Blog 11: Agree to Disagree

In the academic journal article called The Cellphone Study: A respected agency calls them ‘possibly carcinogenic,’ but the evidence is limited, the author is unknown, although the article was found in the New York Times. According to this mysterious author, Cellphone users have every right to be confused. He says that in 2010 there was a study done in 13 countries that found no obvious evidence that radiation exposure from cell phones cause cancer. He then goes on by stating that the International Agency for Research on Cancer, “declared that the radiation is ”possibly carcinogenic” to humans,” which should come to people as a concern. He goes on by stating that the agency released this big announcement to the press before releasing a detailed written study with the list of concerns from the cell phone radiation, and will allow scientists to have the first chance to look at the theory and evaluate it. The author goes on to say that the World Health Organization based its findings on limited evidence but claimed that people who use cell phones more often than not, have a higher risk of a brain tumor called glioma emerging. To conclude the author mentions that cell phones were categorized as possible carcinogens and are still under investigation.

In response to the article summary above, I agree that radiation exposure from cell phones do cause cancer, a point that needs emphasizing since so many people still believe that cellphones are harmless to humans. If the researchers are right about the fact that we do not have enough evidence yet to fully determine if cellphones are carcinogenic, as I think they are, then we need to reassess the popular assumption that researchers have already found a solution.

Mobile Alert is an academic journal article, written by Bryan Walsh. The article was dated back to July 13th, 2011, but gives similar information found in more recent articles. Walsh discusses two sides of an argument based on whether or not cell phones lead to brain cancer. The author acknowledges that on one hand, the Federal Communications Commission, Food and Drug Administration, and the cell phone industry all argue that cell phones are safe to use. On the other hand Walsh mentions that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), classified cell phone radiation exposure as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” which completely conflicts with what the other groups reported. The author then states that on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website, they have a section labeled Electromagnetic Fields and Public Health: Mobile Phones. He then points out that in that section of the website it reads, “To date, no adverse health effects have been established for mobile phone use,” leaving those two key words for researchers to question; to date. Walsh explains that there is no clear explanation that explains whether or not radiation causes brain tumors. He backs that up by saying the brain cancer rates have not risen in the past two decades. Walsh writes that the evidence for both sides of the argument is limited and needs to be studied further. He then concludes by saying brain cancer still has its secrets and only time and research will tell whether or not radiation is for sure a carcinogen.

In the paragraph above, my feelings on the issue are mixed. I do support the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s position that believe cellphone radiation exposure is possibly carcinogenic to humans, but I find that the Federal Communications Commission and the Food and Drug Administration’s argument that cellphones are safe to use to be equally persuasive. Those unfamiliar with this school of thought may be interested to know that it basically boils down to researchers have not gathered enough information to make a prediction on whether or not cellphones are dangerous for the human brain.

In the article Exposure to 3G mobile phone signals does not affect the biological features of brain tumor cells, published in 2015 in the Bio Med Central Journal, authors Yu-xiao Liul, Guo-qing Li, Xiang-ping Fu1, et al., are investigating whether or not mobile phones could make changes in human tumor cells, acting as a tumor promoting agent. The authors start out the article by stating that with the increase in cell phone use there has been an uprising concern about the development of brain tumors in the users. As the article continues into more detail, steps are made to test the effects on the brain from 1950-MHz (which is radiofrequency electromagnetic fields) TD-SCDMA exposure. They had three specific things that they were testing. The first was how 1950-MHz TD-SCDMA exposure affected the biological features of glioblastoma cells in vitro. The second is how that type of exposure affects gene expression and profiles. Lastly the authors tested to see if EMF changed the formation of a tumor cell. They observed the cells for long periods of time and documents the results from the tests. The article finishes by explaining that all of the exposure to the brain tumors made no changes to the cells and had no effect on the brain.

For the paragraph above, Although I agree with the authors to a point, I cannot accept his overriding assumption that the radiation made absolutely zero changes to the brain tumors that were tested. I agree that due to increase in cellphone use there is a greater chance of effects on the brain because my research leads me to believe that.


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