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United Kingdom Communications Medicine Stats Wireless Networking

11-Year UK Study Reports No Health Danger From Mobile Phone Transmissions 180

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-off-the-tin-foil-hat dept.
Mark.JUK writes "The United Kingdom's 11-years long Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR) has today published a comprehensive report that summarizes 31 research projects, which investigated the potential for biological or adverse health effects of mobile phone and wireless signals on humans (e.g. as a cause for various cancers or other disorders). The good news is that the study, which has resulted in nearly 60 papers appearing in peer-reviewed scientific journals, found 'no evidence' of a danger from mobile transmissions in the typically low frequency radio spectrum bands (e.g. 900MHz and 1800MHz etc.)."
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11-Year UK Study Reports No Health Danger From Mobile Phone Transmissions

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  • It doesn't matter. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @04:18AM (#46236257)

    Scares usually persist long after any scientific backing is gone. Look at anti-vax, for example - the one study showing a link between vaccines and autism has not only been discredited but exposed as an outright fraud by a doctor who was paid to produce specific results. Yet the anti-vax movement continues to believe in the connection regardless. Or the abortion-breast-cancer link - originating in a study which misinterpreted results due to the lack of a true control group and now rejected by just about every reputable cancer-related organisation. Yet, once again, belief in the link remains widespread in the pro-life movement - largely because they wish it were true. This is the same thing again - it doesn't matter how many studies show no adverse effects, we're still going to see a lot of people claiming wireless networks gives them a migraine and worrying about phone-induced cancer.

  • by ledow (319597) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @04:37AM (#46236305) Homepage

    A determined idiot can be an almost unresolvable roadblock.

    It doesn't mean we should stop beating sense into them, though. I find it much more scary that something like 50% of Americans believe that astrology has some effect on their life... at least these people are basing their prejudices on something that appeared (for a while, in a modern environment) scientifically plausible.

    Sorry, but until we can eliminate the UFO-believers( and the astrologers and palm-readers and the conspiracy theorists, and whole swathes of others) we don't stand a chance of having no misinformation being spread by idiots about health-scares.

    Go ask people about swimming on a full stomach. Then find out the truth (it makes no difference!). We're in the Misinformation Age.

  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jklovanc (1603149) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @05:34AM (#46236417)

    There is a simple long term study that proves that cell phones do not appreciably increase brain cancer risks. It is the basic cancer statistics [cancer.gov]. That graph covers the years 1992 to 2010. Over that period of time cancer rated have been pretty steady. Considering the explosion in subscriber [areppim.com] after 1998 there should be an explosion in brain cancers. There is not. No correlation therefore no causation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 13, 2014 @05:53AM (#46236457)
    Yes, you saw a UFO. That is, it was a Flying Object, and it was Unidentifiable to you. That happens all the time, and various armies, navies & air forces take UFO sightings seriously.

    It's when people start ascribing extra-terrestrial origin nonsense, or claims of alien abduction, where things start to get hokey.
  • by _Shorty-dammit (555739) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @06:00AM (#46236473)

    It's still non-ionizing radiation. Be as skeptical as you want. The rest of us will just point and laugh.

  • by Welsh Dwarf (743630) <d@mills-slashdot.guesny@net> on Thursday February 13, 2014 @06:26AM (#46236525) Homepage

    > I find it much more scary that something like 50% of Americans believe that astrology has some effect on their life...

    But it does, it's called the placebo effect!

  • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @07:24AM (#46236723)
    Before you laugh you need to add the words "low intensity" (which this most definitely is) since high intensity non-ionizing radiation is a known hazard. Enough to make you warm by induction alone (which is a hell of a lot of RF) is a big problem and that's why the really dangerous stuff gets shielded before anyone is expected to work near it. Faulty shielding in some RF welders for plastic seams caused quite a few miscarriages in one factory a few decades ago.
    Still don't believe me? Microwave ovens use non-ionizing radiation. Several orders of magnitude more than if you had your head stuffed in the transmitting dish from one of these towers, but it's the intensity and not the type of radiation that divides safe as background from cooked in two minutes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 13, 2014 @07:28AM (#46236733)

    Some of us have strong enough stomach valve muscles to be able to be horizontal on a full stomach.

