Thursday, May 15, 2008

Health and Microwave (and other) Radiation

So far I have not found convincing anything I've heard or read about the danger of cell phones and wifi and similar technologies.
  • Disclaimers:
    • I have not myself read any actual scientific studies that discuss these issues.
    • It is my hope that these technologies do not affect human health adversely.
    • I think it is possible that these technologies cause measurable health effects.
    • I think it is possible that these technologies don't cause measurable health effects.
  • What I've heard and read:
    • A panel discussion at the Commonwealth Club of California. What I heard of this discussion (I didn't hear all of it) was focused around the Bioinitiative Report.
    • Back in December I did some searching and found and an article "How Cell Phones May Cause Autism"
  • Why am I skeptical?
    • None of what I've read or heard so far is at all specific about the dangers. It doesn't discuss or differentiate:
      • different frequencies of radiation
      • different power levels of radiation
    • The discussions have a fearmongering style
    • In at least one case it seemed as if the guy had hooked onto this issue and was riding it for all it's worth.
    • There's no discussion of comparative risks. For example, if a study shows some risk, how does that risk compare with the risk of riding in an automobile? As Marvin Minsky said, we need a department of homeland arithmetic.
    • There's reference to information bearing radiation, or something like that - I don't recall the exact wording. But it's as if the information in the radiation will somehow mess up the information in our DNA. But perhaps they're just using the term to differentiate wifi and other fairly low energy radiation from microwave radiation which is actually strong enough to cause heating.
My Google Notebook on the topic is here and here are my links tagged radiation.

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