Let’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!