Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Do cell phones cause cancer?

My random browsing of the October issue of Scientific American brought me to this nice summary graphic offered by physicist Bernard Leikind of his article in Skeptic magazine Vol. 15, no. 4 (2010). Utterly basic physical principles show that cell phones (or microwave ovens) could not cause cancer, the energy content of their emitted radiations is orders of magnitude below that required to rupture chemical bonds. (click to enlarge)


  1. Statistically I've not seen any evidence for cancer in the good studies I've read. However people are bad at statistics, and while the fields themselves are low enough not to alter the chemistry, this says nothing of secondary effects. Saying it "could not cause cancer" is like saying we know what causes all cancers.

    There are numerous studies showing the electromagnetic field alters blood flow.
    Another, granted not yet repeated, study on the effect of EMF on the DNA of children carry certain genetic variants in which fields may inhibit DNA repair.

    "could not" is jumping to contrary conclusions and is as bad at those that claim it does. The jury is still out, and cell phones are innocent until proven guilty. :)

  2. I've seen a lot of those tenuous studies over the years and even parodied the idea in my blog. Check it out: