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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Other Brian, 28 Apr 2006 @ 4:13pm


    "The only thing we have to feat, is fear itself."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Other Brian, 28 Apr 2006 @ 4:14pm


    "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."

    (damn fat fingers...)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. 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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Paul, 29 Apr 2006 @ 8:19pm

    [FDR] The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.

    [Person #1] ...And snakes!

    [FDR] Well, yes, and snakes.

    [Person #2] ...And spiders!

    [FDR] ok yes, spiders too.

    [Person #3] And Werewolves!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Levi, 29 Apr 2006 @ 10:44pm

    Google scholar

    In an attempt to figure some of the possible effects that certain frequencies can ahve ona person I ha d google sholar'ed 'cell phones cancer' (damn .pdf
    s). The following link is one of the very first repsonses that I could find and due to my lack of any skills in electronics and in the medical fields I figured a post here where some with technical expertise might review the article and give give an nice and easy explaination. You know... like a yes or no answer. http://www.radres.org/rare_151_05_0513.pdf
    I think we all can agree that anything in excess can kill, I mean hell I lost half my teeth to apples. So if somone decides that holding a microwave up to you ear is a bad idea I mgiht agree, but a cell phone? Those charges are (reportedly) so low that standing in direct summer sunshine cause more harm. Oh wait, yea that called skin cancer. Can anyone give a simplifed yes or no to cellular usage, even constant all day yapping.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2006 @ 11:54am

    The only thing we have to feat is imp. toughness.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    DJ MacKinnoon, 9 May 2008 @ 11:54am

    Cellphones and health

    I disagree that you can't expect people to support a long-term study on health effects of electromagnetic frequency. People are getting sick inexplicably and electomagnetic fields are becoming more extensive. Maybe there's a connection. Why wouldn't we want to find out?

    Instead of being snarky about people who question this industry - the fringier elements - your term - let the light shine on the issue. What are you afraid of? Don't get sucked in by the advertising and the mantra of so-called progress - what progress and at what cost?? It's crucial to be more critical of what is going on around us to maintain our integrity and our freedom as human beings - regardless of the issue.

    The cell phone industry is a trillion dollar industry with all the economic and political clout that that kind of money gives, including buying off researchers, and mass media that chooses to shut out any public debate on this issue. Don't be naive about the what you read or hear from your friends. Dig deeper into the issue. Be skeptical of the intentions and self-preservation tactics of an industry that has that much market influence.

    Some European researchers say teens of today may have alzheimers by the age of 30. Pretty scary - hopefully wrong, but let's find out. American Dr. George Carlo is a physician and lawyer who has studied this issue for more than 6 years and calls electromagnetic sickness an emerging health crisis. What would be the motivation of these researchers to critique the cellphone industry? Not much other than knowing they were doing work that might save people's lives, health, and happiness.

    On the other hand, what motivation would there be for scientists to support the cellphone industry?? Hmmm more money, more accolades (because the media is in love with the cellphone industry too and will promote those who they are in sync with), prestige (for the same reasons), all the related material perks and pleasures that money can buy.

    Think about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.