Here’s Debbie Downer, just in time for CTIA. A new study by an Australian neurosurgeon claims that the long-term effect of cell phone radiation “has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking.” Because tumors take years to develop and cell phones didn’t really take off until the mid ’90s, the author, Dr. Vini G. Khurana, says we’ll start seeing results proving (or disproving) this connection over the next five to ten years. The paper, which is actually a meta-analysis of more than 100 previous studies, encourages users to make calls on landlines or via speakerphone when possible; Bluetooth headsets, he says, also expose users to significantly high levels of radiation. Although Khurana urges the telecommunications industry to develop and promote radiofrequency-shielding devices for mobile phones, the telecoms themselves aren’t convinced. Speaking to Zdnet UK, Dr. Jack Rowley, director of research for the GSM Association (GSMA), said that Khurana failed to include several studies that found no connection to cancer and cell phone use.
And it’s not just the telecoms who are raising their eyebrows.
“Despite his distinction in neurosurgery and clinical experience in operating on brain cancer, the author does not provide a balanced summary of the evidence on this issue,” says Michael J. Thun, MD, vice president of epidemiology and surveillance research at the American Cancer Society. “His goal is laudable; he wants to point out that, in his view, there is considerable evidence linking cell phones to brain cancer, and there are ways that we can and should take to reduce exposure. However, in the process he substantially overstates the strength of the evidence and the magnitude of the likely problem.”
If you’re one to bury your head in the sand, you can at least take comfort that your cell phone use probably isn’t as catastrophic as you think. Meaning it’s not definitely killing you. As quickly. Or something. Enjoy CTIA, folks.