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Mobile Phone Transmitter Causes Brain Tumours?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the rough-working-conditions dept.

374

Peter writes "Seven staff in the one building have been diagnosed with brain tumours, and everything seems to be pointing to the mobile phone towers located on the roof. The building is owned by RMIT University and an investigation is taking place. Five of the seven staff worked on the top floor of the building. Medical experts contacted by The Age Newspaper said no definitive link had been proved between mobile phone tower radiation and cancer."

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Trying to cover this up again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15316926)

"Nothing for you to see here, please move along." It's a cover up, I tells ya!

Re:Trying to cover this up again... (4, Insightful)

catwh0re (540371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317030)

The press would love to spin it that way.

Yes it's an unusual number of cases, but no, this is over a 5 year period. It's not like all the top floor workers got it a week after moving in.
Of the 7 brain tumors, 2 are malignant. Indicating that possibly different kinds of cancer are occuring. While the building could be to blame, it's probably not the towers sitting on top of it. More likely something else which they are exposed to inside of the building, hence why they shut down the building instead of lowering the tower's output. (They fail to mention that numerous other buildings have similar towers and exposure, but not the cancer rate.)

Re:Trying to cover this up again... (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317078)

The radiation levels were normal when they tested. Does anyone know if cell tower equipment has higher power diagnostic modes? Are there any equipment malfunctions that could cause short bursts of high energy?

If that doesn't pan out, I would check out that old microwave oven in the break room and whatever is growing in the back of the fridge.

Cause and Effect? (0)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316927)


Medical experts contacted by The Age Newspaper said no definitive link had been proved between mobile phone tower radiation and cancer.

I'd call seven brain tumours in one building a heck of a link...

Re:Cause and Effect? (4, Informative)

lisaparratt (752068) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316963)

Certainly a link, but where's the evidence that it's a link to the mobile phone transmitters?

It could equally be down to insufficient ventilation allowing natural Radon to accumulate in the air inside the building.

Re:Cause and Effect? (1)

aikon29 (563393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316985)

Radon in the air wouldn't cause brain tumors. Lung cancer, yes, but not brain tumors.

Re:Cause and Effect? (1)

lisaparratt (752068) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317033)

Ok, it's a long shot, but... the Radon went deep into their ears, and the tumors started at the point nearest the brain. Or maybe through their sinuses.

Ok, ok, good point, well made.

Re:Cause and Effect? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317161)

Radon is usually linked to lung cancer, not brain cancer.

Not all of the people who were afflicted were working on the top floor of the building.

Re:Cause and Effect? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317006)

Doesn't radon tend to accumulate in the basement/bottom floors of a building? These guys were on the top floor of the building.

Re:Cause and Effect? (2, Insightful)

lisaparratt (752068) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317015)

Air conditioning is a wonderful thing.

Re:Cause and Effect? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317021)

How true. Good point. Thanks.

Re:Cause and Effect? (4, Funny)

lisaparratt (752068) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317068)

Heh - the aircon at my previous employer was known as the "sickness recycling system".

Re:Cause and Effect? (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317185)

Air conditioning would be used throughout the building. The tumors were in only those on the top floor. Radon is an unlikely cause in this case.

Re:Cause and Effect? (2, Interesting)

rwven (663186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317043)

My thought was also that it may just be something in the building. There are thousands of other buildings with cell transmitters around the country and this has never been reported before. I think it would be very wise to check the building itself for some other source of radiation (or otherwise) that may have caused this to happen. I tend to lean away from the idea that it's linked to the tower.

Re:Cause and Effect? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317168)

Radon doesn't make sense because the tumors were clustered on only one floor. Even if the AC was recycling the gas through the building, you'd thing the tumors would have been more spread out.

Of course it's impossible to tell without knowing more about the sample set. There may be some other factor that would be an obvious cause, if the reporters had gone into enough detail.

Still, it's not impossible that you could get a soft tissue tumor from being in close proximity to a high power transmitter for a long period of time, so it shouldn't be ruled out.

Re:Cause and Effect? (5, Insightful)

muellerr1 (868578) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316978)

No it isn't. The fact that they were all working in the same building only points to a correlative factor between the building and the incidence of cancer. Could be something in the ventilation system. Could be rat poison in the coffee machine on the top floor. There is absolutely nothing about this situation that definitively links cancer to mobile phone tower radiation.

