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Study Shows Cell Phones Safe

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the safe-for-our-human-brains dept.

Communications 210

PreacherTom writes "In a move worthy of the Mythbusters, scientists in Denmark tracked over 420,000 cell phone users over the course of 21 years in an attempt to determine if the urban legend that cell phone use causes cancer is true. Their results: the RF energy produced by the phones did not correlate to an increased incidence of the disease. Please note that this doesn't make chatting on the highway at 85 mph any more safe." From the article: 'This so-called Danish cohort "is probably the strongest study out there because of the outstanding registries they keep,' said Joshua Muscat of Pennsylvania State University, who also has studied cell phones and cancer. 'As the body of evidence accumulates, people can become more reassured that these devices are safe, but the final word is not there yet,' Muscat added."

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They didnt let the facts get in the way before, (4, Interesting)

topham (32406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154678)

why start now?

Re:They didnt let the facts get in the way before, (2, Funny)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154760)

Hey, maybe the Danes are just resistant to brain tumors! You can't say you don't know for sure!

***

sigh...

Re:They didnt let the facts get in the way before, (1)

trewornan (608722) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155120)

Scientific studies have proven that bacon, mouldy cheese and lager make you immune to sub-thermal interactions . . . sheesh, some people don't know nothin'

Re:They didnt let the facts get in the way before, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17154884)

Anal sex with CmdrTaco: it's what's for dinner

CmdrTaco, the other white meat

WHATS WITH ALL THE FUCKING JAVASCRIPT ERRORS ON /. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155336)

Come on guys, JS is very easy to write - I can't see how you nanaged to fuck it up!

Re:They didnt let the facts get in the way before, (4, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155364)

One study does not a conclusion make. Usually, in scientific research, you need three independent studies before most scientists will draw a conclusion.

My question is - who paid for this study? Was it Nokia (caveat, I own shares in them) or some other cell phone firm?

Re:They didnt let the facts get in the way before, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155418)

we don't give a fuck who you own shares in flyboy

that is completely irrelevant

Re:They didnt let the facts get in the way before, (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155452)

What I can't figure out is how Bush managed to pull this one off. He's awfully crafty for being such a fucktard.

Sets the rumors to rest (0)

appleguru (1030562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154682)

Finally some concrete evidence to set the rumors to rest once and for all. I shall now continue to excessively use my cell phone without the worry of detrimental repercussions other than to perhaps my wallet.

Re:Sets the rumors to rest (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17154736)

420!!!!!!!!!!!!
howard stern's penis

Re:Sets the rumors to rest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17154880)

And other drivers on the same road.

_other_ parts of the body (4, Interesting)

7macaw (933316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154726)

I carry my cell phone in my pants pocket. Is it safe?

Re:_other_ parts of the body (4, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154764)

If you're worried about sterility you're on /. mate, no worries.

Re:_other_ parts of the body (3, Funny)

7macaw (933316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154942)

Why, yes, I am concerned about sterility. I always wash my hands!

Re:_other_ parts of the body (3, Funny)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154808)

Probably, unless you bump into something forcefully. Do you have a warranty?

Re:_other_ parts of the body (3, Funny)

7macaw (933316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154838)

Only for the phone :(

Re:_other_ parts of the body (5, Funny)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155018)

I carry my cell phone in my pants pocket. Is it safe?

Yeah, I do too, but only because I keep it on vibrate mode

Re:_other_ parts of the body (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155552)

Yeah, I do too, but only because I keep it on vibrate mode

That only works if you have friends so that someone will call you!

Re:_other_ parts of the body (1)

hmccabe (465882) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155802)

I carry my cell phone in my pants pocket. Is it safe?

I know this gets said a lot, but I can't imagine a situation where it will ever be more appropriate. RTFA

Misleading title... (4, Insightful)

Lunar_Lamp (976812) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154762)

Even the summary of the article doesn't agree with the title of the article. Whilst I am of the opinion that mobile phones are safe, it is impossible to prove it. It is possible to demonstrate that it is almost certainly not the case, but it is impossible to demonstrate to a mathematical certainty that mobile phones (or any other treatment, e.g. medication, having blonde hair, being called Fred) is safe.

