by Joseph Weisenthal

Postponing Progress: Group Wants Health Studies Before Wireless Auctions

from the society-and-its-discontents dept

As if spectrum auctions didn't have enough complications, a group has filed suit in hopes of blocking an upcoming auction until long-term studies can be done on the health effects of low-intensity radiation. There's little probability that the suit will get anywhere, though it does mean that fringier elements are bold about imposing their fears on the rest of society. It's also interesting that while most can see the folly of running a long-term health study for something like wireless technology, many people don't bat an eye when similar things are called for in the area of medicine. They'll point to products like asbestos, Fen-Phen, and Tobacco as evidence that we should have been more diligent about screening for adverse health effects. But you can't make an argument by cherry picking a few bad cases from the past, unless you're willing to say that all medicines, consumer products, and technology should be subject to decades long health testing before released to the public (Otherwise, how would you know which one specifically to test, and which ones to give a quick green light to?). If you accept that for the most part technology leads to improvements in the quality of life, then a policy of holding back everything, looking for the occasional bad apple, is a bad one. That being said, there have been several health studies showing somewhat mixed results on wireless technology. It's important that we keep paying attention to them, but it's unlikely that we'll get one definitive answer, at least not any time soon. In the meantime, a policy of bravely (but carefully) embracing new technology is a good one.

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  1. identicon
    Sid_M, 28 Apr 2006 @ 4:15pm

    A Little Too Gung Ho for Me

    "If you accept that for the most part technology leads to improvements in the quality of life...." That my friend is a rather large if. Experience shows that while technology often has benefits, they are almost always mixed with problems, and new technologies always have unintended, unanticipated consequences. I guess what I wonder is where's the careful part in the above post? I see the brave, but where's the careful?

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