of sulphur, mercury, etc. or that anyone at Exxon-Mobil every tried to minimize the potential dangers of CO2.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

KnownIssues (1612961) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307466)

So they've put it next to coffee, coinage and food coloring. Why doesn't everyone flip out when things like those are added to Group 2B?

You know what else is in Group 2B?! Gasoline! Gasoline causes cancer! OMG we have to get off gasoline NOW!

Seriously though, the quote I took from that same Wikipedia article was "[...] less than sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals." In other words, if you take "science says it can't prove god exists" as "science says god might exist", then yes the headline is correct.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307492)

"Why doesn't everyone flip out when things like those are added to Group 2B"

Because there is a large group of people who are afraid of science and technology. And they base their knowledge of science on what they learned in 8th grade science class. When they talk about the evils of DDT, and how we didn't know how harmful radiation was when we drop the Atomic bomb to end World War II. So they will go out and protest any technology and use any bit of evidence that it could be harmful to raise their arms us and say. You are doing it again, creating something that will kill us all!

I think aver seeing the Evil the Nazis did in WWII, and the bulk of the population did nothing because they weren't looking for problems, and ignoring ones that they do see. American generations after that decided to go over board and make sure nothing bad that happens will go unnoticed and without a fight.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (1)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307602)

Group 2B [wikipedia.org] simply means "possibly carcinogenic to humans." I would like to point out that also in Group 2B are Magnetic fields (extremely low frequency), pickled vegetables, coffee, nickel and the occupation of carpentry and joinery. And you know what else? Citrus Red No. 2 which is used to color the oranges you buy in supermarkets. So they've put it next to coffee, coinage and food coloring. Why doesn't everyone flip out when things like those are added to Group 2B?

Your post had me feeling good until I clicked on the Group 2B link and saw nasty materials like lead, DDT, heavy hydrocarbons, and hydrazine.

Re:Calm Down, It's Only Group 2B (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307640)

You're part of the control group by the way. You don't get the cell phone. Last poor son of a gun got the super conductor turned up full blast and pointed at them, ha ha ha! All joking aside, that did happen. Had a bunch of tumors that we can't even scoop out - tragic. But informative! Or so I'm told.

First Post Bitches (-1, Offtopic)

droidsURlooking4 (1543007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307100)

Wow what a surprise

Re:First Post Bitches (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307134)

Fail

Re:First Post Bitches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307502)

He could have been first if he'd been using America's Largest 4G Network!

Re:First Post Bitches (1, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307456)

First Post's cause cancer.

Paging Dr.Bob, paging Dr.Bob.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307102)


Where's Dr.Bob? I want to learn about how cell phones cause cancer and Teh Terriblez SUBLUXATIONS!

quack quack quack....

Re:Paging Dr.Bob, paging Dr.Bob.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307416)

Coffee came out of my nose.

Excellent job.

The summary is, of course, wrong. (3, Insightful)

robbak (775424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307114)

Real story: the WHO lacked the guts to put this cellphone nonsense to bed once and for all. Studies that ask people with brain cancers "How much did you use your phone?" are pretty much all they had, and they seem to be the definition of "Confirmation Bias."

In other news, the media fails science forever, but we knew that already.

Re:The summary is, of course, wrong. (4, Informative)

Shadowmist (57488) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307210)

Real story: the WHO lacked the guts to put this cellphone nonsense to bed once and for all. Studies that ask people with brain cancers "How much did you use your phone?" are pretty much all they had, and they seem to be the definition of "Confirmation Bias."

In other news, the media fails science forever, but we knew that already.

I think they did put in a bit more effort than that. low level EMF radiation is not a trivial issue. And if you read the reports instead of concentrating on being shrill they did identify particular groups at risk, such as infants whose parents use cellphone music to keep their toddlers quiet and basically park an active phone next to young developing skulls and brains for hours on end. It also depended a lot on shape, Many flip phones because of their geometry kept the radiating part sufficiently away to be much less a concern, but almsot all smartphones today are unibody designs which means the EMF emitting body and screen is in direct contact with your head.

Re:The summary is, of course, wrong. (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307428)

Yeah but is there any evidence at all that low level EMF radiation is bad for you or anyone?

Re:The summary is, of course, wrong. (3, Informative)

toppavak (943659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307592)

The problem is that the evidence goes both ways, some studies show a correlation, others don't. Keep in mind that what's been said by the WHO isn't that the studies that showed a correlation are correct, just that they might be. The end result for the WHO is to say "well, there *might* be a link so we should at least continue to watch the issue" which is basically all that classifying cell phones as class 2B carcinogens says. As noted by other commentors, this class of potential carcinogen includes things like caffeine, nickel and Red No. 2 food coloring. Basically the slightly misleading name of the category (calling it a carcinogen) has the media all in a tizzy since of course journalists never actually read the quotes they're relaying or look into what that pesky 2B in front means.
FTFA:

"This IARC classification does not mean cell phones cause cancer. Under IARC rules, limited evidence from statistical studies can be found even though bias and other data flaws may be the basis for the results."

Re:The summary is, of course, wrong. (0, Flamebait)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307624)

Yeah but is there any evidence at all that low level EMF radiation is bad for you or anyone?

Obviously, yes. What would be the economic incentive for the WHO to whore for fear-mongers if there wasn't a certain amount of evidence? Do luddites pool their money and contribute it to the WHO? Do the Landline Monopolies get together at night and conspire?

Re:The summary is, of course, wrong. (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307526)

Are you aware that incandescent lightbulbs give off intense radiation between 400 and 700nm, and that often these devices are used in the vicinity of growing infants? And that this radiation is far more energetic than radio emissions? Oh the humanity.

Still noone has offered up any clue as to how this effect could possibly work when the only biological effects of radio emissions seem to be thermal in nature. Not that if we had some brand new study showing a strong correlation that wouldnt be worth looking into, but in the absence of either a correlation or a known causative factor, Im going to remain a bit skeptical.

Re:The summary is, of course, wrong. (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307646)

I think they did put in a bit more effort than that. low level EMF radiation is not a trivial issue. And if you read the reports instead of concentrating on being shrill they did identify particular groups at risk, such as infants whose parents use cellphone music to keep their toddlers quiet and basically park an active phone next to young developing skulls and brains for hours on end. It also depended a lot on shape, Many flip phones because of their geometry kept the radiating part sufficiently away to be much less a concern, but almsot all smartphones today are unibody designs which means the EMF emitting body and screen is in direct contact with your head.

All of this is irrelevant, because radio waves are nonionizing radiation.

Re:The summary is, of course, wrong. (1, Offtopic)

frozentier (1542099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307238)

Studies that ask people with brain cancers "How much did you use your phone?" are pretty much all they had, and they seem to be the definition of "Confirmation Bias."

Exactly, and if they had asked 10,000 people with colon cancer how much they used THEIR cell phones, the answer would have probably been "all the time". ANYTHING in the environment could be causing brain tumors: TV use, microwave use, silk pillowcases, dandruff shampoo... As I walk and drive around town, I see everyone using cell phones. I use one, all my family and friends use them. So why aren't people dropping dead left and right from brain tumors?

Re:The summary is, of course, wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307436)

No - please read the study.

They actually compared rates of a certain type of brain cancer between a group of heavy phone users and a group of non-users. The heavy users had double the rate of brain glioma compared to the non-users. Does that mean we're certain cell phones can cause cancer? No, but it's certainly a cause for concern and something to spend more time and effort looking into. The effects of long term exposure to low levels of EMF are not something that is currently well understood, which is why scientists are doing more research into it now.

It's funny that slashdot comments seem to be far worse for shrill shrieking and intentionally misrepresenting the point than much of the mass media.

Re:The summary is, of course, wrong. (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307590)

Thank you for bringing that point up in the discussion. Perhaps one reason we're seeing less than the usual scientifically enlightened response in this case (comedians may respond here) is that the "tech-savvy" nerds are higher on the adoption curve for unibody phone designs (including smart phones) and also may consider brain cancer to be one of the types most detrimental to one's perceived chief asset. If so, then it's reasonable to expect that a higher level of fear than usual will be loosed among the usual present crowd.

Note that most people aren't picking up on the classification of: "might possibly be carcinogenic" and have assumed that the WHO is instead proposing an instant ban on mobile social distance-interaction.

P.S. Please mod parent up

Re:The summary is, of course, wrong. (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307540)

Microwaves arent terribly likely to cause cancer either. They heat things up, and can potentially cause electric arcing between metals, but theyre certainly not ionizing.

Re:The summary is, of course, wrong. (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307552)

Therefore toilets cause colon cancer!

100% of all colon cancer victims use a toilet on a daily basis!