And what of it? (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154996)

That's true with anything, including that what you see is real. I don't have the time or the energy to teach you basic philosophy but this is not a new debate. Descartes thought about it, and many have after him. For the best modern thought on how scientific method works and how we prove things empirically, get the Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl Popper.

Re:And what of it? (1)

Poeir (637508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156344)

The idea that what you experience isn't real predates Descartes easily, dating at least as far back as Plato's Allegory of the Cave [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Misleading title... (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156210)

Don't worry about it. The cell phone's transmitter won't kill you. Its the cell tower broadcasting to every man, woman, and child. That's why there isn't a correlation =)

Young Sebastion... (1)

locokamil (850008) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154770)

... is now safe!

Cell phones not safe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17154916)

Saying cell phones are safe because they don't cause cancer is saying that cyanide is safe because it won't scald you. The health issue with cell phones has never been about cancer, but about cell phone radiation penetrating the skull and opening up/damaging the blood-brain barrier, allowing toxins and other foreign materials in your bloodstream to cross over and damage your brain cells. Additionally, normal electromagnetic brain functioning is disturbed by cell phone radiation, with brainwave patterns being abnormal several hours after cell phone use.

Re:Young Sebastion... (1)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154982)

Meme propagation detected. Attempting to terminate...

-process hangs-

Somtimes... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17154796)

Sometimes you need more than a staggering, howling lack of cancer-causation evidence to convince the alties.

Mabe worrying about cell phones causing cancer... (3, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154834)

causes cancer.

Hey, at least there's a mechanism. Stress has been implicated in contributing to a lot of other diseases, why not cancer?

Re:Mabe worrying about cell phones causing cancer. (1)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155772)

Someone once told me a similar theory about syphilis (maybe thinking about it raises the risk! ). I think they died.

Re:Mabe worrying about cell phones causing cancer. (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156064)

I haven't heard of anyone not believing in the concept of birth actually being born, so maybe you're right.

What about for driving? (4, Insightful)

D4rk Fx (862399) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154842)

They didn't take into effect the amount of vehicular accidents that are caused by inattentive cell phone drivers. This is probably the most unsafe aspect of them

Re:What about for driving? (1)

traveller604 (961720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154914)

And that's why it's illegal in many countries just like drunk driving..

Re:What about for driving? (1)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154924)

They didn't take into effect the amount of vehicular accidents caused by cell phones because that was not part of the study. The study merely proved that cell phones under normal usage are safe.

Re:What about for driving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17154958)

They didn't take into account shaving my balls on a roller coaster while talking on the phone. This is _WAY_ unsafer than your example.

Re:What about for driving? (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155434)

Which coincidentally lowers your chances of living long enough to get cancer...there we go, conclusive evidence that cellphone useage reduces your chance of contracting cancer!

Cell phones are one thing that distracts people when they're driving, but I've seen plenty of drivers who couldn't find their ass with two hands and a map, cell phone or no cell phone. But lets be sure and outlaw them anyway. After all, if we just outlawed retards, who would re-elect us next year?

They didn't take into effect the amount of vehicular accidents that are caused by inattentive cell phone drivers. This is probably the most unsafe aspect of them

minor correction (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155618)

"They didn't take into effect the amount of vehicular accidents that are caused by inattentive drivers."

Fixed.

21 years? (1, Insightful)

ubikkibu (544498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154934)

They've studied cell phones since 1985? They were only made legal in the U.S. in 1983, and used very different tech than today. I'm skeptical.

Re:21 years? (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155026)

If the cell phones 20 years ago didn't cause cancer, then todays less powerfull phones certianly do not.

Re:21 years? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155028)

Wow, the US has mobile phones now? Cool! They've only been commonplace in Europe for about 15 years...

Re:21 years? (5, Insightful)

Jott42 (702470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155058)

Sweden (not Denmark, but close) did start an analog cell phone network in 1981: the NMT system. The system was standardised to be the same within the nordic countries, of which Denmark is one. (Japan started even earlier, in 1979)
It is not always correct to assume that USA is on the edge of technology development and deployment.

