Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Is the cell phone scare finally over? (Michael Fumento)
Townhall.com ^ | January 26, 2006 | Michael Fumento

Posted on 01/27/2006 1:56:35 PM PST by Stoat

Is the cell phone scare finally over?

 

Jan 26, 2006
by Michael Fumento ( bio | archive )

 

Thirteen years ago, writing in Investor's Business Daily, I was the first reporter in the country to present evidence that cell phones have no link to brain cancer in direct contrast   to numerous television and radio shows, and hundreds of related articles in the U.S. and worldwide. Now the largest study ever on the issue has been released and it finds . . . cell phones have no link to brain cancer.

Was my work of 13 years ago that of a genius or a soothsayer? If I could tell the future, I’d be playing the horses instead of writing this. And call me a genius if you wish, but a better explanation would be that other reporters were too lazy or too excited over a hot story to put their brains in gear before booting up their computers.

In any case, the “Cell Phone Saga” provides a terrific example of the incredible poverty of health and science reporting in the country, then as well as now.

It started when Larry King invited Larry Reynard onto his show who claimed that since his wife developed a fatal brain tumor three months after she began using a cell phone, the cancer must have resulted from phone emissions. By no great coincidence he had just filed suit  against the phone maker and the service provider. (He lost.)

Yes, it really was that insipid. And it set off a panic. I had to point out, believe it or not, that people were getting brain tumors before cell phones were ever invented. I further noted that the American Cancer Society said about 17,500 brain cancers are diagnosed each year, of which about two thirds are fatal, and already at that time about 4% of the population was using the type of cell phone that was held to the head.

That meant simple chance dictated 180 cell phone users would die of brain tumors, leaving 179 unaccounted for.

Further, I noted brain tumors don't appear in three months. In fact, the latency period (also called the time from “insult” to diagnosis) for brain tumors in adults appears to be 10 to 20 years. That would leave Mrs. Reynard’s tumor about nine years and nine months short.

Yet no other reporter bothered to look for these numbers, either because they didn't have the ability or they didn't have the integrity to dig up the evidence they knew would kill their own stories.

In the ensuing years, the cell phone scare continued to be driven by lawsuits, by companies selling “shields” to protect phone users, and by alarmists who have warned of the dangers of any type of manmade emissions since microwave ovens were introduced.

The cell phone industry expended massive funds on grants to independent researchers grants to look for connections to ill health. Overwhelmingly they have found no correlation with cancer, although the phones do increase the risk of automobile accidents  and often enough seem to turn users into obnoxious cretins.

One such funding effort led to a scandal in which it became accepted that industry cooked the books, when in fact a self-serving alarmist had done so.

Dr. George Carlo, then an epidemiologist working at the George Washington University School of Medicine, administered a $28 million research project funded from 1993 to 2001, via a blind trust established by the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA).

As the project wound down, Carlo pre-empted a study that later appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association. He claimed it showed a tripling of the risk of a brain cancer called neurocytoma among cell-phone users.

Yet the study had no such conclusion. “Regardless of how frequently the phones were used per month or how many years that the phones were used, there wasn't any relationship with the developments of brain cancer,” its chief author told PBS.

Carlo insisted he had no reason to fudge anything, since he wouldn’t be “re-upping” for the project. He didn’t mention his forthcoming book, Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age. Sigh.   

And that’s the sordid cell phone story. It’s time for it to end. After all, there’s so much more scary pseudoscience in need of media attention.

Read more about BioEvolution by Fumento, MichaelMichael Fumento is a senior fellow at Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., the author of BioEvolution.

Copyright © 2006 Townhall.com



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: cellphones; fumento; hysteria; junkscience; phones; pseudoscience
I hadn't previously been aware that Larry King was involved with the start of this scare, but in retrospect it makes perfect sense that he was.....
1 posted on 01/27/2006 1:56:37 PM PST by Stoat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Stoat

bttt for later read.


