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Cellphones Medicine Hardware Technology

Don't Keep Cellphones Next To Your Body, California Health Department Warns ( 344

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a warning against the hazards of cellphone radiation this week. They are asking people to decrease their use of these devices and suggest keeping your distance when possible. TechCrunch reports: The warning comes after findings were offered up this week from a 2009 department document, which was published after an order from the Sacramento Superior Court. A year ago, UC Berkeley professor Joel Moskowitz initiated a lawsuit to get the department to release the findings after he started looking into whether mobile phone use increased the risk of tumors. A draft of the document was released in March, but the final release is more extensive.

According to the Federal Communication Commission's website, there is no national standard developed for safety limits. However, the agency requires cell phone manufacturers to ensure all phones comply with "objective limits for safe exposure." The CDPH recommends not keeping your phone in your pocket, not putting it up to your ear for a prolonged amount of time, keeping use low if there are two bars or less, not sleeping near it at night and to be aware that if you are in a fast-moving car, bus or train, your phone will emit more RF energy to maintain the connection.

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Don't Keep Cellphones Next To Your Body, California Health Department Warns

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  • Telephones (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Are known to the state of California to cause cancer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16, 2017 @06:11AM (#55750485)

    where then?

  • No radiation risk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jonfr ( 888673 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @06:20AM (#55750499) Homepage

    There is no danger from mobile phone electron radiation (it is non-ionising radiation). That document in California is wrong. The biggest risk is a unstable battery resulting in a fire in people pocket. Transmission power from mobile phones is limited to maximum 2W (bad signal areas). In towns and such areas most mobile phones are running on transmission power that is from 0.1mW and up to 0.5mW. General rule is that bad signal means more transmission power.

    • by rl117 ( 110595 ) <> on Saturday December 16, 2017 @07:21AM (#55750625) Homepage
      Cancer is caused by far more than ionising radiation. Is it within the realm of possibility that localised heating of cell contents by microwaves could cause damage to cell machinery for replication control? Or cause localised unwinding of DNA to expose repressed genes for transcription? Both are possible.
      • by mikael ( 484 )

        Then having a hot shower would be even more dangerous. Drinking hot cups of coffee and tea is known to raise the risk of esophageal cancer.

    • 2W of non-ionizing power, only 1 W MAX of which can be directed towards your body, at frequencies where the energy just doesn't penetrate much into your body. It is about as risky as taking a christmas tree light bulb, putting it in a cell-phone transparent box, and putting that inside your pocket.

      I'd sooner believe the connection between high voltage transmission towers and cancer. The power at ground level is again absurdly low, but at least there I can imagine the high voltage arcing into the air at po

      • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

        The risk from high voltage transmissions lines is as I understand it believed to be due to the concentration of pollutants due to the low level magnetic fields that they produce. That is it's not the power lines themselves that are the problem, because the idea the power lines directly cause cancer is as laughable as the idea that mobile phones do.

        The basics are there is *NEVER* been in the history of the world a *REPEATABLE* scientific experiment that shows a link between non ionizing radiation and cancer.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          The basics are there is *NEVER* been in the history of the world a *REPEATABLE* scientific experiment that shows a link between non ionizing radiation and cancer.

          Skin cancer due to UV has been mentioned several times in this thread. You may want to be more precise in your wording.

        • But if you are a tech-hating Luddite aging flower child who believes that silicon dioxide crystals with various dopings, worn on the body or just kept in a house, affect your health in beneficial ways, you can't even pretend to convince yourself that you "understand" a cell phone the way you do the channeling of crystal energies with sacred symbols. This creates a state of cognitive dissonance -- what you don't understand you fear and you resent in equal parts. The resentment is made even greater when all

    • by Entrope ( 68843 )

      More to the point, visible light (not UV) and even infrared have much more energy per photon than what mobile phones transmit, and you are exposed to higher energies when you go outside than when you have a phone nearby.

