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Italian Supreme Court Accepts Mobile Phone-Tumor Link

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the things-to-worry-about dept.

The Courts 190

An anonymous reader writes with a link to this Reuters story, from which he excerpts: "Italy's supreme court has upheld a ruling that said there was a link between a business executive's brain tumor and his heavy mobile phone usage, potentially opening the door to further legal claims. The court's decision flies in the face of much scientific opinion, which generally says there is not enough evidence to declare a link between mobile phone use and diseases such as cancer and some experts said the Italian ruling should not be used to draw wider conclusions about the subject. 'Great caution is needed before we jump to conclusions about mobile phones and brain tumors,' said Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics and clinical engineering at Britain's Royal Berkshire Hospital. The Italian case concerned company director Innocenzo Marcolini who developed a tumor in the left side of his head after using his mobile phone for 5-6 hours a day for 12 years. He normally held the phone in his left hand, while taking notes with his right hand. Marcolini developed a so-called neurinoma affecting a cranial nerve, which was apparently not cancerous but nevertheless required surgery that badly affected his quality of life."

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Can ppl stop (-1, Flamebait)

Kkloe (2751395) | about 2 years ago | (#41720135)

reposting shit? can ppl learn to read that this stuff have been posted here before?

Repost, really? (1, Informative)

mha (1305) | about 2 years ago | (#41720177)

I've been reading slashdot at least once a day for the last few days, and I see this story for the first time.

But regardless - I would like to amend your "Can ppl stop..." to also stop claiming the story is a repost but NOT GIVE A LINK to the story of which this is supposed to be a repost? It's the equivalent of footnotes to back up claims, and it's what the Web (HTML) was actually MADE FOR.

Thank you.

Re:Repost, really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720229)

I did a grand slam and defeated the cabbage patch kid once and for all. Wait... why do I hear the sound of an elevator near the entrance to my ass...?

Must be the wind.

Re:Can ppl stop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720503)

you're gay.

A note for our readers - - (5, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 years ago | (#41720233)

That is the country of Italy [wikipedia.org] (southern Europe, part of the EU), not Italy, Texas [wikipedia.org] . We return you now to the regularly scheduled posts.

Re:A note for our readers - - (3, Insightful)

cynop (2023642) | about 2 years ago | (#41720285)

How egotistic would USA readers be, for this clarification to be necessary?

Re:A note for our readers - - (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720305)

You are missing the context. Texas has many times come up with similarly hair brained declarations.

Re:A note for our readers - - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41721273)

"harebrained"

Re:A note for our readers - - (2)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 2 years ago | (#41720309)

Do...do you really have to ask?

Re:A note for our readers - - (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720339)

Bomb them.

Meatballs.

Spicy.

Re:A note for our readers - - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720453)

Mate, lay off the G&T.............. (Gin and Tonics)

Re:A note for our readers - - (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#41721079)

This demands a, 0, Whoosh, moderation :)

Re:A note for our readers - - (0)

lennier1 (264730) | about 2 years ago | (#41721193)

You're new here?

Was someone confused by this?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720401)

I must have missed the post.

Re:A note for our readers - - (3, Funny)

NouberNou (1105915) | about 2 years ago | (#41720435)

No need to explain, only something this stupid could come from the country of Italy... They even beat Texas on the wacky scale. Watch out cell phone manufacturers, if you travel to Italy they might charge you for manslaughter, just like they charge people for not predicting earthquakes.

Re:A note for our readers - - (2)

paiute (550198) | about 2 years ago | (#41720515)

Maybe they will arrest the phone and charge it with murder.

Re:A note for our readers - - (3, Funny)

snspdaarf (1314399) | about 2 years ago | (#41720841)

I knew they were smartphones, but I didn't know they were not Three Laws Safe!

Re:A note for our readers - - (3, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#41721397)

The decision was made on the balance of probabilities. The claimant was able to show that there was at least a 50.00000001% chance that using a mobile phone for 6-7 hours a day for 12 years could damage human tissue.

The court is not saying that mobile phones cause cancer. Studies have shown that while the various types of radiated energy from a phone are not zero (obviously, how else would it communicate) they are not high enough to harm a human being under normal circumstances. These are not normal circumstances and the evidence needed to be re-evaluated to reach a decision. Even that decision is not absolute, merely a judgement that given the evidence (including the fact that the damage was right next to where he held the phone) it is more likely than not that there is a causal link.

For fucks sake Slashdot, stop modding up these retards who don't RTFA and jump on the anti-luddite bandwagon.

Re:A note for our readers - - (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720857)

At least they don't believe the entire universe is only thousands of years old as half of USA thinks.

The Real Danger (2, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#41720947)

The real danger is that some jackass judge from the northeastern states or more likely in LalaLand California, who believes that it is appropriate and necessary to consider FOREIGN laws and precedence when deliberating American laws and precedence, will open the litigation floodgates here in the U.S.

Scientific proof (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41720243)

Well, Italy hardly stands alone. Here in the United States, idiot judges and legislators have been doing whack-ass stuff like declaring women pregnant two weeks before conception (by law). Other legislators have passed resolutions effectively banning global warming research, or attempting to legislate how said research is conducted so as to prevent certain conclusions from being reached. All around us, worldwide, science is under attack from the idiocracy.

Science is dangerous because is allows people like you and me to understand the world. Knowledge is power, and science as an institution makes no bones about who gets it. That's why the Dark Ages happened, and why we're just one major disaster or war away from it happening again. Every time science shows us a way to improve the lives of everyone, it gets locked down, barricaded behind licensing and laws, shuffled into a box marked "top secret", and buried. Pharmaceuticals spend billions developing new versions of dick hardening pills, while research into HIV, cancer, and other serious quality of life diseases languish. It seems that lifelong illnesses are only ever treated anymore, never cured. Curing a patient means denying yourself all that profit from name-brand life-saving drugs. I could come up with a hundred more examples from every industry in every country worldwide -- but you get the point.

Soon, we're going to have to start hiding printing presses and books in our basement, writing down how to rebuild our technology after our governments fail and the world plunges into darkness... all because we tolerate allowing people to become too rich and powerful, and invariably they turn into sociopaths and destroy us. :(

Re:Scientific proof (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720301)

Good idea. Why don't we encourage people to take thalidomide and smoke cigarettes - after all, there are hundreds of studies stating that they are completely safe.

How much money have cellphone operators spent on studies showing that mobile phones are completely harmless? And how much was spent by independent organizations? Which figure do you think is higher?

Your anti-politic and anti-corporation stance is a reasonable viewpoint, but we can't shout "anti-science" every time we see some news or a study that displeases us. That in itself is unscientific.

Re:Scientific proof (2, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 2 years ago | (#41720343)

How much money have cellphone operators spent on studies showing that mobile phones are completely harmless? And how much was spent by independent organizations? Which figure do you think is higher?

Irrelevant horseshit.

There is not only no evidence supporting a link between cellphones and cancer, there is no plausible theoretical basis for it besides "OMGZORZ RADIATORS R TEH BAD!!!!!1" The frequencies involved are too low to be ionizing. Dielectric heating could be a problem, but not at the power levels involved. That leaves what? The tumor gremlins who live in every Samsung handset?

Re:Scientific proof (5, Informative)

cynop (2023642) | about 2 years ago | (#41720393)

The frequencies involved are too low to be ionizing. Dielectric heating could be a problem, but not at the power levels involved. That leaves what? The tumor gremlins who live in every Samsung handset?

You are correct about ionizing, but since cancer mechanism are not only based on molecular bonds breaking down, this is not definitive. That's one of the reasons the WHO has classified cell phone radiation as "possibly carcinogenic" http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf [www.iarc.fr]

Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720603)

The reason something is classed as potentially carcinogene, is when some study spring out to show some possible link , and a lot of people could be affected, then it get classed so. If you read the PDF carefully you will see that all they have is a few study of correlation from 2004. All the study of non link in the mean time cast the 2004 study as "correlation but no causation". As others said the radiation is too low in frequency or even intensity to do any damage. That's a fact not a supposition. I would not be surprised OTOH to find out 10 years down the road that some of the plastic used in the fabrication had some added substrat which was carcinogen.

Re:Scientific proof (2, Interesting)

delt0r (999393) | about 2 years ago | (#41720707)

Along with everything else that is not carcinogenic.. Seriously, they are not paid to be correct. Most things are either carcinogenic or possibly carcinogenic in these quite useless lists. Its hard to prove something didn't have a role to play. Even that diet soda you just had....

Re:Scientific proof (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720407)

More doctors smoke Camels.

In another 20 years or so, scientists will have done a lot more research on the human brain which could have a major effect on our perception of how the brain is affected by radio waves. But you seem to have omniscience. Everything is already known to you. During the Manhatten Project, Edward Teller raised the speculative possibility that an atomic bomb might "ignite" the atmosphere because of a hypothetical fusion reaction of nitrogen nuclei. It's a shame you hadn't been there, because you could have laughed in his face and shouted: "That can't happen. It's so OBVIOUS! Why are you so dumb?".

Socrates said "I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.". Come back and post again once you figure out what he was talking about.

Re:Scientific proof (0)

DeathElk (883654) | about 2 years ago | (#41720463)

Why, oh why... did you post AC?

Re:Scientific proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720907)

Because the post seemed likely to be modded down, and I had no desire to connect my name with an "anti-cellphone" stance, which would be a complete misrepresentation of my views.

Re:Scientific proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720465)

Could it also be the number of towers that carriers put up? In urban centers to get through all that concrete there are multiple towers in very small areas. I can see 8 towers in the vicinity of my apartment. Over time I can definitely see this having an affect. I dont think it is that cut and dry to rely on handset makers.

Re:Scientific proof (4, Informative)

delt0r (999393) | about 2 years ago | (#41720733)

More towers means each run at much lower powers. This is to avoid interference. I was working for a Teleco back before the femto/micro cell sites where around. Back then a cell site was a full room full of equipment. Already the density of sites was high enough to set power levels at below 8watts which the hardware could not directly do. We have to add attenuators on the TX side. Consider also the area this is transmitted over.

Because of the 1/r^2 power scaling with distance, its easy to show all the RF power you are exposed to is from your own phone by a massive margin.

Re:Scientific proof (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41721259)

That leaves what? The tumor gremlins who live in every Samsung handset?

It leaves millions of people who did what he did without developing a tumor, and one person who did.

A tumor? OMG!!! It must be true!! Cellphones are the Satan.

Re:Scientific proof (2)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#41720521)

Why don't we encourage people to take thalidomide and smoke cigarettes - after all, there are hundreds of studies stating that they are completely safe.

And hundreds more showing that they are harmful. Thanks for the strawman - it kept me warm as I burned it.

Re:Scientific proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720547)

The studies showing that they were dangerous were published AFTER the studies showing that they were safe. There was an extended period of time when the scientific consensus was that they were safe.

Scientific knowledge increases over time - news at 11.

Re:Scientific proof (1)

cynop (2023642) | about 2 years ago | (#41720355)

i understand what you're saying, and agree with you mostly. But we must be extra careful when we use the term "science" to include every funded research. It is importand to note that the subject is still open scientifficaly, with no definite corellation found but with no definite proof pointing that cell phones are safe either. Also there were many documented cases in the past were funder research was just another way for corporation to gather data to manipulate for propaganda.

TFA is a bit lacking in the arguments in favor of correlation, but just because they are not mention we shouldn't start crying about witchunts.

Re:Scientific proof (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#41720419)

TFA is a bit lacking in the arguments in favor of correlation

That's because there's no such thing.

I'd explain why but I'm busy disproving a cosine.

Re:Scientific proof (3, Insightful)

coastwalker (307620) | about 2 years ago | (#41720807)

There is no scientific proof that dihydrogen oxide is safe either but people continue to use the stuff.

What we actually have going on here is that you are being terminally stupid, a crime given the couple of million years of evolution that went into the underused mechanism that is your brain. You see you have fallen for the current propoaganda war of the extremely wealthy who are manipulating you and the rest of the zombies.

Everything we do now and everything we have ever done has been risky, from falling off a horse and breaking your leg to holding your arm up to your head for 5 hours a day for 12 years and developing a fault in your nervous system, everything carries a risk. The thing is that a lot of the risks we face in the present are infintesimaly smaller than the ones we used to face and determining the causality is a lot harder than root causing my broken leg to falling ten feet onto a rock from my horse. So its harder to associate cause with effect today and guess what, people with an agenda have noticed this and are using it to manipulate the way you think, using it to make you do what they want you to do. If I had a ton of money and liked the way things worked I would be very keen to stop any scientifically driven popularist nonsense like reducing my income by spending my investment profits on stupid shit like the environment, health care for the slave class or god forbid mitigating climate change. So lets spend a couple of hundred mil a year with some like minded friends on a concerted campaign to discredit scientific opinion in the minds of the plebs so that we can put our views in their heads instead. It worked like a treat for tobacco for decades so it should be a pushover.

And it is a pushover, you all bleat the same storyline that the propaganda machine has fed you, there are two sides to the story, science is pretty sure about something but there are a few paid shills who scream at the top of their expense account funded voices that all the rest of them, the rest of the scientific establishment are conspiritorial liers with a funded agenda to fool the public - follow the money they shout, follow the money! With good reason of course because they have to disguise their own immorality somehow.

So now we have a story with two sides, ninety eight percent of the academic world using the scientific methodology of testing a hypothesis with available evidence belive on the balance of probabilities that a hypothesis is correct, and a few mavericks and funded shills say something else. All of a sudden the 2% view becomes weighted at 50% in the media and a few schills and a couple of nutters can persuade the whole world that black might be white that water may flow uphill and that you might prefer permanant slavery to being a free citizen.

Well good luck to you and the rest of the zombies, I hope you enjoy your continued slavery and the rotting environment you have chosen to live in. Its not too late to wake up of course, I'm rather hoping that it happens before something serious like arbitary loss making wars to ensure the profitability of oil companies happens though. Ooops it already did, wonder what awefullness is comming next.

Oh and as for the mobile phone thing, if it bothers you then I suggest you dont use one for five hours a day for twelve years, for one thing your body is likely to end up lopsided.

Re:Scientific proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41721411)

We just have to convince these people that scientific data clearly shows that living organisms always die and that they should eliminate themselves before that happens.

And the other side of the story (-1, Troll)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#41720357)

For those of us who are old, or read a book once, it is also true that science has been abused and suffers from bullies where going against the norm is seriously discouraged. It ain't just the church that cries heretic.

Once upon a time, there was no proof smoking was dangerous with PLENTY of scientists willing to proof it wasn't dangerous either and the scientists that did show proof it was dangerous? Quacks, nay-sayers, etc etc.

Real science has no absolutes, things are thought to be X until further research either gives more evidence that X is the case or that it has to be rethought and Y is the case.

There have been to many cases where a wonder material/drug/tech was thought to be oh so safe by men in white coats and now we know that just hearing the name can kill you and your kitten! DDT, Asbestos, diesel (once it was thought diesels were better for the environment) fine dust, 1 glass of alcohol a day.

Is holding a microwave to your head dangerous? I am pretty sure if you taped a cellphone to a mouse and had it ring all day, you would have a very cross mouse. But is it dangerous to a human? We can eat some poisons very happily as long as the doses isn't lethal because we flush it out but things like lead aren't all that dangerous immediately but stay inside so what is the "truth"? Can I safely eat "drop dead where you stand" puffer fish every day if the dosage is tiny but if I eat it with a leaden spoon I will die of lead poisoning (the yakuza plugging me for non-payment of a rather hefty restaurant bill).

People who claim we receive radiation of some sort all the time aren't showing great scientific understanding. We breath oxygen all the time too but if I upped your dosage for just 1 minute by say 50 percent, you would still not like it very much.

And with all that background radiation, we still die. Do we die BEFORE regular background radiation has a chance to have a noticeable effect? Could it be that X works to slow to kill us before we croak but X+Y works faster?

I just remember and have read about to many cases were everyone thought something was safe and then it wasn't. Including such gems as seatbelts being unsafe because they kill you if you hit water. I can see how that might worry the Dutch but how does that affect people who live in desserts or even deserts? But the scientific results are published as facts.

Fact: The band of radiation used by cell phones in high constant dosage is dangerous to small animals.

The above statement has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by people trying to dry dogs in microwaves.

Of course, you cellphone isn't a microwave, isn't on all the time and has a fraction of the power. So, some scientist, usually being payed by an insititution who favors continued unrestricted use off cell phones, claim it is harmless (a dangerous word that doesn't mean that something is not having an effect, just that its effect shouldn't cause you to worry) while those working for people who want cellphones banned claim otherwise.

Gosh, some scientist claimed smoking was harmless (again that word, they didn't deny that if you injected the ingredients in large doses you wouldn't die, they just claimed a cigarette wouldn't kill you (while saying nothing about 3 packs a day). A single cigarette indeed won't likely kill you were you stand and who is to proof that the cancer you get 50 years later started from the single molecule of smoke from THAT cigarette?

