Saturday, December 09, 2006

What fries our brain

About half a year ago the residents of an upscale subdivision were embroiled in a heated argument whether to allow a cell phone tower to be built on their premises or not. The pros contended their neighborhood needed it to boost the weak signal they were experiencing. Those opposed, on the other hand, circulated a 10 or 20-page document alleging that (microwave) radiation emitted by such cell sites cause cancer.

I'm not sure what happened thereafter, but I believe the project pushed through.

I haven't done enough research on this although I'm inclined to be doubtful of the said link between cell sites and cancer. Presuming that transmitters emit microwaves with a higher amplitude than cell phone units, there's still the inverse square law to consider. The intensity of electromagnetic radiation decreases with the square of the distance to the source--doubling your distance to the source doesn't just halve the intensity, it quarters it. How many of us actually stand within a meter of the tower antenna for a couple of hours total per day, 5 days a week? I haven't done the math but it could be that we're not getting much more compared with that cellphone glued to our ears. If people are worried about cell sites, they may as well be concerned about owning a microwave oven.

And this just in. Physicist Bob Park shares the results of a Danish study.

CELL PHONES: FIVE YEARS LATER THEY STILL DON'T CAUSE CANCER.

A study in the current issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found no increased cancer risk from cell phone use over a 20 year period. This is an update of a Danish study in JNCI five years ago. The Danes keep good records. By just going to the computer they could compare cell phone use with the National Cancer Registry. I was invited to write an editorial in the same issue, JNCI, Vol 93, p.166 (Feb 7, 2001). I noted that cancer agents act by breaking chemical bonds, creating mutant strands of DNA. Microwave photons, however, aren't energetic enough to break a bond. Predictably, fear mongers said there must be an induction period. Still waiting. In 1993, a man whose wife died of brain cancer was a guest on Larry King Live. Her cancer, he said, was caused by a cell phone. The evidence? "She held it against her head and talked on it all the time."


If I read him right, given the particular frequency (range) of microwave radiation (regardless of amplitude?) it just doesn't have enough energy to hack the organic molecules in our body. (There's a simple equation--I can't recall it right now--that relates electromagnetic radiation frequency and energy.)

And regarding that lady who succumbed to cancer, I guess it means that the millions of other cell phone users who've been using their units for years and years but still don't have brain cancer doesn't count as confuting evidence. But worse, it means that there is an ominous probability that these cell phone users will sometime in the future develop malignant brain tumors. And those who live and die without cancer? Well, they're just the lucky ones.

This must be one of the most blatant post hoc ergo propter hoc argument I've ever come across.

2 comments:

mahesh said...

yes i came to know this
Cell Phone Radiation and the Increase in Brain Cancer
people appear to have an almost pathological emotional attachment to their cell phones and there is a fascinating suggestion that cell radiation pulses might actually be addictive to the human brain
for more information visit this site

Cellphoneradiation

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