Re:Cause and Effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317146)

For those with a short memory, how many years did we hear "there is no link between smoking and lung cancer..."

Are You Stuck On Stupid??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317218)

There is absolutely nothing about this situation that definitively links cancer to mobile phone tower radiation.

Are you stuck on stupid, or do you work for Nokia? What would it take to convice you that there was a link? And what about the moderators that score you ignorance as +4 Insightful?

Seven workers in the same building all developing brain cancer is VERY rare as well as VERY telling! Five of the seven worked closest to the transmitters!!!!

You can go ahead and keep telling yourself whatever you want but, I know with certainty that radio transmitters are bad for people. Apparently cell phone transmitters can cause brain cancer, and I know from experience that SSB transmitters can cause physical burns on the skin. In my mind that says, it's probably best to avoid close proximity to radio transmitters/antennas, especially powerful ones.

Darwin will take care of you.

Re:Cause and Effect? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317272)

If someone would ask an engineer and not a doctor, this would have already been put to rest. RF is not magic, it doesn't go through walls or ceilings very well at all. And what kind of cell tower has the antenna pointing straight down? Are people really this retarded? Am I the only sane person left?

Re:Cause and Effect? (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316986)

Medical experts contacted by The Age Newspaper said no definitive link had been proved between mobile phone tower radiation and cancer.
I'd call seven brain tumours in one building a heck of a link...

They didn't just say 'link'.

Read the related article [theage.com.au] (from the same website) for a more complete picture.

Re:Cause and Effect? (4, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317009)

I'd call seven brain tumours in one building a heck of a link...

Or maybe they all get lunch from the same Chinese place a few times a week. Or maybe there's something in the water cooler. Or maybe it's just a clustering phenomenon unrelated to all those things. I'm definitely not discounting the possibility, but remember, "correlation does not imply causation".

Re:Cause and Effect? (1)

collectivescott (885118) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317156)

No, correlation doesn't prove causation. It does imply it, however.

Re:Cause and Effect? (2, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317081)

It could be that brain tumors cause mobile phone transmitters.

"Anybody object to putting antennas on the roof right above you?"
"Duh, uhhh, nope, ok"

Re:Cause and Effect? (2)

F_Scentura (250214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317096)

When a scientist says "no link", they mean no CAUSAL link, not correlative.

Re:Cause and Effect? (2, Funny)

dohzer (867770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317101)

Come on. Any idiot knows that it takes at least 8 people to call it a link.

Re:Cause and Effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317110)

"I'd call seven brain tumours in one building a heck of a link..."

Of course you would, you're an idiot. With no life. Who spends every single day engaged in useless debates with people about subjects that you don't understand.

So yeah, you'd call it a link. But the rest of the world isn't as stupid as you , thank goodness.

Re:Cause and Effect? (2, Insightful)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317155)

I'd call seven brain tumours in one building a heck of a link...

Actually, no. Enough people get cancer that you'll see groups of people with cancer from time to time. Doesn't mean that anything about the building caused the cancers. As Freeman Dyson points out, you can expect something with a one in a million chance to happen to you every year. See, miracles *do* happen!

Re:Cause and Effect? (1)

srk2040 (973509) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317233)

I was in the impression that the cell phone signals makes guys shoot blanks since most of us carry our phone in the pocket or waist. I get shell shocked when ever I'm next to a speaker and my cell goes off. I can hear the radio signal interference on the speaker really loud. Is anyone selling testicle shield in ebay?

ANALSECKS CAUSES ANUL WORTS!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15316928)

www.macslash.com

The Flaw in the Research? (3, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316929)

... no definitive link had been proved between mobile phone tower radiation and cancer."
I wouldn't say that's entirely accurate. I seem to remember the problem with the research [bbc.co.uk] being a while back that they were exposing cell tissue to thousands or millions of times the amount of radiation that a cell phone produces. I'm not sure if a cell phone tower scales to be thousands of times that of a cell phone but if it does ... there might be a legit concern here.

I believe that an SAR (specific absorption rate) of 10 Watts per kilogram is the safety limit set by the NRPB. I guess they need to do tests as to whether the people experienced this from the towers. Cell phones have a SAR of about 0.2 on average. As always, Wikipedia provides a great reference [wikipedia.org] to this subject.

Not the power. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15316994)

It's not so much about the power, as it is the prolonged exposure.

