Cell Phone Cancer Study

Cell Phone Cancer Study

Post by George Gilde » Mon, 12 May 1997 04:00:00



> The issue is whether those who use cell phones, etc. have a
> statistically-significant higher increase in cancers than they would if
> they did not use such devices or that they did before they used these
> devices.
> David


And of course this issue cannot be resolved in the face of a baffling
complex of coincident and correlative factors and conditions, which
can be summed up as industrial civilization itself with its associated
measuring apparatus and vast increases in longevity.  We are left with
the choice of either overthrowing industrial civilization with all its
overwhelming benefits (the choice of the radiophobes) or ignoring the
latest legal target until conclusive scientific evidence is available.

If every innovation had to face a prolonged barrage of speculative
challenges, and endless courtroom speelunking for deep pockets, no
innovation -- from the automobile to aspirin--could ever have been
launched. Of course, the theory of global warming would have
prohibited the industrial revolution itself. So far the enemies of
cellphones have offered absolutely no evidence of interest except to
the usual hypochondriacs with lawyers and rodents in tow (feeding on a
now preposterous theory of linear human response to radiation).

George Gilder

 
 
 

Cell Phone Cancer Study

Post by Jerry Harde » Mon, 12 May 1997 04:00:00




>> A doubling of tumours in 100 exposed mice, is not an insignificant finding.
>> In fact, statistically, it is above the 1% level of confidence, and is
>> therefore highly significant.
> It is easy to make instant judgments on statements like this, but I
> would like to see some specific data. For instance -- how many of
> those 100 "exposed mice" actually had tumors? Suppose in a group of
> 100 "unexposed" mice, one develops a tumor, whereas in a group of 100
> "exposed" mice two mice develop tumors. Is this significant?
> Look at it another way: In one group of 100 male * customers, one
> person won money, whereas in a group of 100 female customers, two
> people won money. Is this doubling of winning customers statistically
> significant? Does it mean that women are inherently better gamblers?
> Does it mean that the *'s machines are prejudiced against men?
> One could put all sorts of spins on this ...

In Israel, the {Jerusalem Post} announced Friday that the two cellular
phone companies have agreed to finance a health study. This move is
based on the Australian study. According to the article, Israelis
should be particularly concerned since they have one of the world's
highest rates of cellular phone usage.

Jerry Harder
Senior Partner
RTA, Inc.

 
 
 

Cell Phone Cancer Study

Post by David Appel » Mon, 12 May 1997 04:00:00



> Since cell phones are not exactly a rare technology, why on earth
> should we pay any attention to the claims of carcinogenic effects
> until the incidence of relevant cancers rises in the population using
> the devices? For all the mumbo jumbo from the radiophobes with their
> tortured rodents in tow, the fact is that there are fewer, not more,
> brain tumors and other cancers among users of cellular phones,
> computers, and other radiators, than among non users. Thus there is no
> problem whatsoever to explain. Period.

Not really.  Comparing users of cell phones (etc.) to non users of
electronic devices introduces other factors that muddy the waters.  
Users of cell phones are likely to be more affluent than non users, and
more likely to have a higher education, more aware of nutritional
factors and thus more likely to have a better diet, probably likely to
have better access to health care, including preventative care, etc.  
These might well be the factors that lead to lower incidences of cancers
in the group of interest.  

The issue is whether those who use cell phones, etc. have a
statistically-significant higher increase in cancers than they would
if they did not use such devices or that they did before they used
these devices.

David

 
 
 

Cell Phone Cancer Study

Post by Stewart Fi » Mon, 12 May 1997 04:00:00


George Gilder <g...@gilder.com> writes:
> Since cell phones are not exactly a rare technology, why on earth
> should we pay any attention to the claims of carcinogenic effects
> until the incidence of relevant cancers rises in the population
> using the devices?

Maybe because people would rather not subject their offspring to a
global epidemic of serious health problems.  Most people I know would
rather science and technology looked ahead at the long-term
consequences, rather than wait for problems to be solved (as they now
are with cigarettes and asbestos) by litigation after the event.

> For all the mumbo jumbo from the radiophobes with their
> tortured rodents in tow, the fact is that there are fewer, not
> more, brain tumors and other cancers among users of cellular
> phones, computers, and other radiators, than among non users.

Where in God's name did this 'fact' come from.  George, if this is an
example of how economists think then I have a new insight into the
problems of trickle-down economics.

