Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Story Behind Cell Phone Radiation Research

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the the-tumult-and-perspective dept.

Businesses 560

XopherMV writes "A study by Lai and Singh, published in a 1995 issue of Bioelectromagnetics, found an increase in damaged DNA in the brain cells of rats after a single two-hour exposure to microwave radiation at levels considered "safe" by government standards. The idea behind that study was relatively simple: expose rats to microwave radiation similar to that emitted by cell phones, then examine their brain cells to see if any DNA damage resulted. The news was apparently unwelcome in some quarters. According to internal documents that later came to light, Motorola started working behind the scenes to minimize any damage Lai's research might cause even before the study was released. In a memo and a draft position paper dated Dec. 13, 1994, officials talked about how they had "war-gamed the Lai-Singh issue" and were in the process of lining up experts who would be willing to point out weaknesses in Lai's study and reassure the public. To this day, the cell phone industry continues to dispute Lai and Singh's findings although half of about 200 studies say there is a biological effect from cell phone radiation. Read more in UW Columns."

cancel ×

560 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Trivial solution ... (4, Insightful)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865516)

Use a headset. Leave the phone in your pocket or on your desk. You also get the benefit of having your hands free (for typing, or other activities)

Re:Trivial solution ... (5, Funny)

Random Chaos (831686) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865541)

Oh great. Leave the phone in your pocket where it will damage the DNA you pass on to your children.

Bravo - great idea!

Re:Trivial solution ... (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865738)

Er.. what pocket do you keep *your* phone in?

Re:Trivial solution ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865770)

> Oh great. Leave the phone in your pocket where it will damage the DNA you pass on to your children.

If you don't have kids - hey, this is Slashdot. We're not gonna mate, let alone breed. No big deal.

If you already have kids - umm, eewwww. Sick, dude!

Re:Trivial solution ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865573)

Technically the radiation from the phone emanates(sp?) from your pocket, too. Sterility, anyone?

Re:Trivial solution ... (3, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865600)

put in your pocket and damage the DNA of, er, something else...???

Re:Trivial solution ... (3, Insightful)

Trurl's Machine (651488) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865607)

Use a headset.

Are you sure that having a Bluetooth wireless unit close to your brain cells will make that much of improvement?

Re:Trivial solution ... (4, Interesting)

OMG (669971) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865680)

Have you any numbers of the power levels ? Bluetooth uses lower levels AFAIK. Still not optimal, but probably better. More insights on this topic are very welcome.

Re:Trivial solution ... (5, Insightful)

tigersha (151319) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865788)

A bluetooth headset needs to have anough power to reach you phone 10 meters away.

A cellphone need to reach the next antenna which may be 5 kilometers away.

There is a radical difference in signal strength here.

Re:Trivial solution ... (3, Informative)

OMG (669971) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865617)

Be careful: Some headsets are used as antennas for the cell phone. That would contradict the goal you are trying to achieve.

Perhaps a bluetooth headset can minimize the energy which your DNA in the brain has to absorb.

Re:Trivial solution ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865637)

Of all the parts of your body likely to be MORE susceptible to being microwaved than your brain, your GONADS top the list.

Get a bluetooth headset (wired ones INCREASE the radiation through your skull; they act as a monopole atenna), keep the phone in a BAG. (where it is also less likely to get stolen).

"Leave it in your pocket" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865667)

How many eyes do your kids have, anyway?

Re:Trivial solution ... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865717)

At least one study has shown that the use of a headset may be worse in terms of the radiation. It turns out, the headset acts as an antenna for the radiation. The net result is that it funnels more of it straight to the brain.

Not only telephones! (3, Informative)

beofli (584044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865751)

Also the base stations (GSM, UMTS) are reported (scientifically) to cause brain damage.
www.stopumts.nl is a good dutch site of one guy fighting against these types of radation, after noticing health problems himself.

So ? (4, Insightful)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865524)

Is there more radiation emanating from my cellphone or from the rest of the city ?
Is it safe ?

