Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Testing Cell Phone Radiation on Humans 159

Posted by Zonk
from the my-precious-brains-are-already-scrambled dept.
Palm Addict writes "News.com reports that Finland's radiation watchdog is to study the effects of mobile phones on human proteins by direct tests on people's skin. From the article: 'A pilot study, to be conducted next week, will expose a small area of skin on volunteers' arms to cell phone radiation for the duration of a long phone call, or for one hour, research professor Dariusz Leszczynski said on Friday.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Testing Cell Phone Radiation on Humans

Comments Filter:
  • by liangzai (837960) on Friday March 03, 2006 @11:12AM (#14842900) Homepage
    The Finns should be disqualified for this study, they have hardened their tissues by life-long use of saunas.
  • by SlashThat (859697) on Friday March 03, 2006 @11:13AM (#14842921)
    Why not test it on living human cells separated from living humans? That way no one would catch cancer as a result of this research, and it may even be easier to study (at least some of) the effects.
    • by ptbarnett (159784)
      Why not test it on living human cells separated from living humans?

      RTFA.

      In previous tests, Leszczynski's group found evidence of mobile phone radiation causing cell-level changes such as shrinkage, but he said it was still impossible to say if that had significant health effects.

      "Cells function in a different way when they are in the body than in laboratory surroundings. Now we want to confirm whether radiation causes cell level changes in humans as well," he said.

      • Yeah, for example, any potential damage caused by RF exposure is from heating of the tissue. Microwave radiation is an entirely different beast from nuclear radiation. Nuclear radiation consists of high energy particles (alpha and beta particles), and extremely high energy electromagnetic radiation (gamma rays) which have shorter wavelengths (higher energy) than visible light. High energy radiation has the ability to "flip bits" in our DNA and other nasty effects that cause permanent and cumulative damag
        • There is evidence to date with regard to DNA damage as a result of exposure. The test seems utterly bogus, news at eleven, skin cells complete with a layer of dead skin cells are not brain cells.

          Expose the human brain to typical UV exposure that the skin receives and how long do you think it will be before cancers and tumours start to form.

          This is not an experiment to test cell phone usage, it is a blatant attempt to prove the safe use of cell phones. Science as marketing, which to me always means there

    • RTA, cells separate from humans = cell cultures.

      and the mutant spawn that resulted wrote the new test protocol ;)
    • Catch cancer from one hour of exposure? Researchers are still trying to figure out if the people who use their cell phones for several hours every day are at an increased risk of cancer. We're talking about over a thousand hours a year for some people. One more hour is negligible if you're worried about cancer, and if you're talking about people who are only low users (probably a good idea, because if an effect does occur, there might not be a detectable difference in regular users), it's not even worth the
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Remember this?
    "Many students, and other young people, have little in the way of cooking skills but can usually get their hands on a couple of mobile phones. So, this week, we show you how to use two mobile phones to cook an egg which will make a change from phoning out for a pizza. Please note that this will not work with cordless phones."n

    http://www.wymsey.co.uk/wymchron/cooking.htm [wymsey.co.uk]

    I suppose cooking a human face is similar enough.
  • What they'll find (Score:3, Interesting)

    by john83 (923470) on Friday March 03, 2006 @11:14AM (#14842927)
    They'll discover that the phones have a small heating effect, 1 C, as required by a)basic phystics and b)regulations. They will conclude whatever they have already assumed, i.e. that this is dangerous/not dangerous, without any actual experimentation having been done on that particular question.
  • Radiation levels (Score:5, Informative)

    by digitaldc (879047) * on Friday March 03, 2006 @11:15AM (#14842939)
    CNET has another article showing the radiation levels [cnet.com] of certain cell phones.

    Within the US models listed, Motorola has the highest with its Motorola V120c, and the lowest goes to the Audiovox PPC66001.
    Maybe people will want to check this chart before buying a new cell phone? Maybe not.
    • First, if you try to measure RF field levels you get hit by a terrifying array of hard-to-control variables. Everything on your lab bench is either reflecting or absorbing the output of the phone. Each reflection will either add to or subtract from the signal at your field strength meter.