You aren't distinguishing incidence of these diseases from the
mortality rates (we can now cure many forms) and you are not
distinguishing between gliomas (brain and nervous tissue), leukemias
and lymphomas, and about fifty other problems -- many of which are on
the rise.  Only cancers related to smoking and smog seem to be on the
decrease in developed countries.

Why brand all people interested in this problem as 'radiophobes'.  I
was praising the virtues of CDMA mobile phones in print before you
were, and I have long been writing about the benefits of shifting back
to Digital Terrestrial Television system, rather than sinking billions
in HFC cable.  I think radio systems are superb - but that doesn't
mean I think it is safe to stick a small microwave oven against the
side of your head and pulse it on and off 217 times a second.

The main researchers in this area can't remotely be described as
radio-phobes.  This is a cheap shot -- trying to label everyone who
disagrees with you as being a 'nut'.  That is childish.

> Thus there is no problem whatsoever to explain. Period.

That is about the most banal certainty that I've heard since the
fundamentalists discovered the world was created in 1440BC.

> On the contrary, voluminous recent evidence supports the
> proposition of hormesis -- that radiation below a threshold not
> approached by cellphones imparts a statistically significant
> increase in resistance to cancers among humans.

We seem to swing from one fundamentalist certainty to another. While
hundreds of legitimate scientific studies are dismissed in one phrase
 -- suddenly, a miraculous cure for cancer is offered in another.

I can only guess you are talking about Dr. Ross Adey's work -- which
is on analog R/F.

If so, you obviously aren't making the distinction between the pulsed
stroboscopic nature of GSM digital (217Hz) and analog, and this
difference is fundamental to everything that is being discussed in
these questions.  GSM has a R/F component and a pulsed (square wave)
ELF component -- and it is generally thought that the ELF may be the
problem.

R/F may indeed become a useful tool in medicine, but only when we know
what the mechanisms are.  In the past radio engineers and
manufacturers have denied there are any mechanisms -- or any problems.

I'm not sure that anyone involved in this research now feels certain
about the threshold argument -- nor to most scientists have any
feeling as to what exposures (to humans) may be significant.  However
the Adelaide research did strongly suggest that exposure problems with
pulsed GSM are cumulative in time.

> Perhaps that is why cellphone rich regions such as Scandinavia
> and Japan lead the world in longevity and US users of PCs and
> cellphones live longer than non users. In general, all around the
> globe the use of electricity and other electromagnetic oscillations
> correlates almost perfectly with greater longevity.

Dare I suggest that another factor could be poverty, and perhaps
exposure to another thousand other environmental and nutritional
factors.  I can't believe that any serious economist would deal with
cause and effect in such a simplistic way.

> Unfortunately among the beneficiaries of this public health boon
> are product liability lawyers and their junk science accomplices
> causing lucrative plagues of hypochondria and litigation.

Do you count in here the liability lawyers working for the State
Attorney-Generals in prosecuting the tobacco companies?

This liability lawyer problem is an American one; it is almost
irrelevant in Europe and Australia (where this research was
conducted), and it is a problem resulting from your fanatical
'let-the-buyer-beware' approach to non-regulation.

Robert Weller writes:
> The Royal Adelaide Hospital study is an "outlier," inasmuch as
> most  other studies failed to detect any increase in the cancer
> risk ratio

"Most other" is a rather vague term.  If you mean cell-phone research,
then this is only correct if you include all those studies that came
to inconclusive results.  You can't prove a null hypothesis.

There are plenty of well known, well conducted studies which say the
opposite -- and none of them is conclusive, because no individual
study of this type will ever be conclusive.  Each, in its own way, is
indicative.

> Dosimetry <SNIP>

There's a hell of a lot more to dosmetrics than this.  Each research
protocol has its problems.  Mice are a bit too small to strap
cell-phones to their ears, so they had to do with an antenna over the
cage.  This placed the mice in the far field, but at power-densities
equivalent to the side of the head. The aluminium would simply have
evened out the distribution and reduced the variations in body
orientation. Scientist can actually measure power-densities, and set
their experiments accordingly.

> Subjects. While I am less familiar with this area, the transgenic
> mice used in the research had genetic alterations in areas that
> are not contained in the human genome.

The study set out to establish whether GSM phone radiation could
promote (not cause) tumorous changes in mice cells.  Since at the cell
level DNA-is-DNA, and this is the most likely cause of tumours, then
surely it established something worth while which has a high degree of
relevance to humans.  It does not prove that GSM phones produce cancer
 -- but it says loud and clear, "We had better find out damn quick".