Re:So ? (4, Interesting)

Kainaw (676073) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865666)

Is there more radiation emanating from my cellphone or from the rest of the city ?

I know it sounds weird, but when I was at University of Missouri-Rolla, I did some work at the nuclear reactor on campus. There is far less radiation inside the reactor building (not inside the reactor core itself) than there is outside on the hockey puck (a big concrete circle in the middle of campus). So, if you are worried about radiation, just move into a nuclear reactor building.

Re:So ? (2, Interesting)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865755)

No, I can't say I am that worried: I know there is more possible causes for cancer which are not radiation-related than the opposite.
Look at all the chemicals you eat, drink or breath everyday.
Look at the stress that urban life induces.
Frankly, I don't see why I should die from a radiation exposure whereas I spent most Sat. evenings actively dancing (thus gasping even more) drunk in smokey discos...
So this story is FUDdy. They don't even answer the ultimate question, they just claim there is a dispute. Very useful.

Re:So ? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865791)

The "rest of the city" is a lot further from your brain than your phone's antenna. Also; bear in mind:

1: (most) Mobile phones have vertical monopole antennae - ergo they radiate best sideways (i.e. into your head!)

2: Mobile phone antennas are designed to use your skull as part of the antenna system; they DELIBERATELY radiate into your head!

An aside; one of the places you are less likely to be affected by radiation from the base-station antenna, is right below it. It takes about 40m range before the signal radiates widely enough to reach the ground (due to the height of the transmitter) :)

Original paper author has moved on (5, Interesting)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865528)

For those of you that make it to the 4th page of the UW Columns article, Lai has left the research field (moved to Colorado) and doesn't use a cell phone, plus requires his family members to use headsets - maybe he's on to something?

P.S. I see this study was done at my alma-matter, the University of Washington. I wonder if my old roommate Jim Oliver might have been affected, since he did handstands from our 7th floor balcony railing [komar.org] - maybe he should have been wearing a tin-foil hat? ;-)

Re:Original paper author has moved on (-1, Offtopic)

Thrakkerzog (7580) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865623)

Jim Oliver's shorts are waaaay too tight.

Re:Original paper author has moved on (5, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865852)

For those of you that make it to the 4th page of the UW Columns article, Lai has left the research field (moved to Colorado) and doesn't use a cell phone, plus requires his family members to use headsets - maybe he's on to something?

Questions:

  • Why aren't cancer rates much higher in nations with significantly more cell phones/coverage- say, Japan for example?
  • Why hasn't brain cancer increased in the last 20 years as cell phone usage has gone from near zero to a major percentage of the population? I also don't hear much about "cancer of the hip"...
  • Why haven't cancer rates jumped for people living near cell phone towers?
  • Why is it that the same people who sue cell phone companies over a tower near their house go home each night and pop dinner in a 1200W microwave emitter?
  • Why is it that hundreds of millions microwaves are in use today? Why is it that dozens of words tossed around in tin foil articles articles are made-up, like "d-Nitrosodienthanolamines"? Google that, and notice that the only place google can find it is in the same sentence: "d-Nitrosodienthanolamines, a well known carcinogen". If it's so well known, how come you can only find references to it in Tin Foil Hat articles?

Answer: because cell phone radiation doesn't cause cancer at any rate appreciable from statistical noise, IF AT ALL.

Do you realize the gasolene vapor and diesel fumes are far more likely to give you cancer, that they're both known, proven, undisputed carcinogens?

Re:Original paper author has moved on (3, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865854)

". . .maybe he's on to something?"

Or maybe he's just a fruitcake. The behavior of a researcher is no indication that his results are valid, just that he believes them, and just because some early quantum theorist started wearing "quantum snowshoes" to keep himself from falling through the floor doesn't mean I have to feel in any jeopardy of doing the same.

People, even researchers, are capable of believing all sorts of doofy shit, especially that shit they have produced themselves. Or Perhaps he has a brain the size of a rat's.

Personally wearing headphones doesn't work though, as I suffer far more brain damage from the emanations from the headphones than I ever could from those of the phone itself.

KFG

power levels (3, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865530)

quite a bit of difference between the minimum "safe" level of gigahertz RF and what a present day cell phone emits. Now those "brick" phones of my college days, those are another matter.....

Well (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865532)

We'll all find out later in life when we're 40 and slobbering all over ourselves and mumbling incoherent nothings.

Re:Well (5, Funny)

TummyX (84871) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865560)


We'll all find out later in life when we're 40 and slobbering all over ourselves and mumbling incoherent nothings.


You're new around here aren't you?

Re:Well (0, Offtopic)

Random Chaos (831686) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865699)

Wha? Huh? In-co-her-ent? Whad dat mean?

-------- :)

Re:Well (1)

thomasa (17495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865826)

Been there done that. Still there in fact.

Murder (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865537)

Cell phones kill! Digital technology kills! Analog is our only hope to survive long enough to see our planet be eaten by outer space monsters.

Take off every ZIG.

Re:Murder (1, Funny)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865580)

The key to our survival is to kill off those mutated brain cells with plenty of alcohol!

Half of 200? (3, Insightful)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865538)

What is this, global warming?

So 100 studies say there are no problems. And 100 say there are problems.

So there must be problems!

Re:Half of 200? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865634)

No, but there's then about a 50% probability of there actually being a problem.

It's called "Science" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865639)

A word you may be unfamiliar with. Wikipedia is down right now, or I'd link to the entry.

Yes, many scientists performs studies on the same things, and draw their own conclusions...

Re:It's called "Science" (1)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865703)

It's called "junk science". It's a word you clearly are unfamiliar with.

Many "scientists" perform "studies" with the conclusion already decided before they even start.

Re:Half of 200? (1)

erlenic (95003) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865737)

So what you're saying is that numerous crackpots and conspiracy theorists continue to claim that cellphones might damage brain cells, although half of about 200 studies say there is no biological effect from cell phone radiation?

My sentiments exactly.

Re:Half of 200? (1)

Fyz (581804) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865792)

Yeah, those 100 studies from the Motorola Laboratories really helped raise the bar there.

Re:Half of 200? (4, Informative)

afxgrin (208686) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865812)

Umm - why did you decide to exclude the rest of the information?

From TFA:


Lai says there have been about 200 studies on the biological effects of cell-phone-related radiation. If you put all the ones that say there is a biological effect on one side and those that say there is no effect on the other, you'd have two piles roughly equal in size. The research splits about 50-50.

"That, in and of itself, is alarming," Lai says. But it's not the whole story. If you divide up the same 200 studies by who sponsored the research, the numbers change.

"When you look at the non-industry sponsored research, it's about three to one--three out of every four papers shows an effect," Lai says. "Then, if you look at the industry-funded research, it's almost opposite--only one out of every four papers shows an effect."

Land line studies... (2, Interesting)

jlockard (140979) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865544)

Have there been any similar studies on effects of the electromagnetic radiation from regular landline phones?

Re:Land line studies... (1)

Ruie (30480) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865763)

Yes. The past 100 years indicate they are safe.

Bugger. (5, Funny)

ben0207 (845105) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865545)

Turns out it was the phone itself, and not the bills that were trying to kill me.

I wonder. (5, Insightful)

winstonmeister (863683) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865549)

This is almost tinfoil hat territory, but this sounds remarkably similar to the way tobacco companies once behaved. I wonder if any cellular companies have undergone their own private tests, and if so, I wonder what they have found.

Re:I wonder. (5, Funny)

Not_Wiggins (686627) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865647)

This is almost tinfoil hat territory...

Ironically, your tinfoil hat may actually help in this instance! 8)

Re:I wonder. (1, Funny)

TVC15 (518429) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865669)

>This is almost tinfoil hat territory, but this sounds remarkably similar to the way tobacco companies once behaved.

Except, in this case, a tinfoil hat actually _would_ help. ;-)

Re:I wonder. (1)

CaycePollard (828051) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865709)

"but this sounds remarkably similar to the way tobacco companies once behaved."

I bet the lawyers are rubbing their hands about this already. And this time they've got itemised bills on their side!

/. definition #666 - tinfoil hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865745)

= anything anti-government and anti-corperation

Re:I wonder. (5, Interesting)

Fyz (581804) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865748)

That's not tinfoil talk at all. It happens constantly.

Sugar company lobbyists basically tried to label the WHO as idiots and liars when they published reports that recommended decreased sugar consumption as means of increasing cardiovascular health and reducing obesity.
I'm not even going to get in on the fast-food industry.

This is just yet another example of the corporations exerting their stranglehold on US policy to up profits, damn the consequences.

It's really amazing the kind of short-sightedness they exhibit, considering that consumers, and by extension, healthy consumers, are their prime income creating resource.

SAR Testing (4, Informative)

sbowles (602816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865842)

FCC requires Specific Absorption Rate [metlabs.com] (SAR) [ce-mag.com] Testing [conformity.com] .

This site [sarshield.com] has a list of SAR ratings. For a phone to pass FCC certification, the phone's maximum SAR level must be less than 1.6W/kg (watts per kilogram). The SAR levels shown in the linked chart represent the maximum SAR level with the phone next to the ear.

ob simpsons (2, Funny)

SpongeBobLinuxPants (840979) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865552)

me loose brain? why me laugh?

Re:ob simpsons (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865663)

Fuck off, mister pyramid scheme

hrmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865561)

"in a 1995 issue"

how old does it have to be before the editors realise it is NOT NEWS?!?!

Re:hrmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865776)

If everyone ignores it will it go away?

Re:hrmmm (1)

nekojin (855341) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865800)

Read the whole thing. That's when the study was published. Recently it has come to light that the cell companies were trying to cover it up or whatever.

The radiation I worry about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865562)

...is in the form of constant noise pollution. There is nothing so important that I have to take a call while driving or at a theater.

Finally (1, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865563)

Science validates my tinfoil beanie.

Re:Finally (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865724)

Yes, finally they will all stop laughing at my tinfoil hat...

Biological effects on chick embryo (5, Informative)

temponaut (848887) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865564)

: Radiats Biol Radioecol. 2003 Sep-Oct;43(5):541-3. Biological effects of mobile phone electromagnetic field on chick embryo (risk assessment using the mortality rate) [Article in Russian] Grigor'ev IuG. State Research Center-Institute of Biophysics, Ministry of Health of Russian Federation, Moscow, 123182 Rissua. yugrigor@rol.ru Chicken embryos were exposed to EMF from GSM mobile phone during the embryonic development (21 days). As a result the embryo mortality rate in the incubation period increased to 75% (versus 16% in control group). PMID: 14658287 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE

Sending texts (1)

coolnicks (865625) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865571)

Thats why i always hold my phone away from my "private" region when sending text messages!

Blah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865572)

That's what happens to RATS. Humans are completly different, you know?

Even "nice" companies screw the public. (1)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865581)


Yep, Motorola was a "good guy" ages ago but will bullshit for profit at the sake of the public health. Heck, see the link in my sig for xbox cable info. It was a faulty power supply, not a cable, that caused the problems. A recall of millions of boxes would have been too expensive.

Primary phone (1)

Kimos (859729) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865595)

I just switched from a land line to a cell phone only when I moved. It seemed like a good idea, and I wasn't too worried about the radiation because I hadn't read anything about it in a year or two. Good timing for this article, *looks at his two year contract*...

I guess I'll just use a headset and speaker-phone as much as possible.

Re:Primary phone (1)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865777)

Actually, normal headsets don't work, because they act as an antenna, so you still get all the (if any) radiation that the phone emits. You can use Bluetooth headsets though, those work fine, but make sure you keep the phone somewhere other than your pants (genital region). I don't know if the phone hurts you, but better safe than sorry.

The research is a troll (3, Interesting)

youngerpants (255314) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865608)

I fully understand the use of vivisection; I'm even going to say that I am pro animal testing (lets watch the flames now :S)

However, a human is NOT a rat. Our skulls are thicker, our neurons interconnect differently, there is different bloodflow around the cranial cavity and the meninges is more complex in humans. We are not looking for research related to biochemistry, we are looking at physical abstraction.

