This Is Your Brain On Hold

Cranks like me have been Cassandraing for years that cellphones are brain-frying devices. The last time I wrote about this, a couple years ago for the now-departed Never In Our Names, doctors were beginning to get nervous about the blooming of brain tumors caused by chronic cellphone use. Today, according to the New York Times, some large health organizations are moving towards acknowledging cellphones as tumor-producers, and legislators from Maine to San Francisco are considering the same sort of warning labels on cellphones as are emblazoned on cigarettes.

Maine Representative Andrea Boland introduced last October a bill that would require cellphone manufacturers to place warnings on their devices; her bill will be debated in the state legislature this month. Out in San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom plans to introduce a measure that would force cellphones to display the amount of radiation they produce. “The mayor believes that cellphone safety is the next frontier,” says Brian Purchia, a Newsom spokespeak.

The World Health Organization decreed in 2005 that studies had found “no convincing evidence of an increased cancer risk.” But a more extensive study, encompassing thirteen different countries and overseen by WHO, is expected to conclude that a “significantly increased risk” of some brain tumors is “related to use of mobile phones for a period of ten years or more.”

An estimated 276. 6 million Americans currently melt their minds with cellphones.

John Walls, organ-grinder for a wireless propaganda outfit, lied to the Times that “the peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk.”

Yet even the sloth-like National Cancer Institute warns on its website that “scientists feel that additional research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn.” Meanwhile, back in July of 2008, Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute—you know, an actual medical professional—sent a memo to staff members warning them to limit their cellphone use, due to a “growing body of literature linking long-term cellphone use to possible adverse health effects, including cancer.”

A 2006 study from the Swedish National Institute for Working Life found a higher incidence of brain cancer among heavy cell users; an Israeli study found that cellphone users were 50 percent more likely to develop tumors of the parotid salivary gland.

The French and Indian governments are starting to lean harder on their peoples to leave off the cells, and the Daily Telegraph opines that the release of the new WHO report will put pressure on the UK—which already advises that children be “discouraged” from making “non-essential” calls, while adults should “keep calls short”—to do the same.

Representative Boland of Maine says she is convinced that cellphones increase the risk of brain cancer, particularly in children under 18. Her bill is being treated as an emergency measure; says a spokesman for State Senate president Elizabeth Mitchell: “if there’s a need to put these warning labels on them, doing it sooner rather than later is probably better.”

If Maine enacts Boland’s bill, it will become the first state in the nation to officially inform its citizenry that cellphones may eat their brains. “The main thing is that the warning labels get on there, and when people go to purchase something, they have a heads-up that they need to really think about it,” Boland says.

What I am unable to determine from these reports is whether these studies and bills additionally address those hideous Borg-like cellphone devices which increasing numbers of people permanently affix to their ears, day and night.


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When I Worked

January 2010
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