Antennaphobia Waning? A Look at Cell Phone Safety 2


Well buttressed conclusions on a possible cell phone – brain cancer link remain in short supply despite substantial research on the question. Nevertheless, inconclusive results keep leading to alarming headlines. Encouragingly though, the weakness of the case against cell phones is becoming more evident.

Writing for New York Times Magazine Siddhartha Mukherjee, assistant professor of medicine in the division of medical oncology at Columbia University, examines the question “Do Cell Phones Cause Brain Cancer?” Mukherjee provides an in depth discussion of the history as well as the scientific methods underlying studies of the question. Mukherjee explains:

Finding a carcinogen, in short, is not like solving a mathematical equation, with a single formula and solution. It is more like solving an epic detective case, with individual pieces of evidence that, taken together, suggest a common culprit.

But thus far, this extraordinarily wide-cast net has yet to find solid proof of risk for cellphone radiation: not a single trial or test that has attributed carcinogenic potential has been free of problems. Populationwide studies have failed to demonstrate an increased incidence; retrospective trials have been contradictory and riddled with biases; animal studies negative; human physiological experiments inconclusive; cellular studies inconsistent and weak.

Mukherjee advocates further comprehensive studies. I believe there is little justification for ever more funding to search for a potential harm so negligible as to have eluded an already prolonged and intensive investigation. Nevertheless, Mukherjee’s comprehensive and informative piece is well worth a read.

Previously on ÆtherCzar:


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