Phones Do Cause Cancer / Phones Don't Cause Cancer

Another study released in the steady stream of yes/no answers to the question of whether mobile phones increase the risk of cancer for frequent users was released yesterday. This study from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute concluded that active users are up to 4 times more likely to develop acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor on the auditory nerve. The credibility of these research houses, and the medical science involved is beyond the scope of we mere Techdirt writers, but we do feel there isn’t much of a parallel between the discussion of mobile user health and that of cigarettes in the last century. The cigarette debate had diametrically opposed opinions depending on whether the research was impartial or funded by tobacco companies, and in the cases of impartial research, the findings were that smoking was very bad for health. In the current case, certainly industry-funded research suggests no risk, but impartial research often concurs. And when impartial research indicates risk, it is not on the order of magnitude as the erstwhile tobacco studies. So, repeating that we’re no experts, we’d say that if you’re concerned about this issue, sport a headset. My high school math, paired with the knowledge that RF signal strength from a dipole somewhat follows an inverse-square relationship with distance, indicates that using a handset at 1cm from the ear pumps 1,600 times as much radio energy onto your noggin as holding the antenna 40cm away. The headset options are out there, and the choice is yours. Mike adds: It’s also worth noting this particular study was done on analog phones, which pump substantially more RF energy than their digital counterpars, and aren’t nearly as common anymore.

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