Re:21 years? Who paid for this study? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155540)

Sweden (not Denmark, but close) did start an analog cell phone network in 1981

Who paid for this study?

It sounds like they are trying to make things appear better than they are. How many people in this study were using cell phones in 1980s? 10? 20? Certainly not "420,000 cell phone users" as they claim.

Additionally, how much were those users using their cell phones in 1980s, with the rates of $9/minute? Not much, I sure.

Re:21 years? Who paid for this study? (2, Informative)

Jott42 (702470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155734)

The numbers form the study (males and females) of cell phone users between 15-21 years: 10,968 and between 10-15 years: 45,680. Total number of subjects were 420,095 persons. The study was supported by the Danish Strategic Research Council and the Danish Cancer Society. According to the article: "The funding sources were not involved in the study design or data collection, analyses, or interpretation."
The article do discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the study, any blame on putting things in a better light should be placed on the regular media that is reporting about their article and findings.

Re:21 years? (1)

Foerstner (931398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155544)

Incidentally, the first test deployment of AMPS in the US was in Chicago in 1977. Paid service began in late 1978.

1983 was when the system finally went national. It's a big country, it took a while to get all the cells up. More important were the regulatory issues; AT&T was being split up at the same time.

Re:21 years? (1)

Jott42 (702470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155622)

To pointificate: according to all sources I have read, AMPS started comemrcial service in 1983. That was when the "first ceremonial phone-call" was made. Even Wikipedia backs me up on this one. :-)

Re:21 years? (1)

JCondon (1029908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155294)

Good point. Also, cell phones today use a much lower transmit power. This may mean that even if the did cause cancer before, the chance is less likely that they do now. That is assuming the different transmit frequencies used don't make a difference.

Re:21 years? (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155344)

Their outlier started using a mobile 21 years ago, he must have been a real early adopter. 52k people had been using mobiles for 10 years or more. So 7/8 of the study has been using a mobile for less than 10 years. Makes any conclusions on the longterm effects very dubious. In particular (as someone further up noted) usage patterns have changed drastically over the past few years. Rather than an occasional call, many people now use mobile phones almost constantly. It will be another 20 years before we have longterm data on whether or not modern usage is dangerous.

Re:21 years? (1)

balrog66 (176760) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155668)

The analog NMT-450 net opened in Denmark in 1982. In 1985 portable phones, as opposed to phones intended for mounting in vehicles, were legalized. But until phones like the Storno Portable http://www.stornotime.dk/images/StornoData/storno- portable-b.jpg [stornotime.dk] were introduced (at about the same time that the NMT-900 net opened in Denmark in January 1987), antennas probably tended not to be positioned right next to the user's head...

Mythbusters? (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154946)

Knowing Mythbusters, they had to somehow crank up a cell phone to a ludicrous level to induce cancer. Poor Buster! Still, it might make for an interesting episode.

Re:Mythbusters? (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155366)

Combine it with the tabletop particle accelerator discussed earlier today, and you've got something.

Re:Mythbusters? (1)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156216)

Brainiac would probably put in in a microwave with some thermite.

Neverending circle of theories (1)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154986)

...'As the body of evidence accumulates, people can become more reassured that these devices are safe, but the final word is not there yet,' Muscat added."


That's just the problem with these surveys and tests, they are never 100% conclusive. This urban myth (or not) will go on for years and years, untill someone gets cancer from a cell-phone (or points in that direction) and then this theory will be crushed, other than that, it`ll always be taken with a grain of salt.

This is similiar to "Video games cause violence in children" - everyone will preach and put a lot of effort into trying to prove that the two are not related, and all it takes is one ignorant politician or psychologist to tie them together and everything goes down the drain.

Anybody remember the cell-phone at the gas station incident? Same thing, disproven - but the myth will hang in the air for years to come.

Re:Neverending circle of theories (2, Insightful)

XSforMe (446716) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155562)

"100% conclusive"

There is no serious study that can be 100% conclusive. If anybody comes to you preaching 100%-fool-proof numbers that is a sure tale-tale sign you are dealing with a wanker. What you can do is set extremely low chances for your study to be wrong (less than 2%, less than 1%, etc). Unfortunately the closer you get to zero, the more effort (read size of your case study) you must put into it. At some point you have to have some faith in probability.