The other criticisms here are objecting to this being a part-solution
to a long-term problem; the writer want it to be a total solution.
Scientists can argue for days about the use of different strains of
mice, so I doubt that this engineer's opinion of which mice should
have been used is necessarily better than the combined resources of
the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council, Telstra,
and the scientists involved.

> The FDA has been pushing the Wireless Technology Research
> (WTR) organization, funded in the US by an industry blind trust,
> to use rats rather than transgenic mice.

 From what I can see, the FDA has been pushing the WTR to spend the
last few million of their $25 million budget just doing anything.

Pete <ast...@cloud9.net> writes about the findings of double the
tumour rate in exposed mice, and the 1% level of significance.

> It is easy to make instant judgments on statements like this, but
> I would like to see some specific data.

You got the 'relevant' data -- the tumour rate doubled in only 18 months.
The specific is in the paper itself, available for anyone to read.

> For instance -- how many of those 100 "exposed mice" actually
> had tumors? Suppose in a group of100 "unexposed" mice, one
> develops a tumor, whereas in a group of 100 "exposed" mice two
> mice develop tumors. Is this significant?

The 'level of significance' concept used in all scientific work grades
results as either 5% (the results could have arisen one in every
twenty times by chance) or 1% (once in a hundred). These results were
above this higher level of significance.

That is why the scientists provide these figures, so non-scientists
will have some judgment of the relative importance of the evidence
and chance factors.

It doesn't help you to know that the transgenic control mice had 22
tumours, and the exposed had 43 (after an adjustment down), because
you don't know whether the 22 is a high or a low figure.  Some
'normal' lab mice strains have 100% tumour rates in 18 months, some
are down at the 5% level.  These mice were from a low-susceptible (5%
strain) which had the gene inserted about 10 years ago to make them
'sensitive' to environmental effects.  (Note 'sensitive')

In other words, these mice are sensitive detectors - and the better the
signal-to-noise ratio they have, the more trust we can put in the
detection.

Stewart Fist, Technical writer and journalist.
Current Australian columns: <http://www. australian.aust.com/computer/>
Archives of my columns are available at the Australian and also at the ABC
site:<http://www.abc.net.au/http/pipe.htm>
Development site: <http://electric-words.com>
Phone:+612 9416 7458   Fax: +612 9416 4582
Old Homepage:<http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/stewart_fist>

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Not that it is critical or important to
Mr. Fist's response at all, but I would like to correct one small
error. The religious fundamentalists do not claim the 'world was created
in 1440 BC'. Most fundamentalists agree with the conclusions drawn
by Archbishop Usher in the early seventeenth century after considerable
study and calculations done by the Archbishop: the world was created
on Tuesday, October 14, 4004 BC at 9:30 AM. He did not say what time
zone that was; ie. Greenwich Mean Time, Eastern, etc. However King James
had his own scholars review Usher's work and they concluded he was
accurate. Thus when King James ordered a revision and updating of the
scriptures in 1612 AD, Usher's calcuations were used in the ...

read more »

 
 
 

Cell Phone Cancer Study

Post by Anthony Argyri » Mon, 12 May 1997 04:00:00



> On the contrary, voluminous recent evidence supports the proposition
> of hormesis -- that radiation below a threshold not approached by
> cellphones imparts a statistically significant increase in resistance
> to cancers among humans. Perhaps that is why cellphone rich regions
> such as Scandinavia and Japan lead the world in longevity and US users
> of PCs and cellphones live longer than non users. In general, all
> around the globe the use of electricity and other electromagnetic
> oscillations correlates almost perfectly with greater longevity.

It is doubtful that the EM exposure is the efficient cause of greater
longevity in such areas, and cellular is definitely _not_ the cause,
as those regions had higher lifespans before cellular.  

Much more likely is that high EM exposure and high longevity are
both effects of the same cause, industrialization in a capitalist
society.  Confusion of cause and effect like this is what caused the
idiocies of most third-world "development" schemes of the 60s and
70s (and continuing to this day).

Cancer rates are higher in societies like Scandinavia, Japan, and the
US than in the third world, because people live longer.  Cancer is
primarily a disease of old people, and when your society provides
many colorful ways to die before the age of 50, you are not likely
to live long enough to contract cancer.