I would give this research a second look if it were performed on primates, but a rat just isnt a proper comparitive test.

Re:The research is a troll (5, Insightful)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865727)

I think its a valid starting point though. The question is "does the electromagnetic frequency used for cellphones have the ability to interfere with biomechanical processes?" and the answer would be 'yes'.

The next step would be to test on higher-evolved species and mammals (e.g. guinea pigs, cats, eventually primates) to iron out the concerns you've identified. Most likely by the time it reaches humans this will not be a relevant matter... but at least there is some preliminary evidence that would suggest further testing is required.

Re:The research is a troll (2, Insightful)

crypto55 (864220) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865795)

The issue isnt't that we have different phyiology. The fact that radiation can cause DNA damage in anything is proof enough. The only thing that would matter is that it would take longer for radiation to make the same effect

Brown and Williamson (4, Interesting)

wren337 (182018) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865611)


Reminds me of the internal cigarette documents that came to light in the tobacco trials. I wonder if there will be enough people injured to have massive class action suits.

Althoguh from what I understand the new digital cells are nothing like analog phones for the amount of energy they put out. I know when I'm in an analog only area my phone goes flat in less than a day, compared to 3-4 days when I have digital service. So anecdotally I'm seeing maybe 1/3 to 1/4 of the power output with digital.

Half of studies...? (5, Insightful)

Loco3KGT (141999) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865632)

The poster implies we should all worry because half of the studies say it's a health risk...

But by that same logic none of us should worry because half of the studies say there is no damage.

I'm a minimalist w/ my cellphone for reasons other than radiation... but seems to me we need something better than "50% of studies say it's an issue."

Ah hell, who am I kidding, this is slashdot. I'm going to go burn my T610 now. That Bluetooth probably already killed my sperm anyway.

Rats! (3, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865643)

an increase in damaged DNA in the brain cells of rats after a single two-hour exposure to microwave radiation at levels considered "safe" by government standards

So, just how much radiation *does* the government consider to be safe for rats?

Re:Rats! (1)

rjw57 (532004) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865829)

27 Rads (or thereabouts)

DNA damage? pah! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865654)

"DNA damage"? these guys are really late with reserach cuz my dad nearly LOST HIS FRIGGIN RIGHT EYE because of using his cell phone 4+ hours a day at work. after several months in this cell phone routine he started to feel his right side of the head burn (like being cooked in a microwave, I imagine now that I RTFSS)

I stay away from this cellphone stuff. regular wired phone lines work pretty well and don't need recharging, and you can stay away from them when you need it, so thank you very much.

Re:DNA damage? pah! (0)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865676)

just use a headset.

Re:DNA damage? pah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865798)

yeah, that's what he did, in the end, AFTER he realized that heavy cell phone usage was bad!

kids (4, Insightful)

computerme (655703) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865657)

I also remember see graphics that showed that the rad / cell phone leakage goes further into a teenagers (or small childs) brain then that of an adult for the obvious reason that a child's head is smaller...

and guess who is the phone company's biggest new target over the last 3 years....? yep. teeenagers....

but who buys these phones for their kids? Adults...

Of course its for "safety" you know that .0001 of the time they really need it as opposed to the 99.999% of the time they are on the phone with their friends yapping worthlessly...

If i had a kid i would not let use one... yet parents don't even spend time to think of the health effects on their kids...

yet another sad statement on society...

Thus Why I don't Use a Cell Phone (1)

TheDoctorWho (858166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865662)

To those annoying people that do, here's to your brain in a frying pan!

Now, if only I can get my hands on the 50 foot radius cell phone blocker....

Re:Thus Why I don't Use a Cell Phone (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865827)

Uh, which broadcasts at the same freq and more power than the phones. Try again.

Does this mean.... (2, Funny)

barks (640793) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865670)

I shouldn't be talking on my cell phone while waiting for my eats infront of the microwave oven?

