This is an excellent piece, although it fails to raise the fundamental question: Why has the grave “health risk of cell phones” been “hidden” from us all these years? That risk has, in fact, been hidden from us by the cell phone companies, whose managers have known about it–and have been deliberately suppressing it–since 1999.
The key figure in this story is George Carlo, the scientist originally hired by those companies to study (i.e., dismiss) the possibility that their wares might cause cancer. Carlo’s findings were selectively reported by the companies, which, naturally, hyped only those parts of his work that seemed to make their products seem as safe as apple pie.
However, Carlo also found that prolonged use of cell phones seems to lead to tumors on the outside of the skull: not brain tumors per se, but cancerous growths nonetheless. That evidence, and other troubling facts, the cell phone companies (naturally) chose not to mention; and when the scientist himself attempted to alert the media, he found reporters largely unreceptive–for
the cell phone companies had smeared him as a loose nut, not to be believed; and because they advertise so heavily throughout the press, the press chose not to rile them, and therefore turned a deaf ear to George Carlo.
Here, then, is the very same scenario that the tobacco companies invented half a century ago, and one in which the press played its ignoble part; only now, of course, it’s not Philip Morris, Brown & Williamson and the American Tobacco Company that vigorously (and groundlessly) deny the inconvenient evidence, but Verizon, Nokia and AT&T et al. And now, as then, the kept press took far better care of their top advertisers than they did of us, although it’s We the People whom the press should be honoring first of all, according to the theory that produced the First Amendment.
For a lucid and quite harrowing account of Carlo’s dark experience, consult the book that he co-wrote with Martin Schram, Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age: An Insider’s Alarming Discoveries About Cancer and Genetic Damage, published by Carroll & Graf in 2001, and still in print. (It ought to come as no surprise that this book went largely unreviewed; I only
learned of it from seeing Carlo and Schram talk about it on C-SPAN’s “Book TV.”)
The Hidden Health Risk of Cell Phones
By Geoffrey Lean, Independent UK
Posted on October 12, 2007, Printed on October 14, 2007
Using a mobile phone for more than 10 years increases the risk of getting brain cancer, according to the most comprehensive study of the risks yet published.
The study — which contradicts official pronouncements that there is no danger of getting the disease — found that people who have had the phones for a decade or more are twice as likely to get a malignant tumour on the side of the brain where they hold the handset.
The scientists who conducted the research say using a mobile for just an hour every working day during that period is enough to increase the risk — and that the international standard used to protect users from the radiation emitted is “not safe” and “needs to be revised.”
They conclude that “caution is needed in the use of mobile phones” and believe children, who are especially vulnerable, should be discouraged from using them at all.
The study, published in the latest issue of the peer-reviewed journal Occupational Environmental Medicine, is important because it pulls together research on people who have used the phones for long enough to contract the disease.
Cancers take at least 10 years — and normally much longer — to develop but, as mobile phones have spread so recently and rapidly, relatively few people have been using them that long.