Anthony Argyriou

 
 
 

Cell Phone Cancer Study

Post by Thor Lancelot Sim » Mon, 12 May 1997 04:00:00




> Since cell phones are not exactly a rare technology, why on earth
> should we pay any attention to the claims of carcinogenic effects
> until the incidence of relevant cancers rises in the population using
> the devices? For all the mumbo jumbo from the radiophobes with their
> tortured rodents in tow, the fact is that there are fewer, not more,
> brain tumors and other cancers among users of cellular phones,
> computers, and other radiators, than among non users. Thus there is no
> problem whatsoever to explain. Period.

Okay, you said it; I didn't.  A citation for each claim above, please?

Without such, I don't see any reason why any TELECOM Digest reader
ought to believe you, particularly considering that the other side of
the argument was perfectly willing to provide them.


Stumbling drunk in the railyard looking for God: http://www.panix.com/~tls/

 
 
 

Cell Phone Cancer Study

Post by Dana Paxso » Wed, 14 May 1997 04:00:00


This is a subject and a statistic to which I like to apply the 'struck
by lightning' test: Am I more likely to be killed, maimed, made ill or
retarded, and so forth, by the threat in question, than I am to be
killed by a bolt of lightning?

If not, why in the world should I care?  To the threat of cellphone
cancer, I say: Get in line behind strokes, drunk drivers, escaped
serial killers, undiscovered serial killers, prostate cancers,
Alzheimer's disease, * on Brazil nuts, rogue cop on a rampage,
mad bombers, flesh-eating bacteria, the next great plague, comets
striking Earth, militant gun nuts, second-hand smoke, AIDS, suicidal
depressions, cleaning pistols, arson, poison-gas spills, pets turned
feral, misprescribed *, nosocomial fatality, iatrogenic diseases,
earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, muggers, bad doctors, bad
psychiatrists, wilful stupidity, falling down a flight of stairs,
falling down on the floor, falling out of bed, falling off a building,
coffee burns, hypersensitive allergic reactions, ventricular
fibrillation, manure-tank methane, mistranslated directions on a fuel
pump, lethal toys, aortic aneurism, rabid squirrels, and oh yes,
lightning strikes.

I could go on.  Want me to?  I'm a writer of fiction, among other
things, but I can't keep up with reality for bizarre and improbable
ways to die that actually happen.  Just read the papers.

See my point?

Dana Paxson

 
 
 

Cell Phone Cancer Study

Post by George Gilde » Thu, 15 May 1997 04:00:00


I was simply pointing out that your original cell phone claim
(comparing cancers of users to those of nonusers) was based on faulty
reasoning.

I don't think the reasoning was faulty.  It was based on the
observation that cellphones, and other similar radiators such as
computers, are part of an industrial civilization that enriches its
participants and allows them to survive in greater numbers for longer
lives. I reject regression analysis that eliminates all the benefits
of industrial civilization from the ledger, while enabling some group
of litigants to extort potential billions from the cellular phone
industry by analogizing radiation to tobacco. There are enough
important threats in the world to require brusque dismissal of the
trivial.

Incidentally, in my original response, I was not making a serious
scientific argument. Such arguments against the radiophobes have been
patiently rendered for decades, most recently in the case of radon
gas, which was found in a vast government survey to be accompanied,
with statistical significance, by a reduction in cancer rates. This
result -- the more radon the less cancer -- suggests hormesis. I do
not claim that hormesis accounts for the longevity of humans in
industrial civilization.  I was merely suggesting that the contrary
view of radiation, based on studies of irradiated mice, was pretty
silly in the case of humans who have steadily increased their
lifespans through the centuries bathed in ultraviolet sunlight, while
living in a planetary magnetic field of half a gauss, charged by
lightning strikes a hundred times a second to a capacitive level of
100 volts per meter of height, all the while spending an average of
seven hours a day couched in front of a CRT. All the natural sources
of radiation dwarf the millionths of gauss involved in cellphones.  I
was trying to laugh the charges out of the house. I guess it didn't
work. I apologize for implying that my correspondents are part of a
radiophobic *. I don't believe that. But I am afraid -- and I
truly believe this -- that in the current litigious climate it is a
mistake even to entertain the radiophobic claims. If I did, for
example, I could guarantee myself a good living testifying against
telecom and computer companies. But I -- and all of you -- have far
better things to do.

