CIO Symmetry

Jul 29 2008   5:54PM GMT

Will Mobile mania go the way of the Marlboro Man?

Kristen Caretta Kristen Caretta Profile: Kristen Caretta

This just in: Mobile phones may cause cancerous brain tumors.

How many times have we heard that? Over the years, as mobile phones became increasingly popular, studies have linked them to cancer and then further studies have extinguished the fear. Most recently Dr. Ronald Herberman, the University of Pittsburgh’s Cancer Institute director, has sent out a memo to his staff members warning them of the possible link between mobile phone use and brain cancer development.

Dr. Herberman has also compiled tips to help you limit your exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted from mobile phones. The list includes switching ears while talking and avoiding mobile phone use in public where you could possibly harm others (secondhand electromagnetic radiation?).

To those of you who scoff at the cancer possibility and were first in line for the new iPhone, take a second and think about it like this: Could this be another ‘Marlboro man’ situation?

Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be ditching my mobile link to the world anytime soon, and I wouldn’t expect you to. Even if we wanted to, how could we? We’re busy, we’re constantly on the go and so is everyone else. Plus, you’ve seen some of the newer phones (music, downloads, mirrors!). They’re cool and everybody’s doing it. What’s the problem?

Up until the second half of the 20th Century, the adverse health affects of cigarettes weren’t widely known. And even after the studies started rolling in (and continued plowing right over Joe Camel), people continue to smoke. Oh right, they have nicotine. They’re addictive. Isn’t it a stretch to compare them to mobile phones?

Have you ever heard the slang term crackberry? (crack cocaine+BlackBerry, you get the picture).

We all rely on our mobile phones so much, it would be almost impossible to remove them from our lives completely – cancer or no cancer.

Then again, it could be one of those “don’t sit so close to the TV” type deals. Either way, I’m sure Dr. Herberman will let us know. Or at least send it out in a memo to his staff.

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