      Many adult human males have cross-sections from the front or back of 0.6 to 0.7 square meters. The Sun delivers 1400 W/m/m to the Earth, so someone on the low end of that range would -- if they were lying down -- receive about 840 W of energy from the Sun. Even if you de-rate that because

    • by Misagon ( 1135 )

      That's not how it works.

      The electromagnetic waves from mobile phones do not cause the initial mutation that causes a cell to turn into a cancer cell and multiply out of control. That fact has been long established and is not contested here.
      What microwaves in the frequency ranges used by cell phones have been shown to do is to promote the growth of existing cancel cells.

      Mutations into cancer cells are actually not as uncommon as most people think. All of us have had cancer cells many many times, but what nor

  • It's probably more a testament to the creaking educational system that most people don't know the difference between electromagnetic radiation from a lightbulb and nuclear byproducts from fission.

    My electromagnetism professor did a safety study for the PTA of the local elementary school of where the operator should put their new mast. The PTA didn't appreciate that the optimum location was on top of the school since the worst place to receive a signal is on the axis of oscillation of a dipole emitter.


  • by Max_W ( 812974 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @07:15AM (#55750611)
    The intensity of radiation passing through any unit area is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the point source. It is the fundamental law of the universe, and It is valid for any radiation, including electromagnetic: []

    Practically it means, that even a small increase in distance decreases the radiation dramatically. So putting a smartphone into a backpack, or on a windowsill, away from the bed, decreases the radiation probably by several orders of magnitude.

    In even simpler words, - do not keep radiating devices, like a smartphone, router, etc., too close to a place were you sit or sleep.
    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "The intensity of radiation passing through any unit area is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the point source."

      Cellphones are not isotropic radiators.
      • by Max_W ( 812974 )

        Cellphones are not isotropic radiators.

        Here is the general idea of a cell phone radiation pattern: []

        Obviously, it does not have a directional antenna, simply because a smartphone does not know to what tower it is connecting so it radiates in all direction.

        Yes, theoretically id does not radiate from one point, but practically speaking it does.

      • by tomxor ( 2379126 )
        Nothing is a perfect isotropic radiator... what is you point? inverse square law still applies unless cell phones have suddenly started using quantum tunnelling instead of old fashioned RF. It is valid to the discussion because of how it applies to the signal amplitude falloff and therefore proximity makes a big difference, it not being a perfectly isotropic is irrelevant.
  • WHO says no (Score:5, Informative)

    by De_Boswachter ( 905895 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @07:28AM (#55750637) Homepage

    Over the past 15 years, studies examining a potential relationship between RF transmitters and cancer have been published. These studies have not provided evidence that RF exposure from the transmitters increases the risk of cancer. Likewise, long-term animal studies have not established an increased risk of cancer from exposure to RF fields, even at levels that are much higher than produced by base stations and wireless networks. []

    • by ebonum ( 830686 )

      Hard to see how cell phone signals causes cancer. These frequencies are not ionizing. A bit like saying the warmth from holding someone's hand is going to cause cancer. Makes no sense. There needs to be a mechanism for the radiation to do damage (knock off electrons), but there is none.

      • So how does non-ionizing UV light cause cancer ?

    • WHO who? In La La Land California Health Board rules.

  • I can't find much actual scientific information in any of the links in the summary. Can someone please provide a link to the actual findings of which mention is made? (Yeah, I'm too lazy to do it myself.) Or has the word "findings" taken on an "alternative" meaning?
    • Re:"Findings"??? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki@ g m a> on Saturday December 16, 2017 @08:35AM (#55750741) Homepage

      I can't find much actual scientific information in any of the links in the summary. Can someone please provide a link to the actual findings of which mention is made?

      There doesn't actually appear to be any, it seems to be made up from a bureaucrat based on faulty findings. Honestly? The entire thing reminds me of the "danger of EM radiation from powerlines!" that was hot shit in the 1980's and 90's, if you want to see an example of that in action, there's an entire near-cult-like anti-em-powerline following in Japan.