    Some of us can't handle fast blinking reddish lights. Some people get sea sick or puke when watching 1st person shooters. Others puke when people near them puke (an evolutionary good idea if you're all eating the same food and someone gets sick). Some people sneeze when you flash a light in their face. Humans have very few magnetic sensitive cells but we do have some. If someone says he can feel when he's facing north no matter the time of day there's reason to believe him. Just because something is rare doesn't mean it can't happen. Some people have allergic reactions to light.

    It's not hard to believe that a few people can be affected by every new tech we created. It's unlikely that many people are affected by most radio spectrum bands, but I'd bet money that someone out of the 7 billion people on the planet does have some type of issue. It's even more believable when you learn that your heart responses to different radio frequencies by beating differently: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/90/5/2299

    People need to keep their minds open. It's an interesting world and we know very little about how it all works.

  • Grain of Salt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sociocapitalist (2471722) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @08:40AM (#46237023)

    How many studies were there that showed that smoking wasn't bad for your health?

    It would be interesting to know who funded all the referenced studies, as well.

  • Re:Prediction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bengie (1121981) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:29AM (#46237255)

    As for the anti-vax thing, I don't feel the government should force us to be vaccinated. It should be a personal decision between patient, parent, and doctor.

    Except in exceptional situations like a family history of adverse reactions, not getting vaccinations is about as much child abuse as only feeding a child candy for their entire life. Not only is that detrimental to the child, but it is also a huge risk for the rest of society.

    If people get to willingly choose not to get vaccinated(assuming we have high quality vaccinations), other people should have the choice of not allowing willingly unvaccinated people near them in any way. Turn it into a crime of attempted murder with malicious intent.

    For me, vaccinations rank right up there with courts and law enforcement, as a modern requirement for a health society. Again, assuming we have stringent requirements on the quality of vaccines.

  • by Mashdar (876825) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @10:42AM (#46237751)

    1) You must burp a lot more than I do. It's unusual if I burp twenty times in a week unless I've been drinking beer. (The other end is another matter, but I eat a LOT of beans!)

    2) I frequently eat until the next helping would make me sick. It's slightly pathological, but useful for this conversation.

    3) I have never once noticed a problem with burping in bed. Maybe I just don't burp enough?

    4) In college I used to swim for at least 30 minutes daily, and I literally never had a problem with a full stomach (again, perhaps I don't burp enough?). I don't recall anyone else in the lap pool stopping suddenly, but I am not particularly observant, especially with my face under water.

    5) The myth about swiming on a full stomach is that you will have a cramp and drown. It has nothing to do with being sick. GP was refering to that myth, and your comment has nothing to do with it.

  • by DiscountBorg(TM) (1262102) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @12:21PM (#46238665)

    Ah, the old -science will all be wrong in 20 years...

    Which is wrong of course, we still make use of Newtonian physics hundreds of years later, and were you to count mathematics, some aspects of mathematics date back thousands of years. It's fair to say that 20 years from now we will still accept phylogenetic trees and we will use physics that allows us to build computers. Science is a process of refinement, a spectrum of probabilities

    The strength of science is that it can in fact discard ideas quickly. If a model is no longer useful, out it goes, or it is altered. I find it odd that the parent assumes that because science has procedures built in to allow it to change when it is wrong, that this somehow equates to astrology therefore being right. Eg science will be wrong in 20 years which it wont)==astrology is right. This does not follow.

    Science has predictive power. Anyone can replicate its results if they replicate the conditions of the experiment. With astrology on the other hand, lots of us have tried it, and it doesn't work. It doesn't stand up to testing. If it worked for everyone, it wouldn't be an issue, but it doesn't. Sure, there's a percentage of people out there who claim it work, but that's to be expected in a large enough population as a statistical probability. You'll find people claiming garlic cloves ward off the flu too. What it comes down to in the end isn't just that such beliefs are wrong--they simply aren't useful for the most of us.

    Of course when the phrase 'be open minded' comes out, this translates as 'crowds who believe in anything for thousands of years can't possibly be wrong, blindly follow them''. When the bandwagon fallacy comes out, you know the ego is at work. Let's talk Tim Leary. Science is the real, ultimate ego death. There's no room for ego in determining objective reality, because objective reality doesn't work the way one wants it to.

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