      Second, if phones still do automatic power control, then all the field strength tells you is whether the base station told that particular phone "speak up!" at that particular time.
    • Good. I made it into the lowest catagory. Go Audiovox! I may not be able to cook with it, but at least my head will be safer...
      • And how well does your phone transmit/receive? Do you drop calls often/go out of range easily? Lower radiation=lower transmition power=shorter range. Sure, it might not cook your brain so much, but there's always a trade off. The only reason it wouldnt is if this EMF radiation were not from the primary source: antenna, but rather output from the internals not related to transmission.

        tm

        • It's not too bad. I've found that places I don't get service, other people don't either. I would get service though were I used to live, when other people weren't.

          People complain about certain things with my phone, and I seem to be doing alright with those particular issues.
      • And you will also have no service when I with my V710 will :) Thanks, but I'll keep my V710 and just use the wired headset or speakerphone.
    • Maybe people will want to check this chart before buying a new cell phone? Maybe not.

      From glancing through the chart it looks like the industry is cleaning up the products on their own to a degree.

      My current phone (Nokia 6610, which is a few years old design) comes in at a low .45 W/kg,
      while my previous phone, a much older design Nokia 5190, was rated at more than twice as much at 1.29 W/kg. Then look at new models like the N90 at .22, the fairly recent N-Gage at .37, and the current Nokia Communicator, the
  • Why arm skin? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Friday March 03, 2006 @11:16AM (#14842944) Homepage Journal
    Testing arm skin isn't all that practical, who keeps a cell phone there?

    They should find out how the radiation affects the two bodily areas my phone is usually found, which coincidentally are the two areas I'm most worried about irradiating.
  • by donutz (195717) on Friday March 03, 2006 @11:17AM (#14842961) Homepage Journal
    I thought the whole concern over radiation from cell phones was that it would cause some kind of internal cancer, notably in your brain (or maybe your hip if that's where you keep your phone?). Is a skin-surface test going to be indicative of the kinds of sub-surface damage we're really concerned about?

    At any rate, it will be good to have another study on this subject, to add weight either that the radiation is mostly harmless, or that we need to start wearing a layer of tin foil...
  • This is silly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by radiumhahn (631215) on Friday March 03, 2006 @11:19AM (#14842970)
    It's non-ionizing radiation.... people have been putting these things by their heads for hours on a daily basis... show me one potential case of burn via cell signal.
    • Re:This is silly (Score:3, Informative)

      Thank God somebody said it. Every time I see one of these studies, I remind myself that they're being performed by the same idiot pre-meds who were struggling through basic physics and chemistry courses. Even that's when they didn't get special dumbed-down "premed" versions of those classes. Somehow, this is not surprising. Not saying all doctors are dumb, just most of them.

      Who needs an actual mechanism, as long as I repeat the experiment enough times to get the right confidence level from the stat tab

      • Every time I see one of these studies, I remind myself that they're being performed by the same idiot pre-meds who were struggling through basic physics and chemistry courses.

        What makes you think this study isn't being done by some biophysicists or biochemists? The parent article was singularly lacking in detail, but if were working in the field I'd be doing microarray experiments to see if any genes were significantly up or down regulated by microwave exposure. Given what we do know about background leve

      • Every time I see one of these studies, I remind myself that they're being performed by the same idiot pre-meds who were struggling through basic physics and chemistry courses. Even that's when they didn't get special dumbed-down "premed" versions of those classes. Somehow, this is not surprising. Not saying all doctors are dumb, just most of them.

        Well the researchers performing this study may be aware of something you're not, which is that radiation affects biological systems without ionizing them. Drop yo
    • Re:This is silly (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Valdrax (32670)
      It's non-ionizing radiation.... people have been putting these things by their heads for hours on a daily basis... show me one potential case of burn via cell signal.

