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Old 10-15-2004, 05:08 AM   #1
Colin Dunstan
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Swedish Study: Mobile phones double tumor risk

Using a mobile phone for ten or more years almost doubles the risk of developing acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor on the auditory nerve, reveals a study released on Wednesday by Sweden's Karolinska Institute (the Swedish Institute of Environmental Medicine).

The risk was confined to the side of the head where the phone was usually held and there were no indications of increased risk for those who have used their mobile for less than 10 years, the Karolinska Institute said in a statement.

Nature.com covers the news in more depth.

Perhaps the only bright spot: Because only analog mobile phones had been in use for more than 10 years, the Institute's researchers said they were unable to confirm that tumours would also develop more frequently in users of digital (GSM) handsets.
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Old 10-15-2004, 09:29 PM   #2
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It's worth noting that the most common symptom of an acoustic neuroma is hearing loss. So someone using a telephone frequently would be most likely to notice this and most likely to notice it if it is in the ear to which he (or she, from the picture) holds the 'phone. Not to say that the result may not be true but only that there are significant potential biases.
Case-control studies like this are necessary for looking at rare conditions but they are subject to a lot of bias. Even the prospective study that the article talks of beginning has the problem that the 'phone users select themselves and so are likely to be different from the 'phone non-users in other ways.
I read once that Bocaccio, the Italian renaissance author, died from a cellulitis due to repeatly bumping into a large book he kept in his study. So I have switched to ebooks on my palm to protect myself from that danger. I haven't found an alternative to the cell 'phone yet. Maybe a secretary?
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Old 10-15-2004, 09:59 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by rgrant
I haven't found an alternative to the cell 'phone yet. Maybe a secretary?
A handsfree earpiece is an alternative (to placing the phone close to your ear). Then you would develop waist neuroma, though.

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Old 10-15-2004, 10:10 PM   #4
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Of course, this study, like similar studies about smoking... is completely flawed.

Most modern cellphones are shielded on the "ear side" of the phone, to minimize the exposure to the radiative power of the phone. Go ahead, take your phone apart and look, you'll see the metal shielding.

Except... this doesn't help you if people around you are using their phone. Now you're on the unshielded side of their phone. Business meetings, subways, on the bus to work, in an elevator, and hundreds of places where you might be standing by or near a person using their own cellphone. The smaller the phone, the less the shielding (generally).

The same goes for smoking. Second-hand smoke is significantly more dangerous than first-hand smoke. Why? Because you, as a bystander near a smoker, are inhaling the smoke that isn't being filtered by the smoker's filter. Granted, the smoker's filter only filters a small percentage, but it filters more than you're getting.

Studies like this need to be more evenly-biased.
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Old 10-15-2004, 10:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesco
A handsfree earpiece is an alternative (to placing the phone close to your ear). Then you would develop waist neuroma, though.
Or pancreatic, testicular, or ovarian cancer. Generally women carry their phones in their purse, which is going to be shielded by all of the other items in her purse (keys, lipstick, makeup compact, etc.), instead of on their hip.

Many "urban-centric" women tend to carry it on their hips, however... along with their low-rider jeans or skirts. This doesn't happen in older age women or "businesswomen". Maybe a study that takes ethnicity and their age and location into account.

Men, on the other hand, generally carry their cellphones on their hip... and not only on their hip, on their hip somewhere in the front of their body. This presents a much larger danger to their pancreas and/or testicles (and other nearby organs).

The other factor with this cellphone approach, is that all cellphones with clips, holsters, and other cases, hold the cellphone facing out... putting the shielding away from the body. When shielding is on the wrong side, it acts as a reflector for the dangerous waves that the shielding is supposed to be protecting you from.

Yes, I use a cellphone quite a bit. No, I don't carry it on my hip. And yes, I've studied this quite a bit.

My wife (a research scientist) works in Cancer Biology at the largest pharmaceutical company in the world today, and these issues are hot-buttons with both of us. My house is covered with so much EMF that I'm surprised our new daughter didn't grow a third arm.
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Old 10-16-2004, 07:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesco
A handsfree earpiece is an alternative (to placing the phone close to your ear). Then you would develop waist neuroma, though.
Bluetooth earpieces are great!
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Old 10-16-2004, 07:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hacker
Most modern cellphones are shielded on the "ear side" of the phone, to minimize the exposure to the radiative power of the phone. Go ahead, take your phone apart and look, you'll see the metal shielding.
Then why is that all major cell phone makers, including Nokia, are against disclosing independently verified radiation levels produced by their phones?

Ok, you truly believe because there is a little piece of metal between you and the cell, you are protected by any potentially dangerous rays. Well, have a look at this German site disclosing SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) levels of various phones. Please keep in mind that those numbers are not independently verified, but come from the manufactor.

- the Sony Ericsson Z600 has a SAR level of 0.16.
- the Palm Treo 600 has a SAR level of 1.53 (!).

Note that in Europe, the maximum allowed SAR level is 2.00. Recommended is a level of below or equal 0.60. In other words, according to palmOne's own numbers, the Treo is more than twice above the limit of what is recommended in Europe. And, it is radiating 9-10x more than the Sony Ericsson. Perhaps the "protecting" metal piece you were talking about got a little rusty for the Treo.

While I agree that there has been no 100% medical evidence suggesting that radiation from mobile phones might cause cancer or other health problems, at the same time, there’s no definitive proof that cell phone radiation is harmless. Most research on radio frequency energy has focused on short-term exposure of the entire body. It will be many more years before a definitive conclusion can be reached on whether mobile phone emissions pose any risk to human health. Until then, I rather stay cautious and carefully follow every study that is being made, than to solely listen to those cooperations whose primary goal is to satisfy their shareholders by selling more phones.
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Old 10-16-2004, 11:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hacker
Most modern cellphones are shielded on the "ear side" of the phone, to minimize the exposure to the radiative power of the phone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morpheus
Then why is that all major cell phone makers, including Nokia, are against disclosing independently verified radiation levels produced by their phones?

Ok, you truly believe because there is a little piece of metal between you and the cell, you are protected by any potentially dangerous rays.
Read my replies again. I chose my words carefully (as I always do), when replying to this thread.

I specifically said minimize the exposure, not eliminate it. There is no way to completely eliminate the effects, other than being miles away from the phone itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morpheus
While I agree that there has been no 100% medical evidence suggesting that radiation from mobile phones might cause cancer or other health problems, at the same time, there’s no definitive proof that cell phone radiation is harmless.
That is largely because there isn't enough history behind cellphones, using current technologies, to define the parameters of the study. Give it 10 to 15 years. If a "tumor" is to grow, it won't grow in a weekend... it takes years for most outside effects to modify the human cellular structure to give rise to cancer cells.

Last edited by hacker; 10-16-2004 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 10-16-2004, 11:34 AM   #9
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And if the cell 'phones are causing the neuromas how do we know it is the EM radiation? That's a reasonable guess but it would take a study of shielded versus unshielded to support it and that is a study that could never be done (who'd elect to be in the unshielded arm). That's why I don't consider an earphone ironclad protection.

On the other hand, the risks involved seem pretty small at this point. I walk around in an American city after dark. Although I've not seen actual case controlled studies on the risk of mugging among people who do that versus people who don't I suspect it is increased and may be as high as 1 in 100,000.

Also I talk on my cellphone while driving a car (trusting in the anonimity of a transparent pseudonym) which may decrease my risk of neuroma by shortening my expected lifetime at risk.

Of course, even small risks should be decreased if the trade-offs aren't more than they are worth and understanding the effects of cell 'phone exposure (and the mechanisms) is knowledge that I would like to have (or at least know that someone has) since the implications may transcend that particular technology.
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Old 10-16-2004, 12:17 PM   #10
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Hacker, since you already quoted me I'd be still interested to hear your answer as to why Nokia & Co are against disclosing independently verified radiation levels.

And as you correctly rephrased what I said, namely that it would take very long for cancer to develop if caused by cell phones, it makes it not less important to be careful with radiation until we know better.

Those studies are important and I am glad someone, preferably not related to any cell phone company, is doing them.
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Old 10-16-2004, 04:20 PM   #11
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Actually, what I said about a waist neuroma was a joke. In a Spectrum* article a couple of years ago, they actually suggested the use of earpieces to keep the cell phone away from your head but only to people too concerned about cell phone-induced cancer, since there was no evidence at that time of cell phones causing cancer or any other disease. And still there is not conclusive evidence.
And until now, I hadn't noticed something: nobody talks about cancer in the hand, which is the most exposed part of the body to the EM radiation (that side of the phone is not shielded). I understand everyone being more concerned about the head, but skin cancer is no joke.

Quote:
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Except... this [shield] doesn't help you if people around you are using their phone.
I don't agree with this, since the EM power decreases exponentially with distance. The power of a cell phone signal after travelling one meter does not compare at all to the power received by, say, your hand (again). And it's the same with cigarrettes. Filters in cigarrettes are plainly a marketing invention, not a toxic gases trap, because then you would be smoking "pure air", and that's the last thing a smoker wants. Of course it wouldn't be pure air, but, honestly, what would be the amount of toxic particles kept inside the filter? 3%? Second-hand smokers smoke a smoke that is much less dense (I did that on purpose!).
But we're talking abouth EMFs health effects here. Sorry.

Oh, my! I read the article I was telling you about four years ago!
*Spectrum is the most not-too-technical magazine of the IEEE.

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Old 10-16-2004, 04:27 PM   #12
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Bluetooth earpieces are great!
My phone has no Bluetooth. Anyway, I'm getting my earpiece today, now I'm using my cell phone more than ever before, an' I ain't takin' no chances!
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Old 10-17-2004, 06:29 AM   #13
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... an' I ain't takin' no chances!
I think this is where we all agree upon. Noone as of right now knows for sure the inherent risks of cell phones. Until we know better, it is up to you what to believe and how much risk to take.
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Old 01-12-2005, 03:05 AM   #14
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Do you know that WHO (World Health Organization) is telling that every cellphone radiation shield is useless ?
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs193/en/

but if you curious you can find new cellphone SAR Rating on my page
http://handphone.freetechbooks.com/i...d=19&Itemid=46
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Old 01-12-2005, 03:09 AM   #15
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and you can see on my SAR Rating page that when the cell phone is used when worn on the body do not neccessarily reduce the SAR Rating compared to when used at the ear.
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