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The Danger of Cell Phones
by Doug Ireland
December 22, 2004
First Published in Direland

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A dispatch from Reuters yesterday reports on a new European Union-funded study showing that radio waves from mobile phones harm body cells and damage DNA in laboratory conditions. Mutated DNA cells of the kind reported in the study are seen as a possible cause of cancer. According to Reuters, the study's director, Dr. Franz Adlkofer of Germany, "advised against the use of a mobile phone when an alternative fixed line phone was available."

This is not the first such study of mobile phone dangers. In October, a Swedish study  (published in the journal Epidemiology) by epidemiologists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that those who used cell phones for ten years double the danger of getting tumors on the acoustic nerve (called acoustic neromas).

And two years earlier, a study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention reported that brain tumors nearly doubled among those who used mobile phones for ten years.

If you're interested in this under-reported issue, you'll find credible, science-based information at Microwave News, which the scientist/journalist Louis Slesin has run for 25 years. Slesin has been a lonely voice trying to get attention paid to the dangers of cell phones despite an industry-funded campaign to stifle such information, in which the major media have been complicit.

I confess to a particular dislike for mobile phones--I consider them irritatingly anti-social, as Umberto Eco painted them in a witty anti-cell phone essay a couple of years ago (it has, unfortunately, not been published in English as far as I know) proclaiming that only doctors and similar folk really needed these self-indulgent apparatuses. People who drive while talking on their cell phones are maddeningly dangerous (many European countries now have laws against doing so, as do some states here, like New York and New Jersey). On the streets, pedestrians who don't look where they're going because they're yammering on their cells constantly jostle one needlessly. The frequent interruptions of conversations with someone calling from a cell phone are rivaled in their annoyance factor only by the often watery, scratchy, and feeble voice signal mobile phones can produce. And now those of us with Luddite sympathies can bolster our aesthetic arguments with more than enough credible evidence to suggest that these noxious instruments are dangerous to one's health as well. Stick to your land lines, kids....

Doug Ireland, a longtime radical journalist and media critic, runs the blog DIRELAND, where this article first appeared. 

Other Articles by Doug Ireland

* He's Out! Bernie Kerik's Plea Bargain
* Halliburton's Nigerian Bribery -- The Admission
* Homo Hate: Kerry Loses to Rove’s Anti-Gay Hysteria
* The Last Debate (Thankfully!)
* The Bush-Kerry Face-Off in Miami
* The Democrats Capitulate to the Supply-Siders
* Teaching Torture: Congress Quietly Keeps School of the Americas Alive
* Condom Wars
* The Cheney Connection: Tracing the Halliburton Money Trail to Nigeria
* How the US and France Let the Smuggling Prince Get Away to Help the War on Terror
* Spain Flips Off W.
* Raw Prejudice: The Politics of Gay Marriage
* Ralph's Dark Side: Mr. Nader and the Newmanites
* A Prayer for Reverend Al: Let Him Buy His Soul Back from the Republicans
* Wisconsin's Warning Signs
* The Campaign Doctor: Can Bob Shrum Beat Karl Rove?
* The Two John Kerrys: Will We Get the Populist or the Lord of Special Interests?
* Howard's End
* A Populist Make-Over: Meet John Edwards, the Corporate Man
* Iowa's Lessons
* Nader and the Newmanites
* The Next War
* Will the French Indict Cheney