Cue Theremin Sound (3, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865671)

Maybe it's true maybe it's not. In either case I suspect it's a little bit like NYC banning smoking in a city where walking down the street will get you a lungful of fried hydrocarbon rot bus diesel fumes. I tend to look at the actual effects in a world where the cell phone using population went from about zero to 800 million in 15 years. Is it really that big a risk given the huge numbers of users who aren't manifesting extremely and obviously high incidences of disease?

Obligatory (0, Offtopic)

mr_RR (803470) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865674)

In Soviet Russia, cellphone class-action sue you.

Oh great... (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865677)

my daughter's school has two cellphone masts on the roof... the pub down the road has got a mini transmitter hidden in the sign... and the local church has got a transmitter array built into the spire

mouse brain shielding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865689)

Hmm. Last I checked humans have a thicker skull than the rodents probably had. Radiation 'like' those used in cell phones will not have the same effect on human brain cells because most cells will have a greater distance (the entire mouse brain was probably within an inch of the antenna) and the thicker skull we enjoy.

And yes, we do enjoy our thick skulls here on slashdot! ;)

this calls for a double-blind study (5, Funny)

tuffy (10202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865692)

Let's issue standard cel phones to one group, placebo cel phones to another and see if there's any difference in cancer rates.

Re:this calls for a double-blind study (0, Offtopic)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865723)

ROFL

Re:this calls for a double-blind study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865734)

Let me guess: you want to use the three blind mice?

If I'm rich enough to give my rats cell phones (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865697)

I'm rich enough not to worry about them.

Russian Microwave emission standards (5, Informative)

ozymyx (813013) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865701)

Russia has long had LOWER emission requirements than Western countries. Russian scientists are not stupid. See: http://www.gallawa.com/microtech/Ch3.html Quote from this site: "Rather than concentrating on the effects of high-intensity levels, 'Soviet scientists were focusing their efforts on the lesser-known effects of prolonged or repeated exposure to low levels of microwaves. Their research, which began quite some time before that of their Western counterparts, has yielded some rather unsettling reports. Soviet studies show that long-term exposure to low levels of microwave energy could result in unpleasant effects that are not attributable to over-heating (or thermal effect) alone. These effects could be seen at exposure levels at and below 10mw/cm2, which is the occupational safety standard in the U.S. The USSR, and other European countries, has thus set their own strict guidelines for microwave safety, concluding that Western safety standards are simply not safe. For example, Russian workers are required to wear protective goggles any time they are temporarily exposed to a microwave radiation level of 1mw/cm2, a level routinely allowed to leak (although in recent years, rarely does) from U.S. microwave ovens." Personally I think the Russians know a lot we don't....

Risks of nearby cell towers? (4, Interesting)

sjonke (457707) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865710)

A cell tower was recently installed very near our home. A level-head and concerned neighbor went around with a petition, not to force the removal of the tower, but, restrainedly, just to demand that the community be involved in any such future decisions that may impact health and well being, him noting his concerns about the health impact of the tower. We signed the petition. Is there any research showing negative health effects of nearby cell towers, especially on children?

Re:Risks of nearby cell towers? (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865834)

Not that I know of, but I sure hope for your sake that your neighborhood doesn't turn into a statistic.
Thanks for signing that petition, btw, it's nice to see that some don't slam the doors on those people, as some of them are genuinely concerned.

Re:Risks of nearby cell towers? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865841)

I've been following this for a long time, and there has not been any credible link of ill health from the actual cell towers.

The important scientific reviews in the UK, the Stewart report, and a more recent one by the NRPB - don't acknowledge any demonstrable risk from masts, although they do give guidance e.g. they should be placed away from schools, as a 'precaution'.

Part of the problem is that the actual EM exposure from a cell tower, even at close range, is several orders of magnitude smaller than the exposure from even very occasional cell phone use.

Because of the exceedingly low level, any health effect is likely to be very small. Additionally, because exposure from phones is so much more significant, it makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to design a study which isn't hopelessly confounded.

The problem is at least partly to do with how people understand risk. Psychologically, people who choose to do something (e.g. drive) tend to underestimate the risk involved, yet those who don't choose to do something (e.g. live near a phone mast) tend to over-estimate it. I've been to a few meetings about phone masts - and never once despite all the concern over mast radiation did anyone ever consider the possibiltiy that the phones may be more risky.

It's only human (1)

Laurentiu (830504) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865740)

It's a sad day for any community when the interests of the few are put well above the well-being of the many.

Oh wait. That's the whole bloody human history, and I do mean the term literally. Did the crusader knights cared about the well-being of the sarancens? Or perhaps Attilla was concerned about all the gold that burdened the lives of Roman citizens?

Fool that I am, I thought XXI would be different. All around us there were signs that people start to care. Ecology. Human rights. Open source. The fabled enlightment of the human race seemed to be closer than ever. Perhaps even achievable in my lifetime.

Sadly, that's not going to happen. For every Linus there's going to be a Bill. For every Gore there's going to be a George. For every researcher like Henry Lai there are 5 CEOs willing to bury both him and his research into the ground, because his findings will disturb the rule of the almighty buck.

After all, if our ancestors did it, that can't be such a bad thing. Right?

bluetooth (1)

varmittang (849469) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865744)

does anyone know if a bluetooth headset is just as bad as just holding the cell phone up to your head?

Just like radium watches and flouroscopes. (5, Insightful)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865754)

I look at this as the thing that we will be laughed at by people in 100 years. Think 100 years ago, people used to wear radioactive radium watches, and 60 years ago, people exposed themselves to harmful amounts of radiation to make sure their shoes [mtn.org] fit properly. Hell, Marie Curie, the father (mother) of modern radioactive theory kept a beaker full of radium next to her bed because it made a swell nightlight. Now, nobody is going to accuse her of being stupid, seeing as how she developed the initial scientific theory leading to most of what we know about physics today. It's just that they didn't know any better. Nowadays, we say "She did WHAT?!?"

I think in 100 years they will be saying "They did WHAT?!? They put microwave transmitters RIGHT NEXT TO THEIR BRAINS! What morons!" The cell phone industry can fight it all they want, but the cigarette industry didn't acknowledge that cigarettes were addivtive until the 1990's.

I don't buy it (5, Interesting)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865768)

The energy per photon is just too low to break covalent bonds, so there is no way microwave energy could break DNA directly, unless you pump in enough energy to cook it.

So you really have to resort to some fancy hypotheses to rationalize this. Well maybe, just maybe, there is some kind of a resonance of the current through an ion channel (although I'm not entirely sure that this is even plausible), which somehow alters its coupling to some intracellular kinase or other second messenger system, which activates an enzyme that happens to produce free radicals, and those break DNA. But I'd have to see some definitive evidence before I take that kind of hypothesis seriously.

The point is that "microwaves damage DNA" is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence. "Some studies support it and some do not" simply doesn't qualify.

I'm skeptical of "DNA break" assays, anyway. There is a long history of people finding DNA damage by this and that, and others failing to reproduce the result. It's easy to break DNA--you can even break it by rough handling.

Not to sound alarmist... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865779)

But in the early 90's the computer industry and U.S. military quashed a paper to be released by the U.S. EPA that listed low frequency electromagnetic radiation from, among other sources, desktop PC power supplies as a Class B Carcinogen.

http://www.mercola.com/article/emf/emf_dangers.htm [mercola.com]

Everybody's all up in arms about cell phones, but if you're parked in front of a desktop you might possibly have at least as much to worry about from other sources.

Well-balanced site which gives several takes on the issue:
http://www.ehso.com/ehshome/emf.htm#dangerous [ehso.com]

Brain tumors (1)

wpiman (739077) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865787)

I have a family member who was recent diagnosed with a brain tumor. Scary stuff.

I never remember him using a cell phone perse- but I DO remember him always having a cordless phone and using it frequently.

I wonder how these cordless phones (the older ones and the new ones) compare with the cell phones of today. Certainly the bases are very close- I imagine the early cordless phones used quite a bit of power.

