Cellphone-Cancer Link Revealed In Government Study - InformationWeek

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5/30/2016
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Cellphone-Cancer Link Revealed In Government Study

Research overseen by the National Toxicology Program found a slightly elevated risk of cancer in male rats exposed to CDMA and GSM signals from cellphones.

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Male rats exposed to radio-frequency radiation (RFR) emitted by mobile phones show low incidences of cancer in their hearts and brains, according to a peer-reviewed, multi-year study conducted by the US National Toxicology Program. The rats in the study were exposed to RFR during gestation and throughout their lives.

Female rats, subjected to the same conditions, did not show a statistically significant effect.

The findings are likely to revive debate about whether mobile phones raise the risk of cancer in humans.

The NTP study subjected more than 2,500 mice and rats to 900 MHz GSM- or CDMA-modulated RFR over the course their lives for almost two years. Exposure occurred in 10-minute-on, 10-minute-off cycles for 18 hours every day.

The study found a 2.2% to 3.3% increase in brain cancer (malignant gliomas) in four of six groups of 90 rats, compared to a 90-rat control group. This isn't a huge increase because, while no brain cancer showed up in the control group, other NTP studies have found a 2.0% rate of malignant glioma in rat control groups.

The study also found a 1.1% to 6.6% increase in heart tumors (Schwannomas) among six rat groups of 90, compared to a 90-rat control group, a more meaningful statistical deviation.

"These findings appear to support the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) conclusions regarding the possible carcinogenic potential of RFR," the study says.

(Image: Pixabay composite)

In 2011, IARC, part of the World Health Organization, convened a group of experts to review scientific research on the effect of cell phones on human health. The IARC Working Group concluded that mobile phones were "possibly carcinogenic to humans," while also stating the evidence linking brain cancer to mobile phone use was "limited," and the evidence linking other types of cancers to mobile phone use was "inadequate."

The Working Group defined "limited" by noting that, while the evidence suggested a causal link between certain types of brain cancer and cell phone use, "chance, bias or confounding could not be ruled out with reasonable confidence."

The NTP study noted that the results are limited to the health effects of RFR on heart and brain tissue. The NTP expects to publish further findings on RFR later this year and next, some of research covering the mice studied.

Mice and rats are widely used as models to study human health issues, but they may respond differently to drugs and medical tests. Evidence of RFR's effects on rats is suggestive but not conclusive.

Ionizing radiation, emitted by medical x-ray machines and by elements such as radon in the natural environment, is known to raise the risk of cancer in high doses. People are exposed to low doses of ionizing radiation daily.

RFR is non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, meaning it lacks sufficient energy to remove electrons from atoms. A 2015 European Commission study found little evidence of harmful effects from RFR exposure. In 2014, researchers from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology concluded that the weak magnetic fields from mobile phones and power lines do not harm human health.

Given the limitations of the studies to date, more research is certain to follow. But if a causal link between RFR and negative health effects is ever adequately established among scientists, is there a road back from where we are now?

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
5/30/2016 | 12:52:00 PM
Frequency killer
I think I've seen this one before...

It sounds like there may be a link, but it must be studied more broadly before we'll know for sure.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
5/30/2016 | 3:21:25 PM
No road back
<"But if a causal link between RFR and negative health effects is ever adequately established among scientists, is there a road back from where we are now?"> No, Thomas, there is no road back from where we are now. If ever some future research find a link between RFR and negative health effects smartphone manufacturers will have to find a fix for it. I don't see a future where everyone stops using their smartphones, I'm afraid. -Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
5/30/2016 | 3:28:40 PM
Re: Frequency killer
Michelle, this kind of study has been done for years. No one ever found anything too alarming. Also, the cruelty of exposing those mice and rats to 18 hours of RFR exposure is far from what humars are really exposed daily. If reseacrhers can really see if there is an actual link to human health they should experiment with humans. Maybe those criminals sentenced to death could be the new lab rats. -Susan
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
5/31/2016 | 8:08:22 AM
Re: Frequency killer
Medical experiments on prisoners sends us down a very dangerous, Third Reich type of road which I don't think we want to go down.

Still, I do agree that this study seems a bit overblown. More regular-use scenarios with rats would be far more beneficial for this sort of study.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
6/4/2016 | 9:47:30 AM
Re: Frequency killer
Whoopty, the Third Reich type of scenario you mentioned was very different from what I am saying. tgj... mentioned below also that even with their consent there could be legal or social issues.

Then, do you agree with the death penalty, but think that using prisoners who are already sentenced to death to test new drugs that could, for example, advance treatments or even cure cancer and other illnesses is not ethical? 

In your opinion, why would you say the death penalty is morally accepted, but, on the other hand, using murderers, serial killers, etc. for lab testing to save good people's lives would send society down to the times of Hitler? Again, I don't believe it's the right comparison, if you allow me to say.

