back to article Mobile phones still failing to kill people – Nordic scientists

Mobile phones still aren't killing people, according to the latest research from Norway, but in contrast to previous studies the Norwegians aren't calling for more money to fund research. The fact that mobile phones don't cause cancer, or other medial condition, isn't news, but the latest study from the Norwegian Institute of …


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  1. Crisp Silver badge

    Mobile phones don't cause cancer?

    What am I supposed to do with my tinfoil hat now?

    1. no_RS

      Re: Mobile phones don't cause cancer?

      You could cook a chicken in it?

    2. Karl H

      Re: Mobile phones don't cause cancer?

      damn ! how am I going to commit my slow form of suicide now then ?

      I suppose I'll have to take up smoking and binge drinking again.

      1. LaeMing Silver badge

        Re: Mobile phones don't cause cancer?

        Yes, a former bosse's repeated warnings about the dangers of carrying my mobile in a belt-pack (near my ovaries) really didn't carry much weight agianst her chain-smoking habit.

        1. DF118

          Re: Mobile phones don't cause cancer?

          It never ceases to amaze me how otherwise-sane individuals will focus on a perceived risk like this rather than the one staring them in the face, like their own obesity/fag addiction/binge drinking etc...

          I used to have a hugely fat colleague who drank SlimFast shakes like they were a potion to make her thin (i.e. the more she drank the thinner she would get) but, after getting one of those flashing LED phone stand things for her desk - the ones that light up just before your phone goes off - decided she could no longer keep her mobile phone about her person as the flashing LEDs were some sort of voodoo and however they operated it was clearly bad for her health. Scary.

  2. DF118

    That's all well and good Mr Scientist, but how do you KNOW, huh? How do you really KNOW our branes aren't being COOKED by our phones, eh?! These things MUST BE DANGEROUS because wee hold them right next to our face and our BRANES are inside there!

    Hang on while I take this call...

    1. DF118

      ...yeah anyway, as I was saying... OMG! My ear is all warm now. ARGH I MUST HAVE BRANE CANCER!

      1. LaeMing Silver badge

        Don't worry!

        I heard that a warm ear just means people are laughing at you behind your back.

  3. Martin Gregorie Silver badge


    If you think that mobile phones cook your brain DON'T USE ONE

    Its your brain and your responsibility to look after it.

    1. Gnomalarta

      Re: Simples

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Simples

        This is a joke, right?

        "Phone A will now be talking to Phone B whilst Phone B will be talking to Phone A."

        Yes, it is.

  4. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    News isn't really news if it doesn't surprise anybody.

    I work in schools and some of them have been the subject of protest because they allowed mobile phone masts onto their sites.

    Strangely, the fuss died down quite quickly once things like 3G access came along and the parents could start googling the school in the morning to see what time their little darling has to be there, texting the school to say they'll be late, looking up the school Twitter account (I kid you not) for whether the after-school hockey match is cancelled, etc.

    The summary is: If you think the phones are dangerous, don't put one to your ear and you'll be fine. If you think the masts are dangerous, there's not much you can do about it except measure it (and then you'll find that the radio transmitters for things like airports, minicab firms and TV/radio SWAMP them in terms of emitted power).

    Inverse square law, people. If it's not presenting a danger to you while pressed next to your head, then it's certainly not doing anything to you when it's hundreds of metres away. And if it was presenting a danger to you, you'd be dead by now giving the sheer amount of them sold every day. And you'd also have died because of radio, TV, minicab firms and even just standing near an unshielded piece of electronic equipment for the last 70 years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Unfortunately, the inverse square law cannot be explained to stupid people. And then there was the person in Glastonbury (perhaps unsurprisingly) to whom I tried to explain it, who said that perhaps the very weak signals from the masts have more effect than the strong ones next to the ear because "the whole body is immersed in them".

      My own solution? Confiscate technology from people too stupid to understand it. Roads less crowded, fewer mobile phones and computers, and an incentive for kids to get GCSE in STEM subjects.

      1. Bill Ray (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Stupidity

        The nice chaps at Nature posit something very similar:

      2. John H Woods

        Re: Stupidity

        You need to readjust your didactic methods. I find the following works well.

        Take "student" outside at night. Take out small keychain flashlight, explaining it is about 1W. Shine it down the road at a distant streetlight. Explain that it the streetlight is 1000W or so and ask them if they see the spot from your little light on the lamppost. Whilst they are looking carefully, suddenly whip the flashlight round and shine it straight in their eye.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mobile phones do kill...

    if you through them at someone hard enough.

    Besides, Australia has a 'death by mobile' verdict these days, doesn't it? Okay, the device might not be the direct cause, but it can be the distraction to the idiot using it who then steps out into the path of a bus/lorry/passing UFO...

    1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      Re: Mobile phones do kill...

      Or at least injure. We all remember the tragic case of Tiger Woods.

  6. TRT Silver badge


    if everyone in the whole world use their mobiles to simultaneously dial the same phone number, it will break down the fabric of space-time and leak radiation into the Medusa Cascade allowing a dangerous alien interloper to follow the signal and kill us all TO DEATH. It's not a risk I'm willing to take.

    1. Aaron Em

      Re: But...

      I thought that only happened if you had your phone on the Archangel network?

  7. Anonymous Bastard

    Heard in a pub

    Don't you know if you have two phones and call one from the other, then hold them on either side of an egg the resulting super-position of microwaves can COOK THE EGG!!!

    (Just an example of how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, you get morons using terms like "super-position")

    1. mickey mouse the fith

      Re: Heard in a pub

      Best retort to that is to tell them to try it. After wasting all their credit and still not having a warm egg it might sink in. Bonus points for getting them to pursuade all their mates to pile their phones on top as well (more phones=more nasty radiation eh).

