The Current Cautionary Call


x-ray cellphone.JPGLet’s face facts. If you take everything we watch, read and hear at face value, our modern life is out to get us. It’s like that movie moment that’s been filmed and re-filmed at least a hundred times. You know the one I’m talking about. Some guy or gal finally gets past a threatening danger, wipes the sweat from his or her brow, turns back with a smile to wave at friends and … bam, gets hit by a bus that’s traveling at near the speed of light. We may jump at the sight in the movie house, but we never really question that it could happen. Of course there are stealthily silent people-movers out there, just waiting for all of us wide-eyed saps to step down off the curb.

The speeding bus of the moment is … your cell phone. Yes, I know you’ve heard the rumblings before. Not all that long ago there were reports that electro-pollution stirs up our sympathetic nervous system and spikes our body’s fight-and-flight response. And after that, a study revealed that only two hours of cell phone use a day caused radiation nerve-cell damage to a rat’s brain. (It should have stuck with texting.) And just a few weeks back it was reported that: “Under an hour of cell phone use stimulates the brain in mysterious ways.” Whatever that means.

Well, The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer doesn’t think it’s as much of a mystery anymore. According to an article in The New York Times, a panel of 31 scientists from 14 different countries reviewed and compiled hundreds of studies that focused on the health effects of the radio-frequency magnetic fields emitted by cell phones. And this learned group decided that regular use of the little shiny thing in your purse or pocket (“regular use” being defined as 30 minutes of talk time per day)  is “possibly carcinogenic” to humans.

What does that mean? It puts cell phones in the same danger category as DDT, engine exhaust, lead and various industrial chemicals. So proceed accordingly.

Now, let me stress the scientists at IARC aren’t saying cell phones absolutely cause cancer, but they are holding up a red flag.

Why am I being so glib about something that potentially impacts 5 billion people around the globe? I’m just trying to, you know, keep things light. I mean, I don’t want anybody smashing their phone and running screaming into the streets on my account. (The busses are still out there, after all) Nor do I really want anyone sneering in my direction and accusing me once again of being the tech-hating geezer that I so obviously am. Of course, if any of you need to vent, feel free. But whatever you do, don’t call me on my cell!

Who wrote this?

Bob Hoose is a senior associate editor for Plugged In, a producer/writer for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, a writer of plays and musicals and one-half of the former comedy/drama duo Custer & Hoose. He is a husband, father of three and a relatively new granddad.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  ann:

what is the name of the book?  talking on my cell phone for long periods of time gives me "brain fuzz" and/or a headache--I'm convinced it's not good for you, but my family thinks i'm crazy

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Roxanne L.:

In 1999 my husband had been using an older cell phone constantly for 2 years. He was diagnosed with brain cancer on August 17, 1999 and died 4 weeks later on September 14, 1999. He was 43 years old and we had 4 teenagers at home. I will go to my grave believing the cell phone was the culprit. I have a book by a man who was hired by the cell phone industry to prove they were safe. He could not. He wrote a book and has pictures of MRI's showing the amount of radiation that penetrates the brain of a 5 year old, a teenager and an adult. It's horrifying.

Since that time, they have reconfigured the cell phones. I still do not believe they are safe....they may be SAFER, but I do not believe they are SAFE. It has a speaker phone feature and texting capabilities. Use them. And never, ever keep them turned on while in a pocket next to your body.

If I can spare even one person what our family has been through and continues to go through mourning the loss of a wonderful husband/father then his death was not in vain. You would not believe how brain cancer almost destroyed my family.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  kate:


Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  NarniaFanGil:

LOL, AKmom!!

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  AKmom:

And coffee is bad for us.  Oh wait, it's good for us.  Whoops, neverming, it's bad for us again.  Hold on.....

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  AndStuff:

Sigh, paranoia.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  YetAnotherTeen:

The problem is, they're linking practically every disease to everything out there, and they always seem to focus on what people are using the most (likely because they are using it the most). It's not terribly believable any more. At least, not in most cases. However, cell phones causing radio-signals that, when put out, may result in brain damage might explain a lot...

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Julie B:

Of course, scientists also recently published a study saying that cell phone use may help prevent Alzheimer's.