Friday, March 31, 2006

Talk Is Cheap --- Or Is It?

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The use of mobile phones over a long period of time can raise the risk for brain tumors, a new Swedish study said on Friday, contradicting the conclusions of other researchers.

The Dutch Health Council, in an overview of research from around the world, last year found no evidence radiation from mobile phones and TV towers was harmful. A four-year British survey released in January showed no link between regular, long-term use of cell phones and the most common type of tumor.

However, researchers at the Swedish National Institute for Working Life said they looked at the mobile phone use of 905 people between the age of 20 and 80 who had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and found a link.

"A total 85 of these 905 cases were so-called high users of mobile phones, that is they began early to use mobile and, or wireless telephones and used them a lot," the study said.

"The study also shows that the rise in risk is noticeable for tumors on the side of the head where the phone was said to be used," it added.

Kjell Mild, who led the study, said the figures meant that heavy users of mobile phones, for instance of who make mobile phone calls for 2,000 hours or more in their life, had a 240 percent increased risk for a malignant tumor on the side of the head the phone is used.

"The way to get the risk down is to use handsfree," he told Reuters.

He said his study was the biggest yet to look at long-term users of the wireless phone, which has been around in Sweden in a portable form since 1984, longer than in many other countries.


You wouldn't stick your head in an oven unless you were Sylvia Plath, or come to think of it, Ted Hughes' second wife, who killed herself the same way. What are the odds of that happening? But I digress.

Microwaving your brain can't be a good idea. I talk about ten minutes a month on my cell, and have the phone bills to prove it.

Every day I walk past dozens of Shop-Rite employees, many of them teen-agers, who take their breaks outside the store. They sit on the benches next to the bus stop (Diesel exhaust, anyone?) and perch in the window ledges, smoking and talking on their cell phones.

I always wonder what will get them first, lung cancer or a brain tumor.

(Deeplip, who herself may be brain damaged from the patriotic music and hymns that she's exposed to daily when she enters and exits Shop-Rite. The huge vestibule has its own "playlist":
Kate Smith's "God Bless America", Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA", Lee Greenwood' s "God Bless the USA", many strident, melismatic, American Idol versions of "America" - as well as the familiar one by Ray Charles, the Battle Hymn of the Republic(!), and several rousing renditions of "The Star Spangled Banner". All the music is played at a deafening level.)