2 posted on 01/27/2006 1:58:23 PM PST by RadioAstronomer (Senior member of Darwin Central)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Stoat
Dunno....my old phone had an external antenna to let the RF energy out. My new phone has an internal antenna....wonder if it just shoots the RF energy straight into my ear.....

HA!!

3 posted on 01/27/2006 1:58:39 PM PST by ElectricStrawberry (27th Infantry Regiment...cut in half during the Clinton years....Nec Aspera Terrent!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Stoat

The cell phone scare is over just like the abortion breast cancer scare is over. Economics and convenience dictate what's over or not over in this country, let's not kid ourselves. Let's go back to our dream worlds now.


4 posted on 01/27/2006 2:01:59 PM PST by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Stoat

There are many cases in the past of something that was assumed to be safe, that turned out not to be.

It is really impossible to say what the consequences of prolonged exposure will be in a large population except by actual experience.

If it turns out that in 20 years there are many middle-aged women with poor memory and short attention spans, people will start to wonder again.


5 posted on 01/27/2006 2:04:00 PM PST by proxy_user
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ElectricStrawberry

I don't know. I'm hearing about WAY more brain tumor cases than ever before, including someone very close to me.

When I was in radio, and we were doing transmitter readings, we were always told to limit our exposure to RF.

Now people are putting RF to their heads. Some of them constantly.

Let's face it -- if there WAS a link, there would be a rather huge lobby devoted to keeping it quiet. It would certainly make for the largest class action suit in world history.


6 posted on 01/27/2006 2:05:19 PM PST by JennysCool (Non-Y2K-Compliant)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: JennysCool

Dunno....I spent 8 years in the army with much more RF energy coming out of my radio. Of course, it was 3-6 inches from my head. Let's see. Intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance.....

I ain't buyin it without cold scientific proof that the pathetically small amounts of cellphone RF energy CAN cause cancer, let alone that it DOES cause cancer.


7 posted on 01/27/2006 2:12:32 PM PST by ElectricStrawberry (27th Infantry Regiment...cut in half during the Clinton years....Nec Aspera Terrent!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: proxy_user

"If it turns out that in 20 years there are many middle-aged women with poor memory and short attention spans, people will start to wonder again."

Not if they're liberals.

Just 'status quo'.


8 posted on 01/27/2006 2:16:27 PM PST by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: JennysCool
When I was in radio, and we were doing transmitter readings, we were always told to limit our exposure to RF.

If that's true, then we are all dead. Think about the EM emissions a modern civilization puts out as a matter of course: AM and FM radio, microwave communications towers, cell phone towers, satellite transmissions, shortwave radio, radar, VHF and UHF signals, and wireless networks just to name a few. All this artificial EM energy is floating around pretty much all the time.
9 posted on 01/27/2006 2:21:33 PM PST by JamesP81
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Stoat
Morse Code makes you stutter.
CB Radio makes you speak with a southern drawl.
TV makes you look fat.
Cell phones make your brain tilt.
Microwave ovens make you sterile.
AM radio makes you speak Spanish.
The Internet forces you to view porno.
Bluetooth wireless forces creative passwords.
10 posted on 01/27/2006 2:22:59 PM PST by JoeSixPack1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Stoat
and often enough seem to turn users into obnoxious cretins.

I'm an obnoxious cretin. Can I sue?

11 posted on 01/27/2006 2:24:39 PM PST by KarlInOhio (During wartime, some whistles should not be blown. - Orson Scott Card)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: JoeSixPack1
and FreeRepublic makes you....?

;)

12 posted on 01/27/2006 2:25:11 PM PST by ZinGirl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Bigh4u2

That's what will make the lawsuits interesting.

The phone companies' lawyers will claim they were just a bunch of airheads already, and that's why they talked on cell phones so much, rather than the other way around.


13 posted on 01/27/2006 2:31:20 PM PST by proxy_user
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: ZinGirl
and FreeRepublic makes you....?

Annoy liberals without trying.

