Posted by: Green Knight | May 31, 2011

Just In: Quit Talkin’!

I’ve been so busy rescuing cats this past week (and nursing pulled muscles from doing so), that I haven’t had time to research and write the post I’ve been meaning to, about a potential overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  Bear with me, I’ll get to it.  But I just got this in from CNN Breaking News:

Radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer, the World Health Organization said today.

The agency lists mobile phone use in the same “carcinogenic hazard” category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.

Going back to my anthro training, and toxicology training, anything can “possibly” cause cancer.  I’m still unconvinced on this one.  I wrote a bit about the electromagnetic spectrum a while ago, and I’ve been researching this for years.  These aren’t microwaves cooking your brain (unlike the signals from the towers or your TV remote control, sheesh) but are ELF (extremely low) frequencies that resonate at about the same range as the earth’s magnetic field, or that brain of yours — please use it — so I’d rather explore the “road rage” connection…I can easily believe in psychological effects.  Yeah, I’m being (only slightly) facetious, and I’ll explore this further and in more depth in future.

Lead, internal-combustion exhaust, and chloroform are chemical substances whose impact is measurable in the lab, and are already, and have been for years, “suspect human carcinogens”  according to various agencies.  It’s a lot more difficult to do a cause-effect study when you’re dealing with photons, which you can’t capture and grow in a Petri dish (that’s biohazards only, but ya catch mah drift as to the difference), and behave as particles and waves at the same time.  There should be a study of how many tumors occur on the left side of the head for people who hold the cell phones to that ear, and vice versa [N.B. there have been such studies, as it turns out, but I haven’t had time to look at the data enough to comment on the scientific validity].  My point is: there’s as much room for study as there is for panic on something as nebulous as this issue.  I wonder how many people believe in cell phones causing cancer that won’t accept anthropogenic global warming?  Thomas Edison even built a phone that was supposed to contact spirits of the deceased (true), so maybe we could use one to ask Nostradamus?  I’m not saying I discount it whole-cloth, I’m just saying that as a science guy who is very open-minded, I just don’t see it being real.  If it were ionizing radiation, well, that’d be a whole different kettle of fish.  NO exposure to ANYTHING above background is normally safe.  Keep it hands-free, but remember that texting while driving is unsafe as hell too.  Physical hazards can kill you faster than any other kind.

Had to insert more info:

This all reminds me of an anthropology course I took once from a forensic guy.  He discussed the scare tactics used in the ‘60s about how LSD caused chromosome damage, and said “yeah, at about the same level as caffeine does.”  Which is interesting, since WHO’s report mentions coffee, as well as lead, exhaust, and chloroform.  In my opinion, chloroform is gonna be worse, being a halogenated organic; I stay away from those on principle.  Lead will kill ya a lot faster due to its toxicity; chronic exposure might well contribute to gastrointestinal cancer down the line, but you’d already be pretty messed up from the poisonous effects first.  Exhaust will cause respiratory problems that will, again, mess you up pretty badly before carcinogenicity becomes a worry.  Coffee?  Are they overdoing it a bit, ya think?  And pickled vegetables have been lumped in the same category in the past!  Perhaps it’s time the IARC (the International Agency for Research on Cancer) came up with a tighter rating scale???

Cancer is a disease of civilization, as another anthro professor used to say.  We’ve gotten good enough at combating diseases and parasites that nowadays we just live long enough to come down with it from some source or other, eventually.  Your telomeres get shorter and your DNA goes haywire, and there’s no shortage of contributing factors out there.  The studies show increased brain activity…that doesn’t sound quite like a BAD thing to this instructor.  Here are a couple of articles with further details:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20066842-266.html?tag=nl.e404

http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20067593-266.html?tag=nl.e404

http://www.stltoday.com/news/national/article_ae3f1b22-3b1e-51ee-892e-64eefd3dbf22.html?oCampaign=email

Wish me further luck with the cat rescues; it’s been going pretty well so far.  Regards, BC

P.S. don’t forget to see the previous post about how cell-phone signals may be causing Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybee populations.  That one at least has some studied and supported validity to it.  Recent ideas are always controversial.  At least Facebook is only psychologically addictive.  And if your head starts to swell, check first to see if it’s an ego thing, otherwise, CALL ME, lol.

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