And those who claimed smoking was lethal were attacked.

So... I don't know. Our society needs radio communication and our life span hasn't dropped since it was introduced. Or has it but advances in medicine have hidden it? Would we be living to a 100 on average if radio had never been discovered? Not likely.

But part of "believing" in science is to keep an open mind. I can't even keep track of how many truths have been discarded in my life time, just the ones on dinosaurs alone would fill a large pamphlet and nobody can keep track of how much alcohol is "harmless" or beneficial or dangerous.

The real issue is the vitrol with which so many here react to claims cellphone radiation may be dangerous. It just reminds me to much of how smokers reacted to the first claims smoking was dangerous, especially second hand smoke.

Are you sure your claims that cellphones are save are based on science OR on your desire that it should be so?

It ain't just religious fundies who develop a blind eye.

Personally I think it is a case of "yeah, it ain't perfectly healthy but the benefits outweigh the harm that isn't even noticeable compared to all the other bad things we do to ourselves". It will be very interesting to see what the "truth" will turn out to be. Note that there are still people who deny the dangers of second hand smoke.

Re:And the other side of the story (1)

dabadab (126782) | about 2 years ago | (#41720791)

How did this garbage moderated to +5 insightful when it's a collection of lies and deceiving half-truths?

Re:Scientific proof (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 years ago | (#41720391)

Knowledge is power, and science as an institution makes no bones about who gets it. That's why the Dark Ages happened, and why we're just one major disaster or war away from it happening again.

Sorry, but no. The Dark Ages happened as a result of the fall of Rome and the invasions of barbarians, and the Muslim conquests.

Mohammed & Charlemagne Revisited: The Epilogue [newenglishreview.org]
The Truth about Islamic Crusades and Imperialism [americanthinker.com]
The Church Educates Europe [catholicbible101.com]

Pharmaceuticals spend billions developing new versions of dick hardening pills, while research into HIV, cancer, and other serious quality of life diseases languish.

Languish at their current high levels of research funding [plosone.org] ? HIV and cancer research seem to do especially well.

Curing a patient means denying yourself all that profit from name-brand life-saving drugs. I could come up with a hundred more examples from every industry in every country worldwide -- but you get the point.

I think the point is that you have an exaggerated sense of what is possible - the "Man on the moon syndrome [reuters.com] ", maybe? Modern medicine offers wonders, but it isn't even close to being able to cure everything. If anything the trend is the reverse - there are more and more antibiotic resistant diseases. Finding new ones that work is expensive, time consuming, and filled with all manner of difficulties posed by law and regulation. Changing social mores drop various former barriers to the spread of disease. The future of medicine, especially where infectious disease is considered, looks a bit grim at the moment.

Will humans lose the battle with microbes? [the-scientist.com]

Re:Scientific proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720491)

It seems that lifelong illnesses are only ever treated anymore, never cured.

The vast majority of chronic illnesses, in particular all chronic degenerative diseases like heart disease, are simply not curable at the moment - short of transplanting organs. These can only be treated but that suits the drug companies just fine. It would not surprise me if drug companies went to any lengths to *prevent* gene therapy or vat-grown organs from curing hugely profitable chronic illnesses like asthma, chronic heart failure, arthritis - and yes, impotence - and so on. Those conditions are worth countless billions uncured.

Re:Scientific proof (2)

paiute (550198) | about 2 years ago | (#41720523)

Pharmaceuticals spend billions developing new versions of dick hardening pills, while research into HIV, cancer, and other serious quality of life diseases languish.

Bullshit.

Re:Scientific proof (2)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 2 years ago | (#41720593)

In fact viagra was discovered as a side effect to another more useful drug being researched and was just taken advantage of.

Re:Scientific proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720747)

Wasn't it supposed to be a cure for male pattern baldness, or is that an urban myth? Im any case, "More useful"?. Right. US pharmaceuticals are all about inventing useful stuff these days. We'll go with that one.

Don't forget to take your meds.

Re:Scientific proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720703)

Flamebait? What myopic fucking retard modded it flamebait?

Re:Scientific proof (1)

tsa (15680) | about 2 years ago | (#41720939)

Yes. Interesting case in point, here in The Netherlands our government banned The Pirate Bay. Now a scientific study was conducted, and the conclusions were that banning TPB did not decrease the amount of downloading going on in the Netherlands. BREIN (the Dutch RIAA) of course is angry about this and calls the conclusions 'irresponsible. [www.nu.nl] ' Of course they don't explain themselves.

Re:Scientific proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41721147)

Err, no. Yes they make dick hardening pills, because there's money in dick hardening pills. But do you seriously think there's no money in curing cancer? We've had a vaccine for HPV (goodbye cervical cancer), we've made HIV and AIDS basically just a lifelong inconvenience, and certain other cancers are no longer a death sentence.

Looking at your own tinfoil hat conclusions, consider that pharmaceutical companies would make no money if the world collapsed into Mad Max. So at least if you have to run off into the woods with your hunting rifle to play Wolverines for real, there'll probably be a big pharma exec right there with you, and he'll always be able to get an erection, and you won't get HPV from him.

Re:Scientific proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41721265)

This post went down to zero when the Euros were modding, and then up to +5 as soon as the US woke up. If slashdot offered us the ability to filter moderation by continent, I would sign up for the paid account in a heartbeat.

For a nation that prides themselves on individual rights, you sure know how to follow the herd ..... any alternative views on this site get crushed, no matter how eloquently expressed. Off Topic, Flamebait, go for it, mod this down too. At least I'll be confiscating one mod point from someone who is .... um .... intellectually challenged.

Re:Scientific proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41721471)

The problem you now have is people with a political agenda are claiming "science" when its complete crap and yelling at anyone who disputes them that they are not qualified to make comments.