Re:The summary is, of course, wrong. (1)

Knutsi (959723) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307562)

I'm not sure that is the question studies have asked. There is difference between asking "have you ever owned a cellphone" and "how much did you use it?". If you can confirm that heavy users get more gliablastomas, you have an interesting correlation - a dose-response relationship. Its perfectly valid to look at people's past in retrospect to see if there has been an exposure that might relate to the condition.

Re:The summary is, of course, wrong. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307608)

"Lacked the guts" is a charitable way of putting it. The WHO has lied about the statistical significance of e.g. second hand smoking risk in the past. They are likely to be similarly disingenuous in the future.

Awesome.... (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307122)

This announcement will certainly bring out the paranoid reply of the masses... It doesn't really change what any of us "know" about possible cancer causing effects (or lack thereof). But let's be clear... This means that there is a "possibility" that it could contribute to cancer. The WHO has a whole range of classifications within this category that it still really means nothing.

As an example, other things on this list:
coffee
alcoholic drinks
working the night shift

wrong turn wednesday again. if nothing changes,,, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307126)

targets, long time, 'choice', jobs, all in the unspecified long term (decades) 'future'. all we want is a voice & a job, they say? (we want safe thriving babys & older folks all over the world) if everybody gets killed (by mistake, bad weather...), we'll still be ok? the chosen ones' lifeocidal weapons peddlers jobs are safe, as well as our last rights to remain silent. oppositions will be destroyed if they respond violently to being violently colonized & wind up like the genuine 'american' natives, who were subjected to inhuman treatment by the royals discovering colonizers, way back then, & even way before that.

disarm. please read the teepeeleaks etchings, please. no more even wetter wednesdays for us? thanks again. this is not a practice run.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGb7Bs1OdtI
'Three wars, millions suffering not justice'

Numbers (-1)

ForgedArtificer (1777038) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307128)

Isn't it funny how studies always prove exactly what people want them to prove?

The only real thing we've learned from academic studies in the last hundred years or so is how malleable numbers and language are.

Remember kids, everything you do both causes and cures cancer sooner or later... so just live your life and it should balance itself out in the end.

Re:Numbers (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307298)

Yeah, funny how all those useless studies over the last hundred years have nothing to do with the fact that I am able to read your drivel from the other side of the planet within seconds of you hitting the "submit" button - something that was unthinkable at the start of last century.

While the popular press likes to present science as a limited series of earth-shattering breakthroughs, in reality science is built upon thousands and thousands of tiny incremental steps, not all of them in the same direction.

Re:Numbers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307304)

The only real thing we've learned from academic studies in the last hundred years or so is how malleable numbers and language are.

Right...studies about evolution, the transistor, lasers, quantum mechanics, general and special relativity are all just ways to manipulate the numbers. Right....

Why is slashdot so slow to report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307152)

Not just this article but so many others......talk about behind the curve.

CNN made it sound horrible (3)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307166)

Even though this is a non-issue (not conclusive by the study's authors), the folks over at CNN talked about the cellphone risk as if it was Certain to cause harm. They left me with the impression that cellphones are irradiating my hip, and they are a definite carcinogen. The one guy even compared cellphone to cigarettes ("People say they can't live without cigarettes either, but they should give up both those and cellphones if they are dangerous."). They even had people texting to say, 'No I won't use my cellphone anymore. I'm getting a landline.' or 'I'm using speakerphone from now on. I don't want to hold it against my head.'

Piss-poor reporting (aka fear-mongering). I wonder how MSNBC and FOX News are covering it.

It is not new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307178)

Evidence on the non-thermal influence of non-jonising radiation on living organisms predates cell phones by decades. It is no news.

Just a single example: Blood-brain barrier permeability and nerve cell damage in rat brain 14 and 28 days after exposure to microwaves from GSM mobile phones [nih.gov] .

Of course, Slashdot's "radiation trolls" claim otherwise and still are modded +5 informative, so perhaps it is news here.

what doesn't? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307200)

I am quite sure that (given the right conditions) even breathing causes cancer...

Also on the list: (2)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307216)

FYI: Also on the list:
Coffee
Pickles

Re:Also on the list: (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307648)

Yes. We know. Pundits on both 'sides' of the issue can and will cherry-pick the list to make their case and/or just to troll.

What about people with inherent susceptibility? (2)

Knutsi (959723) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307246)

If the radiation from phones (or wireless for that matter) are carcinogenic somehow, should we not see a dramatic increase in cancer incidences in people who suffer from broken DNA-repair mechanisms? Is this being observed?

Re:What about people with inherent susceptibility? (2)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307460)

If the radiation from phones (or wireless for that matter) are carcinogenic somehow, should we not see a dramatic increase in cancer incidences in people who suffer from broken DNA-repair mechanisms? Is this being observed?

Not to validate the fear-mongering going on here, but your question points out the problem we face exactly.

Perhaps it takes 25 years for cellphone radiation to make any observable changes in somebody's physiology. That would mean that most of the older generation wouldn't even notice a difference in their lives. But it also means that we currently have two entire generations that will all develop brain cancer around age 30. I imagine that would be a touch devastating to the first world countries.

Every kid in the US, Japan, Europe, etc has, in the last 24 hours, held one of these devices to their head. If it does indeed cause problems, we're going to be in a world of hurt at some point in the future.

QUICK! (0)

Computer_kid (996105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307264)

Turn off the TV transmitters, AM/FM transmitters, HAM radios, satellites, and the sun, they all produce radiation that causes cancer! I am going to go get my lead helmet.

But... (3, Funny)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307290)

Lead is a possible carcinogen...

Re:But... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307558)

only if you lick it.

Re:QUICK! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307368)

But a fraction of a watt held next to your head gives you a larger dose than a megawatt miles away, due to inverse square falloff.

"Non-ionizing radiation" people cry, but the fact is that it causes localized heating, and we don't even know all the ways this effects people.

People seem really quick to believe science when they want to, but not when it's inconvenient.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/31/who.cell.phones/index.html:
"Dr. Keith Black, chairman of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles: So in addition to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones."

"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."

"In February, a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, revealed radiation emitted after just 50 minutes on a mobile phone increases the activity in brain cells."

"Manufacturers of many popular cell phones already warn consumers to keep their device away from their body and medical experts say there other ways to minimize cell phone radiation."

But I'm sure random slashdot readers know better than the chairman of neurology at a major medical center.

Grapevine is alive and well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307280)

Could mobile phones cause cancer?

This is an important question. Scientists are confident that tobacco, alcohol or asbestos can cause cancer because they can explain how these things affect the way our cells work. These explanations are called “biological mechanisms” – they play a vital role in establishing that something causes cancer.

So far no one has been able to provide a good biological mechanism for the link between mobile phones and cancer. The “how” question is an open one. The phones give off microwave radiation, but this has millions of times less energy than, say, an X-ray and is not powerful enough to damage our DNA. They mildly heat the body, but again, not enough to pose a health risk. Other suggestions have been put forward, but none are backed by consistent evidence.

read more: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2011/05/31/who-verdict-on-mobile-phones-and-cancer/

Them earbutts are back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307284)

Now's the time to buy a Jawbone? I mean...ahem...now's the time to resell Jawbones? Hmmm... profit! Yummy yum yum yum

Use a headset (1, Interesting)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307312)

I don't think it's that complicated really. 15 years of mobile phone use and I've rarely put a mobile phone near my head not because of fear but because of caution. At first I just wanted a headset so I could keep two hands on the wheel of my car, so in a sense it was a safety issue to begin with.

With a little research in to understanding how these devices worked from an electronics perspective I discovered that a mobile phone frequency transmits between 900Mhz and 2400Mhz. A rough calculation revealed the wavelength of 2400Mhz is roughly 13cms with the wavelength getting longer as it gets lower. That means your head is within the wavelength of the transmission. When the device is in contact with your head absorption quadruples due to inductance AND the device varies it's power output according to signal strength, so if your brain is absorbing the wavelength then the device increases it's power output. Even simply breaking contact with your head reduces absorption by three quarters, put the device in speaker mode and turn the volume down.

I think to anyone who understands the nature of the devices this is a no brainer, one of my relations recently died of brain cancer so I witnessed first hand that it is a very bad way to die. A bluetooth headset is about $200, why would you bother taking the risk?

Re:Use a headset (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307512)

1. There is no demonstrable or provable risk.
2. I don't have $200 to blow on a headset.
3. As Bluetooth is a local area radiation system isn't there a "risk" I'll get cancer from the Bluetooth waves I've now got floating through my head? Where's the research on that? I could be putting my life at risk every time I make a call!

Almost everything "may cause cancer" (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307346)

If you are going to use that criteria.

Benzene from plastic can maybe cause cancer. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307362)

Polycarbonate, the plastic used in most cellphones, out-gas various chemicals some of which are known carcinogens. These include benzene, toluene, and chlorobenzene. Since you usually hold the phone up to your face I would bet that you breath enough of this in to cause the amount of cancer found in any study. Real research is done with a negative control for a reason. Since, there is so much radio waves all around us, there is no where that you can exist without the presence of them. Not only that, there is no way for any EM of the wavelength (> than 1 M) or frequency to cause damage to any tissue. The microwave frequency can but it's wavelength is 10 cm and only interacts with molecules on the vibrational frequency that gets absorbed and converted into heat.

Re:Benzene from plastic can maybe cause cancer. (1)

madhatter256 (443326) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307478)

Did you know that SunnyD, that fake orange juice you see white kids get excited about instead of the 'purple stuff' when they open the fridge, contains benzene???

There was a story YEARS ago that a sunnyD plant leaked tons of benzene and killed the local water supply. Here's an article on the suit filed against them to change their formula...

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2007/07/23/story7.html [bizjournals.com]

Just type in "Benzene in drinks" in google and you'll see links for soft drinks out there that contain it.

Thats why I only drink water and liquor

whats next (0)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307392)

wifi internet causes cancer?
radio and television causes cancer?
electricity causes cancer?
sunlight causes cancer?
they wont be happy until everyone is back to living in caves

Re:whats next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307578)

Sunlight is definitely proven to cause cancer.
But that is because of UV radiation, which doesn't occur with cellphones or anything else on your list.

Science illiteracy at its finest (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36307410)

Claiming that cell phones can cause cancer is like saying that the wake from a surfboard could capsize a passing supertanker.

(And the orders of magnitude in this analogy are not exaggerated. The long-wavelength photons emitted by cell phones would need to be millions of times more energetic to break a peptide bond.)

Oh, it's that same WHO... (0, Troll)

X.25 (255792) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307418)

...that netted billions of dollars for pharmaceutical cartels that sold H1N1 vaccine?

They've lost their credibility. All because of few dollars and corruption.

Perspective (4, Interesting)

roachdabug (1198259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307452)

According to the report there was a 40% increased chance of glioma among the heaviest cell phone users. According to wikipedia, glioma affects approximately 2-3 in 100,000 people. That's a 0.0025% chance. A 40% increase means cell phone users now have a 0.0035% chance, or 3-4 out of 100,000. You're still 3 times as likely to get hit by lightning and 250 times as likely to die in a fiery car crash.

WHO also says (3, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307464)

That Daleks and Sonic Screwdrivers may cause cancer

In other news... (2)

jitterman (987991) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307472)

...somebody said something might possibly do something.

Way to come out with a definitive conclusion there, WHO.

Summary is hyperbole as usual (1)

Pigeon451 (958201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307482)

The actual article description of "could possibly cause cancer", is very different from "concludes that mobile phone radiation presents a carcinogenic hazard".

As others have mentioned, we do and eat many things that have a higher chance of causing cancer than cell phones such as engine exhaust! Should we go on and ban cars now?

Citation (1)

Artem Tashkinov (764309) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307538)

My stance is it's always better to be safe than sorry, so even thought there's no conclusive evidence that cell phones are harmful, it's not that difficult to reduce their usage or use them hands-free.

Besides, I like this citation very much:

"The CTIA keeps saying what they've said since 1993, which is that studies conclusively show that there's nothing to worry about. Well, let me tell you something: They do not conclusively show that. The few independent studies that are out there indicate that there's a problem. Most of the other studies have been sponsored by industry."

Meanwhile there are ever bigger problems than this one, like e.g. food quality degradation and abundance of food additives which alter our bodies in unpredictable ways.

He said she said (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#36307642)

What the WHO says "There is no evidence that mobile phones cause cancer, but there is also no conclusive evidence that they do not." What CNN reports "There is mounting evidence that cellphones may cause cancer, says the WHO. Cellphones emit non-ionizing radiation, previously thought to not cause cellular damage. Cellphone radiation is similar to microwaves, so it will heat your brain to the boiling point. Some say there is no way that cooking your brain cannot cause some form of harm." Holy hell. I bet $1000 the "some" who say that are the fucking writer, who is scared shitless because they are illiterate and can't tell the difference between "has shown there is a link" and "hasn't shown there isn't a link".
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