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Mobile Phone Dangers claimed
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, March 30, 2008

Seems these stories pop up every 5 or so years. And frankly I don't know enough about the amount or level of "radiation" they put off to blow them off. But I've gone with the bluetooth device so mine is rarely used as a handset anymore (and I've even gotten the voice commands down pretty well).

Anyway, fyi:
Mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos, a study by an award-winning cancer expert has concluded. He says people should avoid using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone industry must take "immediate steps" to reduce exposure to their radiation.

The study, by Dr Vini Khurana, is the most devastating indictment yet published of the health risks.


Earlier this year, the French government warned against the use of mobile phones, especially by children. Germany also advises its people to minimise handset use, and the European Environment Agency has called for exposures to be reduced.

Professor Khurana – a top neurosurgeon who has received 14 awards over the past 16 years, has published more than three dozen scientific papers – reviewed more than 100 studies on the effects of mobile phones. He has put the results on a brain surgery website, and a paper based on the research is currently being peer-reviewed for publication in a scientific journal.

He admits that mobiles can save lives in emergencies, but concludes that "there is a significant and increasing body of evidence for a link between mobile phone usage and certain brain tumours". He believes this will be "definitively proven" in the next decade.

Noting that malignant brain tumours represent "a life-ending diagnosis", he adds: "We are currently experiencing a reactively unchecked and dangerous situation." He fears that "unless the industry and governments take immediate and decisive steps", the incidence of malignant brain tumours and associated death rate will be observed to rise globally within a decade from now, by which time it may be far too late to intervene medically.
As you might imagine, there's the other side and their reaction has been less than enthusicastic about Dr. Khurana's findings:
Late last week, the Mobile Operators Association dismissed Khurana's study as "a selective discussion of scientific literature by one individual". It believes he "does not present a balanced analysis" of the published science, and "reaches opposite conclusions to the WHO and more than 30 other independent expert scientific reviews".
So it goes without saying there is no "scientific consensus" on this one.

I've always said the first part of my retirement ceremony, when and if I ever have one, will be a trip to Lake Lanier and a betting pool to see how far I can throw my cell phone while making it skip. I'm not a fan. So I use mine as little as possible anyway. And, as certain readers of this blog are sure to remark, there has to be something within the skull first before it can grow tumors - so I'm safe.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

There’s another danger to cell phone users: an increase in black eyes among those using their phones during movies.
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
I’d throw out my cell phone tonight if I didn’t happen to know that, before it can bring on my brain cancer in a decade or so, all of our phones together will already have caused everyone’s death through starvation:
[S]ome scientists suggest that our love of the mobile phone could cause massive food shortages, as the world’s harvests fail. [...] [R]adiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to ... the abrupt disappearance of the bees that pollinate crops. [...] Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, "man would have only four years of life left".
That alarming news came last year, courtesy also of the Independent’s Mr. Geoffrey Lean.

He might have mentioned that again in this article, so as to allay some of the cancer fear.

Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
I’ve carried one forever. In my role as a computer support type, I can hardly do otherwise. And frankly, I’d not get caught on the road without one. As for the RF, I’m not overly worried. For a long while ...about 15 years...I was exposed to more RF in a day than most folks are exposed to in a lifetime.

While I recognize that there’s a number of folks who will claim that much is explained by this... The fact is, we’re not seeing large swings of cancer rates one way or the other, from either sort of RF exposure.

As for the rest of the threats to our global warming Oops. global cooling sky is falling claims, the context of these can be found in lesser quantity on any stable floor.

Written By: Bithead
Ah it would be nice if that bee story was mentioned again in the news, if only to correct it:
The Independent newspaper cited a scientific study claiming it provided evidence for the theory that mobile phone masts are a major cause in the collapse of bee populations, with controlled experiments demonstrating a rapid and catastrophic effect on individual hives near masts.[55] Mobile phones were in fact not covered in the study, and the original researchers have since emphatically disavowed any connection between their research, mobile phones, and CCD, specifically indicating that the Independent article had misinterpreted their results and created "a horror story".[56][57][58] While the initial claim of damage to bees was widely reported, the corrections to the story were almost non-existent in the media.
This topdoc might be on to something however. Anecdotal evidence suggests general competence is inversely related to overall time spent on a mobile phone. You’ll notice this particularly on I-5 ;)
Written By: ck
URL: http://
Lack of a fundamental understanding of electromagnetic radiation

The good Doctor probably also thinks that we are causing the glacier on Mt. Kilimanjaro to retreat because of our SUV’s.