    • Don't waste your time. The California Department of Health is a political body, not a scientific one.

  • []

    In 2016 40,000 people were killed in automobile accidents (nationwide. I can't get reliable numbers for California due to ambulance chaser web sites clogging search results). 4.6 million people seriously injured. These are real, recordable factual numbers, not some foggy "might possibly be but can't really see anything conclusive" epidemiological study.

    But when a solution is offered, AKA self-driving vehicles, the outcry from the nut jobs is that there's no way they'll ever

    • Meanwhile, the real threat is ignored

      Except the threat is not being ignored, every automaker is working on autonomous vehicles, and California in particular is fast-tracking trials.

      • by grumling ( 94709 )

        I was referring to the general public's perception of autonomous vehicles. Admit I should have been a little more specific.

        • by jon3k ( 691256 )

          I was referring to the general public's perception of autonomous vehicles.

          Do you have a source for this, maybe in the form of a poll? I get the impression that people overwhelmingly support autonomous vehicles, or at least semi-autonomous. Admittedly it's totally anecdotal. I just think about all the cars being sold now with adaptive cruise control which is essentially a basic form.

    • Banning manual drive? Pfft. We should just ban driving above 5mph too while we wait for Level 5 automation. I mean, it appears we've decided torturing people* is an acceptable way to deal with the problem of opioid abuse. What's a little slow speed compared to that? Think of the lives saved, at the mere cost of massive inconvenience!

      * - Yes it's inflammatory language, but to torture someone means to voluntarily inflict severe pain over a long period of time, and that's exactly what is happening as doctors
  • by CODiNE ( 27417 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @08:56AM (#55750815) Homepage

    recommends not keeping your phone in your pocket

    The wisest among us were known for holding their phones at a distance using so called "selfie sticks". While at first derided by others, their intelligence evidenced by longer lifespans and lack of serious illnesses lead to a beautiful society blessed with their fabulous rulership.

    This is why my son, we must always photograph our food before first eating, to share the joy of our blessed nonnoms with the world and more importantly our esteemed ancestors in the cloud.

  • It's not a warning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pots ( 5047349 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @09:26AM (#55750887)
    It is alarmist in a nebulous sense, but it's not a warning. There aren't any actual claims about negative impacts to your health, just a bunch of bullshit about what may happen, or what some people believe. The actual title is, "CDPH Issues Guidelines on How to Reduce Exposure to Radio Frequency Energy from Cell Phones."

    The closest thing to a solid claim that it makes is: "Although the scientific community has not reached a consensus on the risks of cell phone use, research suggests long-term, high use may impact human health." Claiming that the scientific community has not reached a consensus on this seems like an outright falsehood, but I suppose that as long as there's one holdout then you can say that it's not a real consensus.
  • that's what those selfie sticks are for: you can walk down the street safely with your mobile phone at a safe distance of a selfie stick.

  • Was I the only one who read that as "Don't Keep Cellphones Next To Your Buddy"?
    I was relieved after reading the actual headline.

  • O Sweet Saint Andreas, hear our prayer.
  • The news that California has adopted this as an official position is a bit disturbing, especially in a state that's home to so many great universities. This could only mean that lawmakers don't have much STEM education if any. I hope this remains isolated to the one state. In the current culture of ignorance, it could spread like California wildfire.

    Hasn't it occurred to them, that, with billions of cellphones in use around the world for decades, if there were any problem, it'd be obvious?
  • Because (at least on TV) that's how all the cops find the body. By calling the cell phone and hearing the dumpster ring.

  • ... one showing exponential growth of cell phone use and the other showing exponential growth in brain tumor incidents.

    [citation needed]

  • I don't know how many of you are familiar with bureaucratic nonsense and the massive over-control of the government in California but I'd recommend keeping California far away from your body.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.