Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wearing Flowers In Your Hair, Not Phones In Your Ear

Weren't those hippies against "the Man" back then? Let's see what "the Man" has in store for their little bohemian paradise today:

Gavin Newsom is at it again. The San Francisco mayor's latest foray into annoying nanny statism is a proposal, reported in The Chronicle last week, to require the city's cell phone retailers to post the radiation levels of their products...

In other cities, mayors usually try to make it easier for local businesses to prosper. But in The Special City, the mayor somehow manages to find ways that, if anything, make it harder for commercial enterprises to compete with out-of-town retailers...

The Federal Communications Commission and the Food and Drug Administration say cell phones sold in America are safe. The World Health Organization says they are not a health risk.

The Environmental Working Group has found studies that suggest that there could be problems from long-term cell phone use.

On the other hand, the American Cancer Society -- which isn't afraid to cry "carcinogen" -- looked at studies on cell phone use and cancer and found the following: "Patients with brain tumors do not report more cell phone use overall than the controls. This finding is true when all brain tumors are considered as a group, when specific types of tumors are considered, and when specific locations within the brain are considered. In fact, most of the studies show a trend toward (SET ITAL) a lower risk of brain tumors among cell phone uses, for unclear reasons (END ITAL)." (My italics.) The Cancer Society did warn that there has not been enough research to determine if cell phones might affect children differently than adults...

There's no need to be a fill-in for the FDA. If Newsom thinks it is his job to reduce risky behavior, he instead could focus on the estimated 900-plus new cases of HIV in the city each year.

Closer to home, if Newsom feels the urge to warn people of potential threats, he might want to put up a warning signs under Welcome to San Francisco banners -- that disclose the city's 99 homicides in 2008. As the precautionary principle ordinance notes, the public has a "right to know."

I shake my head in wonder.


pseudotsuga said...

That song makes me want to gouge my ears out...arggggg... arggg... arrgggg

Linda Fox said...

I've tried to refute that cell-phone cancer voodoo by pointing out that microwaves (which are essentially the same as cell phone waves) are large - too large to do any damage. It's not until the waves get small enough - like UV waves - that they can get inside a cell, and damage it. If it's larger, it just passes harmlessly through the body.
My students are still believers in the mass-hysteria of cell phones - doesn't stop them from using them non-stop, though.