In the old days the church was the ones who passed moral judgements to the people and were not allowed to be questioned. Since that no longer works now people are using made up "science" to do the same. The difference is when the church did it the truth wasn't abused, just their credibility. Now we are not allowed to make scientific progress in certain areas because its not "politically correct". You political "science" types are far more dangerous to the world today than the church ever was.

Aha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720259)

Cell phone causes tumors because court says so?

Re:Aha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720317)

Cell phone causes tumors because court says so?

In Italy, yes. this is the country where the heads of the science body for geophysics have been indicted for not predicting earthquakes, which is dangerously close to the dark age practice of roasting your seer if he did not predicted a pestilence. And normally I do not post anonymously, but this is Italy, and all the protestations of "I believe injustice" are poppycock. I did not put links because it was discussed here on slashdot, but a simple google search will do. Our country motto should be "why clutter with facts and statistics a perfectly simple theory?"

Re:Aha (2)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#41720349)

You sure you are not talking about Little Italy in New York, USofA?

Cue the storm of posts ..... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720263)

Here comes the storm of posts defending mobile phones, wifi and radio waves of all kinds, so my post should stay nicely buried at -1.

I wouldn't go as far as to claim that the human brain is some infinite mystery, but right now we are VERY far away from understanding its processes clearly.

What exactly takes place inside the brain during orgasm? That's pretty common. Or how about when we are drunk? Surely that one is completely understood. But the merest scan of wikipedia or a more in-depth piece of researching will show you that we understand very little about either.

But when it involves gadgets that throw out radio waves at various frequencies, well that's obviously fine. Because we love gadgets, and many of us are scientists. In fact on slashdot, the only radio waves that seem to be capable of harm are used by the TSA. TSA bad (admittedly, they are).

If we can't measure what is happening during orgasm or drunkenness inside our head, then why do we assume that we know what happens when we hold radio transmitters next to our heads for many hours a day?

I'm not saying that radio waves are actually harmful - I'm saying that we don't know either way, and it could be decades before we have proof of the long term safety of mobile phones etc. In the meantime, as empirical thinkers it is our duty to leave the possibility open.

Re:Cue the storm of posts ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720347)

We don't need to know how the brain work specifically to know how cells and cancer works... retard.

Re:Cue the storm of posts ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720449)

So why don't chimps get cancer, despite having - you know - cells? Since you know everything already, try sticking your phone up your ass for a few years and see if you get prostrate cancer. Oh what, your phone is there already? Figures.

Re:Cue the storm of posts ..... (4, Interesting)

gomiam (587421) | about 2 years ago | (#41720973)

Actually, chimpanzees also get cancer, even if at a much lower rate. Perhaps it has to do with accumulated evolutionary mutations [plosbiology.org] , an hypothesis that has been tested more than once and which finds out differences in the apoptosis mechanism between chimpanzees and humans. Why these differences show up and what are they useful for can be debated: it could be a way for not killing too many of our brains' neurons [msn.com] .

Re:Cue the storm of posts ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720597)

If the TSA were using radio waves you'd have a valid point of comparison. Sadly, you seem woefully ignorant of the topic, so before you publicly embarrass yourself next time, first read up on the differences between ionizing radiation (x-ray backscatter machines used by the TSA) and non-ionizing radiation (radio waves).

Re:Cue the storm of posts ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720851)

UV radiation is non-ionizing, and yet it still seems to give people skin cancer. What's your point?

Re:Cue the storm of posts ..... (2)

gomiam (587421) | about 2 years ago | (#41721007)

Ultraviolet radiation _is_ ionizing. But not all UV is made equal: UVC (the more energetic part of the UV spectrum) is ionizing on its own right, UVB and UVA are able to ionize some materials... which include DNA.

From TFA: (5, Interesting)

cynop (2023642) | about 2 years ago | (#41720269)

"The evidence was based on studies conducted between 2005-2009 by a group led by Lennart Hardell, a cancer specialist at the University Hospital in Orebro in Sweden. The court said the research was independent and “unlike some others, was not co-financed by the same companies that produce mobile telephones.”

I suppose this marks a turning point in public opinion. Not as a time that correlation between cell phones and cancer was proven, but for the time people started distrusting researches concluding that "no link has been found". I can only think this is a good thing. We've been down this road before with cigarettes.

Re:From TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720333)

I sense this will be one of a few sensible posts in this thread. Nobody thinks that we should legalize drugs without FDA approval, but cellphones get a free pass here - because SHINY! Never mind the possibility that the main body of evidence proving cellphones are safe was paid for by the cellphone industry. Gee, I wonder what would happen if they commissioned a report proving a link between cellphones and cancer? Think that one would get published?

It's so strange (3, Insightful)

dtmos (447842) | about 2 years ago | (#41720629)

The funny part is, those corporate researchers that I've met -- and it would be dozens over the years -- all use cell phones, and buy them for their spouses and children. What cold-hearted bastards! Or ignorant fools! Or both!

And the corporate cell phone designers that I've met -- and it would be hundreds over the years -- all use cell phones and, despite their decades of work on improving the size, weight, battery life, and range of their devices, never once realized that it would be to their competitive advantage to minimize any radiation absorbed by the body, since that represents wasted energy that could have been used to reach the cell tower instead. Idiots!

But the managerial genius of the corporations! They can stay in the business for twenty years or more, and each hire hundreds of EM researchers and tens of thousands of engineers, without one of them cracking and letting the Great Corporate Secret -- those Top Secret studies that show how dangerous cell phones are -- out to the public. The maintained secrecy would impress the NSA and NRO, while the control of their people would impress Kim Jong-un. Masterful!

