Cell Phones and Cancer I

Yet another study was released on wireless devices. This one purportedly shows increased brain activity after 50 minutes of cell phone use.

These perpetual cell phone stories show the importance of scientific theories and having an integrated approach to science. Here’s what I mean. Suppose I claim that singing in the rain causes brain cancer. Would you advocate, based on my claim, that millions be spent on studies and research into singing in the rain? I suspect not.

Why? Because you would think my claim ridiculous on the face of it since you know something about singing and about rain and you can’t see any plausible connection to brain cancer based on your knowledge of the way the world works. Or what about the claim that lunar eclipses cause crops to fail or people to go insane? You would probably reject that too, also because your understanding of physics and physiology provide no underlying explanation.

But, once upon a time people would not have been so sure that an eclipse wasn’t responsible for evil. And they would not have undertaken a scientific study. They might have just accepted the connection between eclipses and crop failures as a fact. What makes us different? Again, it’s our improved understanding of the way the world works.

Yet, examples of questionable thinking are all around us, usually expressed as fears, fears of high tension wires, fears of pesticides, fears of food preservatives, vaccines and food coloring.  There are certainly enough popular books and articles to fan these fears.  How does one separate truth from paranoia?

In the case of cell phones, the original scare was based on a husband’s lawsuit claiming his wife’s brain tumor was caused by her cell phone.  Study after study has been done, with mixed results. To date, there has been no solid connection found between phones and cancer. But without some causal connection, or theory, the studies could go on forever, trying this and that without any guidance that a consistent theory provides.

I happen to be skeptical about any connection between cell phones and cancer. Why? Because I integrate what I know about radio frequency electromagnetic waves with what I know about cancer.

Cancer requires a change to occur deep within a cell, to the DNA or maybe to some other critical molecules. That means anything that causes cancer has to modify the cell’s molecules. That usually means chemical action or a virus. Radiation can do that too, but the radiation we know causes cancer include ultra-violet light,  x-rays, gamma rays and other very short wavelength radiation plus some of the sub-atomic particles given off by radio-active decay.

Cell phones emit UHF frequency signals in bands such as 450 MHz and 800 MHz (1 MHz is a million cycles per sec) and wavelengths as short as a few inches to three feet. TV, WiFi and Blue Tooth technologies also operate in the UHF band. By contrast, our microwave ovens operate at 2.45 GHz (billion cycles per second) or a wavelength of 4.8 in.

More importantly, ultra-violet radiation, which does cause cancer, has a wavelength of about 0.000004 in. While X-rays have a wavelengths shorter than 0.0000004 in.

There are two ways to look at why shorter wavelengths, such as X-rays and ultra-violet cause cancer. One is, radiation with a very short wavelength can interact with very small structures, such as the bonds of our DNA. Another way to look at it is that we know from physics that the energy of electromagnetic radiation is proportional to its frequency, not its intensity, as you might expect.  You can think of it as the radiation is like little balls and the energy is the weight of a ball. So short wavelength radiation is like a baseball and long wavelength radiation is like a wiffle ball.

The high-energy radiation, such as UV and X-rays, knock our DNA and other molecules to pieces. Low-energy radiation, such as microwaves and cell phones just jiggle the molecules but don’t destroy them.

The point is, knowing something about the physics of radiation and how cancer is formed makes it unnecessary to experiment for ever regarding cell phone radiation effects on the body. Cell phones don’t emit in the bands we normally associate with cancer creation.

The bottom line is you can stop worrying about your cell phone and start worrying about something else.


2 Responses to “Cell Phones and Cancer I”

  1. Pro Blogger News Says:

    Cell Phones And Cancer I…

    […]Your email adres wil not be published. Required fields are marked *. Name *. Email *. Website. Coment. You[…]…

  2. Nostradamus Future Predictions Says:

    […] Earthquakes, we have all been introduced to the tragedy in Haiti as well as Chile but did you know about the 3.2 magnitude quake in Alabama on the 6th of May? It was one of over 250,  2.5 or greater magnitude earthquakes reported in the last 7 days? Did you know about the twenty-five magnitude 5.0 quakes that have occurred. I did not, I did not read it in the paper, I did not see it on my TV.  In fact, while I have been writing this article, today in the World, the USGS (United States Geographical Society) has reported that twenty nine earthquakes have occurred including a magnitude 5.3 off the coast of Sumatra. If you pulled up the number of earthquakes that have occurred since January first of 2010, you might find yourself trying to find a cave to hide in until the end of the world comes. Which I believe Nostradamus recommends. Not so fast my nervous friend, take off the hardhat and sit back down at your desk, we need to talk about some things. It is estimated that roughly 500,000 earthquakes occur every year. Out of those 100,000 are of a magnitude that can be felt. It’s estimated that only about 100 of those will cause serious damage.  I am in no means making light of the monumental death and destruction that a large earthquake is capable of as we have all  been recently reminded, also let’s not forget the Also you can read this related blog page: https://libertyphysics.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/cell-phones-and-cancer-i/ […]

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