Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Can you imagine...

...a world without cell phones?

Using cellphones is considered a possible cause of malignant brain cancer, an international panel of scientists says.
"The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans, based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use," the group said in a statement Tuesday from Lyon, France.
"Given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings," said IARC director Christopher Wild, "it is important that additional research be conducted into the long-term, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands-free devices or texting."
I grew up without them, but took the city bus not long ago and it was for whatever reason, packed with school children. They were maybe between 7 and 12. Most of them had a mobile or smart-phone and were actively using it.

At $200 to $700 a pop, these devices are not something my parents could have afforded even if they did exist at the time.

Mass cell-phone use has not been around long enough to know for certain the long-term health ramifications of these. With reports of radio-cancers like this one, might we see our confirmation born out in the coming decades through spikes in certain types of cancers?

Is it worth the risk to keep using cellphones despite these concerns? Could we stop using them given the dependency of much of our economic activity on their use?

They're a bit like fossil energy aren't they? We won't stop burning ancient sunlight and poisoning our lands, seas and skies even though the impacts of these activities might very well do-in the very civilisation that produced them.


Steve said...

We should go to lower power versions with more low power towers

Kim said...

I grew up without cellphone technology too. I refuse to have one to this day. What really annoys me about generation wireless, is the total lack of attention they (users) pay to the real world, aka, their immediate surroundings. Cable TV was a very good hypnotic tool, cellphones are 100 times better!

Niles said...

I grew up without cellphone technology too. But as an original Star Trek fan, there parts our ways.

I rather like being stuck in Rogers Pass at midnight in January in a convoy of travellers held up by an avalanche and big rig collision on sheer ice...and able to text a family member anxiously awaiting my arrival that I'm going to be more than a bit delayed.

If I could have called for a beam up, it would have been perfect.

The fact that we might have the Klingon version of communicators (what radiation does not kill us makes us stronger -- it sounds more poetic in the original) is just typical.

I blame Mudd.

Chasman said...

What's a cell phone?

Anonymous said...

I'm with Niles.

When I break down in the middle of the Prairies in -20 then it is kinda sweet to be able to tell AMA that it would be peachy to see them.

Likewise having access to google earth means that I have a map with me at all times.

Then when I am traveling, being able to check in and book seats is great too. As is the updates on road works and rail maintenance.

Lower power will come soon, but as most of the kids do not use voice and so do not hold the phones close to their heads they will probably not suffer from the cancer. It is old timers who insist on talking to each other that are at the greatest risk. But even then the number of folk who die because their phones distract them while doing something else probably far outnumbers those who develop cancer.
So really this looks like the least of our problems.

Polyorchnid Octopunch said...

As an aside, the reason why this is a problem is because of the frequency of the radios used in the phones. If we were to rearrange our frequency spectrum to devote better wavelengths to cell phones (as well as a lot of the other devices we've surrounded ourselves with over the last decade like wifi devices and such) this problem would go away, along with other problems like dropping calls in old limestone buildings and suck. A slice out of the TV area of the spectrum would be just the ticket for all that stuff... much less dangerous to humans and better performing.

ringer37 said...

NO, I certainly cannot imagine a world without cellphones! I'll take my chances with mine. Your just stupid if you refuse to have one, or you just enjoy making your life as complicated as possible! the convenience of cellphones greatly outweigh their risk!

-Zach @ the Turbulence Training blog