Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Mobile phones and health

As one part of the US political system calls for more wireless internet, another is calling for health warnings on mobile phones. Obviously these are different parts of the system, but it does reflect the complexity of the modern world.

Many people want to draw the analogy between mobiles and cigarettes to find both a health issue and corporate deception in the marketing of the products. There are sufficient other examples like asbestos to raise one’s concerns. And there is a grand temptation for a politician to be the one who puts their name to some great act of salvation.

But even the best of intentions can be wrong. The story of William McBride is instructive. He was hailed as a hero for identifying the birth defects caused by thalidomide, but then of fraud when making similar claims about Debenox.

If the US politician were successful in getting a health warning put on mobile phones today it would probably read,

The surgeon-general advises that the weight of scientific opinion is that there are no health effects from the use of mobile phones.


Anonymous said...

An Mobile phones and health story I noticed today – popping up as they do from time to time.

Cell phone radiation may fight Alzheimer's... in mice
A long-term study has exposed mice engineered to develop Alzheimer's-like symptoms to a daily dose of radiation similar to that produced by cell phones; over the course of several months, the mice began to perform better on memory tests. But the study is the first of its kind, and will still require extensive verification.
By John Timmer | Last updated January 6, 2010 5:00 PM


Of course it isn’t really a ‘good news’ story, since if borne out it would indicate a cellular level impact of mobile phone EMR, the absence of which is one of the bases for considering mobiles safe and has consistently eluded researchers.

Vic N said...

i once met the sydney researcher who "invented" this story about mobile phones.....he was less than impressive, but did get his "mcbride" moment in the sun......