This kind of silliness comes from a lack of understanding of fundamentals and belief that statistics and studies of studies can "prove something."

Specifically, about cell phone exposure — there is no known mechanism for microwave electromagnetic radiation (that’s what is emitted by a cellular phone which is actually a two-way radio) to do anything except for the direct heating of tissue. If that is the case — then the only issue concerns the power density of the radio waves that are being absorbed in the nearby tissue, the mass of the relevant tissue, duration of exposure and any cooling processes.

So let’s make a worst case thought experiment and then do a real experiment:

Your brain, just as any other tissue in the human body is mostly water. The brain is between 1 and 2 kg. So lets consider 1 kg of water (1 liter) exposed to the optimum cooking frequency (the one used for microwave ovens of 2 GHz). How much microwave power is necessary to heat the water significantly in a relevant period of time?

The Experiment: Put 1 liter of water into a microwave-safe bowl (such as large .e.g. a 4 cup or larger measuring cup) and turn on your microwave oven for 1 minute — it will get perceptibly warm. Turn the power level down to defrost or less if you can – and then repeat the experiment — the heating of the water will be much slower.

Now let’s compare your cell phone to the microwave oven:
Total power for the cell phone is less than 1 watt versus 600 to 1000 W for the microwave oven. Therefore to heat your brain to the same extent as in the above experiment you would need to have the cell phone in proximity to your head for about 1000 minutes talking non-stop.

However, two additional factors make the cooking of your brain even less likely. First: the metal box that surrounds the food in a microwave oven is not just there to keep the oven from cooking you — although it performs that function. It’s main purpose is to confine the microwave energy in the proximity of the food where you want the heating through reflecting the microwaves from the metal surfaces (the so-called "resonant cavity effect"). If you just place an antenna from a cell phone next to the measuring cup and keep transmitting — you will never see any perceptible rise in temperature as most of the energy will not be absorbed in the water but just propagate off into space in all directions. So unless you place your head inside of a microwave oven or a metal garbage can while using the cell phone don’t worry about the "resonant cavity effect."

Finally, as long as you are alive — you brain’s temperature is being actively maintained by the large flow of blood (i.e. water). This is needed since the brain is a major concentrated source of heat in the body. The blood flow then effectively distributes any heat from the head to the rest of the body tissues and ultimately the skin where perspiration evaporative cooling keeps the overall body temperature under control.

There are two caveats to the above discussion:

1) the cornea of the eye is not cooled very effectively — no significant blood vessels and the tissue is particularly sensitive to cooking — its essentially made of the same type of stuff as egg white — so holding the antenna immediately adjacent to your eye is not encouraged.
2) for men only — the human testicles need to be kept cool to produce viable sperm - -so don’t hang your "hands free phone" from the front of your belt if you expect to be a "real father"

Beyond the above — if your cell phone is working you can use it without much concern — if its not working — then throw it away and get another one.

Written By: WestHighlander
URL: http://
Thanks for the info Westy. The only thing I’d ask (as I’m certainly no physicist) is if electromagnetic radiation can have an exciting effect on molecular structures — much like ultraviolet radiation can cause DNA damage via excitation of chemicals to a state which changes their conformation.

Even in light of this, I’d argue that there is a threshold by which the cell will repair any such damage. I’d imagine you’d have to be on a phone legitimately for a few hours a day, every day, for a considerable period of time (weeks, months). The skull would also produce a dampening effect, so the electromagnetic radiation may be inhibited right from the start.

Interesting stuff, but yeah, most doctors aren’t familiar with the pesky basic science surrounding biological systems.
Written By: ck
URL: http://
CK, since UV -IS- electromagnetic radiation (as are gamma rays, radio waves, microwaves, and the light hitting your eyes as you read this), the answer is yes, but doesn’t really tell us anything about cell phones. Compared to our constant exposure to the rest of the RF spectrum (that is, everything on the EM spectrum from about 3KHz to 300GHz), I seriously doubt that a cell phone is going to do anything to you even at close range for extended periods.

Written By: Lysenko
URL: http://
Holy cow, ck, you’re saying reporters for the Independent such as this Lean fellow somehow misinterpreted a scientific study, supposing it to implicate cell phones when it didn’t?!? And none of the fact checkers in any of the layers of editorial oversight caught that?

Another slip-up or two like that and I’ll be tempted to go elsewhere for my scientific play-by-play of the end of the world as we know it.
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
"there is a significant and increasing body of evidence for a link between ..."
Let the lawyering begin.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://

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