Do Wireless Devices Cause Cancer?

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Do mobile phones cause cancer? So far nobody has produced a smoking gun.

In May, the World Health Organization conceded that radiation from cell phones “could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk” (pdf).

Most scientists in the UK, U.S. and Sweden have found “no convincing evidence” of a cell phone cancer connection, but the debate is continuing as more people use more wireless devices more often.

Now a new long-term study of 2.8 million Danish adults found that those who’d used cell phones for 11-15 years “were no more likely than newer users or non-users to develop an acoustic neuroma.”

The effect of mobile phone radiation on human health is the subject of recent interest and study. The WHO has classified mobile phone radiation on the IARC scale into Group 2B – possibly carcinogenic.

That means that there “could be some risk” of carcinogenicity, so additional research into the long-term, heavy use of mobile phones needs to be conducted. In the USA, the FCC has set a limit of 1.6 W/kg, averaged over a volume of 1 gram of tissue, for the head. In Europe, the limit is 2 W/kg, averaged over a volume of 10 grams of tissue.

The parent of a student at Mount Tabor Middle School has sued Portland Public Schools, writes Corey Pein in this weeks Willamette Week newspaper. The lawsuit claims that the public school’s use of Wi-Fi is “genotoxic, carcinogenic, neurotoxic and otherwise…harmful” to his daughter.

Yes, this is the same kind of Wi-Fi that provides wireless Internet connections in public buildings, coffee shops and homes across America.

There’s virtually no scientific basis for the belief that Wi-Fi is a health threat. But the federal civil suit against PPS is the latest expression of anxiety by a growing community of Wi-Fi-phobic and self-diagnosed “electrosensitive” individuals who believe a laundry list of physical ailments can be traced to the proliferation of consumer electronics.

Last year in Santa Fe, N.M., a man sued his neighbor over her use of an iPhone, claiming it interfered with his digestion. Earlier this year in Portland, a group of neighborhood activists monkey-wrenched Clearwire’s plans to install new towers to expand its 4G wireless Internet service, citing health concerns.

Wi-Fi fears have spawned a cottage industry around the sale of protective amulets and field-disruptors.

FCC Registered Antenna Structures in the Portland Area from Willamette Week

Source: FCC View FCC Registered Antenna Structures

Portland residents demanded that the City Council place a moratorium on the construction of utility poles holding wireless antennas but met with defeat. According to Fritz, Portland cannot adopt strict regulations because of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which preempts local and state governments from citing health and environmental factors in the placement of cell phone towers, transmitters and other wireless devices.

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz sent a letter to Portland’s Congressional delegation on behalf of the Portland City Council, urging them to ask the FCC and the FDA to conduct new studies to determine the potential health hazards related to cell phone towers and the emissions from radio frequencies.

Sen. Chip Shields (D-Portland) introduced Senate Bill 679 that would have required a warning label be put on cell phones that read, “warning: This is a radio-frequency (RF), radiation-emitting device that has non-thermal biological effects for which no safety guidelines have yet been established. That bill got only a hearing.

More information is available on C/Net’s special report on cell phone safety, the World Health Organization’s Fact Sheet and

Posted by Sam Churchill on Friday, July 15th, 2011 at 6:54 am .

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