Tuesday, October 04, 2011

To phone or not to phone, that is the question

Do you ever wish you could jump ahead 10 years just to check the answer to some question that’s bugging you? I’m not talking about wanting to find out if you’ll get rich and famous or win the lottery. In this case, I’m talking about cell phone use.

This week, Health Canada came out with a slightly modified position on cell phones: they encourage parents to limit the amount of time kids under 18 spend talking on them. I’m sure there are plenty of parents of teenagers rolling their eyes at this – charting it up with 8 hours of sleep each night and 7 servings of fruit and vegetables. Good luck with that.

What bugs me is how inconclusive the whole debate on the cell phone /cancer link is. This is where I wish I could skip ahead 10 or 15 years and I swear the only thing I will do is check for what the science and evidence-based studies have found.

Perhaps by then this will be a forgotten issue. Cell phones will have evolved in some way we can’t even imagine now and this whole debate will be a relic of the dark ages. Remember how afraid people used to be of cell phones? Did they think people on television were looking at them too? Were they worried that typing on computers could cause finger cancer??

Or perhaps in 10 years it will be obvious that sustained exposure to radio frequency messes with our body systems – and people in the future will shake their heads at our stupidity, just like how so many now shake their heads at how we and our predecessors have made such a mess of the earth’s climate.

But right now, here in the fall of 2011, the evidence is still inconclusive. The American Cancer Society says that while “most studies published so far have not found a link between cell phone use and the development of tumor... these studies have had some important limitations that make them unlikely to end the controversy about whether cell phone use affects cancer risk.”

If you have theories I’d like to hear them – but perhaps best to just email me for now.

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