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FDA Questions Swedish Cell Phone Cancer Study

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the can-you-hear-me-now dept.

173

ZZeta writes "Following up on the Swedish study on cell phone cancer risk, the FDA released a statement today questioning its reliability. From the statement: 'These facts along with the lack of an established mechanism of action and supporting animal data makes the Hardell et al's finding difficult to interpret.' Also available several links to other studies."

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173 comments

Erm... (2, Funny)

marshallh (947020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084588)

Wait, does this mean the lump on the side of my head isn't from my cell phone? Oh, shi....

Re:Erm... (1)

Zrith (916811) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084635)

I'm ashamed of whoever moderated this funny! This poor person has a real problem, and all you can do is laugh! He ought to seek treatment for what is obviously a facehugger with poor aim.

Re:Erm... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084716)

You can't help him! Right now he's being coccooned, just like the others!

Re:Erm... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084717)

Since the only treatment for that particular malady involves a flamethrower, I can see why the OP would be a little reluctant to go to a doctor.

Re:Erm..."rats cant hold a phone" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15085746)

I wasnt able to find this link a few days ago but heres an interview with Dr Lai from Uof W about the hardships of publishing this kind of damning data. Its has pretty pictures of the damaged DNA . Can we see your tumor?

http://www.washington.edu/alumni/columns/march05/w akeupcall01.html [washington.edu]

Finding out the truth (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084602)


will be very hard when there is a billion dollar industry based on cellphones
its like global warming vs the oil industry, it will take numerous studies over decades until the "truth" will finally come out

Re:Finding out the truth (1, Insightful)

timster (32400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084772)

Global warming is potentially a major change in the entire biosphere that will affect every living creature on the planet. I think cell phone brain cancer risks are overblown. Even if the studies showing risk are true, I'm personally not going to change my behavior. The cell phone is a useful enough device for me personally to accept the health risks, and I imagine this is true of most heavy users.

The industry already offers hands-free devices so that you don't need to hold the thing to your face if you're worried about it. What else, really, should they do? The device by nature of its function uses electromagnetic radiation.

Exactly. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085470)

We drive cars even though they are huge killing machines. Why, because the benefits are worth the risk. Same with going out in the sun. It is well known that the sun causes cancer. We still go out in the daylight. Again, the benefits out weigh the risk.

Re:Exactly. (1)

forgetful_ca (554717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085833)

Ok, that's just about all the straw I can take.

You seem to be saying that death involving cars/cell phones/sunlight are unavoidable, which is unfounded. Cars, cell phones and sunlight used sensibly do not have the effects you espouse. In point of fact, a human being NEEDS sunlight for psychological reasons as well it's the best way for your body to get vitamin D.

What we accept is doing anything about it. (at least with cars) Imo, that is merely because of apathy. ie, someone else was the victim, some other stranger was the perpetrator and any changes to 'fix' things would inconvenience me. That doesn't mean it is not possible to use cars without having the death toll that we accept, it just means humans are irresponsible.

OT: I remember reading some science fiction (Bio of a Space Tyrant?) where one of the characters, talking about Earth, says something like: "yes, every few years some maniac manually overrides the car's autopilot, but they generally kill themselves quickly. Why would anyone think they can operate a machine going at that speed?" While I think individual transport together with computer controlled navigation would be a huge task, I look forward to the day my fellow beings AREN'T doing the driving.

Talk all you want on your cell phone then.

Re:Finding out the truth (0, Flamebait)

Phillup (317168) | more than 8 years ago | (#15086410)

Even if the studies showing risk are true, I'm personally not going to change my behavior.

You sound like an (U.S.) american.

The cell phone is a useful enough device for me personally to accept the health risks, and I imagine this is true of most heavy users.

Because living and good health is over-rated?

Especially when it comes to proper brain function... apparently.

Re:Finding out the truth (1)

timster (32400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15086533)

You sound like an (U.S.) american.

Damn straight. I'm afraid I cannot return the compliment, though.

Because living and good health is over-rated?
Especially when it comes to proper brain function... apparently.


No, living is under-rated, and good health is over-rated. Living is expressing yourself, making a difference in people's lives, and enjoying things while you have them. Some people find these things easier with a cell phone.

"Good health" these days apparently means compromising your living in a plethora of irrational ways in hopes that you will reduce your chances of contracting rare ailments by a few tenths of a percent. Heck, I eat meat! The risks of eating meat are far greater than the risks (if any) of cell phone use... so why, exactly, would I change my behavior?

Re:Finding out the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15085379)

"Big Oil" is remarkably out of the loop in terms of cutting-edge environmental research. In fact, I'd say that since the mid-90s, the procedures and science is better overall, and continues to improve, and that there are more independent scientists pursuing (and publishing!) the facts. The chicken little types get the most press, but it's loads easier to find all kinds of information now. In a nutshell, "the truth" is already here, you'll just have to do some reading, and it isn't really that exciting.

Also, I'd say the FCC has a fairly weak argument here. One, I'm sure, you'll recognize from past attempts to discredit evolutionary science. The FCC is basically saying, "we're going to ignore your observations, because you can't describe the mechanics of how it occurs." Observations are observations. If someone wants to verify the study, he can copy the methods and see if the results support or discredit the original study, or he can show that the methods were wrong.

Re:Finding out the truth (2, Interesting)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085649)

Observations are observations. If someone wants to verify the study, he can copy the methods and see if the results support or discredit the original study, or he can show that the methods were wrong.

Observations are observations, but interpretation is another matter. The observation is that when the investigators questioned a group of brain cancer victims, they reported more cell-phone use than people without cancer. As for interpretation, there are multiple possibilities:

1. Were people who used cell phones back then also more exposed to other cancer-causing influences than people who didn't use cell phones?
2. Are people with cancer more likely to recall or overestimate their cell phone use than people without cancer?
3. Do cell phones induce cancer?

In such a case, it is certainly reasonable to look at questions of mechanism. The first two hypotheses certainly make sense in terms of known mechanisms:

    1. People who used cell-phones back then were probably more well-to-do and/or in a different social class than people who didn't, they probably were exposed to a multitude of different foods, liquors, environmental toxins, and drugs.

    2. People who have a serious disease often are looking for something to blame, and might reasonably be more likely to remember (and perhaps even overestimate in retrospect) their cell phone use.

On the other hand the 3rd hypothesis has a big problem--cell phone radiation simply doesn't have enough energy to alter chemical bonds, which is a requirement for all established mechanisms of cancer induction. The fact that some studies have failed to pick up such an association provides further reason for skepticism.

Re:Finding out the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15085814)

2. People who have a serious disease often are looking for something to blame,

I couldn't agree more, why don't they just take a smoke and relax instead of standing in the way of progress.

Re:Finding out the truth (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085693)

The truth will come out when cell phones are a dying industry. Just like the truth about combustion engine emissions affecting the climate will come out when the auto /oilindustry has moved onto other things. Note, I expect the auto/oil industry to continue to move into various energy industries like natural gas and electricity. That way no matter what kind of transportation we wind up moving to, they'll still be able to profit. Anyone think it's odd that Shell Oil now sells natural gas?

Re:Finding out the truth (1)

Ignignot (782335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085945)

You seem to be assuming that they definitely cause cancer and the truth is being covered up. From what I have read in the book Freakonomics, cell phones have no influence on the overall rate of brain cancer. Since that book says some pretty non-PC things, I doubt they would have worried about what a couple cell phone companies thought about what they were saying. By saying that the truth is unknown at this time flies right in the face of work done in the field that shows no influence - you are in essence ignoring research just as much as global warming disbelievers are.

Another Example: Mad Cow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15086219)

In the West, the United States has the weakest testing regime for mad-cow disease [cspinet.org] . Washington recently announced a reduction in surveillance for mad cow [usatoday.com] and actually wants to forbid a meat-processing company (i.e. Creekstone) from testing all its own beef.

Note that raising mad-cow testing to the standard (i.e. testing all cattle) in Japan would add only about 5 cents to each pound of beef [acs.org] .

Guess which side is Washington supporting? Consumers or beef agribusiness?

LOL (2, Insightful)

mozumder (178398) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084613)

A pro-capitalist political organization puts out a press release questioning a study that may possibly hurt the communications industry?

THERES A FUCKING SURPRISE.

Re:LOL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084732)

Scientifically illiterate Slashbots in a frenzy over a shoddy, overhyped study?

THERE'S (note proper use of an apostrophe) A FUCKING SURPRISE.

Re:LOL (1)

Leon_Trotsky (702427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084823)

Yeah, if you're going to pluralise, do it right!

THERES ARE FUCKING SURPRISES.

I'm just not sure what a there is.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084801)

Whew, I never knew the FDA was "PRO-Capitalist". I guess those damn libertarians can stop complaining about them now, can't they?

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084844)

BINGO - I can't bring my self to trust any thing or goverment says any more...

Re:LOL (4, Interesting)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084951)

I don't think that you could call a vast government beurocracy which costs industry billions every year and has almost absolute power to dictate policy to buisnesses a capitalist organization. I realize it is the fashion for Socialists to call anything they don't like "Capitalist", in the same way Pat Roberson and the Christian Right call anything they don't like "Satanist", but really your definition of "Capitalism" makes the word meaningless. Why not call things you are against "Badism", and say you are a "Goodist"... that would say about as much.

The FDA, in particular, is considered a bit overzealous if anything. Many drugs, food products, etc., which are totally legal most places in the world, get banned in the U.S. by the FDA. The usual critism is not that the FDA doesn't go far enough in regulation, but that it goes too far compared with places like Western Europe.

How the FDA actually makes decisions (1)

btarval (874919) | more than 8 years ago | (#15086353)

Putting aside the terms "Capitalist" and "Socialist", I'd rather deal with what really goes on when the Feds make decisions like this. If you blindly assume that they are there to protect the population, you are sadly mistaken, with all due respect.

The interests of business play a very large part in the decision making. Furthermore, this has been the situation for a very long time.

A case in point are the standards for Microwave Oven Emissions. Now, one might think that these were based upon actual trials and lots of scientific studies. Nope. The main determining factor was the minimum level that businesses could live with.

The following quotes were passed on to me by a friend, who went to a talk last year by "a veteran physiologist, Dr. George Leong". Dr. Leong worked at the FDA, and was the main government official responsible for setting the current standards for Microwave Ovens. Here is what was reported:

"Dr. Leong emphasized that the effects [of ionizing radiation] are cumulative and long-term. A person exposed to increased levels of radio waves in their teen years may not develop cataracts etc. until they are in their mid-40s.

I asked how the government arrives at "safe" levels. He said in effect that "your starting point is that you need to let people run their business". In other words, standards are set by working backwards from what the industry feels they can (just about) accept. "Acceptable" standards are NOT set based on years or decades of study of whether any ill effects arise in humans. (For one thing, such studies would be unethical. For another, decade-long studies would be extremely expensive.)"

So, please understand the reality of the FDA. They have an established history of put businesses first, and people's safety second.

Re:LOL (1)

TheDurkinBoy (582242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085241)

They aren't pro-capitalist. A true capitalist doesn't look to the government to protect them and limit their liability from faulty products. These are statists that are NOT in favor of competition or the responsibilities of capitalism. Use another descriptor for them, but they are as similiar to capitalism as rape is to sex.

Re:LOL (1)

shambalagoon (714768) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085521)

Article line SHOULD be:

"Following up on the Swedish study on cell phone cancer risk, the FDA released a statement today questioning its PROFITABILITY."

Animal data? (5, Funny)

i_am_the_r00t (762212) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084624)

Most animals cannot hold cell phones up to their ears and many simply can't fill out the contracts required to obtain a cell phone.

Animal Data. that's ridiculous!

Re:Animal data? (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084668)

I wish I had the mod points - the image in my head of test beagles trying to fill in the forms down at Phones-4-U made me laugh out loud. Thanks for making my Friday!

Re:Animal data? (2, Funny)

trepan (593758) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084697)

What, you can't picture hundreds of rabbits hopping about a lab with cell phones duct-taped to their heads?

Re:Animal data? (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084707)

You're mistaken.

Animal data should be opposed to the usual electrical data (phones, computers).
It is data transmitted using RFC 1149 [faqs.org]

Re:Animal data? (1)

spot35 (644375) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084727)

Or, more likely, it's data transmitted using pigeons.

Re:Animal data? (1)

i_am_the_r00t (762212) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084841)

some animals do get issued Blackberrys from their employers. lucky dogs!

Re:Animal data? (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084958)

The FCC will say that the results got mixed up in translation. The Swedish study actually found that the increased cancer was due to repeated viewing of the Rob Schneider film The Animal.

I'm sure the Swedes are kicking their modular furniture in embarassment right about now.

Re:Animal data? (1)

NoSalt (801989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085622)

Oh my gawd . . . LOL

Re:Animal data? - Poor rate plans (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 8 years ago | (#15086307)

lack of ... supporting animal data

Most animals cannot hold cell phones up to their ears and many simply can't fill out the contracts required to obtain a cell phone.

More to the point is that the animals with cell phones often have poor rate plans and tend to be miserly with the minutes. To make matters worse, reception on the farm can be poor, the "Friends and Family" plan excludes pets, Verizon's "IN" is out, etc...

Why the FDA? (4, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084645)

Can someone tell me why the FDA is releasing a statement about this? Cell phones and RF are neither a food nor a drug, nor a medical device. Does this fall under some part of the FDA I'm not aware of?

Re:Why the FDA? (5, Informative)

DerGeist (956018) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084723)

The FDA is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA is divided into five groups:

Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER)
Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH)
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER)
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)
Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM)

This falls underthe CDRH's domain and they share information with the FCC regarding the health effects of cell phones and other RF devices.

"FDA" almost seems like a misnomer since they are much more than just food and drugs, but that's what they started as, so that's what they're called today. Nowadays they are almost like a much more generic "health cop."

Re:Why the FDA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084828)

Can someone tell me why the FDA is releasing a statement about this? Cell phones and RF are neither a food nor a drug, nor a medical device.

Because they get the biggest kickbacks?

Re:Why the FDA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084882)

Yes, it falls under the Dog in the Bathtub [urbandictionary.com] clause.

Re:Why the FDA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15085513)

Cell phones are clearly addictive: they can be easily considered as drugs.

Trusting the studies.. (1)

FreshFunk510 (526493) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084655)

"This study has been brought to you by your friendly neighbors Nokia, Siemens and Motorola."

Whew! (3, Funny)

DerGeist (956018) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084662)

Thank God, I can start using my cell phone again! Man, I'm glad someone criticized that study or I'd be in trouble.

So long as someone is advocating the viewpoint I'm more personally comfortable with regardless of the facts I'm happy!

Of course if no one is taking my side, then I have a foolproof plan -- I just say studies contradict each other too often and hence can't provide any reliable information about anything. Then I can do whatever I want, risk-free!

Re:Whew! (1)

nurd666 (242319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084869)

If you were looking for a way out, you could always have used your cell phone through a hole in the sheet.

Re:Whew! (1)

shotfeel (235240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084966)

Thank God, I can start using my cell phone again! Man, I'm glad someone criticized that study or I'd be in trouble.

Of course we see this in all manner of studies.

One decade, bacon and eggs is a good, healthy breakfast.
Next decade, cholesterol is bad, that means bacon and eggs are bad.
The next decade, obesity is bad, eat bacon and eggs to lose weight and be healthier.
Next decade -yes people with high cholesterol have higher rate of cardiac trouble, years of changing diet and cholesterol lowering drugs work to lower cholesterol, but they still have a higher rate of cardiac trouble....

A single study by itself is not scientific proof. It does often take decades to figure out exactly what's happening. In the mean time, inquiry is good, overreaction to every article published is silly.

Next up : cell phone use doesn't increase risk of brain cancer on side of use, it reduces risk of brain cancer on the opposite side of the brain. In other news, cancer gene linked to motor mouth.

To be followed by..., the risks of second-hand cell phone use -is that guy on the cell phone slowly killing you?

Re:Whew! (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085007)

Sounds like the studies on :
  • global warming
  • the increasing rate at which species vanish
  • the oil peak
  • so called "alternative" energy sources
  • the lack of health impact testing of pretty much any household chemical
  • etc.

I don't want to know! don't tell me don't tell me! Turn Fox (or CNN or whatever) up!

Re:Whew! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15086587)

"Each year, the Rainforest is responsible for over three thousand deaths from accidents, attacks or illnesses. There are over seven hundred things in the Rainforest that cause cancer. Join the fight now and help stop the Rainforest before it's too late." (South Park)

From another study on their list (4, Informative)

Kangburra (911213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084695)

The authors conclude that there is no substantial risk of this tumour in the first 10 years after starting mobile phone use. However, an increased risk after longer term use could not be ruled out.

This seems to be their reasoning, only after longer (10 years) use does it have any effect. So people who've had a phone for more than 10 years could be at higher risk.

Re:From another study on their list (1)

middlemen (765373) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084807)

so based on your signature when you say "10 years" you mean 10(base 2) or 10 (decimal) ?

Re:From another study on their list (1)

Kangburra (911213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084860)

Yeah, well, probably should have changed it for this one!

Re:From another study on their list (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085037)

Actually there are 10 types of people, those that don't care about binary and those that are getting really tired of that joke..

I suggest a replacement :

There are two types of people, those that understand hexadecimal and those that don't.

No, wait...

Re:From another study on their list (3, Insightful)

BobTheLawyer (692026) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084947)

I think you'll find that's an artifact of the length of the study. Longer term studies are difficult because comparatively few people have been using mobile phones for longer than 10 years.

Re:From another study on their list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15085351)

It also can't be ruled out that after 10 years of cell phone use your cancer spontaneously remisses and your diabetes is cured.

Thank You for Smoking (1)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084766)

This reminds me of one of the ending scenes for "Thank You for Smoking" where Nick Naylor is consulting the cell phone lobbyists on how to sway the industry into thinking cell phones aren't harmful. I can't quote the scene from memory and I won't be able to do it justice if I wing it, so I just won't. Those who have seen it know what I'm talking about though and if you haven't seen it... Well why the hell not?

Re:Thank You for Smoking (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084878)

Those who have seen it know what I'm talking about though and if you haven't seen it... Well why the hell not?

Ah, maybe we have better things to do? That's just my guess. I can't watch every film out there.

Re:Thank You for Smoking (1)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085477)

Ah, maybe we have better things to do? That's just my guess. I can't watch every film out there.

Like press refresh on slashdot ever five minutes? ;)

Re:Thank You for Smoking (1)

Phillup (317168) | more than 8 years ago | (#15086502)

Like press refresh on slashdot ever five minutes?

Dude... it's not THAT hard to make your proxy insert a refresh statement into the html.

Hell, you could probably write a greasemonkey script to do it...

Re:Thank You for Smoking (1)

tddoog (900095) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085019)

Can't find the torrent?

brought to you by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084769)

the same people who told you that the oil industry does not harm the environment in a way significant to health issues or that the tobacco industry has no definite responsablity for health problems!

But you can trust them with the communications industry data, because this industry isn't like the other industries.

FDA? (1)

concurrent.ca (909690) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084788)

The FDA has long shown to take a reasonable balance between the health of Americans and the health of status-quo capitalism. I am about as interested in hearing what they have to say about a study saying you should use cell phones less as I am in hearing about MSFT's Linux strategy.

Re:FDA? (1)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084818)

as I am in hearing about MSFT's Linux strategy.

That was yesterday's story [slashdot.org] .

Not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084852)

I am not surprised at ther response at all....

Just like Mad Cow disease is NOT in the US.

Cell phones need strong signals to reach the towers. Radiowaves are a form of radiation. We know that radiation can cause cancer. It has been proven time and time again. To require a study to show that another radiation generator will do the same as another radiation generator is simply pandering to corporations.

Don't forget that Microwaves operate at 2.4Ghz and are simply radiowaves. Many cordless phones, BlueTooth and WiFi all operate at the same frequency. Moderation is the key. Anything in sufficient quantities is bad. Remember the link between Sacchrine and cancer. Large doses in mice caused bladder cancer. It is still a popular sugar supplement.

Re:Not surprised (1)

timster (32400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084940)

Personally, I'm calling for a ban on all radiation. I prefer the dark.

Actually... (1)

PenguinBoyDave (806137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084856)

It was probably the duct tape that was used to secure the phone to the head of the rabbit that gave it cancer.

In other news... (2, Funny)

gregarican (694358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084861)

The FDA announced that eating a steady diet of old Motorola brick phones will actually improve colon health and act as a cancer fighting agent.

Radiation + head = ??? (2, Interesting)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084865)

It doesn't seem like a good idea to put a transmitter strong enough to broadcast for miles right up against the side of my head. When I had a cell phone I used a bluetooth headset in the hopes of lessening the amount of radiation entering my skull.

A few years back my boss died of brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme). The tumor was right above his left ear...the side he held his cell phone to. He went to the doctor in May for headaches and the next March we were at his funeral. Yes, it's only one anecdotal case, but still it reinforces my belief that holding a cell phone against your head just can't be good for you.

Re:Radiation + head = ??? (1)

conigs (866121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085133)

Here's my issue with this. If the phone is strong enough to transmit to towers miles away, what good will it do to move the phone about two-three feet from your head down to your pocket/waist/whatever? I suppose the signal isn't as concentrated, but you'd think there'd still be risk (if there is indeed any risk).

Re:Radiation + head = ??? (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085201)

I thought of that too. I believe the power drops off with the square of the distance. Also, if the antenna is right up against your head you'd get everything coming off that side of the antenna, while if the phone is further away you'd intersect a smaller slice of the radiation pie.

This is not a very rigorous look at what's going on, obviously. I suppose I could sit down and do the math but I'll leave that exercise to the reader.

Re:Radiation + head = ??? (1)

conigs (866121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085294)

That does make sense (I'm always one to eat my humble pie when proven wrong). But you mention something else of interest: the antenna. What effect would the shape and direction of the antenna have on the supposed risk? For example, many phones have a small nub of an antenna sticking vertically off ther phone. My candybar phone has a small internal antenna that is perpendicular to the phone and points out the back. Does that mean most of the RF is directed away from me when compared to the vertical antenna?
Just curious really.

Re:Radiation + head = ??? (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085924)

Off a "regular" antenna the radiation propagates radially out from the antenna. I don't know about your phone, though it would still have to be omnidirectional or you'd have to turn a certain way to get a signal.

Of course, I could be wrong...hopefully someone smarter about these things will chime in.

Re:Radiation + head = ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15085586)

well, that's smart... you know... because Bluetooth certainly can't be a radio
transmitter that operates on EXACTLY the same frequency as microwave ovens.

Re:Radiation + head = ??? (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085991)

Yes, that's why my bluetooth headset always kept me warm.

It's not exactly the same frequency. Microwave ovens operate at 2.45 GHz. Bluetooth operates at 2.4GHz. Power output is also different. Microwave ovens put out 700-1100W (from what I've seen). Bluetooth headsets output much less. Logitech (who made the headset I used) addresses this online (headset vs cell phone):
http://logitech-en-amr.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/logite ch_en_amr.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=845 [custhelp.com]

I understand... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085763)

It seems that doubting a god that flies a flaming golden chariot across the sky every day wouldn't be a good idea. That's why a make offerings the the Sun God daily.

A few years back a friend of mine who believed that the Sun God was just a ball of fire circling the earth, died right where the light and warmth from the Sun God would hit him. Yes this is only one anecdotal case also, but still it reinforces my belief that denying the Sun God just can't be good for you.

The point: You openly know that your making a wild ass guess about your bosses death with absolutly no actual evidence, yet you still choose to believe because you have to find SOME REASON for his death. If you can't find the real reason, you just find a scape goat. I guess we should be glade the this is the 21st century, and we use 'things' as a scape goat instead of just picking someone out of the crowd and burning them at the stake.

Re:I understand... (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085857)

I'm not making a wag about his death. He died of brain cancer, that much is known. No, I didn't need to find some reason for his death. I was just struck by the coincidence, as he was on his cell phone all the time. Yes, it could be a coincidence. It could also be due to cell phone usage. No one can say either way. I'm open to either reason, given proof. There's enough uncertainty in the studies (i.e. long term effects) for me to say, "cell phones are perfectly safe."

Re:Radiation + head = ??? (1)

realcash911 (966886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15086590)

My dad died from Glioblastoma inside 10 months of diagnosis....heavy cell phone user...tumor on same side as phone usage.After speaking with his team of neurologists and doing a lot of reading and research you realize that there is a link but there aren't many factions that are interested in letting this phenomenon come to the surface. Speak to anyone that works in the industry creating cell receivers and you'd be hard pressed finding anyone that holds a phone to their ear. do you think these people know something the mainstream does not. DUHHH!

U.S. Government says science "load of hooey" (2, Informative)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084872)

Is anyone here old enough to remember how long it took the government to recognize tobacco as a health risk?

Re:U.S. Government says science "load of hooey" (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085380)

Is anyone here old enough to remember how long it took the government to recognize tobacco as a health risk?
Is anyone here old enough to recognize that *life* is a health risk ?

You can die from eating too much, but no-one bans food !

I just did a quiz to calculate my life expectancy and it came out at 86 years. I'm 40 now, so I'm not even half way there. Yes I smoke, yes I drink, yes I ride a motorcycle, yes I eat red meat, yes I use a mobile phone, no I don't go to the gym (I work hard anyway), and yes I've partaken of various types of illegal substance in my time.

My body mass index is 18.9 (6' 2" / 147 pounds) and I haven't had a day off work sick for over 7 years.

Tell me about the risks !

Calculate your life expectancy. [bbc.co.uk]

Re:U.S. Government says science "load of hooey" (1)

hswerdfe (569925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15086454)

Ha I win
"life expectancy is 91.6 years"
current age 28....
30.5% of my life is gone...:(

No clear connection, sort of murky one (2, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084898)

Don't worry - if it's not the cell phone that kills you, the guy talking on one while driving into your lane - will.

FUD (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085825)

More FUD from the neo-luddites. You are more likely to be run down by that guy listening to his radio, or arguing with his wife who is in the seat next to him.

Anyone who listens to the radio or has passengers in their car, and complains about cell phones while driving is a hypocrate.

I disagree... (1)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 8 years ago | (#15086578)

Anyone who listens to the radio or has passengers in their car, and complains about cell phones while driving is a hypocrate.

Actually, I mostly disagree with this statement, as a phone (landline or cellphone) is a fundamentally different beast. I say "mostly", because your statement about passengers is closest to a cellphone (but not exact), and radio is completely different.

It basically comes down to the nature of real-time interactive communication over alternative (virtual) communication mediums, like cellphones and the internet. When communicating with these mediums, the mind (for some psychological reason) becomes "lost", and is neither here, nor there, but somewhere "in between". If the "conversation" is long enough, and more importantly, if the other communication channels (sight and other sound) are "dimmed" (like nighttime driving with the windows rolled up), this "in betweenness" becomes greater. In effect, to borrow a phrase from virtual reality terminology, the mind becomes "immersed" in the medium (indeed, it is closer to an "audio only" virtual reality).

It also seems that some people are more susceptible to this than others, but all are susceptible to it by some extent (and if you claim you are not, you are only fooling yourself). The blocking out of the other senses only serves to raise the level of immersion - whether it is sitting in a darkened room browsing the web, or talking on the phone, while in lying down (hmm - I wonder if in a "video only" virtual reality, if hearing becomes "dimmed"?).

In a vehicle, the problem becomes even more compounded - we have all had the realization, after driving for a while, of wondering "how did I get here" - essentially forgetting conciously (sometimes, scarily enough, for miles) that we were driving. We all do this, but somehow we tend to arrive in one piece. This "auto-pilot" mode tends to get interrupted by "immersion" in the virtual communication medium, for some reason (might make an interesting psychological study using simulators and cell phones).

Radios, being one-way, do not tend to cause this immersion. Neither do CB radios - it is the real-time interaction in an alternate reality that is required for the immersion effect to take hold. CB radios require the user to "break" the conversation into chunks because transmission between the parties can only occur one party at a time. Thus, it isn't "real-time", and these breaks serve as discontinuities that don't allow for immersion.

While all of these things (passengers, cell phones, radio, and CB radios, etc) all can cause distractions (and thus, we all should be careful with every one of them while driving), none save for the cell phone causes the strong immersion trigger in the human mind. As I have noted before, this would make an excellent psychological study, to determine what and how this is triggered, what items trigger it and to what extent (cell phones, radios, food, CBs, passengers, etc), how it interacts with the "autopilot" mode we get into when we drive, how different driving conditions are affected by it, how our driving is effected quantitively, and how things could be changed to lessen the effect to the driver.

It may be as simple as having the cell-phone, when it senses it is moving at a speed above walking speed (surely the problem applies if the user is running or riding a bike as well) using GPS, to switch to a system where each user has to say "over" to break the conversation up. Maybe that would work, maybe it wouldn't.

Ultimately, it may come down to personal responsibility (so we are utterly doomed). If we turned the phone off or left it at home when we drove, and paid attention to our driving instead of everything else - everyone would be safer...

Text Message (4, Funny)

OneBigWord (692129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084926)

That's why I only use text messaging on my cell phone. But I'm sure my thumb cancer is unrelated.

Re:Text Message (2, Informative)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084983)

Remember, if you lose full use of your thumb, then you are no better than any other primate out there!

Re:Text Message (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15085204)

Remember, if you lose full use of your thumb, then you are no better than any other primate out there!

He could always transplant one of his big toes there, right?

Re:Text Message (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15085033)

That's why I only use text messaging on my cell phone. But I'm sure my thumb cancer is unrelated.
--
What if that mime really is trapped in a box? [bitbomb.com]


That's funny. Unless he really does have thumb cancer, then that would be sad.

Re:Text Message (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15086052)

That's why I only use text messaging on my cell phone. But I'm sure my thumb cancer is unrelated.

Don't worry, I think you got that from your Crackberry.

Reasonable statement (4, Informative)

hubie (108345) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085063)

I just read TFA and their statement is perfectly reasonable. The statement basically states that the recent, highly publicized, study was based on combining two previously published studies (published in 2002 and 2005), which itself should raise some eyebrows. Other than making an adjustment based on the time of diagnosis, there were no other adjustments made for anything else (make/female, young/old, lifestyle, etc.). That should raise the level of suspicion in the strength of the conclusions greatly.

By my reading, it sounds like they sent mailings to people that have diagnosed brain tumors in those previous two studies and asked them how much they used the cell phone over the last 10 years. They then compared that to a general population sample. Deriving exposure levels from questionnaires is, in my opinion, almost worthless. How many minutes have you used the cell phone in the last 24 hours? Week? Month? Can you come up with a number you believe accurate to within a factor of 2? 10? 100?

This reminds me of a study released in the early 90's that suggested that 60 Hz EMF fields caused cancer. The "researchers" went through death records and picked out people who were listed as having "electrical related" occupations such as electricians and such, then seeing how many of them died of cancer. This study got lots of press, of course. However, a follow-up study was done that looked at 30,000+ workers at an electric generating plant where they actually measured real exposure levels and no correlation was found.

The FDA statement itself says basically that because of all these loose or non-existent controls, it this study cannot really be compared to the other better controled studies that were done. That is a perfectly reasonable and well-explained statement, so I am not sure what the knee-jerk posts about corporate control and suppressing the truth posts are based on. Personally I think that if the study in question was run in the manner described, it is essentially worthless and should not have received any press coverage in the first place.

Because /. has lots of consparicy theorists (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085703)

I'm not sure why, seems to be more than the normal distribution here, and their opinions seem to be given more eight than you'd expect.

At any rate the reason you get loony responses like this is because consparicy theorists believe everything is part of the consparicy. That's why it's impossible to reason with them. You show them evidence of why they are incorrect, and they just twist it to be part of the consparicy and take it is more proof they are right.

It's really not worth arguing with the consparicy nuts, you aren't going to convince them of anything, they are so convinced of their pet consparicy. Also, because they believe it's a consparicy that only they and their friends are smart enough to see, that there's things that appear to contradict it is just more parts of the consparicy.

Re:Because /. has lots of consparicy theorists (1)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15086362)

Riiiight... 'cause we all know that no government body has ever been influenced by corporate interests... A person doesn't have to be a loony conspiracy theorist to question reports like this one. Indeed, the FDA doesn't have a great track record to begin with.

No, this statement is not that reasonable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15086229)

For the what's it worth I work at a cancer center...

The statement basically states that the recent, highly publicized, study was based on combining two previously published studies (published in 2002 and 2005), which itself should raise some eyebrows.
Combining studies is done all the time in this type of research, actually the Interphone study the FDA cites in its favour is a combined study. The Interphone study also received money from cell phone companies.

Deriving exposure levels from questionnaires is, in my opinion, almost worthless.
The data won't be very accurate, but one would still expect heavy users to report increased usage verus light users. This is all that is needed for this type of exploratory study, I've seen exploratory studies done with MUCH less data all the time.