There will always be incredulous people or consipiracy theory types. Not much you can do, there have been now plenty of serious studies which have not found enough evidence to correlate cell phone usage to cancer, to me it is enough to feel safe while using it, but as I said no matter how many studies you make, there will always be people who chooses not to believe in them.

Mythbusters != science (5, Insightful)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154990)

In a move worthy of the Mythbusters, [...]

If I had an important paper published in a respected scientific journal and someone told me my work was 'worthy of the Mythbusters' I'd punch them in the face.

Mythbusters == science lite (3, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155458)

Obviously this study has a lot more scientific integrity than what the Mythbusters do, but to say that what they do isn't science just isn't true.

Mythbusters is probbably the only show on TV that actually DOES science and shows what it is rather than just acting as a mouthpiece for science. The do everything that other scientists do, albiet within the confines of a television show. They repeat experiments, they accept "peer review", they establish controls. They do everything but publish a paper in a journal. Tell me how what the Mythbusters do isn't science?

It might not be something you'd want to site in a research paper, so it's not really up to the standards of acadamia, but calling what they do not science is simply wrong.

Completely (2, Insightful)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155980)

You have to remember that many times Jamie and Adam are looking for aggregate effects and not the minute differences that professional scientists are looking to find. A lot of professional science is attmepting to increase the resolution or accuracy of previous experiments. Hurricanes and straw, crashing cars, exploding cell phones, most of these experiments are more concerned with specificity than sensitivity, i.e. whether a particular event does or does not occur rather than to what degree.

Just like science, the methods Jamie and Adam have used over the years have improved as have the certainty of their results.

Re:Mythbusters == science lite (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156278)

the few episodes I have seen the lacked a control.

Damn fun show.

Re:Mythbusters == science lite (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156422)

I knew I should have changed that title the moment I posted. My original message, like the title, was overly harsh. Mythbusters do perform scientific studies some of the time. Compared to most of the rest of what's on TV it's a beacon of hope for those of us with a scientific bent, though that says more about the rest of TV than it does Mythbusters. Generally though, they perform unscientific tests in as spectacular a way as possible in order to entertain. It's entertainment with a hint of science, rather than science which is performed in an entertaining way.

Re:Mythbusters == science lite (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156468)

My original message, like the title, was overly harsh.

The message I wrote and deleted, not the one I actually posted. There should be some kind of a preview function on this damn site...

Mythbusters == science (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155512)

Actually they do a pretty good job of science. They perform experiments that test hypotheses (urban myths). That's what science is all about. Just because something is simple, it doesn't mean it isn't profound. Just because something is complicated and hard to understand, doesn't mean it is profound.

Re:Mythbusters != science (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155578)

I'd punch the Mythbusters in the face just for the hell of it.

Sure it is. (1)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155692)

They may not have all the glamour of a white lab coat and a zillion dollar lab, but Adam and Jamie have put together some rather credible experiments.

For example, with the helium football myth, where a football filled with helium apparently will kick farther than one filled with air, they took a collection of standard footballs into a large indoor room to eliminate the effect of wind and kicked and threw them in customized machines to eliminate any human bias, then took their collected data to a professional statistician to analyze it all. I don't think a professional scientist could have conducted the experiment any better than they did. Besides, when is actually testing a hypothesis and designing an experiment to elimnate bias not science? I agree that Adam and Jamie sometimes take liberties with bias and method, but at least they have the balls to test some of these urban myths and not just yap about them.

Mythbusters has come a long way from their first episodes and while I don't always agree with some of the logical shortcuts they take, I think overall they do a credible job.

Stupid (-1, Flamebait)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155022)

This "study" tells us nothing. 21 years? How many people even had a cell phone 21 years ago? Of those people, how many of them talked on said phone for two hours a day, every day, for 21 years?

Today you've got people talking on the phone for hours a day, every day. How about we study them, and then see if they don't have a higher rate of inoperable brain tumors in 30-40 years time.

You know, I can smoke one cigarette a week for 15 years, then a pack a week for the remaining 5 years and probably not get lung cancer and the end of that 20 year time period. That doesn't exactly mean that smoking isn't harmful.

Putting a device that emits radiation next to your head is harmful. How much? Who knows. Maybe in 30 years we'll find out.

Re:Stupid (4, Insightful)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155266)

You know, I can smoke one cigarette a week for 15 years, then a pack a week for the remaining 5 years and probably not get lung cancer and the end of that 20 year time period. That doesn't exactly mean that smoking isn't harmful.
Perfectly true, you probably won't get lung cancer. However, if instead of considering just yourself, you survey 420,000 people over that same 20 years, the incidence of lung cancer among that group will be very much higher than a control group. It's called a scientific study. In fact, TFA is about a scientific study exactly like that one! What a coincidence.

Putting a device that emits radiation next to your head is harmful.
And you could give me what evidence for that statement? What study are you quoting? Or did you just make it up on the spot? I'm guessing the latter.

Re:Stupid (1)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155362)

Actually, if all usage patterns were the same, I wouldn't expect the % of lung cancer to be detected at all by regression...not from only five years of smoking. Cancer can develop over long stretches of time from prolonged exposure to radiation and carcinogens.

I kind of thought it was common sense that radiation is harmful. I didn't think we still needed studies to prove this.

Re:Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155486)

"I kind of thought it was common sense that radiation is harmful. I didn't think we still needed studies to prove this."

I'm not sure if there is any purpose to point out the difference between radiation due to fission (alpha and beta particles and gamma rays) versus electro-magnetic radiation (cell phones being one of many sources). To some people if you mention "radiation" then all they can do is run about like Chicken Little.

Re:Stupid (0, Flamebait)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155560)

Some studies like EM radiation to things like leukimia(sp?), in children anyway. Well, we'll all find out in 30 years now won't we? I won't be surprised, but I guess you will be.

Re:Stupid (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155890)

I won't be surprised, but I guess you will be.

Ah, I see. You've been granted this piece of knowledge by divine inspiration, and thus you, personally, are in posession of a truth that has eluded thousands of research scientists. A mere 420,000 person study is dismissable -- after all, since you have been granted absolute truth, any research that contradicts it must be wrong, no matter how compelling. I apologise for doubting you, sir.

P.S. could you tell me what religion you are? I just want to know so I can go out and convert to that one -- after all, if you are a member of it, it must be right.

Re:Stupid (1)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155952)

One shouldn't have expected this study to show anything. In fact, if it found anything at all that would have been absolutely horrifying, given that, as I said before, it's really only looking at 10 years of data. It usually takes longer than that to see the effects of smoking.

Re:Stupid (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156350)

In fact, if it found anything at all that would have been absolutely horrifying, given that, as I said before, it's really only looking at 10 years of data.
I would heavily dispute that claim (which I will reproduce here for convenience):

"10 years ago cell phone usage wasn't nearly as high as it is today. Probably half, if not less."

Maybe, but the mobile phones 10 years ago were considerably more powerful and less efficient that the ones today (and used 360 degree arials) so would have significantly more 'effect', even if usage time was less.

"15 years ago it was too expensive for most people to even consider, let alone use on a daily basis."


Well, yes, but this study is looking at people who not only "considered" it, but - yes! - decided to purchase and use one. I agree with you, it would be a pretty crappy study if they looked at people who considered buying a mobile phone and then decided against it, and tried to draw conclusions from them...!

It's the dose that makes the poison. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155580)

We are bombarded by radiation all the time.
A small piece of material the emits alpha particles isn't very dangerous at all.

Also, duration plays a large role.

Now the amount of 'radiation' emmitted from a cell phone is incredibly tiny. And looking at 20 years of use they didn't find any evidence of cancer.

Re:It's the dose that makes the poison. (1)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155688)

No doubt. In fact, it may be so small that it makes no difference at all. But 20 years is not nearly enough time to come to a conclusion of any value, considering that the first 10 years of data is with such low usage it's worthless. 10 years ago cell phone usage wasn't nearly as high as it is today. Probably half, if not less. 15 years ago it was too expensive for most people to even consider, let alone use on a daily basis.

Re:Stupid (4, Informative)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155790)

I kind of thought it was common sense that radiation is harmful. I didn't think we still needed studies to prove this.
OK, facts of life talk. Long to medium range electromagnetic radiation is everywhere, all the time. The Sun emits a hell of a lot of it in a Planck distribution, only a few narrow bands of which are absorbed by the atmosphere. Anywhere you could turn on a radio and hear a station, that means you are bathed in man made radio waves (whether you have a radio or not) -- and even when you can't hear a station, there's still a hell of a lot of natural radio waves around (which a radio hears as static). Moving higher up the spectrum; low energy microwaves are coming down at us from every corner of the universe; it's called the Cosmic Microwave Background. Infrared is, of course, only a step into the sunlight away (or in front of a fire, etc.). And then you get visible light -- also a form of EM radiation (radiation is dangerous? better turn off that light-bulb!). Not to mention *anything* that glows when hot approximates a black-body, emitting visible light, infrared, microwaves, and radio waves. That light-bulb is emitting not only visible light, but also infrared and microwaves (and negligible amounts of UV). Better get that tin-foil hat on -- remember, "it's common sense that radiation is harmful"...

"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen"
-- Albert Einstein

Re:Stupid (1)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155990)

Yeah, but radios are receiving, not transmitting. Not transmitting 2 inches away from your brain. Great quote BTW.

Re:Stupid (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156244)

Are you claiming that if I hold a light bulb 2 inches away from my brain, I would them also be in danger of radio wave radiation? (before you answer, consider that a light bulb is 100 Watts though is very inefficient, and radiates from what's effectively a point source on a range of wavelengths; whereas a mobile phone is 0.6 Watts (from a quick Google, that figure could be wrong, feel free to check it), radiates on one particular wavelength, and on internal-arial phones radiates mostly outwards (I think)). Oh, and increasing numbers of gadgets transmit as well as receive; e.g. the iTrip. Admittedly these are on longer wavelengths than mobile phones, but the point is that even though most are receiving there is still a hell of a lot of (mostly harmless) radiation all around us.

Re:Stupid (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156024)

I kind of thought it was common sense that radiation is harmful. I didn't think we still needed studies to prove this.
You know what? I'm really getting tired of having to explain this over and over again to people who can't be bothered to understand it. So I'm going to let Wiki do it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionizing_radiation [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-ionizing_radiatio n [wikipedia.org]

Cell phone emissions fall squarely into the latter category, and while there is some debate as to whether certain non ionizing frequencies can be harmful, the hazards of ionizing radiation are well established. If you can't tell the difference between the two types, you have no business commenting on their respective risks on /., or anywhere else.

Read up. Then get back to us. This is high school level physics.

Re:Stupid (1)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156142)

You might want to read those Wiki's before you post them. They don't exactly help you make a convincing argument...at all. In fact, they work more against you than for you.

Re:Stupid (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156224)

I just reread them. What were you referring to? All I see on the non-ionizing page is a bit about possible hazards associated with ELF. Please cite from the Wiki page the section that you believe supports your argument.

Re:Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155884)

And you could give me what evidence for that statement? What study are you quoting? Or did you just make it up on the spot? I'm guessing the latter.

Whats wrong with using common sense? During the days of Audrey Hepburn (who's dress is now worth thousands of dollars, can't be that bad) it was quite common to smoke. Guess what people told the scepticists of smoking during those days? Better yet: guess who is laughing last? (this isn't meant as a sick joke. its not my fault the truth is unforgiving).

Re:Stupid (2, Interesting)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155994)

Whats wrong with using common sense? During the days of Audrey Hepburn (who's dress is now worth thousands of dollars, can't be that bad) it was quite common to smoke. Guess what people told the scepticists of smoking during those days? Better yet: guess who is laughing last? (this isn't meant as a sick joke. its not my fault the truth is unforgiving).
Uhhh, you do realise you've just proved my point? Back in those days it was, as you say, "common sense" that smoking was good for you -- after all, it made you lose weight, and helps you relax, and those are medical benefits, right? Well, wrong. So who's laughing last? The people who decided not to listen to common sense and go out and do scientific research into whether smoking really was good for you. And guess what? It wasn't. So now who's laughing? Anyone who listened to the scientific research rather than "common sense", and stopped smoking. They're laughing last because the other group died of lung cancer (and that, I'm afraid, isn't meant as a sick joke either).