Re:It's so strange (4, Interesting)

j-beda (85386) | about 2 years ago | (#41721021)

The funny part is, those corporate researchers that I've met -- and it would be dozens over the years -- all use cell phones, and buy them for their spouses and children. What cold-hearted bastards! Or ignorant fools! Or both!

Or the researchers understand that even if their studies are correct, virtually all of them indicate the increased risk is SMALL, and usually consistent with zero increased risk. If the increased risk from the cell phone is comparable (or smaller) to other increased risks we expose ourselves to (crossing in the middle of the street, not washing our hands before eating, or just driving across town in a car) than it is probably not worth changing our behaviour in that instance.

Re:From TFA: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41721091)

Nobody thinks that we should legalize drugs without FDA approval,

Bullshit. Last time I checked there are at least 17 states AND the District of Columbia which have legalized medical marijuana, over the protests of the FDA.

but cellphones get a free pass here - because

because they are not a food, a drug, or intended to cure any kind of disease.

the main body of evidence proving cellphones are safe was paid for by the cellphone industry.

If you can read the research and it stands up to scientific scrutiny, then who paid for it doesn't mean jack shit.

Gee, I wonder what would happen if they commissioned a report proving a link between cellphones and cancer? Think that one would get published?

I sure as fuck hope not. You don't commission a report proving or disproving anything, that's not science. You commission a study to investigate possible links, either in specific or in general, and the results determine if there is or is not a link, or if it was not conclusive either way.

Maybe the problem is idiot judges and members of the public should stop assuming that a "report" or "study" is in any way Scientific to start with, and pay attention to proper peer review processes.

Re:From TFA: (2)

zblack_eagle (971870) | about 2 years ago | (#41720345)

The court said the research was independent and “unlike some others, was not co-financed by the same companies that produce mobile telephones.”

Some implies a minority. Single study < a minority < the majority. Which implies that the majority of the research "not co-financed by the same companies that produce mobile telephones" says no

Re:From TFA: (1)

cynop (2023642) | about 2 years ago | (#41720365)

i think it was just a figure of speech. We should also note that this has been translated from Italian.

Re:From TFA: (1)

jkflying (2190798) | about 2 years ago | (#41720647)

So a study funded by a cancer researcher isn't biased, whereas a study co-funded by cellphone companies is?

Re:From TFA: (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 2 years ago | (#41720793)

People often miss that part of things. There is always an agenda. Need a publication for that PhD or Tenure? Need something interesting for that next grant proposal.

In God we trust, the rest of you show me the data. Data from these studies are typically poor and often just very very sloppy analysis has been done. Often straight out incorrect statistics has been done or the stats doesn't support the claims.

In this particular instance (cell phones and cancer), we have the problem that if there is such an effect we would see much more cases in the heavy users* category. Just like we did with smoking. So at the very least we can be confident that the effect must be very very small. Like diet soda small.

* and for EM fields in general we have microwave engineers, power station engineers etc. Many people are exposed to orders of magnitude larger RF and we see no deviation from normal.

Re:From TFA: (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 2 years ago | (#41721513)

Bell curves. Learn to love the human diversity.

Why can't people understand that the world they live in is not the same as the world everybody else lives in.

Hands free? (1)

Ecuador (740021) | about 2 years ago | (#41720725)

The whole point is that for years and years now I've been hearing that there are conflicting studies and you really should be using a hands-free if you use the cell phone a lot, you know, just in case. And the recommendation goes on to avoiding wired hands-free as Bluetooth should probably be safer. My 70 year old mother has heard of this and uses Bluetooth, since she is on her phone a lot (but of course not 5-6 hours/day), I am sure an executive would have heard this. So, did he take the advice or just risked it? If he did take the advice then it can't have been the cellphone and we should be looking into Bluetooth/cancer research (I haven't heard of something like that though). If he did not take the advice, I don't see how he should be compensated by anyone (was someone certain he could get cancer, yet forced him to use one directly on his ear?).

But this topic seems quite bizarre to me. I mean, I have read about dozens of cases where management knowingly put poor workers in lethal danger (radium girls, asbestos workers etc), so hearing an executive suing for his cellphone usage at least ironic.

Re:From TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720847)

It's a simple fact of life, your environment shapes your life, you eat treated food, get cooked evenly by the all the equipment around, everyone knows this. Everyone knows pulling smoke in your lungs is bad, not because they're told, no, it's your own body that tells you something is wrong.

Nowadays however, people choose to ignore those warnings! Look at cigars, banned in some places, increased prices in others, and so on, but people still smoke them.

How about cars? You might be a professional driver with decades experience, but it won't save your life when the idiot coming at you is updating his FB profile to 100km/h in town! But you still drive, you know the risks and accept them.

And so are phones, you know they might be cancer causing, in their short life spans lots more stories popped up, but you still use them, and hope you don't draw the cancer ticket.

Or like sitting in a bad chair, you know it's bad for your back, but you have work that needs to get done.

I wonder if people driving company cars sue their company when they get into an accident ...

Totally wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720335)

We all know that brain tumors cause mobile phones!

Controls? (2, Insightful)

srussia (884021) | about 2 years ago | (#41720351)

FTFS:The Italian case concerned company director Innocenzo Marcolini who developed a tumor in the left side of his head after using his mobile phone for 5-6 hours a day for 12 years.

Heck, I'd probably get a tumor too if I held a rock against ear 5-6 hours a day for 12 years.

Re:Controls? (2)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 2 years ago | (#41720873)

Is this a uranium rock?

Some people would say ... (2)

prasadsurve (665770) | about 2 years ago | (#41720383)

>>> developed a tumor in the left side of his head after using his mobile phone for 5-6 hours a day for 12 years. He normally held the phone in his left hand ...
Maybe he was holding it wrong [engadget.com]
Apple already foresaw this and avoided it altogether in their phones.
Too bad other companies cant use this solution since Apple obviously hold the patent.

um hands free? (2)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 2 years ago | (#41720439)

Um if you spend that much time with a cell phone glued to your head, why not get a hands free option. then he wouldn't have that much time with the phone to his head.

Re:um hands free? (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#41720525)

I thought all Italians used headsets. Otherwise they wouldn't be able to wave their arms about while talking.

Re:um hands free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720805)

Most hands free units are wireless, which still confers a problem...

Corrupt science (-1, Offtopic)

nomad-9 (1423689) | about 2 years ago | (#41720455)

Funny how, when we finally have an independent study that publishes result not in sync with the big corps interests, a bunch of scientists (often a majority of them) are quick to call for "caution" and to declare that there is "not enough evidence" to draw conclusions.

It happened with the study on OGM recently, and is happening again.

Everybody understands that scientists have to make a living, but what happens when the result of their sponsored studies are not in their employer's favor? Scientific research becomes corrupt and misleading, a disengagement from its ethics, resulting in a loss of honesty, integrity, objectivity, and autonomy....All swept aside in order.to put their professional sponsors, big business, and government agencies in their best light.

The deceit works because most of the general public still trusts people in white lab-coats who play authority figures. Science as the servant of money, power and politics, is for the most part dedicating itself to finding the "correct" result, i.e. the desired outcome, the one that is never unexpected and always conform to the establishment's views. Real science is never that predictable.

In Stalinist Russia, in order to suppress bad news about Soviet agriculture, the "State scientist" Lysenko advocated an ideologically correct biology that led to famines. Good thing were not there... yet.

Re:Corrupt science (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41720615)

Everybody understands that scientists have to make a living, but what happens when the result of their sponsored studies are not in their employer's favor?

Indeed. This doesnt even have to be scientists cooking the books. With this type of science the conclusions are statistical in nature, which means if you run enough studies you will sooner or later get the results you want.

So all the sponsors of the studies have to do is bury the results that they dont like, and trumpet the results that they do like. All this while the science itself remain completely neutral. Now add in the fact that the scientists may in fact be cooking the books too, and trust in the system is looking pretty grim.

This is why all studies should be considered suspect if future funding levels depends on the outcome, and even more so if the funding sources arent independent.

Re:Corrupt science (1, Interesting)

jkflying (2190798) | about 2 years ago | (#41720671)

This study was done by a cancer researcher, who would have an incentive to say that cellphones cause cancer because then his field gets more funding. It is just as bad as the cellphone companies co-funding research as far as bias goes.

The only way we can actually prevent studies being buried is to require studies to be 'registered' with the journal before they are started in order to be published. Once the are registered they have to be published, no matter the result.

Continental legal systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720511)

I'm no fan of the civil law inquisitorial systems which operate in most of continental Europe. I vastly prefer the adversarial common law system with the judge strictly as impartial adjudicator. The civil law system confuses the roles of detective, prosecutor and judge while also supposedly delivering impartial judgement.

That said, civil law countries seem to do more to protect rights than common law countries, and a lot of that seems to come from their legal system.

Lennart Hardell is controversial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720533)

His studies is much debated in Swedish popular [google.com] and
  professional [google.com] media.

I recommend trying to read the original Swedish language articles, because Google Translate sucks donkey balls when it translates from Swedish. The translated text usually looks correct, but is full of factual errors (missing negations, faulty prepositions et c.). Even if you don't know how to read Swedish, if you can read English, German/Dutch and French, you should get a better understanding of the content of the articles then the Google translation can give you. Swedish is just a mix of Old Norse, Old French, English, French, Latin, Low German, Romani, Turkish and some other languages to make it spicy, with a funny spelling (yes, it is even worse of a bastard language then English, but at least Swedish, unlike English, is a very expressive language).

tumour due to mobile phone usage (4, Interesting)

lkcl (517947) | about 2 years ago | (#41720573)

i've met someone who also had a tumour develop behind his ear - the same one where he was using a phone. over 15 years ago he was a sales executive, on the road a lot, and he had one of those "brick" mobile phones. they had to be powerful because the number of cell towers was less than it is now. again, he was holding the device up to his ear for over 6 hours a day.

the problem was that it took 13 years for the tumour to develop to the point where it became painful enough for him to notice something was wrong. by the time he noticed it, the tumour was one centimetre diameter. he's retired, now, having had surgery.

Re:tumour due to mobile phone usage (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720675)

Interesting. I once knew someone who developed a brain tumor in his head -- the same head he had been drinking water with for the previous ten years. His tumor didn't develop immediately either, and by the time it was discovered, it had become inoperable. He's not around to tell the story, now, having died. Heck, I've even heard that every single person who has ever died because of a tumor has had a history of water use. Pretty damn scary if you ask me!

Re:tumour due to mobile phone usage (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720885)

I once knew someone who developed a brain tumor in his head

Ach, now, if he had a brain tumor anywhere but his head, this would have been an interesting story...

Re:tumour due to mobile phone usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720905)

Heck, I've even heard that every single person who has ever died because of a tumor has had a history of water use.

These people need to learn to protect [wikipedia.org] their precious bodily fluids, before it's too late!

Re:tumour due to mobile phone usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720783)

A family friend of ours died in his mid-40s of a brain tumor. He was an electronic salesman. He was on the 'brick phone' in the late 80s and early 90s for hours at a time.

My sister is a brain tumor survivor, in the 90s she worked as a real estate appraiser, the company issued her a brick phone at the time and she was on it for several hours per day, she was diagnosed ~3 years later.

Are these just anecdotes? Could they simply be coincidence? Well I hope so... I hope cell phone use doesn't cause cancer. If it does, I hope that the output power drop that has occurred between the 3000mW brick phones and the current 600mW phones means we're below a threshold for damage... or that going from omni directional stick antennas to built-in antennas has reduced risks...