Despite this, the article says nothing I can really directly disagree with. The problem with "the cell phone causes cancer issue" is that there is no mechanism to cause it. However their citing of animal models as being needed to help interpret the results though is disingenous, because researchers already have human data.

I am not sure what the knee-jerk posts about corporate control and suppressing the truth posts are based on
The FDA's track record most likely.

Re:No, this statement is not that reasonable (1)

hubie (108345) | more than 8 years ago | (#15086574)

These are some of the reasons I'm glad I went into physics. :)

I do have an appreciation for these kinds of studies in terms of how hard it is to collect and analyze data. But I also do get tired of seeing 1-sigma or less results from exploratory studies blown way out of proportion in the media (I'm not referring specifically to this cell phone study). Remember oat bran? Some preliminary studies came out suggesting its cholesterol reducing properties, then suddenly EVERYTHING on the supermarket shelf had oat bran. Eventually, at least in the case of oat bran, follow up studies either don't show the intial correlation, or show it as a small effect, and the health fad dies a quiet death.

Such a strang place, Slashdot. (3, Interesting)

some guy on slashdot (914343) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085164)

When the study came out, most of the comments here were refuting it. Now that the FDA has refuted it, everyone seems to be claiming that they were bought by the cell phone companies.

So, what? Are all the people in the cellphone-cancer camp on one side of the globe or something?

Remember, the methodology for this study was step one: find people who already have cancer. Step two: do a survey (not a lab observation or a running record) to get data about their past cell phone usage. How can you bitch when someone contradicts that?

Extendable Antennas (3, Informative)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085211)

I used to work on mobile phones at a large company. SAR rating used to be a big deal to us. One of the major reasons for using extendable antennas was to get the EMF away from the head, hence lowering the SAR. But the market got quite competitive and external antennas went out of style. Before I left, we only cared about meeting the FCC requirement rather than aiming for a truly low SAR of 0.2-0.4.

Karma Whoring, no really (1)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085229)

PDF of the document is available here:
link [arbetslivsinstitutet.se]

It appears it's *another* (double/single) blind study on the affects of cellphone use. Though, it is the only one (AFAIK) that was done on cancer patients.

To sum up my recollection of the previous studies, the most interesting aspect was that they showed a transfer of the 217hz wave from your cellphone's speaker to your Delta wave during prolonged 10mins use. No physiological effects were ever attributed to this wave-transfer.

A simple poll of slashdot users (1, Redundant)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085233)

I hadn't heard of this study or anything.

If you only read the /. summary you can't actually TELL if the study confirmed risks or denied risks, only that the FDA didn't agree with the study.

Did anyone here think that the "Study" may have stated that the risks are minimal, and the FDA was saying "Hey, wait a minute, that's not a very accurate study! There may significantly more risk".

The fact that no reasonable, informed person could have expected that the FDA might have actually been trying to actually "Protect" us instead of corporate interests is a little disturbing to me.

I agree, but... (1)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15086424)

I agree, but what does that indicate? /. is full of loons? People are skeptical of the U.S. government? Loony people are skeptical of the U.S. government? The U.S. government has a poor track record with honesty? All of the above?

Frankly, I'm pretty skeptical of people who aren't skeptical of the U.S. government. I think they must be "in it" with the Aliens and the Jews! Oh, and the Reptiloids, NEVER forget about the Reptiloids!

Spin FDA Spin! (1)

DanCentury (110562) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085346)

All the Fed does is spin and run interference for big business. Listen to what the government says and assume the opposite is true. And then either bitch about it, or invest in companies that profit off the government's spin.

Misread the Text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15085700)

I misread the text as:

'...makes the Hardell et al's f***ing difficult to interpret.'

Now that would be an interesting response from the FDA.

Credibility (1)

Itsik (191227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15085969)

Sorry but with this administrations credibility problems. I find it impossible to believe anything that's coming out of a crony infested federal agency.

Official policy (1)

ktappe (747125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15086138)

"Anything we don't want to be true (global warming, reports of no WMD's, cell phones are harmful, Katrina is coming) must be questionable."

-Kurt

A number of studies, if you count one as a number (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 8 years ago | (#15086474)

Did anyone else notice that the article starts off by stating that "A number of studies have recently been published looking at the risk of long term cell phone use (>10 years) and brain cancer", and then it sites one study with several components. Sure that one study is large and well funded, spanning several different countries accross the globe, but still, one of their problems with this study is that one other study contradicts it.

Not only that, but the newsworthy part of the study is not the contradiction. The INTERPHONE study says that cell phones (and cordless phones) are safe for up to ten years, while this study says that cell and cordless phones becomes dangerous after ten years. I guess the contradiction is about how dangerous they become?

If you want to argue about the soundness of their statistical methods, fine. You may have a point there, but the statement is making some questionable arguments.

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