      Alternating magnetic fields aren't generally considered ionizing radiation either, but rat studies [ehponline.org] have shown that they can cause an iron-mediated peroxide reaction that causes DNA strand breakage in rat neurons.

      Just because radio waves cannot directly break carbon bonds like UV radiation and higher doesn't necessarily mean that they're harmles
    • Old style "bag phones" with 3W transmit power could possibly have the potential for causing contact RF burns if direct skin contact with the antenna were involved. The threshold for a burn is somewhere in the 3-5W range, and partly depends on which part of the antenna one touches (high voltage region vs. high current.) That said, it would be an extremely mild burn similar to brief contact with hot metal.

      No cell phone I know of permits actual direct contact with the antenna element, plus 3W phones are a th
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Friday March 03, 2006 @11:21AM (#14842986)

    ...would be the reaction of the world if these things really do cause cancer. Would we just deal with the risk? Rebuild all the towers to use frequencies that don't penetrate human skin? Give up cell phones altogether? Would insurance companies hike your rates if you use a cellphone?

    • Would we just deal with the risk? Rebuild all the towers to use frequencies that don't penetrate human skin? Give up cell phones altogether? Would insurance companies hike your rates if you use a cellphone?

      Whether or not they had a risk would be downplayed in the media to the point of uselessness. Everyone would nod in unison that "well everything causes cancer nowadays," and nobody would even think it was a risk. Till a rash of cancer appeared and then everyone would finally figure out that the link w

      • But I do have this one comment: don't drink diet soda folks, I know it does more than they say it does. Hell my mom used to get migraines from drinking it, stopped drinking it, migraines gone. You are exposing yourself to all kinds of risks you have no idea about. Because the media and the FDA were bought and sold a long time ago.

        Couldn't agree more. If you'd like to see an example of just how bought-out the FDA is, check out the story about a sweetener alternative called stevia. Here's a good link [stevia.net] to

      • Hell my mom used to get migraines from drinking it, stopped drinking it, migraines gone.

        Two words: Psycho. Somatic.

      • But I do have this one comment: don't drink diet soda folks, I know it does more than they say it does. Hell my mom used to get migraines from drinking it, stopped drinking it, migraines gone.

        I assume you are talking about aspartame-sweetened diet soda. There are also other sweeteners, like sucralose. Sucralose also scares people, it's sucrose with methyl groups replaced with chlorine atoms, which doesn't sound too scary to me. Aspartame, however, is a big complex bundle of amino acids that we don't r

      • by Expert Determination (950523) on Friday March 03, 2006 @12:54PM (#14843707)
        I know it does more than they say it does. Hell my mom used to get migraines from drinking it, stopped drinking it, migraines gone.
        And I know people who get horribly sick from eating wheat products. Does that mean wheat is dangerous? Generalising from a sample size of one is far more dangerous that drinking diet soda.
        • And I know people who get horribly sick from eating wheat products. Does that mean wheat is dangerous? Generalising from a sample size of one is far more dangerous that drinking diet soda.

          But wheat doesn't cntain artificial sweeteners. Let me put it to you this way. Granulated sugar is bad, it's already processed, it has health effects to the point where any truly healthy conscious person will tell you straight up to try to cut it out of your diet as much as possible. Then they take it a step further

          • But wheat doesn't cntain artificial sweeteners.

            But it makes some people sick. The point is, you can't deduce that it's generally harmful simply by pointing out some examples of people who suffered ill effects from it.

            Granulated sugar is bad, it's already processed

            What does its being processed have to do with anything? Are you saying it's processed with chemical process that might leave a poisonous residue? Almost all foods are 'processed'. Cooking is processing.

            it has health effects to the point wh

      • It's just like all other things, we'll play it off no matter what the study says. But I do have this one comment: don't drink diet soda folks, I know it does more than they say it does. Hell my mom used to get migraines from drinking it, stopped drinking it, migraines gone.

