The Danger of Cell Phones
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.
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