Sure, they could blast some cells with massive amounts of radiation for a few weeks or even several months. But that doesn't compare to the years some of these workers may have spent near this transmitter.

Just as smoking 30 cigarettes a day for a week may appear mostly harmless in laboratory tests, smoking five cigarettes a day for 15 years could very well be far more harmful. You're not smoking as many cigarettes per day, but it's the long-term exposure to the carcinogens that eventually leads to problems.

Re:Not the power. (1)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317082)

This is how they 'proved' that weed is damaging to the brain.

Problem is, that by over-exposing the subject to simulate prolonged exposure over time, they gave the subject (a monkey, in this case) brain damage through oxygen deprevation.

Massive exposure does not always cause the same effects as long-term exposure, is my point here. If you listen to soft music for a day or listen to 1000db of sound in a second, the effect is vastly different (and lethal, but thats not the point here).

Re:Not the power. (0)

milamber3 (173273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317143)

That is a totally false analogy. Radiation has been shown to act in a cumulative manner. So exposing someone to 100 units in a second is the same as exposing them to 1 unit over 100 seconds. Therefore, in your analogy listening to 1000 hours of 1 dB music would equate to 1 hour of 1000 dB music if it were radiation.

Re:Not the power. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317216)

Cancers due to ionizing radiation exposure are known to follow a linear model. So in this case the equivalence of a high dose for a short period vs. a low dose for a long time is pretty likely.

As far as SAR equivalence, remember that with a cell phone you are holding the transmitter right up against your skull. Even though the tower might be emitting a lot more radiation, it is also a lot further away.

Re:The Flaw in the Research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317116)

If something happened to the cultured cells that would probably be interesting. That nothing happened to them, doesn't suggest much. What this study does suggest is that tumor rates in people in similar buildings should be looked at.

A common fallacy in science is "if I don't have a mechanism, it can't be happening."

First p0st! (-1, Offtopic)

Morrigu (29432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316932)

Now if only I did this via cell phone...

Not likely to be the tower. (2, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316935)

From the article:
Australian Medical Association president Mukesh Haikerwal said there was no proof of a connection but "if you get clusters of disease it's sensible to investigate."

Dr John Gall, from private health company Southern Medical Services, which has been called in to assess the sick, said last night three of those affected had tumours showing symptoms consistent with radiation.

But he said there was no causal link with the building based on preliminary observations.
There you have it - three people with symptoms consistent with radiation exposure, so the Union demands the building is shut down, the link to the telephone tower is made & people panic.

Most likely is that the affected people were doing something together out of hours (after all, people who work together, often also play together). It's quite possible (after all, the IT in RMIT stands for Institute of Technology), that they were all building a home made breeder reactor [slashdot.org]

In short, the only danger mobile towers hold, is when the fuckwit in the SUV doesn't see me on my bicycle, because he's too busy chatting to drive. (seriously, every time I've felt threatened, its been someone chatting on a cell phone)

Re:Not likely to be the tower. (2, Insightful)

jasen666 (88727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317020)

One guy says there's no "casual" link, and your natural conclusion is to take him completely at face value and make the assumption that they were all getting together after hours and building a nuclear reactor in someone's basement??

So if you worked in that building, and seven of your coworkers suddenly got brain tumors at the same time, you'd have no worries at all, eh?

Re:Not likely to be the tower. (4, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317071)

So if you worked in that building, and seven of your coworkers suddenly got brain tumors at the same time, you'd have no worries at all, eh?

Of course I would be worried - I would be worried about the building however, not the phone mast. I've just been reading the forums attached to the story [theage.com.au] and there's a few interesting comments in there - notably this one:
I would suggest that regardless of any link between mobile phone towers and cancer, a far more likely cause is toxic contamination of the building.

Anybody who has taken a good look inside the RMIT building in question should be able to plainly that the building is unsafe in many ways.

People may remember the floods and resultant evacuations that occurred at a city RMIT campus last year. Two floods, one cold water, another of near boiling water months later. This is the same building.

The safety (or lack thereof) of the wiring and electrics in the same building is also very disturbing.

Any student need only look beneath the desks in the computer rooms to get an idea.

I think RMIT must investigate ALL possible causes of these brain tumors.

It seems very controvertial as to whether mobile phone towers could cause any health-risks, and whilst I agree that it is impossible to say that these towers are safe, surely this building at RMIT with a mere two low power phone towers wouldn't be the first detected incidence of this in the melbourne CBD.