14 posted on 01/27/2006 2:33:02 PM PST by dirtboy (My new years resolution is to quit using taglines...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: KarlInOhio
I'm an obnoxious cretin. Can I sue?

Yes.  The ACLU specializes in representing people exactly like you in endless, expensive litigations.  They have an army of obnoxious cretin trial lawyers who will be at your doorstep in a matter of moments.

15 posted on 01/27/2006 2:34:00 PM PST by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Stoat

bump


16 posted on 01/27/2006 2:37:19 PM PST by VOA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Stoat

1.8 ghz next to one's head WILL have a cumulative effect. RF always has a cumulative effect and more so at that frequency. For that reason, I always use a headset to keep the antenna away from my head. Best wishes to all.


17 posted on 01/27/2006 2:39:21 PM PST by MeneMeneTekelUpharsin (Freedom is the freedom to discipline yourself so others don't have to do it for you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Stoat

Let's count how many luddite posts we get in the first hundred, shall we?


18 posted on 01/27/2006 2:42:23 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (John 6: 31-69)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SheLion; Gabz
PUFF

Yet no other reporter bothered to look for these numbers, either because they didn't have the ability or they didn't have the integrity to dig up the evidence they knew would kill their own stories.

Sound like anyone we know?

After all, there’s so much more scary pseudoscience in need of media attention.

Ain't THAT the truth?

19 posted on 01/27/2006 2:43:53 PM PST by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Stoat

When it comes to science reporting, the MSM is probably even less reliable than the tabloids.


20 posted on 01/27/2006 2:45:07 PM PST by Ditto ( No trees were killed in sending this message, but billions of electrons were inconvenienced.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Stoat

Doggone it! I was hoping all those jerks I see on the road every day yapping on cell phones while they drive were doomed!


21 posted on 01/27/2006 2:46:54 PM PST by ozzymandus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Stoat

"They" are still claiming cell phone start fires, despite what Mythbusters proved.


22 posted on 01/27/2006 2:47:14 PM PST by razorback-bert
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Stoat

My only complain about this article is that the words "insipid" and "Larry King" are not in the same sentence.


23 posted on 01/27/2006 2:50:48 PM PST by ozzymandus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ZinGirl
and FreeRepublic makes you....?

Smarter! :-)

24 posted on 01/27/2006 2:53:05 PM PST by JoeSixPack1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: razorback-bert
"They" are still claiming cell phone start fires, despite what Mythbusters proved.

The rather credible-sounding reports that I've heard have not been that cell phones "start fires" per se, but that when people try to save money by buying cheap, off-brand replacement batteries for their phones that these batteries have, on occasion, actually exploded.  There were numerous reports of this happening and documentations of the sometimes serious injuries that have resulted.

None have been reported, to my knowledge, in cases of people using high-quality batteries.

You wouldn't happen to have a link to the article you refer to, by any chance?

25 posted on 01/27/2006 3:12:48 PM PST by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Stoat

Nope, Mythbusters is a cable show.


26 posted on 01/27/2006 3:16:40 PM PST by razorback-bert
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: ozzymandus
Doggone it! I was hoping all those jerks I see on the road every day yapping on cell phones while they drive were doomed!

Well, one COULD say that they are doomed to a fiery death in an auto accident of their own making, as well as being doomed to endless derision, insults and honking from the other drivers in their vicinity who are actually interested in traffic safety and getting to their destination in a timely manner. 

27 posted on 01/27/2006 3:19:15 PM PST by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Straight Vermonter
Let's count how many luddite posts we get in the first hundred, shall we?

Add that number to those who obviously haven't even bothered reading the article or the linked documents before spouting off with a post ("because they CAN, and it's so terribly important to get that post done FAST, after all") and you'll have an overflowing bushel basketful in very short order   :-)

28 posted on 01/27/2006 3:25:39 PM PST by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: JamesP81

Yup. But you're not putting it next to your head pretty much all the time.


29 posted on 01/27/2006 4:04:02 PM PST by JennysCool (Non-Y2K-Compliant)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson