World Health Organization: cell phones can cause cancer

Ah yes indeed. We all knew it at some level, didn’t we? I mean, really?

Get ready for “cauliflower ear” to have a whole new meaning. And how much difference will this likely make to our notoriously long-term-risk-ignorant species, with its major cognitive blocks against properly estimating future hazards? Anyone else think “fuck all” is the likeliest probability?

Edit: Oh good grief, who actually does this?

So now more jerks will use their speakerphones to mantain proper distance. Great.

Damn near everything on earth could “possibly” give me cancer. Thanks WHO!

It’s times like this that I want to kill all humans. Seriously. This is fucking stupid.

Cell phones emit non-ionizing radiation. There is no plausible reason why they could possibly cause cancer, unless you’re posing that some element of a particular phone’s casing is a carcinogen. I’m disappointed in the WHO. This is a perfect case for why we shouldn’t be following an Evidence-Based Medicine paradigm, but instead a Science-Based. Given that the basic proposition lacks any persuasive causative link, we have absolutely no reason to anticipate any ill effects and we shouldn’t even BEGIN trying to weigh evidence unless and until the body of such becomes overwhelming.

At a minimum, I want the WHO to do the following things:
[li]Provide for me some kind of legitimate hypothesis for how “cell phone radiation” is going to cause cellular change.
[/li][li]Explain to me why it is that walking around in this electromagnetic radiation all day, every day (because it’s coming out of everybody’s phone, whether your head is next to it or not, and if it dissipated over the distance between your cube-neighbor’s handset and your head, it really wouldn’t be particularly effective as a communication technology, since it would have a shorter range than raising your voice) is safe, while moving my head a few inches closer to the emitter renders it dangerous.

Get ready for a huge number of product liability suits.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the inverse square law.

Isn’t the primary proposed cause heating, rather than ionization? We’ll know for sure in ten years when women vs. men cancer rates jump. Girls always be on they phone amiriteguys?


What fire said, the difference between half and inch and two feet is orders of magnitude big, 100 or 200x? Also consider when the phone is against your head, almost half of the total emissions go right into your head because it is covering all the space.

That said, if there are real risks, they are clearly not very large. Potentailly worth considering from a RF policy point of view in terms of populations (and they already cap phones, I think) – but individually, not going to change anyone’s behavior.

I am, but I’m unclear on how increasing irradiance can change the effect of radio waves on human cells. My understanding is that the ionizing effect of radiation (which is necessary to cancer claims - I cannot conceive of a situation where heating a tiny part of your brain by a fraction of a degree would cause any benign cells to become cancerous, or even encourage reproduction of existing cancer cells) is only relevant to the energy of the individual particles, where irradiance, at best, can tell you how much total energy is potentially being transferred.

If the claim is cancer, the acting mechanism MUST be ionizing radiation, because that’s the only kind of radiation that can change atomic structure (which is how your DNA gets screwed up in the first place). I don’t know of any situation whereby heating - particularly the miniscule amount that a phone transmitter could create - is purported to cause cancer. I’m not an oncologist, though - maybe one of them knows something I don’t.

Heat does make atoms jiggle more. Think of how a microwave works on water. Maybe the cellular radiation can make atoms move so much they break their normal bonds and if it happens in nucleus you could end up with cancer. In this case however, you wouldn’t just have damaged DNA, you’d have damaged organelles inside the cells as well.

This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but the worst thing is that the WHO is basically encouraging stupid lawsuits.

I think you’re mistaking increased cancer likelihood with ray-gun style “OMG you’ve got cancer!” effects. Your body is constantly getting benign errors in its DNA and occasionally malignant errors, but it fixes them to the tune of only 1 in 10,000,000 being an issue. Anything that increases activity and replication of cells means you’re buying more cancer lottery tickets, and an increase of energy in any form will aid the DNA in replicating improperly. That said, the effect is probably so low that it’s nearly impossible to separate from other outside sources, where an X-ray is intense enough to show up statistically with relative ease.


Isn’t the amount of heating caused by a radio wave miniscule? Stepping outside your front door would raise your temperature more, wouldn’t it?

So that leaves the cell damage radiation approach. I don’t know about that, but I’m thinking we can forget that ‘heat’ is the problem.

In any case, ‘this might be happening’ is a bad thing to announce. I wonder if cell phone companies can sue the WHO.

My guess is that cell phone companies don’t give a shit. People aren’t going to stop using their cell phones. Period. End of sentence. Start of next sentence. Actually, throw a paragraph break in there. Maybe a horizontal line, too.

What a statement like this does is drive demand to companies that sell pointless rubber condoms for your phone to protect you from the brain-o-waves and send traffic to that bullshit YouTube video about cooking an egg.

Oh, I heard someone mention that egg thing. How do they do that? I mean what’s the trick. Because the guy who told me this said his doctor told him he did it and got the result. Sounded like bullshit to me.

As I read somewhere else in relation to this topic, everything “could possibly cause cancer”. The article I read also states that the WHO, with this finding, has now put cell phones in the same category as coffee.

It’s like a sleight of hand trick, but dumber, because it’s just a dishonest video editing cheat, when they bother to cheat at all. That one is so ridiculous that it has a page on Snopes.

Thanks. I didn’t even think to look it up because I didn’t know it was a commonly held belief or anything. I just thought it was a silly thing his doctor told him.

This thread is an example of why they should be using an Evidence-Based Medicine in addition Science-Based Medicine. Sometimes, our understanding of the effects involved is flawed or the science misapplied and evidence is what draws our attention to things we may have shrugged off due to our current understanding.

For example, this thread, where repeatedly people tell you how cellphones could contribute to cancer. That’s the science based portion. The evidence based portion helps us answer the question: is that contribution significant enough to be a concern or is our science correct?

In other words, the evidence based portion is a significant part of how science and its applications develop.

The idea is that it is causing heating below the surface where you normally don’t heat up due to thermoregulation factors in your body. So far most studies say “heating is not significant” due to cellphones so don’t actually worry, I was just throwing it out as a cause besides ionizing radiation.