        Does she still drink any caffenated in varying does? I used to get migranes due to caffeine withdrawal. No more irregular doses of caffeine; no more problem.

        I'm suspicious of the aspartame controversy. I haven't seen a single credible
        • Does she still drink any caffenated in varying does? I used to get migranes due to caffeine withdrawal. No more irregular doses of caffeine; no more problem.

          Her poison of choice was caffeine free diet pepsi. I remember she used to drink a lot of it. The instant she cut it out from her diet all of her migraines got reduced to irregular mild headaches after noise exposure (like a regular person). She didn't cut out all soda, or anything like this. She simply cut out the nutrisweet or the whatever the h

      • It's just like all other things, we'll play it off no matter what the study says. But I do have this one comment: don't drink diet soda folks, I know it does more than they say it does. Hell my mom used to get migraines from drinking it, stopped drinking it, migraines gone. You are exposing yourself to all kinds of risks you have no idea about. Because the media and the FDA were bought and sold a long time ago.

        Well, you could believe the well-documented report [eu.int] prepared by the EU's Scientific Committee on fo
    • I think we are all afraid of the next asbestos. However, this time there are a lot of studies on the effects of RF exposure, because of this fear. There is nothing to be worried about yet, but you can bet, with the state of the news media today, if anything remotely worrying were to crop up, news shows will scream bloody murder from the higest mountains.
    • I think more interesting would be the new physics and biology we have to work out to explain WHY they caused cancer.
  • Considering the findings recently that soft drinks in the UK contain cancer causing Benzene [timesonline.co.uk] - I haven't heard of the drinks being pulled off of the shelves yet.

    What if cell phones are lnked to cancer? Are they going to expose the cells to triple the duration? Too much of anything can be dangerous. The electromagnetic fields that we live in daily are possibly harmful - will they stop microwave communications?

    ...the scary part is, if they do cause ill effects...we're giving mobile communications devices
    • Interesting.... I had just posted a blog about this dasani water yesterday. I thought Coca-cola had pulled it, according to an article from the Guardian I read while doing some poking around - http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,3604,117412 7,00.html [guardian.co.uk] Dasani = reverse osmosis filtered tap water + epsom salt/laxative (Magnesium Sulfate) + food preservative/lethal injection ingredient (Potassium Chloride) + salt (of unknown origin)
      • Magnesium sulfate and potassium chloride only have those effects in extremely large doses. "Salt" when used by itself in a food label pretty much always means sodium chloride.

        These salts are added to the purified water to prevent it from tasting bad and from doing damage to your body like distilled water will. You need a salt balance to prevent omosis from slurping up the water in your body into your cells until they rupture. Drinking too pure water is unhealthy and has all kinds of side effects. This i
    • Thus the obligatory "OMG THINK OF THE CHILDREN" post.

      >..the scary part is, if they do cause ill effects...we're giving mobile communications devices to children younger and younger.

      Automobiles cause ill effects when they get into accidents yet we put children in there. In child seats. Don't assume everyone is a this irresponsible ass strawman. If cell phones were linked to harming anyone (elderaly, children, etc) then there would be real efforts to mitigate these dangers. Most states in the US, if not
      • Automobiles cause ill effects when they get into accidents yet we put children in there. In child seats.

        Because we have to.

        Little 11-year old girls don't have to spend three hours a day with their cellphones stuck to their faces yakking away. If we find that doing so raises the risk of cancer too greatly it's a simple matter to more heavily moderate this completely unnecessary behaviour.

        • Because we have to

          Yikes! This is Stupid Bull Sh*t (TM)!

          Why to we have to put our children in automobiles?
          • OMFW, are you joking!?!?!?!? Because if we didn't, they would never get educated and die everytime they got sick because we couldn't even take them to the doctor? The vast majority of transporting of children is due to things they by and large mostly have to do (duh).

            Maybe you live in a big city with well-developed public transport, but not everyone does.