However, it is well known that there are toxins which are highly carcinogenic. It would be prudent to do a broad panel of tests for mutagenic & teratogenic toxins in this building as part of the investigation.

Re:Not likely to be the tower. (1)

myth24601 (893486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317245)

There is alway the chance that it is a chance random occurance. A quick look at Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cancer_cluster [wikipedia.org] and I found this quote:

"Between 5% to 15% of suspected cancer clusters are statistically significant"

In the event it is something about the environment of the building, jumping on the Cell tower seems kinda knee jerk.

Re:Not likely to be the tower. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317036)

It's quite possible (after all, the IT in RMIT stands for Institute of Technology), that they were all building a home made breeder reactor.

RMIT has a reputation for being pretty hardcore, but I doubt that members of the RMIT Business School (who the building is used by) would be building reactors.

Re:Not likely to be the tower. (1, Flamebait)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317064)

Welcome to Slashdot, where electrical engineers, or people who think of it as a hobby, will swear backwards and forwards that they know and understand every effect of radiation.

Re:Not likely to be the tower. (2, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317147)

Welcome to Slashdot, where electrical engineers, or people who think of it as a hobby, will swear backwards and forwards that they know and understand every effect of radiation.

Errr right, maybe I just listen to the expert's opinion [theage.com.au] .

Re:Not likely to be the tower. (3, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317114)

The problem with the statement 'consistent with radiation' is that the Doctor means ionizing radiation, and a cell tower emits non-ionizing radiation. BIG difference.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionizing_radiation [wikipedia.org]

Law of averages (-1, Offtopic)

eman1961 (642519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316937)

Sooner or later, the law of averages says that 7 people in a building with cell phone towers will develop brain tumors. We must obey the law of averages, otherwise plan for a visit from the LOA Police!

Tin foil hat (2, Funny)

programmer-x (457719) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316941)

Better add another couple of layers just to be sure.

Planck's constant = 6.626068 x 10-34 m2 kg/S (4, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316946)

Anyone worried about radio waves causing cancer can try to make that theory work. There is a huge barrier, however, in the form of a very very small number: Planck's Constant [britannica.com] . Planck's constant = 6.626068 x 10-34 m2 kg/S. It's that 10**-34 that makes it difficult for low-energy electromagetism like wireless transmissions to interact with chemical reactions. Thirty-four zeros is a LOT of zeros after the decimal point.

Off topic: I've linked to the Encyclopedia Britannica above because the article about Planck's constant is very short. The article in Wikipedia is long. I've frequently seen the Encyclopedia Britannica be misleading because of the severe limitation placed on size of the articles due to paper costs. Wikipedia does not have that problem.

Re:Planck's constant = 6.626068 x 10-34 m2 kg/S (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317148)

Tell you what, go hang a piece of beef on the transmitter for a few hours. Come back and enjoy your nicely cooked steak. The power drops with the square of the distance, the closer you are, the higher the power you are being hit with.

Re:Planck's constant = 6.626068 x 10-34 m2 kg/S (2, Informative)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317257)

GSM wavelength is not ionizing so it can't be dangerous by itself. But some think the bursts used by GSM protocol create a low frequency envelope that may affect living tissues (that would behave like an AM receiver). There is also the low but measured local thermal effect. Those effects are hard to evaluate but hundred of million people using cellular tend to show they are probably not that dangerous.

On the other hand, the high occurence in this very building compared to the lack of such situation near the large majority of other antennas make me agree with the idea that there is another cause to this particular situation.

tumor or tumour? (3, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316952)

I suppose you're going to tell me that it's a bad idea to stick my head in a running microwave oven, too, eh?

Re:tumor or tumour? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317049)

tumor or tumour

Tumour is the correct spelling in Australia, where this happened, and where the article is from.

Re:tumor or tumour? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317100)

I say try it and then report back the results so we can all know...

(This message is ment as a joke. Kids please do not try this at home!)

Re:tumor or tumour? (2, Funny)

Caste11an (898046) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317165)

It's not a tumor!

Re:tumor or tumour? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317232)

I suppose you're going to tell me that it's a bad idea to stick my head in a running microwave oven, too, eh?

[3rd grade "is your refridgerator running" crank call rendition]

My microwave works best when it is stationary.