But I still hate talking on the cell phone for any length of time without a headset...

Re:tumour due to mobile phone usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720903)

That's interesting, and brings up an interesting point if the cancer was in fact from the phones.

The old AMPS systems worked on a completely different frequency range than modern phones... The 800MHz cell band (D-AMPS as well or at least so in the beginning). People are concerned about modern phones because they operate in the 800MHz band plus 900,1700aws, 1800, 1900 and 2100.. Which the higher frequencies seem to be more of the concern. But the carry over from the frequency band in your story to the frequency band still in use today means more of the public concern shouldn't be in the higher bands per say but more so with the 800MHz range

Not surprising (2)

O'Nazareth (1203258) | about 2 years ago | (#41720657)

In France in the 90s I remember that a judge decided to grant compensation to people who got multiple sclerosis who claimed that it was linked to hepatitis B vaccine. Of course the scientific community completely debunked that link. The only reason some people who got it after vaccination was that tons of people got that vaccination at the same time, so coincidences were very very likely to happen.

Anyway, it is good thing for "equality of chances". If you sucked at school, you can become a judge.

Physicist here. (5, Informative)

drolli (522659) | about 2 years ago | (#41720711)

There are essentially 2 main groups of effects related to electromagnetic radiation in the frequency range in questions:

a) direct: Influencing cell chemistry, ion channels, reactions, and disturbing neuronal functions by electromagnetic fields/absorbiont of energy quanta. They are unproven at best, and some of them are unklikely since the quanta are too low energy for most transitions of molecules in the body, yet the fluctuation is to fast to influence the pseudo-static potentials in the cells. This needs to be checked very carefully, since complex systems may have rectifying effects on fast timescales, but the last time i looked for studies there was no indication of a problematic effect.

b) indirect: the energy is absorbed by and translated to vibrational excitations (heat), heating the tissue like a chicken in the microwave oven. This effect is well known, and, even if seemingly weak, problematic on a long timescale. Studies have shown that a non-negligible temperatue increase may/will occur, which in turn may have all kinds of bad effects. The order of magnitude for this is easy to caclulate on a paper napkin. And since it is well known it was already mentioned *in the manual of my mobile phone 7 years ago* that one should not use it contineously without a headset and keep a minumum distance (i am unsure about the manual from my phone in 2003, but i believe in may have been included). It was well known to anybody paying attention to what he uses that such an extreme use will cause harm.

So yes, all this boils down to: ignore well known facts (or even the manual) about the things you use, and get medical problems. Yes, for sure you can wait until warnings have to be placed on coke bottles that drinking 3 liters per day, every day are bad. But its no excuse to not listening the 6 years befor to a proven fact with the excuse that the manufacturer does not state that using it far outside the normal use may affect you negatively - maybe he even did so on the bottom of page one of the quickstart, but you found reading unnecessary. Every thing manufactured has a an avergage use. Is you are so far outside of this that you are in a small percentile of users only, you are somewhat on your on own.

Protecting yourself from cellular radiation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41720753)

There is a method now to protect/reduce mobile radiation : mobileFloww

http://www.floww.com/

In Other News (4, Insightful)

lobiusmoop (305328) | about 2 years ago | (#41720775)

Six billion cell phone subscriptions [huffingtonpost.com]
22,910 new brain tumor cases in USA in 2012 [cancer.gov] out of 300M people or 0.008% of the population.

So practically everybody on the planet old enough to use one has a cellphone, but practically nobody on the planet gets a brain tumor.

Re:In Other News (3, Insightful)

steppedleader (2490064) | about 2 years ago | (#41720865)

Good point. Seems to me the biggest issue with the whole idea of cell phones causing brain tumors is simply the fact that while cell phone use has increased dramatically in the last 20 years, there hasn't been any corresponding increase in brain tumor occurrence. If those two things aren't even correlated, how can anyone conclude that cell phones actually cause brain tumors?

Someone could claim there is a time lag for tumor development, but these sporadic cases of supposedly cell-phone-linked tumors have been popping up for years and years now, while the overall tumor rate has stayed mysteriously constant.

Re:In Other News (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#41721385)

To build on that, even if there were an increase in brain tumors over the last 20 years, how would we separate the effects of cell phone use from other changes in that time frame? Cell phone towers, wi-fi routers, over-oven microwaves (where people stand inches away from the door while their dinner defrosts) have all increased in the last 20 years. Even among heavy cell-phone users, there are other potential factors. As another slashdaughter once posted, cell phones are typically made of plastic and aluminum, both of which are bad for you. Holding those materials to your face for several hours a day couldn't be good for you either.

Re:In Other News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41721525)

There are also many studies on incident trends of brain tumors for the period before and after cellphones became popular.

Here is one that talks about USA population:

http://www.cityofberkeley.info/uploadedFiles/Planning_and_Development/Level_3_-_Commissions/Commission_for_Community_Environmental_Advisory/CEAC2011-03-03_Item1d_BrainCancerIncidentTrends.pdf

I am protected from all cancer causing EM fields (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#41720875)

I have never once worried about cellphones causing cancer. I understand how non-ionizing radiation works, and have built a suitable tin-foil hat.

Say what? (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#41721027)

FTA:

Italy’s supreme court rejected an INAIL appeal against that ruling on October 12 though its decision was only reported on Friday.

INAIL - I'm Not An Italian Lawyer ???

Science and Italian judges? (4, Informative)

jmichaelg (148257) | about 2 years ago | (#41721465)

Considering it wasn't too long ago that Italy put geologists on trial for failing to predict an earthquake, [scientificamerican.com] it's a bit difficult to give this latest development anything more than "there they go again...."

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