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April 5, 2004 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

mut8d thums & 2mers

“Our flashy cellphones
Make people mumble ‘Gee whiz
Look how important he is
His life must rule’
You’ll get a tumour
But on your surgery day
The Doc will see it and say
Wow you must really be cool!”
-‘You’ve Got a lot to See’, The Family Guy

You probably use your cellphone without even thinking about the fact that you are taking your life in your hands every time you put it to your head. Dangerous radiation passes from the phone straight into your brain! And your ear!! You’ll get a tumour and then you’ll be sorry!!! Not to mention the danger of mutating your thumbs, OOS and the damage to your social life that you’ll suffer if you don’t have the right model. I worked for a cellphone retailer for a number of years and we were often visited by well-meaning citizens preaching to us about the dangers of cellphone and, happily, selling remedies like radiation blockers and magnets. We loved them, and to show our affection, would call them things like “crackheads” and “fuckwits” as soon as they were gone. It was amazing how many of them were smokers. Irony in action, folks.

But is your cellphone really dangerous? In 2002 a study by Warwick University found that kids who overused were developing mutations. The thumb had become predominant in the most dextrous digit stakes. Thumbs up! Clearly a health consequence, but I’m not sure if this can be categorised as a health danger. I can think of all manner of situations in which super-dextrous thumbs could be really useful.

Rock climbing, for instance.

Of more concern is the suggestion that cellphone use can lead to tumours. Scientists advising the British government said earlier this year that there was “no clear evidence that mobile phones were harmful to health, but cautioned there could be as-yet unknown biological effects of exposure to the phones’ low levels of radiation”, according to CBS in January this year. Pah! To CBS, though – what does have to say about it? “A Danish study linked data on all of the 420, 095 cellphone users in Denmark between 1982 and 1995, to the Danish Cancer Registry… The results are the following: The brain cancer patients didn’t report more cellphone use than the subjects who were free of brain cancer. In fact, for reasons that remain unclear, most of the studies showed a tendency toward lower risk of brain cancer among cellphone users.” The study also found that there was no clear link between different types of cancer and cellphone use, that cellphone use appeared to have nothing to do with tumour location.

Good news, right? Well, it is if you’re prepared to believe the results of studies done on humans. Can you really call medical research conclusive until it’s been done on rats? Luckily, the FDA has done just that. In “An Evaluation of Ornithine Decarboxylase Activity in Brain Regions of Fetal Rats Exposed to Radiofrequency Fields,” Anderson et. el., in which 250 fetal sample were randomly assayed for ODC activity by measuring the amount of 14CO2 released from the L-1-14C-orthinine. Preliminary results show no difference in the samples exposed and the controls. Just guessing, but that sounds like it’s confirming the results of the studies on real people. That’s good news for the rats, and for you too. Well, good news for the rats except that they were sacrificed and aborted for the experiment, but it was worth it to set our minds at rest, right?

You’re at more immediate risk from using your cellphone while driving, so stop it! Not just because you can crash, but also because you look like a twat! And, for the love of god, stop texting while you’re walking, you’re getting in my way.


About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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