[/ 3rd grade "is your refridgerator running" crank call rendition]

Other factors (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316954)

Obviously studies will need to rule out other environmental factors. But assuming these seven employees don't all live in the same apartment snorting lines of plutonium powder, my guess is the math is going to point to those towers.

That of course means a hell of a lot of other rooftop towers are going to be coming down across the nation in pretty short order.

Re:Other factors (2, Insightful)

laughing_badger (628416) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317014)

Actually, from a maths point of view, my first question would be: Following the first two brain tumor diagnoses, how much more vigilant to the (now known) symptoms of a tumor did the rest of the workers become? This cluster could very well be explained by people picking up on subtle signs of a (non-malignant) tumor that they would have otherwise lived in ignorance of until they died at a 'normal' age.

Also, again from a maths point of veiw, don't forget that a cluster of seven people with brain tumors is perfectly possible by random without any outside influence.

Re:Other factors (1)

carlislematthew (726846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317215)

Also, again from a maths point of veiw, don't forget that a cluster of seven people with brain tumors is perfectly possible by random without any outside influence.

Oh come on - there's as much chance of 7 people getting cancer like this as there is of someone winning the damn lottery!! It's impossible I tell ya, impossible!!!

I'm calling bullshit... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15316955)

Sometimes I'm wrong, but at least where I live, most commercial buildings have a metal base under the roof (steel, tin, aluminum, etc). And, generally, codes require the metal base be grounded--which makes roofs great for transmitting towers (they need a well grounded base).

But if it *is* built like this, it is absolutely impossible that any radiation of any kind managed to get through that roof to the people below. Unless you want to prove Faraday wrong. I know I don't.

Re:I'm calling bullshit... (1)

locofungus (179280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317112)

Wrong. A faraday cage _has_ to be a completely closed structure. Even a tiny gap is enough for it to not totally exclude radiation.

Example: I've got a stainless steel fridge. Yet when I was worried about it's temperature, a battery powered "weather station" outdoors transmitter was perfectly sufficient to send a signal to the weather station at the other side of the house from inside the closed fridge.

Tim.

Research (4, Insightful)

cephalien (529516) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316960)

Hmm. I'd say 7 incidents in one building is probably very high; even so, that depends entirely on the relative frequency of the specific kind of tumor.

Also, did any of these people work in hazardous areas? A university can have all sorts of nasty stuff around.

It would seem to me that these incidents could be related to the cell phone tower; or it could be a very sad coincidence. You can't just freeze everything at one single point in time and go ah-ha!

There are too many other factors that aren't considered.

A university building? (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316966)

Any chance they were doing research on something that might cause brain tumours? Or maybe they were doing research on the effect of mobile phone transmitters, that would be quite ironic.

Hmmmm (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316967)

Australian Medical Association president Mukesh Haikerwal said there was no proof of a connection but "if you get clusters of disease it's sensible to investigate."

Ya think? Maybe this represents your proof! I like to call this the "Keystone Cops Method" of scientific inquiry.

Dr John Gall, from private health company Southern Medical Services, which has been called in to assess the sick, said last night three of those affected had tumours showing symptoms consistent with radiation.

Indeed, Watson, the killer had a limp... note the dragging of the shoe print to one side and the lightness of the impression on the other...

Given they were working under a tower which is broadcasting radiation, this should probably come as no shock. What I wonder is -- why isn't there shielding protecting the floors below from the radiation from the tower? Answer: then everyone's cell phones would stop working.

I've often thought the chances of contracting cancer from your cell phone was exaggerated, unless you had the damned thing glued to your ear 24/7. This is totally different; those towers are pumping out huge amounts of radiation, to try and make sure you can get a strong signal at great distances. It's not like living inside a nuclear reactor, but its close enough to be a bad idea.

Re:Hmmmm (1)

nojomofo (123944) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317083)

Just a question, since you talk about "living inside a nuclear reactor". Do you understand that electromagnetic radiation (cell phone tower) is completely different from nuclear radiation?

Re:Hmmmm (1)

F_Scentura (250214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317126)

"Maybe this represents your proof!"

It doesn't represent the absolute "proof" required to confirm a causal link, so no it does not.

"I like to call this the 'Keystone Cops Method' of scientific inquiry."

It's a shame that you do not understand the process of scientific inquiry, but your personal opinion does not change the approach any.