"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen"
-- Albert Einstein

Re:Stupid (1)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156096)

I don't think it was every common sense that smoking was good for you. It was common sense that it was bad for you, but people did it anyway because no one explicitly came out and said, "Hey, this is bad for you, don't do it." Instead they just said, "Health effects...what? Hey look how cool this is."

Re:Stupid (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156464)

I don't think it was every common sense that smoking was good for you. It was common sense that it was bad for you, but people did it anyway because no one explicitly came out and said, "Hey, this is bad for you, don't do it."
As far as I can tell from adverts from that period, smoking in that period was certainly generally perceived as good for you, mostly due to the efforts of tobacco companies, who portrayed it as a relaxant, weight loss agent, something active people do etc. I could of course be wrong as I have no first hand experience with that period, but I figure if smoking was generally perceived as bad for you then these ads would not be prevalent, any more than an alcohol company could realistically come up with an advertising campaign in the present day that claims that drinking improves your driving.

Re:Stupid (1)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156050)

The problem with using common sense is that it doens't make good for a lawsuit. Today people need to be told that coffee is hot, inhaling smoke is bad for your lungs, guns are not toys, and putting a transmitter next to your head and hitting transmit for hours every day all year long might be bad for you.

Re:Stupid (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155310)

This "study" tells us nothing. 21 years? How many people even had a cell phone 21 years ago? Of those people, how many of them talked on said phone for two hours a day, every day, for 21 years?

Way to pick the exceptional case mentioned in passing because it's interesting but not important at all to complain about. If the article is vaguely accurate then it looks like what they did was pull data from the cancer registry, pull data from the phone company, mush it together and shock horror people who use mobile phones more don't have levels of cancer. Of course the article may be simplifying things.

Putting a device that emits radiation next to your head is harmful. How much? Who knows. Maybe in 30 years we'll find out.

God damn it! The light in this room is right above my head - why don't they put them in the floor if they're so dangerous near my head?

Then again you're a random slashdot poster and the article quotes the scientific director of the International Epidemiology Institute saying there's no biological basis for it being harmful. Who to trust, who to trust? I wonder which has done more research and has more experience in the field in question?

Re:Stupid (1)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155474)

And you can find studies on the other side that say there is a link. I would think that by now it would be common sense that something like a cell phone can't possibly be good for your brain.

With all that worrying, you're going to get cancer (3, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155696)

You better stop your needless worrying. According to my new theory, worrying about cell phones causing cancer causes cancer. Don't believe it? Well no one has disproven it yet!

Also according to my made-up numbers, 10 years ago people used to only worry about cell phones causing cancer 5 minutes a day. These days with people like you around people worry about cell phones causing cancer 20 minutes a day! Maybe the worrying wasn't detectable back then, but it is now! We'll only know in 30 years!

Putting a device that emits radiation next to your head is harmful. How much? Who knows.

Worrying about dangers that don't exist is harmful. How much? Who knows. But if I state things as if we don't know anything about it, that totally false sense of uncertainty sure sounds scary.

My prescription includes making fun of people that don't understand science. ;)

Re:With all that worrying, you're going to get can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17156136)

Sorry to rain on your parade but excessively worrying about anything, including cell phones causing cancer can lead to all kinds of health problems including cancer. So it isn't your theory at all ;)

Cell phones not safe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155034)

Saying cell phones are safe because they don't cause cancer is saying that cyanide is safe because it won't scald you. The health issue with cell phones has never been about cancer, but about cell phone radiation penetrating the skull and opening up/damaging the blood-brain barrier, allowing toxins and other foreign materials in your bloodstream to cross over and damage your brain cells. Additionally, normal electromagnetic brain functioning is disturbed by cell phone radiation, with brainwave patterns being abnormal several hours after cell phone use.

People plain just don't like cell phone users (3, Insightful)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155050)

Please note that this doesn't make chatting on the highway at 85 mph any more safe.

Or perhaps any less safe than chatting with a passenger while drinking a soda at 85 mph, unless we have data to show otherwise.

