UPDATE: 8 July 2011 This update isn’t anything new, but something I should’ve pointed out and that is always ignored/overlookd in popular and sensationalist discussions about the health risks of electromagnetic radiation is that everything beyond the violet end of the spectrum – UV, X-rays, gamma rays – are high-energy and “ionising” forms of radiation. Everything below the red end of the spectrum – infrared, microwaves, radio waves – are much lower in energy and do not ionise molecules or atoms. They can heat things up (infra-red makes molecules vibrate, which heats them up, microwaves make polar molecules spin, the energy of which is transferred to other molecules as vibrations (heat).
The WHO’s verdict is one based on the precautionary principle. They’re scared, but they don’t know what they are scared of other than public and political pressure, they have reclassified mobile phone (cell phone) use as a “possible carcinogen”, but as far as I can see with absolutely no evidence whatsoever and with no new data or explanation as to how the emissions from a mobile phone could possible be carcinogenic. Even if they were heating up your ear, through some odd microwave effect that is not causing the kind of damage to DNA that would lead to tumour growth. A far greater risk is exposure to ionising radiation – UV etc…
Brain tumours and mobile phones – It’s interesting that the WHO has adopted what is essentially a non-scientific stance regarding the safety, or putative lack thereof, of mobile phones when it comes to effects on the human brain, and specifically the development of tumours.
The precautionary principle suggested by is unlikely to have any impact on the vast majority of users, most of whom seem either to have gone hands-free these days or use their phones mainly for smart apps and texting rather than actually having “old-school” verbal conversations with anyone. Moreover, mobile phone use has not been widespread for more than a few years, perhaps fewer than the length of time it takes for putative brain tumours triggered by those nasty electromagnetic waves to appear.
A review reported in NHS Choices and by the BBC and others, suggests there really is no link anyway. However, the review is non-systematic and lacks a lot by way of science, Choices seems to suggest.
According to Choices, the authors of the review suggest that if there is no increase in brain tumour rates in the next few years after almost universal exposure to mobile phones in Western countries, it is unlikely that there is a link between mobile phone usage and brain cancer in adults. The methodological weaknesses of underlying studies and the trend in brain tumour incidence shown here suggest that any risk of brain tumours resulting from mobile phone use is likely to be very small, and possibly even non-existent.
We are constantly bathed in electromagnetic radiation from countless sources, it is very unlikely that we will ever be able to unravel the source of any carcinogenicity in the future either, especially given the advent of countless other wireless technologies.
- Researchers cast doubt on cell phone cancer risk (news.cnet.com)
- Most tumours not within cellphone radiation range (calgaryherald.com)
- Mobile Phone Cancer Link Looking Less And Less Likely (medicalnewstoday.com)