      1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

        Re: Heard in a pub

        Sounds like a job for the Mythbusters to me...

        I just wanna see the egg exploding when they point an over-specced industrial-size microwave at it.

        1. toxicdragon

          Re: Heard in a pub

          Pretty sure brainiac did it in their "I can do science me" section. It didn't work.

  8. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    However, if mobes cause LUNG CANCER....

    Then the effect will be hidden because there is a significant part of the population that avails itself durably to both of these vices at the same time. We are talking about "wimmin".

  9. Eddie Edwards

    Nitpicking FTW

    "Not only is there no evidence of illness, but there's no mechanism by which illness can be induced."

    Just to pick apart this entire sentence :)

    We have more than "no evidence of illness". Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and all that. What we have here is (more) evidence of no illness. Big difference.

    And that evidence is enough. Science works by evidence alone; the idea you can shoot this down by saying there is no mechanism is wrong (because you actually mean there's no *known* mechanism; there could be an unknown mechanism, and if the evidence showed an effect you'd need to look for that unknown mechanism - that's how we discovered ... well, everything.)

    I still believe that some people are affected, but most likely via the nocebo effect (the placebo effect's evil cousin). Basically, if you believe a mobile phone will give you headaches, it probably will.

    I get headaches when using my mobile phone, but only with certain callers. And if they keep me talking for more than 90 minutes my ear and neck start to hurt, and I get restless and irritable. Did they test that? ;)

  10. Nev Silver badge


    Think of the children!!!

    What about all those nasty "waves" !!!!?

  11. Badvok

    Oh Noes!

    Now how am I supposed to persuade my daughter that it is not a good idea to keep her phone within arm reach (under the pillow) all night just in case a friend BMs her?

  12. IHateWearingATie

    But scientists haven't proved its safe....

    ...and without cast iron proof that it IS safe, I'm not going to believe it is. After all, the UN health agency said that its a possible cause of cancer.

    Oh, and won't someone think of the children. Or something.

    1. keith_w

      Re: But scientists haven't proved its safe....

      Have you stopped drinking coffee as well?

      1. IHateWearingATie
        Thumb Up

        Re: But scientists haven't proved its safe....

        Yes - one can't be too careful. But I haven't stopped smoking as I'm sure those cancer scare stories were all made up by NuLabour.

        Thank god I've still got my healing crystals to keep me safe

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: But scientists haven't proved its safe....

        Have you stopped drinking coffee as well?

        But coffee doesn't give off all that RADIATION that phones do!!!!

        1. IHateWearingATie
          Big Brother

          Re: But scientists haven't proved its safe....

          Exactly. Anything that gives off radiation has to be dangerous, I don't care what so called 'scientists' have to say.

          I also never eat anything with chemicals in. Chemicals are dangerous.

  13. Real Ale is Best

    I want to see an experiment

    Place someone who "exhibits" physical symptoms inside a faraday cage, with a fake phone.

    Make tell them its a real phone, and see their reaction.

    Repeat and tell them its a fake phone, but flood the cage with radiation equivalent to a real phone.

    Surely someone has tried this?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I want to see an experiment

      More or less. A public wifi was installed in Glastonbury, whereupon a number of the shopkeepers of the "Alternative" variety started to complain of headaches and other ill effects. Unfortunately, it hadn't been turned on.

      Me, I suspect they were afraid that anybody who knew how to connect to wifi might also have views on healing crystals and chakras that they might express publicly, this contaminating the atmosphere.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: I want to see an experiment

        Has anyone looked into whether phone masts interact with DARK MATTER or attract transdimensional soul suckers due to Mandalas inadvertently created by all that circuitry?

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I want to see an experiment

        "A public wifi was installed in Glastonbury, whereupon a number of the shopkeepers of the "Alternative" variety started to complain of headaches and other ill effects. Unfortunately, it hadn't been turned on"

        Similar effects have been observed in the vicinity of newly erected cellular towers - sometimes before the antennas have even been installed.

    2. Some Beggar

      Re: I want to see an experiment

      Do we get to leave them in the cage afterwards?

    3. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: I want to see an experiment

      They would probably feel the Faraday cage is "amplifying other signals" and get physical symptoms in both cases.

      Physical symptoms are not necessarily due to any underlying condition, the mind can convince the body to produce all kinds of bizarre symptoms.

    4. Arctic fox

      Re: "I want to see an experiment"

      You would never get it past the essex committee. You know, the committee that likes to say "nae, yor avin me on".

    5. mickey mouse the fith

      Re: I want to see an experiment

      A study was done a few years ago, they got a load of these hypersensitive types and whilst they sat in a fake waiting room that they were told was shielded from rf radiation, the researchers toggled a transmitter and noted the reactions of the subjects (absolutely nothing).

      They then summoned each subject in to another room and toggled a fake transmitter that did nothing in full view of the person. When the fake was toggled the subjects reported headaches and nausea among other symptoms pretty much proving that the effect was placebo.

  14. Nigel 11


    Have any of these people claiming to be hypersensitive to radio emissions been put through a double-blind test? Did any of them pass (i.e. prove that it's even possible for a human being to tell whether an alleged mobile phone in their proximity is or is not turned on, if it's sealed in an opaque plastic box that they can't touch or open, that's provided to them by a person who also doesn't know if the "phone" is on, off, or a root vegetable.

    It's the same as with drugs. Some get better because they believe that inert tablets are useful medication (placebo effect), and some report unpleasant side effects even when the pills are inert dummies (which one might call drug hypersensitivity if it weren't a double-blind test).

    1. Stephen 10

      Re: Hypersensitives

      Here you go:

      Best line IMO is "For some, complaints of EHS may mask organic or psychiatric


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