          • Why to we have to put our children in automobiles?

            Let me put it another way: You try raise your own children without ever putting them in automobiles. Try it. Let's see how far that gets you. Do you realise how dumb you sound now?

            Can I imagine raising children without having them talk on cellphones (except in emergencies)? Yes, because I grew up in an era where cellphones didn't even exist.

            • I have one 6yo boy and a girl is coming in April.

              I put him and will put her in automobiles everyday.

              Is it a necessity? Absolutely no.

              I know lots of people who live their lives fullfillingly (is that a word?) without ever entering an automobile. When they have to go to the school, they walk to the school. When they have to go to the doctor, they walk/are carried to the doctor. Because you live in a big City you shouldn't assume everyone does, lest you sound really foolish. I'm not joking, I lived for five ye
  • ... to me as a physicist the EM intensity levels of a cellphone are benign (far below maximum alowance in most countries). Still there is much that can happen without us being able to reasonably meaure it that every new approach to test safety of electronic devices so commonly used has sense.
    • Yah, I have a lot of experience with radio, and had always thouht the levels were so low as to have neglible effects on human tissue. Then I had to have a tumor dug out of the side of my head, right next to where the antenna on my cell phone was. I agree, this is anecdotal at best...but now I'm not quite as ready to write off the potential for cell phone radiation causing damage as I was before.
  • I hope this research isn't used to regulate or litigate cell phones out of existence. Life is risky and it should be up to individuals to make their own informed decisions about how they live their lives. People should be able to make personal trade-offs regarding safety, productivity, life-activity, and life-span.

    Of course if "second-hand cell radiation" gets cell phones banned from public places, then I could see more demand for regulation just to force people to shut-up.
  • just using the word "radiation" presents bias -- people assume this equals the same kind of radiation they've been told to fear from nuc plants and atom bombs. Nothing could be further from the truth unless it came from the U.S. Government.

    Still, using the word (which has as little meaning by itself as the word Server does) presents a set of expectations which are inaccurate for most people.

  • "A long phone call?" - What about the people wearing Bluetooth headsets all day, imparting 2.4 Ghz of energy into their ear and hip? Your shoulders and pelvis make a lot of your red blood cells. Your next phone call could be from Lymphoma...

    kulakovich
    • by BeanThere (28381)

      2.4 Ghz of energy

      What the hell is "2.4 GHz of energy"? That makes no sense. 2.4 GHz is merely the frequency, not the intensity. The unit you're looking for is "watts". Your crappy little bluetooth transmitter is very low wattage, but your cellphone transmits at a much higher wattage because it has to talk to towers that are friggin kilometers away.

      Cellphones transmit in the microwave band, which is known to definitely heat biological tissue. It is known and not disputed that using a cellphone causes a mi

      • by BeanThere (28381)

        Just to give you an idea though of the relative weakness of intensity of a cellphone transmission, a cellphone typically transmits at no greater than 2 watts (typically around 1) ... my microwave oven on the other hand is 900 watts. A typical bluetooth headset with 10m range transmits at only 2.5 mW (milli-watts).

      • Visible and infrared light are known to cause heating too. Also, well, furnaces.
    • Bzzzzzzzz.

      User prevented from using the word 'Energy' until he finds out what it actually means.

  • There has never been a study to my knowledge that has shown that cell phones cause cancer. I understand the need to throughly test Cell phone radiation, but IMO it's been throughly tested for years.

    I just hope this study shows no effect like all the other ones, or we will have another good old fashion panic on our hands.
  • by liliafan (454080) on Friday March 03, 2006 @12:10PM (#14843355) Homepage
    I have been using cellphones for years and never had any kind of a problem, I find them most useful, for example the third eye above my right ear helps get a better view when driving and the second head sprouting off my hip gives me someone to talk to. Heh radiation altering cells what a load of rubbish and my talking second head agrees.
  • I want to be the first person to sue the phone companies for giving me cancer. It was so annoying to be born a few years too late to get on the "Sue the Tobacco Industry" bandwagon
  • Verizon's network is different from T-mobile, etc. From my understanding, CDMA requires a lot more power than GSM. Therefore, I'd like to see some results clearly pointing out these differences. I'm sure the RAZR for Cingular has less radiation power than the one for Verizon.

