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back to article Cellphones as carcinogenic as coffee

Tuesday's classification of mobiles as potentially carcinogenic produced some great headlines, despite being based on no additional research or statistical findings and putting phones into the same danger category as coffee. "Cellphone radiation can cause cancer" read one headline, while "Cellphone, cancer link confirmed" was …

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Anonymous Coward

Mobiles are dangerous!!!

"but your mobile phone won't unless it hits you really hard (most likely to happen, ironically, during a car accident)."

Or an argument with Naomi Campbell...

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Stop

not to mention

Not to mention your accident resulted from the lack of attention while you were talking on the phone.

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Happy

Or..

Gordon Brown (allegedly)

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@Lewis Mettler

Yes, these are the true fuckwits.

I have no tolerance for people who drive yakking away with a phone in their hands.

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Linux

Coffee and Cancer repeating again

Nice to know that coffee has been given a modern twist. I recall, thanks to the wit & wisdom of Victor Borge (probably the greatest voice over artist for brewers ever) that J.S. Bach wrote the Coffee Cantata's (1730'ish) as a way of upsetting the establishment. Mainly due to the fact that coffee was then 'known' to cause impotence - and as a father of around 20 children JS suspected this not to be the case...

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Meh

Coffee??

I'm confused now - I thought heavy coffee drinking was supposed to ward off cancer?

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Pint

That was last year

This year, it causes cancer. If you want to be safe, wait till next year, when it'll prevent it again!

Seriously, depending on the Hype-Of-The-Week (tm), everything is either good or deadly for you, it just depends on which group is hyping what this week.

And remember;

"Life, though short

is sufficiently long

for most of us to get

what there is of it wrong" - Piet Hien

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Happy

Hmmm....

I still stand by what I said earlier, you do things in moderation and don't spend 19 hours a day with it clamped to the side of your noggin, you'll probably not see any adverse effects.

Sounds more like a scare-scam designed to keep a bevvy of boffins employed on long running and very expensive jollies all over the globe, to find out if the human race is nuking its brains into oblivion!

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Unhappy

Except that a good number of people

DO seem to have the things clamped to their noggins 19 hours a day.

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Thumb Up

Thankyou

Great article .... It's nice to see some level headed resonable people are still in the media. I'm so tired of the media trying to scare me into thinking that the sky is falling!!!!

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Mushroom

better safe than sorry

Untill we know for sure we should bedoing all we can to protect ourselves. I suggest a study of every single person on the planet who will use a mobile phone be studied from birth to death. All the rest of the planet can be used as a control group.

I look forward to reading about these definitive results in about 70 years till.

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Flame

Tracking ID

Just so they can be tracked properly, each person in the study probably needs to be issued with an Identity Card.

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Boffin

Back in the days of Medes & Persians...

I found myself in an undergraduate chemistry lab up to my elbow in a jar of Benzene. I mentioned to the guy to me that it was carcinogenic. "Naah," he said "you have to swim in it to get cancer" and after 25 years I'm beginning to suspect he was right.

Somehow, I can't really bring myself to be scared of phones (or coffee).

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Meh

Sigh

It seems like anything which doesnt cause cancer these days is caricogenic instead.

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Holmes

Hmm

I suspect two things:

(1) There is lots of money available for funding research into potential harmful effects of mobile phone use.

(2) People *want* mobile phones to be bad for them.

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Anonymous Coward

People *want* mobile phones to be bad for them.

Especially the lawyers. It wont be long before someone with a headache sues orange/vodafone/nokia/apple etc.

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Third option

(3) People *REALLY WANT* mobile phones to be bad for _other_ people.

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The possible and the probable

I don't know if we can blame the lack of numerical literacy or the lack of credibility that "clever basterds" have, ever since Magnus Pike and Patrick Moore broke into song on The Morecambe and Wise Show. However the gap between what's possible (hint: almost anything) and what's probable (hint: very little) seems to have got lost in the mix, somewhere.