My old cell phone hurt my head... (2, Interesting)

shotgunefx (239460) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865801)

I know there will be a lot of calls of bullshit, but here goes.

My first phone was an analog Nokia. I don't recall the model but I still have it here someplace. It took me awhile to realize the cause, but every time I used it, I'd get a headache and a weird sensation on that side of my head. A tingly hot feeling, almost felt like a hairdryer when it's too close to your head. Also slightly scattered in my thinking. Like it was hard to concentrate.

This was before I ever heard a peep about even the possiblity of radiation being a problem so it wasn't in my imagination. I never felt anything like that outside of using that phone. Never happend again after I stopped using it either (about 7 years ago)

After the realization, I was like Kirk and his communicator. I'd say something quickly and then hold it away from my head as far as I could while still being able to hear. My calls also got amazingly terse.

I hung on to it thinking of getting it tested one day. How could (where would) you go about measuring the radiation?

next class-action suit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11865805)

Cell phone makers will be the tobacco companies of the next generation.

I stay as far from my cellphone as possible, and try not to leave it on when it's in my pocket.

Then again, we all spend 8-16 hours a day in front of computers. I have a nice little radiation box sitting on my lap, of all places, right now.

Hard to know (5, Funny)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865808)

Fifty years from now our grandkids could be laughing at us for holding such dangerous devices up to our heads.

That's why I keep my mobile in my front trousers-pocket. There's no chance I'll be laughed at by grandkids.

Not natural (1)

juliancoccia (843242) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865811)

To the famous quote:
"Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day"

We should add:
"Human beings were not meant to have an electromagnetic emitting device shaking their braincells at high frequencies all day"

Bullshit!!! (1)

gremlins (588904) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865813)

Funny this got posted now but lastnight i was watching an episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! [tvtome.com] . The episode focus was on Safety Hysteria. One of the items they mentioned was our fear of Brain Cancer from a Cellphone. Anyway the jist of the experts was that the waves produced from the cellphone where two big to damage DNA. Hench no damaged DNA then no cancer.

I gotta dump my cell phone stock! (1)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865820)

This cell damage shit just keeps coming up. I have to wonder when it is going to impact cell phone purchases....but it does not seem to have done that yet.

I wonder if there are any studies on wifi/wimax antennas. I would not think they would have any effect...

This looks very similar (1)

decarelbitter (559973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865833)

The tactics employed by Motorola seem quite the same as the tobacco industry used regarding nicotine and tar levels and the effects of smoking on someone's health.
So can we expect Motorola (or other portable phone makers) to deny possible health damages to the same extend (with all the dirt etc) as the tobacco industry?

(I'm not sure myself of the effects of prolonged exposure to cell phones, but I think putting a 2W sender very close to your brain can't be very healthy...)

Texas sharpshooters fallacy (1)

Xel'Naga (673728) | more than 9 years ago | (#11865850)

Lai says there have been about 200 studies on the biological effects of cell-phone-related radiation. If you put all the ones that say there is a biological effect on one side and those that say there is no effect on the other, you'd have two piles roughly equal in size. The research splits about 50-50.

First of all, IANAS!
If I recall correctly, this is called the Texas sharpshooters fallacy: A sharpshooter who wishes to impress his friends shoots at a barn from a huge distance, then walks up to it, and paints a circle around each bullet-hole.

If you examine 100 people without a single well-defined goal, you are almost guaranteed to find an extreme anomaly.

From a statistic point of view, if you perform a standard examination of cell-phones on a population regardless of it's size, you perform a "Type I"-error if you reject a hypothesis ("Cell phones don't have any biological effect") when the hypothesis is correct. You generally accept a conclusion if the probability of having made a Type I error is less than 5%. So if the quoted studies have 20 different "biological effects" (Like destroyed DNA), we should expect to see roughly half the studies finding at least one biological effect, and the rest not finding one.

I'm not saying mr Lai did make this mistake - but the article is written so it seems it's author made that mistake. If there's anyone with a better grasp of statistics than me, I'd appreciate a reply.

Xel'Naga

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>