Cell Phones: Dangerous Convenience?

February 5, 2010 at 08:59 (Health, News, Society)

I have no trouble believing this. I don’t care what they say about the exposure being too low to cause any problems, yada-yada. What they mean by that is that they asked a guy to talk on a cell for a week and they checked him at the end of the week. It probably does cause some tiny bit of damage, but nothing the body can’t repair so they say it’s fine. Except for the fact that they don’t consider a decades worth of continuous damage and repair, or the inevitable errors that tend to appear as DNA is copied and recopied and repaired over and over again. Of COURSE people get tumors – and probably especially the ones that talk so much they never have a radiation free moment to make any repairs…

Earlier this winter, I met an investment banker who was diagnosed with a brain tumor five years ago. He’s a managing director at a top Wall Street firm, and I was put in touch with him through a colleague who knew I was writing a story about the potential dangers of cell-phone radiation. He agreed to talk with me only if his name wasn’t used, so I’ll call him Jim. He explained that the tumor was located just behind his right ear and was not immediately fatal—the five-year survival rate is about 70 percent. He was 35 years old at the time of his diagnosis and immediately suspected it was the result of his intense cell-phone usage. “Not for nothing,” he said, “but in investment banking we’ve been using cell phones since 1992, back when they were the Gordon-Gekko-on-the-beach kind of phone.” When Jim asked his neurosurgeon, who was on the staff of a major medical center in Manhattan, about the possibility of a cell-phone-induced tumor, the doctor responded that in fact he was seeing more and more of such cases—young, relatively healthy businessmen who had long used their phones obsessively. He said he believed the industry had discredited studies showing there is a risk from cell phones. “I got a sense that he was pissed off,” Jim told me. A handful of Jim’s colleagues had already died from brain cancer; the more reports he encountered of young finance guys developing tumors, the more certain he felt that it wasn’t a coincidence. “I knew four or five people just at my firm who got tumors,” Jim says. “Each time, people ask the question. I hear it in the hallways.”

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