Where do you see the logic? 

-Susan  
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
5/31/2016 | 8:30:47 AM
Re: Frequency killer
IF cellular phones can/do cause brain cancer there are a lot of us that are in trouble but it raises a question.  Tobacco companies had huge lawsuits over lung cancer deaths but people chose to smoke, it wasn't a requirement of their profession.  IF someone who was required by a job to carry a cellular phone is that employer on the hook now?  IF a lawsuit is ever won against an employer how quickly would corporate cell phone policies change?
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
5/31/2016 | 12:09:56 PM
Re: Frequency killer
The key is determining at what length of time and frequency the issue really materializes. The phones have gotten better over the years from my understanding at reducing the amount the level of the frequencies as our infrastructure has evolved. For people who sleep with their phones, I think they are always introducing more risk into their life at multiple levels. I don't think any of this research will stop the usage of phones it's getting more widespread at a younger age with the average first phone being had at 10 years old!!!
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/1/2016 | 9:53:35 AM
Re: Frequency killer
I'm sure it's more complex than the occasional cellular causing brain tumors and while you mention that devices are getting better over the years we're also spending more time on them.  Is it better to have higher doses of radiation for short and infrequent periods of time or lower doses over very long and frequent periods of time.  I don't go anywhere that I don't see someone on a cellular phone when just a decade ago it was still somewhat unusual to see someone making a call in a restaurant or walking through the grocery store. 
hho927
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hho927,
User Rank: Ninja
5/31/2016 | 1:02:05 PM
Re: Frequency killer
Simple solution: use a headset (preferable the wire).

LOL, too much hoopla about nothing.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
5/31/2016 | 10:31:20 PM
Re: Frequency killer
Form what I understand, there is still a risk from holding the phone and wearing the phone not just holding it to your head.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
6/2/2016 | 12:30:48 PM
Re: Frequency killer
Yeah, then you wind up with testicular or ovarian cancer instead of brain cancer.  :p
hho927
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hho927,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2016 | 7:58:58 PM
Re: Frequency killer
No worry! Other parts of the body is less prone to waves than brain.

If you're really that worry. Put in in your back pockets. Then you claim it gives b&tt cancer lol.

 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
6/4/2016 | 10:29:59 AM
Re: Frequency killer
@hho: And have to go in for regular colonscopies?  No thanks!  :/
hho927
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hho927,
User Rank: Ninja
6/6/2016 | 12:26:32 PM
Re: Frequency killer
lol you're funny :)

anyway, just put the phone away from the brain, you'll be fine. If that's in-convenience, then let it be.

There is no 1 size fits all. There are always negative & positive(matter & anti-matter).
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
6/7/2016 | 9:43:40 AM
Re: Frequency killer
@hho: I used to hold my phone away from my head and talk on speakerphone when possible so as to avoid the possibility of a brain tumor.  Now I do that because it's easier and I have trouble hearing the other person when not on speakerphone.  Either the phone is getting old or I am.
hho927
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hho927,
User Rank: Ninja
6/7/2016 | 2:26:53 PM
Re: Frequency killer
lol perhaps both
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
6/10/2016 | 12:33:22 PM
Re: Frequency killer
@hho: Thanks a lot. That makes me feel so much better.  :/  ;)
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2016 | 12:06:57 PM
Re: Frequency killer
WHile the cancer risk has been tenuous over the years, you still have to take it seriously. In the old days when you had the pull out antenna, the radiation was directed away from your head. Today, that is a different story. And with cellular frequencies changing, we still do not know what to expect on a consistent basis. Using a headset with a wire is not really practical or convenient if you are on the go. Even Bluetooth devices have some questions surrounding them concerning cancer.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2016 | 10:35:42 AM
Re: Frequency killer
Great points! And given the changing cellular frequencies over the years, how could a lawyer pinpoint when the cancer started? With tobacco products it is pretty straightforward. With electronic devices, it will be a much harder case to prove. Was it the company's wifi or was it Verizon? Was it an iPhone with the infamous antennae or another company phone?
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2016 | 8:19:20 AM
Re: Frequency killer
Then we get into the harmful range, will sharing an office/home/apartment with an iPhone user cause second hand wifiradiation?  Will we need phone free buses and restaurants?  I think the real panic though won't be from carriers or hardware manufacturers, they are pretty well equipped to protect themselves.  Imagine a small business who requires their 2 person sales team to carry cellular phones.  If one of them develops any type of cancer that company is probably sunk when the lawyers get involved.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2016 | 12:51:39 PM
Re: Frequency killer
Susan: I don't think we will ever get to the point of testing on death row inmates in the US. Even with their consent i think there would be many legal hurdles to overcome let alone public pressure against it. It is hard enough to allow terminal cancer patients to try out experimental drugs. I think the mice are here to stay, mainly because they go through generations much faster than humans which allow testers to see effects far into the future than they would testing an animal with a human life span.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
6/4/2016 | 9:08:31 AM
Re: Frequency killer
tjgkg,

It's most likely the way you say it would be, but it doesn't make any sense to me. For instance, how is it Okay to kill a criminal sending them to the electric chair, or administering a lethal injection, and not Okay to use them for some good to society testing drugs that could serve to save good people? Testing in humans drugs that are intended to be used on humans makes more sense than using mice, or any other animal. 

Could you explain one thing is Okay and not the other? How would the law accepts one, and not the other? Think of murderers, serial killers, etc. Would society be compasionate? Would society prefer to keep seeing their relatives and friends die from illnesses that could have a cure if scientistist could properly test new drugs in real proportions on those humans whom the law and society are killing anyway? 

If you can explain the logic to me I might be able to understand. Otherwise, it doesn't make sense to me.

-Susan 
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2016 | 4:53:17 PM
Re: Frequency killer
Susan, I think maybe its because the death penalty has been around and accepted since the beginning of civilization while subjecting humans to medical experiments has always been considered torture.  With the death penalty, it is a penalty administered to someone for a grevious crime. With a medical experiment, it is not a penalty but an ongoing invasive experiment on a human. On top of that, medical experimentation has always been associated with loathsome groups like the Nazi's who cared little for ethics and human life.

This is probably the best i can make of it, from a historic perspective. From an ethical perspective I cannot really comment on it with any background.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
7/4/2016 | 8:41:57 AM
Re: Frequency killer
tjkg, 

I like your comment because it makes me think. :) Thank you. 

The fact that the death penalty has existed since the beginning of civilization is a proof of how little civilization has advanced. I see a difference between medical experimentation in inmates who are already sentenced to die for a grevious crime that have commited, which is the kind of medical experimentation I am talking about, and the medical experimentation during the Nazi era. 

In that case, I don't see any difference why people can support killing the prison in the "accepted" ways, and using that same prisoner for new drug testing and experimental treatments aimed to cure illnesses such as cancer. 

Medical experimentation on prisons took place in the US for decades. Prisoners were either paid for volunteering, or even released from the death sentence. It was in the mid-seventies that they stopped openly using inmates for medical research. 

From an ethical perspective, it is the same case you can see in hospitals with some terminal patients who choose to volunteer for experimental medical treatments for their condition. If it works, they live; if inot, they are going to die anyway. But it's a step ahead in getting to the right treatment to work on future patients.

 

-Susan  
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/12/2016 | 1:31:59 PM
Re: Frequency killer
Susan,

This is certainly a topic that makes everyone think. Especially given the events that have taken place since this thread started. So, you are welcome. I wish we were able to start a trend where everyone takes a step back and thinks about things ethically. The temperature is very high right now in this country and not because it is summer.

I never knew that medical experimentation was done in US prisons for decades as you had mentioned. One can see why inmates would jump if their death sentences were commuted, or if they were not under sentence of death, paid. I'm not sure I would be happy if someone under sentence of death is commuted because they volunteered for medical experiments. It doesn't seem right no matter what kind of experimentation is carried out.

But with regard to the case of supporting the death penalty and not supporting medical experimentation, like i said this has been ingrained in human society since Day One. It is sanctioned and specified in every holy text I can think of at the present and has been part of the law of every major country since the founding of nations. It is only recently that nations have begun to abolish the death penalty. Medical experimentation like i said conjures up images of Nazi's because they were done on innocent people by deranged @#$#%##. So when it comes to the death penalty, i think people view it as a penalty to be carried out humanely and quickly in a solemn session as opposed to the circus atmosphere of bloodlust that existed in Roman times all the way up to the 19th century when most executions became less barbaric and no longer public.

Personally i cannot equate the two. They are two separate issues. And with terminally ill patients, I can see them opting to try the new medications or procedures because it could save them or reduce their suffering, they are innocent people and they have their civil liberties. Condemned prisoners are not in this category.
BillDChandler
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BillDChandler,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/3/2016 | 11:30:31 AM
Cell phone harard
Of course we all know the real danger of the cell pone is in driving accidents,

far exceeds this 2-3%  And ask yourself, with all the other risks in your life and

the use you get from your cell phone.  Will this make you give up your cell phone?

 

I dont hink so.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
6/4/2016 | 8:10:50 AM
Re: Cell phone harard
Bill, 

Neither do I. No one in he world will give up their smartphone for anything. This kind of recycled research has been going on for years with always the same results reported in a different way. The resources could be used for something more productive. 

-Susan 
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2016 | 4:58:02 PM
Re: Cell phone harard
It's like the research was carried out by special interest groups!
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