    Granted I could try to figure this out using the data in CNETs article, but that won't help educate others.

  • by Mr. Bad Example (31092) on Friday March 03, 2006 @12:53PM (#14843701) Homepage
    Is anyone else picturing the Verizon guy in a lab coat standing over test subjects and repeating "Do you have cancer now? Good!"?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    After Conan O'Brian visited Finland, it was obvious that some sort of mutations had occurred, as what is
    the chance that an American TV personality looks just like the president of Finland?
  • AHHHHHHHHH! (Score:3, Informative)

    by agentcdog (885108) on Friday March 03, 2006 @01:02PM (#14843782)
    OK so I did an experiment using a scintillation counter in my physics lab. When you turn the machine on you got lots of hits (dozens per second) from background radiation. Then I stuck my phone up against it... nothing happened. The radiation from a phone is too weak to register. So if you are even remotely worried by cell phones, you should find yourself a big dirt hole way underground then line it with aluminum foil.
    Seriously though, this is a reply that I made the the last rediculous artlice about cell-phone cancer:
    *Rolling Eyes* The people who study these things I think just make up dumb studies so that they can get grant money. There are three ways in which EM radiation (what cell phones use) can be dangerous, in order of severity: 1. Radiation that has the resonant frequency of molecular bonds can give a LOT of energy to the molecules that make us up. That's how a microwave oven works. The EM waves have the same frequency as the resonant frequency for water molecules.
    2. Radiation can kick off electrons (beta particles) or protons (alpha particles). If an element loses an electron it becomes more volatile. If an element in our DNA loses a proton it can change the DNA. That's why strong radiation can cause cancer.
    3. Radiation can generally heat us up.
    Cell phone radiation is not even strong enough to kick off an electron unless it is VERY loosely bound. It has no chance of kicking off a proton.
    Bottom line: Unless you feel your brain start cooking (the sun is WAY more likely to cook your brain), don't worry.
    • Re:AHHHHHHHHH! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hankwang (413283) *
      Your list is full of errors. Is that physics lab of yours in high school? Don't believe that you know everything about physics just because you passed your high school exam.

      1. Radiation that has the resonant frequency of molecular bonds can give a LOT of energy to the molecules that make us up. That's how a microwave oven works. The EM waves have the same frequency as the resonant frequency for water molecules.

      No, vibrational resonances in molecular bonds are in the range 30--100 THz (that is a factor 2

      • And you're sig is the best idea i've heard in a while.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    IAPS and it's indeed very unlikely that cellular phone radiation can cause cancer. At least, it can not work on the same principles as is normal with ionizing radiation (as it's not). But what many people seem to forget, that any free electric charge does interact with radiation. Water is strongly polarized molecule, and many physiological reactions are ion-based. So any electromagnetic wave can indeed have a very small effect on the biology. I'm _not_ implying that it is enough to cause cancer, or any dise
  • cell phones can now cook eggs....... No - Realy [wymsey.co.uk]
  • by Tiro (19535)
    I've got to quit holding my cell phone between my legs...

    Especially at work, when I have my own cell phone + the two-way radio cell phone provided for my duties


  •   Irrespective of whether lotsa Finnish saunas "harden" the skin -
      as an earlier poster quipped - reports from autopsies of long-
      time cell-phone users suggest that a better test of the effects
      of cell-phone use would focus on the brain, where such autopsies
      have apparently revealed small brain tumors on the side of most
      cel-phone use.

      When will we have more studies of cell-phone use's affect on
      brain-cells?

"No job too big; no fee too big!" -- Dr. Peter Venkman, "Ghost-busters"

Working...