Re:Hmmmm (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317246)

It doesn't represent the absolute "proof" required to confirm a causal link, so no it does not.

"Proof" is not an absolute concept; causal ties can be shown by a wide body of evidence which meets the statistical standards you wish to apply, which is why there is so much back and forth on any topic, because altering your level of statistical "validity" allows you to prove your pet theory.

It's a shame that you do not understand the process of scientific inquiry, but your personal opinion does not change the approach any.

Well, my old physics and psych professors might disagree with you there, but I'd be willing to put my knowledge of the scientific method and experimental design up against most people's any day of the week. The fact is, there is a theory here: electromagnetic radiation from the transmission tower is inducing cells in human brain tissue to turn cancerous. This cluster of cases indicates that clearly a process is involved, as the likelihood that such a cluster occurs randomly is very small, compared to a background sample of subjects from the same area. The cluster does not "prove" that the theory is correct, but does support its basic premise. What has to happen now is a background check of all the people affected and not affected, to determine if there is some other plausible causal factor common to them that would explain the cluster's formation (they all smoke, or live in the same area near a toxic waste site, family history of brain cancer, etc.). Sound about right?

And to think.... (2, Funny)

wolfemi1 (765089) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316988)

...that all of this heartache could have been avoided by something as simple as a couple of tinfoil hats.

Surely, someone here on Slashdot has one to spare for these poor people!

Why blame the mobile phone? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15316998)

Okay - there's 7 people suffering similar symptoms. Perhaps it is the tower to blame. Or perhaps not. There's no conclusive evidence yet that mobile phones do cause cancer. It seems odd that they'd only cause brain tumours as opposed to any other, and that this particular mast is the only one that seems to be having such an extreme effect when all the thousands of others in the world seem relatively harmless. It's worth investigating, but it's also worth checking everything else.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317001)

Me works near the pretty towers but me no get dumb!

Ancilliary problems (3, Interesting)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317002)

Perhaps it is from EMP from all the wires/power/machines that run up the wall *to* the tower, not the tower itself.

Would it be possible for multiple low frequency signals to interact to form a sine wave of a much higher intensity? ... so the tower puts out a pulse that's too small to affect genetic replication (say 10% of the threshold), but there are other EMP signitures or emmisions in the area that compound (say 5 sources at 10%), followed by personal cell phones and computers and lights...

so you could 99.999% of the time have these signals never amount to much until the proverbial "EM Seventh Wave" comes in and makes those brain cells start dividing wrong. It only takes one cell to seed a tumor.

Re:Ancilliary problems (3, Informative)

dpaton.net (199423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317104)

Cell site base stations are self contained. The only things that run to them are the mains supply cables, which are indeed beefy, but that's 60Hz, not the UHF that mobile phones run at. The antennas used for cell site base stations also have a decidedly toroidal or sectoral radiation pattern. Every one I've seen in the last 10 years has used a set of sector patch antennas, which have excellent pattern control (energy goes in a set direction with set limits, not anywhere else). It's in the best interests of the cell companies to minimized the radiation that goes straight down in favor of the radiation that goes out, as straight down mostly wastes power that could be used to increase coverage somewhere else.

I don't doubt that there seems to be a link, but whether or not it's causal needs some very carefully done science, not a newspaper story.

Dihydrogen Monoxide (2, Funny)

nincehelser (935936) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317004)

It's more likely it's something in the water.

Re:Dihydrogen Monoxide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317047)

But only the water on the top floor.

Re:Dihydrogen Monoxide (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317183)

Nobody's modded this up yet, but the parent has a point! Every single person with brain cancer in this study was exposed to copious amounts of dihydrogen monoxide at several times each day. Logically, for the same reason that the radio tower MUST HAVE caused the cancer, the DHM must also have caused it!

it's not a tumor.... (1)

Atilla (64444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317013)

it's the new Motorola THINKR (tm) implant. It resides in the brain, and is self-assembling. It has TV, DVD, GPS, Java, 12-megapixel camera that uses your eyeballs, and Itunes, of course.

Defend America: +1, Inspirational (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317056)


Call [current.cf...ingtonpost] your bribe-slimed senator and demand
the arrest; trial; conviction; and sentencing of Al-Qaeda [whitehouse.org] .

Have a Bush_Cheney_Rice_Rumsfeld_Hayden-free weekend,
Kilgore Trout, C.E.O.