It's that lack of being able to quantify the risk in the statement that leads to a lot of the ludicrous decisions that get made these days. Yes, it's possible to get cancer from a cellphone. But is that more likely than dying from an infectious disease caught from an unsanitary handset? Unless the risks put into a meaningful context: HOW MANY people have died from cel[phone-induced cancers in the past 25 years? Am I likely to be one more? there is nothing but a little more free-floating anxiety which is probably more harmful to us, as a society, than all the one-in-a-trillian chances that make up daily life.

Personally I plan to ignore this scare story and carry on using my phone, inside it's tinfoil wrapper - though dialling numbers while wearing hazmat gloves is becoming a bit of an inconvenience.

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Anonymous Coward

Cellphones are anthroporectomorphogenic.

They turn normal people into arseholes.

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Flame

Surely...

Only Android phones are bad for you, after all we keep hearing about all these viruses they have...

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Joke

"An Apple a day keeps the doctor away...

...because said doctor is worried he'll get cancer from the combination of phone and massive reality distortion field."

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Nice name.

I think this article should be retitled "Bill Ray on Kill Rays"

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In other news...

...being alive is bad for your health. The air is toxic, your water supply is tainted with chemicals, your food is bad...

Seriously, there are studies showing just about anything can be dangerous in high enough quantities, even water (which can kill). I've given up on the scaremongering unless there's some serious, proven risks. I think it was the study many years back showing clingfilm caused cancer that really set me off doubting the real level of risks...

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Black Helicopters

Clingfilm does cause cancer

That's why I only wear foil based hats.

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Holmes

Fixed that for WHO

"that heavy use [of anything you care to name] is a contributory factor in cancer rates"

I think that statement should be pretty close to reality.

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Pint

Confused.com

Wasn't there an article telling us that coffee wards of cancer.

Here's the link. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/18/coffee_saves/

Beer, it's Friday!

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Anonymous Coward

More likely to save my life

Personally I think my mobile phone is more likely to save my life in an emergency than cause my death through cancer.

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Pint

I'd like a comparison

Is it more likely to cause cancer than being screened at an airport?

When i was a mere lad, one of my friends told me shaving causes cancer.

(Well, maybe shaving your head can cause skin cancer)

Sad that no one knows how to evaluate risk.

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IT Angle

Save your life?

If quick phoning brings a lifesaving ambulance after a car accident caused by a distracted, phoning, driver --- has it then saved your life technically or not? Without there wouldn't have been a crash.

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Anonymous Coward

Let look for an example......

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-13640925

Now you show me an example of a phone causing cancer.

There might well be fuckwits who phone/text while driving but that is covered by legislation and is nothing whatsoever to do with phones allegedly causing cancer. There are many ILLEGAL acts that somebody could commit that could possibly result in my death but we are not talking about the illegal use of mobile phones. There are far more likely situations involving a mobile phone that will save your life.

How about:

1. Help! There is somebody in my house.

2. Help! I'm in the park and getting severe chest pains

3. Help! I've fallen down a crevasse.

4. Help! My boat has sunk.

etc

I can remember news stories from the last year covering all of the above.

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Terminator

Only one thing is definately bad for Humans .....

Terminators!

But you knew I was going to say that .....

Everything else might harm you, especially in large quantities (even boobies)

but only a Terminator is guaranteed to kill you ............

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Cell phone risk

So then the risk of a cell phone causing cancer is right up there with the risk of one setting a gas station (petrol station to you Brits) on fire. That is, non-existant.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go drink a gallon of coffee while yacking on my phone and filling my gas tank.

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Joke

Odd

It's not like the goverment and media have a tendency to ignore expert advice and go on a scaremongering crusade to win more votes/readers. Oh wait..

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Bah, Humbug!

GSM phones are limited to 2 watts peak output at 850/900 and 1 watt for higher frequencies. Then considering the 8 slice TDMA channel the average power is no more than 1/8th the peak, 1/16th if the phone is operating on a half channel.

This is already pretty low RF power exposure but it gets even lower as the power output is automatically lowered by protocol so as not to interfere with other cells and to preserve the customer's battery.

On the other hand consumer cordless phones may transmit at up to 1 watt on a 50% duty cycle. Guess there are not enough deep pockets in that market for lawyers to be interested.

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JBR
Happy

other sources....

On a recent trip to Dublin I saw an antenna on the back of the ship marked with its output power - 100W apparently.

Thank god for the inverse square law so we were allowed on deck!

(Reminds me of a nurse who used to turn on the extraction system after taking x-rays to "let the x-rays out"...sigh)

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Boffin

It's not the phone I tell ya...

Let's look at the empirical evidence:

* Carpentry

* Cellphones

* Cancer

* Coffee

... it's the letter 'C' that'll get us all ... we should ban it forthwith, and that way we'll all be _ompletely _lear of the threat of _an_er.

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Go

I sekond the motion!

That kontemptable letter is konstandly kreating havok for skhool kids. It sertainly doesn't do me any favors. It's a konsonant that sounds like a "K" or an "S"; we kan spell words without it already; just look at Krispy Kreme! Sertainly a better khoise of spelling. Sure, there kould be some resistanse, but a little kaos now will kreate a mukh happier future. We may need to make exseptions to the rule, of kourse - words like "khildren" are a bit unweildy - but we should keep that usage konsise and to the point.

My spellkhekk seem to hate it, though...

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This is bad news

I'd better call all my friends and tell them.

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Stop

historical trend?

Since almost every person on the planet now has a cell phone - I'd expect that if cell phones caused brain cancer, we'd see some noticeable uptick in the number of cases of brain cancer. So instead of trying to interview people with brain cancer and asking them how many hours per day they spent with the phone against their head 10 years ago - why not just plot a graph of reported cases of brain cancer each year - starting a decade or two before cell phones existed. Make adjustments for overall increase in population and better diagnostic tools today ... and bingo. If you have a rising graph, whose slope correlates well with increased cell phone usage - then you have a smoking gun.

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You would just have a correlation

which is not the same as causati... oh sod it, it's late and I'm past caring.

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more deaths from...

I'd think there would be more deaths from texting while driving (a larger concern) or cancer of the fingers in young people.

Shouldn't there be a verifiable mortality rate threshold, that must be reached, before the government is allowed to step in (maybe a slightly lower rate for special interest groups).

We allow tobacco and tobacco use and both of those are far beyond cell phone use in deaths per year.

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Big Brother

I'd like a comparison

Is it more likely to cause cancer than being screened at an airport?

When i was a mere lad, one of my friends told me shaving causes cancer.

(Well, maybe shaving your head can cause skin cancer)

Sad that no one knows how to evaluate risk.

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Meh

Hmmm seen this plot before....

The Foundation series.... last great hurrah for the dying Empire, where scientists studied the studies of other scientists for new or confirming conclusions without ever doing the experiments/walking the actual ground.

Food for thought: Any time somebody mentions 'awareness' of something or other. hold on to your wallet or purse. Just saying...

Mkay back to my personal project: Decided to go through all the demotivational posters from oldest to newest. Currently page 503 of 579 and speed limited due to satellite connection.

It amuses me.

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Silver badge

Bah!

The state of the art in cellphone tech when I got wed in October '87 was a handset and a semi-portable radio which included a lead-acid accumulator i.e. boat battery inside. I know this because I saw one in use and marvelled that anyone could think they'd ever catch on.Clamped to the ear it was not. The biggest risk to health from using it would have been a back injury sustained while lifting the thing.

In 1995 most cell phones were still analogue and had a battery life measured in minutes - usually on the order of 15-30 of same. I had one of these. One excessively long call could render you incommunicado for hours as the NiCad battery recharged.

These yuppies you speak of probably spent the latter half of the nineties with phones clamped to their heads at most.

Two shovelsfull of hyperbole do not a single measured argument make.

The real deadly threat hidden in the cellphone is the one in which the user walks into traffic while texting and gets squished by a low-loader transporting a crane, driven by someone too busy texting to watch the road.

One should avoid coffee as the reception is lousy and it can severely scald the ear canal.

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Hahaha, that reminds me of these old (tasteless?) jokes...

How did Helen Keller burn the side of her face?

She answered the iron

How did Helen Keller burn the other side of her face?

They called back

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Silver badge

Show me a correlation ...

From the '80s "voice only" (early cells; much more powerful transmitters than today's models), to the '90s "texting" (simple sms; more powerful transmitters than today's models), thru' the 00s "gestures" (so-called "smart") with brain, thumb, and thumb & forefinger cancer, respectively ... and then show me causality.

Until you can do this, kindly shut the fuck up. Idiots.

The mind absolutely boggles ...

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Black Helicopters

Cellphone dangers

Hmm, about the only mechanism I can think of for cellphones to affect people other than the small amount of fumes generated by hot plastic outgassing, is psychosomatic.

Think about it, up until the people started complaining about Wifi giving them headaches the "effect" was non existent, now there is a whole group of them lobbying for it to be taken out of schools etc.

My opinion is that the placebo effect can therefore cause cancer, based on current evidence.

Prove me wrong!!!!

In fact the placebo effect has measurable physiological effect as this has been proven recently in a study, announced on the radio.

AC, because he is working on a "Cellphone CancerBuster (tm) $39.95"

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Cell phones

Cause autism. It's trues look it up. If vaccines are not cause and increase of autism then it's cell phones. Something has to be the cause off all these increased rates of autism . Never mind the fact that in 1996 they change it from autism to autism spectrum disorder which wide the definition from some thing very specific to range of of symptoms. The fact that I've had 12 units of college course work (failed it all) makes me even more qualified to give my half ass crock of shit personal opinion as fact. More so then these super genius celebs that we should all be listening to.

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Facepalm

Oh no, not this shit again...

Ok, mobile phone fearmongers, Physics 101, once more from the top:

There's this form of energy known as the electromagnetic spectrum. It includes all forms of radiating energy. From lowest frequency to highest, those forms of energy are known as radio, microwave, infra-red, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays, gamma rays, and cosmic rays.

Now the higher the frequency, the greater the energy. The greater the energy, the greater the chance it's going to give you cancer and/or otherwise muck up your cellular structure. Pretty much anything of higher frequency than visible light is going to increase cancer risk. Ultraviolet has a fair chance of giving you cancer, X-rays have a good chance of giving you cancer, and gamma rays will almost certainly cause cancer. Visible light has next to no chance of giving you cancer, and frequencies lower than visible light have no chance of giving you cancer.

Mobile phones operate on microwave frequencies. These frequencies are less than infra-red and much less than visible light. People exposed to visible light alone do not have any higher incidence of cancer than those who might live their lives in darkness. Sunlight can cause cancer, but that's because it contains ultraviolet light in its spectrum. Exposure to ordinary light bulbs and LEDs does not cause cancer.

So, if exposure to a light bulb or LED, which emits higher frequency and higher energy radiation than a mobile phone, does not cause cancer, then you can safely say that exposure to a mobile phone, being lower frequency and lower energy than visible light, does not cause cancer. QED.

So please, scaremongers, if you're going to moan about phones causing cancer, then you'd better get started on the more dangerous visible light from the LEDs on our appliances, because that is more likely to cause cancer than mobile phone microwaves are. Otherwise, stop with the mobile phones and go back to moaning about tanning beds, which really do increase the cancer risk, because they do emit ultraviolet.

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Facepalm

Soap

Guy next to me mentioned that the side of his head felt warm after he had been using his mobile for a while, and he seemed to find this ominous.

I pointed out to him that this would likely also be true if you held a bar of soap to the side of your head.

I think we're all preaching to the converted here; I have noticed a singular lack of an explosion in brain cancer cases in the last twenty years.

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