Cell phone use: Only as dangerous as you make it

I’d intended to sit down and take a good look at the “OMG cell phones really do cause cancer!!!” hysteria that’s back in the news, but it turns out I don’t have to, because two of my favorite science bloggers have already done so. And considering their significantly higher credentials and expertise on the subject, I’ll just bow to their authority and link to them.

Orac (who is an oncologist) notes: The bride of the son of the revenge of cell phones and cancer rises from the grave…again.

Even accounting for the newer, richer, and more complex understanding of carcinogenesis that has emerged over the last decade, I still have to concede that, from a strictly physical, physics- and biology-based perspective, given the low energy emitted by cell phones, the chances that they can do anything to cells that would result in cancer are vanishingly small, Thus, a link between cell phones and cancer is incredibly implausible from a strictly basic science point of view.

P.Z. Myers (an associate professor of biology) asks: Is your cell phone cooking your brain?

The World Health Organization had a recent meeting in which the feeble data suggesting a possible link between cell phones was reworked and massaged, and have now come up with a press release in which they announce that maybe possibly cell phones could increase the frequencies of certain kinds of cancers. My doubts are massive.

The bottom line, if you’re too lazy to read their posts, is that this seems to be a rehashing of a not-particularly-persuasive old study, with an implausible hypothesis and highly mediocre data that hasn’t been replicated by any of the other scientists studying the question.

That last part’s pretty important. I don’t care what kind of results you get in your study, if scientists in other labs use your methods and don’t get anything like your results, there’s a problem. And it’s not with cell phones. ::coughs::

Ho hum. Much ado about nothing, as usual. Looks like we’re still in a lot more danger from distracted drivers than cell phone-caused cancer!


About mamamara

I'm a 40-something, work-at-home mother of two. I'm pro-vaccine, pro-medicine, pro-science, and an avid reader of information about all of the above, and I want to combine my love for my children with my love for science. So here we are!
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