George Gilder

 
 
 

Cell Phone Cancer Study

Post by Stewart Fi » Sat, 17 May 1997 04:00:00


Quote:George Gilder writes:
> And of course this issue cannot be resolved in the face of a
> baffling complex of coincident and correlative factors and
> conditions, which can be summed up as industrial civilization
> itself with its associated measuring apparatus and vast increases
> in longevity.

Obviously the new 'measuring apparatus' (the ability to detect cancers
earlier) has boosted the figures to a degree, but probably not as much as
many people suppose.  There does appear to be a general 1% pa increase in
the brain cancer rate, for instance, which if it continues to be compounded
over my son's 70 year life span, would be more than slightly significant.

George also points to the problem of longevity -- we live longer, and
therefore get more cancers.  While this may certainly be a part-explanation
for the increase in incidence, it is also THE PROBLEM.  Obviously, since we
are living longer, we must pay much more attention today to cumulative
environmental-health conditions that would have been ignored a generation
ago.

The longer people live, the more attention the society must pay to
potentially carcinogenic triggers.

Quote:>  We are left with the choice of either overthrowing industrial
> civilization with all its overwhelming benefits (the choice of the
> radiophobes) or ignoring the latest legal target until conclusive
> scientific evidence is available.

These aren't the only two choices, as George would have you believe.  There
is a third choice, which is to:

a) adequately test products for safety before they are released into the
mass market (this was not done with GSM cellular phones);

b) adequately fund independent research to keep watch over *, chemicals
and devices which could conceivably create major epidemic problems over
time;

c) legislate to protect citizens who have no way of making these judgments
themselves.

I've never yet met a radiophobe who wants to overthrow industrial
civilization, so I must guess that George is sending up some mad
ranting of the lunar right in America.  I have, however, met a lot of
radiation experts, radio engineers and many, many biomedical
scientists who are seriously concerned -- but who's concern is
generally limited to the cell-phone handset placed against the side of
the head.

Quote:> If every innovation had to face a prolonged barrage of
> speculative challenges, and endless courtroom speelunking for
> deep pockets, no innovation -- from the automobile to aspirin--
> could ever have been launched.

I've never really thought about computers and communications as belonging
to an industry sector where the motivation for innovation had been
destroyed by "endless courtroom speelunking" or a "prolonged barrage of
spectulative challenges".

I've always thought of convergence more in terms of a mad-house where the
doors have been left open.

I've never seen an industry where so many false claims are openly made, so
many products and services are advertised as 'breakthoughs' and then turn
out to vapourware; and where so many people get suckered into buying
useless products, or products which are superseded within months of
purchase.

None of this, to my knowledge, is generated by lawyers.

Perhaps a bit of restraint by the technical innovators wouldn't be amiss.

Quote:> Of course, the theory of global warming would have prohibited
> the industrial revolution itself.

I think George reveals his true biases and motivations here.  He sees
progress simply in technical terms, and so denies the obvious -- that
a lot of what we do in this society is destructive as well as
constructive.  What we need to learn to do, is to balance the value
with the dis-value.

Nothing would have "prohibited the industrial revolution" more than minds
that were closed to research evidence.

Quote:> So far the enemies of cellphones have offered absolutely no
> evidence of interest except to the usual hypochondriacs with
> lawyers and rodents in tow (feeding on a now preposterous
> theory of linear human response to radiation).

That's George's view.  It certainly isn't mine.  I can only guess that
he refuses to read anything from "radiophobe" scientists - which in
his terms means anyone finding evidence contrary to George's certainties.

And who says the response is linear -- it could even be exponential!!!

Readers can rest assured that we "enemies of the cellphone" and
"radiophobes" are not about to take over the world and ban all radio
devices. We are very much in the minority, and don't have the
multi-million dollar PR and lobby budgets of the cell phone companies.

And we are slowly learning to make the distinction between:

* handsets and cell towers in terms of power-density;

* the obvious emission problems intrinsic in TDMA vs. those of AMPS/CDMA;

* the potential difference in likely causation between the ELF and R/F
components of TDMA; and

* the reliability and importance of totally controlled laboratory research
vs. human-statistical epidemiological studies.

We may even learn eventually to distinguish mice from men.

Stewart Fist, Technical writer and journalist.
Current Australian columns: <http://www. australian.aust.com/computer/>
Archives of my columns are available at the Australian and also at the ABC
site:<http://www.veryComputer.com/;
Development site: <http://www.veryComputer.com/>
Phone:+612 9416 7458   Fax: +612 9416 4582
Old Homepage:<http://www.veryComputer.com/;