P.S.: Special N.S.A. Message: 01000110011101010110001101101011001000000100001101 101000011001010110111001100101
01111001

Statistical clusters (5, Insightful)

simon_hibbs2 (792812) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317060)

* There are mobile phone radio masts on tens of thousands of buildings all over the world, for almost a decade.
* There has been no significant increase in the number of brain tumours since mobile phones became popular.
* Why would people in one building sudenly have a greater chance of getting brain tumours from a radio mast, while the chances of the many (possibly hundreds of) thousands of people in other buildings with radio masts on them getting cancer stay the same? There's an antenna on the roof of a building next to the one I work in, I can see the antenna from here througn the window. Why don't I and all my colleagues have cancer?

Unless there is a huge difference in the way this mast is installed and operated, or the structure of the building from other similar installations, there's no reason to suppose this cluster of cancers has anything to do with the radio mast. There could be thousands of other factors that could be the cause.

Or there might be no cause. How many buildings are there in the world? How many random instances of cancer are there? Statisticaly, you'd expect to see the occasional fluke cluster of cancers in one building from time to time. If the odds against such a cluster in any given building were a million to one, in a survey of 10 million buildings you'd expect to see roughly 10 such clusters just by pure chance. Even if the chances were 10 million to 1, there's still no reason to suppose finding one such cluster in the sample is at all suspicious.

Simon Hibbs

Who knows... (1, Offtopic)

collectivescott (885118) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317084)

I know that scientific studies thus far have been unable to show a plausible link between brain tumors and cell phones. However, I wonder if everyone calling nonsense here isn't just engaging in a bit of wishful thinking. Kind of like how people were resistant to the idea that sun exposure could lead to skin cancer. I'm no luddite, I sure hope this proves to be a false alarm. However, while a bit of skepticism is healthy, how can we be sure? Cell phones have only recently reached the masses in the Unites States.

I just looked up some statistics on brain tumors. The incidence rate is 14.1 per 100,000 people, or roughly 1 in 7,000. Unless 50,000 people worked in this building, this is quite the statistical anamoly. Makes you go hmm...

Now excuse me, my cell phone is ringing.

Parent reads FRICKIN ON-topic to me Charlie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317172)

Parent reads FRICKIN ON-topic to me Charlie

Yeah, this is on topic... (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317235)

The parent is on-topic! Man, I hope I get this one in Meta Mod...

hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317087)

why me laugh?

I know what this means!! (2, Funny)

nodeadlysins (963910) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317089)

Cancer must be contagious!! Kill the lab rats--quickly!!

Absolutely NOTHING to worry about. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317093)

All installations strictly follow government regulations, Tens of Millions in studies have been financed to PROVE that this is NOT a problem. So, Ladies and Gentlemen of the the Board the legal department assures me your options are safe.

Correlation does not equal causation. (0, Redundant)

Killshot (724273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317094)

Please, remember this.
The world will be a better place if we all do.

Wondering about cell phones... (1)

955301 (209856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317105)

You've probably heard the interference your phone generates in your radio.

Do you still have a CRT Monitor, and not a flat panel? Here's a fun experiment. Take your cell phone, dial up a number on it and place a call. Now, hold it up to your CRT - the emag field from it skews the electron stream in distinct waves. You can probably correlate the frequency the phone operates on to the wavelength on the screen if you know your monitors vertical refresh.

Correlation is not causation.... (0, Redundant)

XMilkProject (935232) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317106)

Please remember correlation is not causation....

Given that there has never been evidence of this before, it's far more likely theres another cause. Maybe the building is full of asbestos, or some other harmful material... Maybe all the employees took an employee training course near a nuclear plant or something.

It could be any number of things, but this pseudo-science where people assume correlation has any bearing on causation is only for the ignorant.

Brain? (1, Insightful)

Treacle Treatment (681828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317107)

Why just brain tumors? I thought the Cell Phone / Brain Tumor link was due to the cell phone being held next to the head? Why no stomach tumors? Why no big toe tumors? I smell a rat.

maybe it's not the antenna (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317111)

People working on last floor are CEO or VP, so it's maybe cause by a chemical in cash that is carcinogen above a very high dose.