Re:People plain just don't like cell phone users (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155510)

Chatting with a passenger is a bit different from chatting with someone not in the vehicle.

Re:People plain just don't like cell phone users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17155960)

Yeah, the difference is they're not in the vehicle. The real problem is the guy is on a cell phone and must be banned. On the metro I use, I can talk to my wife in person, but not on my cell phone. It's considered rude and therefore prohibited. People are fucking weird.

And who funded the study? (1)

CensorsAreBadPeople (1034980) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155060)

I hate those one-liner reassuring titles. Check out verizon's checkered past here: http://malfy.org/ [malfy.org]

Not at all like MythBusters (5, Insightful)

thirty-seven (568076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155102)

This is not at all a "move worthy of MythBusters" as the submitter stated. Mythbusters is entertaining and generally informative television, and this Danish study sounds solid, but the methodologies are totally different, for the obvious reason that sifting through hundreds of thousands of medical records accumulated over many years and applying complex statistical models to them does not make for compelling television.

Re:Not at all like MythBusters (1)

hmccabe (465882) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155760)

for the obvious reason that sifting through hundreds of thousands of medical records accumulated over many years and applying complex statistical models to them does not make for compelling television.

I don't know. Have you ever watched Nova?

Evil Cancer Death Radiation! (2, Interesting)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155128)

What about [wikipedia.org]
  1. non-thermal effects,
  2. alpha and delta brain waves,
  3. non-linear interactions,
  4. resonance,
  5. gene expression mechanisms,
  6. production of heat shock proteins,
  7. electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome
    and other bullshit.

People want to believe in this stuff cause it sounds dangerous. Advocacy groups get funding, lawyers make money, politicians can scare people. Who's gonna listen to a bunch of boring Danish statistics?

Even the WHO subscribes to the 'precautionary principle'. Forget about it - its all futile! [webhotel.tut.fi]

Sweet Bleeding Jesus! (2)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155330)

>'As the body of evidence accumulates, people can become more reassured that these devices are safe, but the final word is not there yet,' Muscat added."

I am just flipping appalled at the number of people in academia who have not internalized the concept that You Can't Prove A Fucking Negative! Can you prove that Neandertals are extinct? Can you prove that space aliens aren't controlling Bush and Blair with mind rays? Hell no! People seem to spend a huge amount of time worrying about shit that just might maybe could be true because, even though there is absofuckinglutely no evidence FOR it. On the other hand, they will blithely put up with 50,000 automobile deaths per year in the US and god knows how many deaths from tobacco and alcohol. Sheesh!

Speaking of which, I think I'll go have a medicinal gin and tonic and calm down.

Re:Sweet Bleeding Jesus! (1)

technothrasher (689062) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156490)

You Can't Prove A Fucking Negative!

Sure you can. I can easily prove that I'm not in Fiji right now. The oft touted axiom that "you can't prove a negative" is a bad short hand for "you can't prove the universal non-existence of something". The key word is really 'universal' not 'negative'.

No cancer = safe? (1)

batquux (323697) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155752)

What about cataracts?

Of course not (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156242)

'As the body of evidence accumulates, people can become more reassured that these devices are safe, but the final word is not there yet,' Muscat added.

I would think not. If the final word was "there", the government would have no reason to continue funding his research. One thing I've noticed about these kinds of studies is the automatic "... but more study is needed" caveat at the end of every article. Perhaps I'm getting cynical in my old age, but is it really possible that no scientific study is ever conclusive enough to not require further study?

Doesn't Show They're Safe (-1, Redundant)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156356)

Science doesn't work the way this article claims. The Danish study doesn't show that cellphones are safe. It can't, unless it demonstrates exhaustively every mechanism by which cellphones interact with human biochemistry, which no study will.

What it shows is that their study did not prove cellphones dangerous in the way that it studied. Which means their test failed to prove that it's dangerous. Which doesn't mean that it's safe.

When science returns some useful results, which are then perverted into lies, then it's even harder to take the liars seriously. When it's the cellphone industry, with nothing to gain from finding risk in their products, then their abuse of the science just makes it harder to believe their claims.
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