Fun with Statistics (1)

Smarty2120 (776415) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317124)

Given the average percentage of people developing brain tumors in some geographic area every year, as well as the standard deviation of said average, the probability of this many people in the same building being diagnosed can be computed. Many office buildings are equipped with cellular base stations nowadays because it's cheaper than putting up a tower. Unless they show the epidemiological statistics to prove this event unlikely to occur in even one building in a sample of cell-equipped office buildings, this is bullshit. Obviously, test away to be sure the tower is operating properly, but given that it is, it's giving off non-ionizing radiation. One more example of luddites looking to prove that we've unleashed another technology to destroy ourselves.

1990 called... (1)

Gobelet (892738) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317152)

they want their paranoia back.

It's been 10 years that I've been living in front of a mobile phone transmitter. I had 8-watt cell phones. Since it was part of the paranoia, I had a scanner, like a year ago. Nothing wrong with my brain, kthxbye.

They seem to assume a lot... (1)

Net_fiend (811742) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317157)

at this point. Also for thost who are worried about radiation from a cell phone, use a headset. You can get a cheap headset for under $20. Personally I'd prefer a bluetooth headset, but I'm cheap and use the one that Sony Ericsson included with my phone. Cell phone not next to my head means no brain tumor, its a no brainer to me.

So what happens when you leave a cell phone in your lap?

Please keep in mind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15317159)

This is a business school. A diseased mind is an entry requirement.

not likely (1)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317162)

That doesn't make sense. Cell phone tower emissions may well "cause" cancer, but in the sense of a small increase in risk; and the increase has to be small because it has been hard to demonstrate experimentally.

If there is a common cause for these cases, it's more likely to be some kind of chemical pollutant or biological agent. Chemicals, fungi, and viruses can and do cause cancer at high rates. I'd rather look to the chemistry department or the biology labs than the cell phone tower for a cause.

Bothered... (2, Funny)

WebfishUK (249858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317167)

Kinda lost interest once I read...

"...the 16th and 17th floors are home to offices of senior management..."

Vinyl Chloride? (1)

Kenrod (188428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317169)

Vinyl Chloride is one of the only environmental substances known to specifically cause brain cancer. Is it possible there is a source of contaimination in the building? Accidental or deliberate, perhaps? Small amounts of vinyl chloride can dissolve in water, and it is found in tiny amounts in tobacco smoke. These people may have been exposed years ago and are just now showing disease.

Hospital Cell towers (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317174)

You know what I don't understand?

You have to turn off cell phones because they will "interfere" with hospital equipment. Okay, I'll buy that for now.

But a HUGE hospital here in town (Austin, St. David's, BTW) has its roof LITTERED with giant mobile phone relay antennae. Others probably do as well, it's just that this one is right by the elevated freeway and they are easy to see.

Whaa?

not necessarily causative (1)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317195)

I recall reading that when autopsies are performed about 1/3 of the time brain tumours are found. These are generally benign and caused no problem. They are found because people went looking for them.

The same issue surrounds the thyroid cancers associated with the Chernobyl disaster. Again - the tumours appear to be natural and generally cause no problems.

This of course does not change the fact that anyone so diagnosed will be scared to death (bad pun) and wonder when the next shoe is going to drop. So while I feel for the patients I have to beleive this is blown out of porportion.

fried eggs (1)

Zimok (893058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317196)

Anyone notice when you speak on a cell phone for a lenghty amount of time, the side of your face gets all hot.. is this from the radio waves passing through our brain? I imagine these towers are making fried eggs with our brain..

Naaasty Cancer Towers - They hurts us! (0)

KarmaOverDogma (681451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317199)

One of the board of directors members of our church had the audacity to consider putting one of these devices in the bell tower very close to where service occurs (i.e. right above our heads), citing the revenue it would bring in. I said that while there is no concrete evidence they cause harm (and I think the scientific jury is still out on this one, but prefer to err on the side of reasonable caution), I didn't want any transceiver with that kind of wattage anywhere near me, especially right over my head while Im in the middle of a sermon. I added that if they put one up anywhere on church grounds (ours has less than 3 acres of land) I would leave the church, take my tithes with me and encourage other members to do the same.

A little story about mobile phone towers (5, Insightful)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15317220)

There was a small village in rural Germany. A broadcast tower for mobile phones was to be built there, and despite rabid protests from the locals, which were concerned about negative health impacts, the tower was built. Soon after its completion, more than the usual number of locals went to see their doctor, complaining about headaches, nausea, and various other little ailments which they linked to the tower.

The funny part? The tower hasn't even been operational.
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