Paranoid San Franciscans who have long sought affirmation that radio waves threaten public health finally got a hat tip from the World Health Organization, which now says cellphones are "possibly carcinogenic."
But before you throw your iPhone out the window, note that WHO's "possibly carcinogenic" category also includes everyday items such as coffee,
talcum powder, suntan lotion, bicycle tires, pickled vegetables, oil
from orange peels or coconuts, asphalt, blue dye, red dye, and orange
dye, along with a few hundred other things we encounter in our daily
Rather than merely bask in the glory of faint scientific affirmation, the most prominent local antiradiation activist took the report a few extra steps, distorting and twisting the conclusions to create the false
impression that science now concludes radiation from sources besides cellphones threaten our lives.
"Now that the WHO has come out and publicly confirmed that there are significant
risks from wireless technology, will the utilities and regulators admit they
have made a terrible mistake in deciding to roll out wireless mesh networks that
are blanketing our communities with a likely carcinogen?" asks Joshua Hart, anti-PG&E-smartmeter activist.
But the WHO did nothing of the sort.
What the WHO actually said in a press release was that a scientific panel in France had decided to classify electromagnetic fields in the category of things "possibly carcinogenic to humans," because of a potential risk of a certain type of brain cancer linked to cellphone usage.
Such risk is related to the long-term, heavy use of cellphones. Evidence was insufficient to draw conclusions about other types of cancer, according to the report.
"Possibly" a source of cancer risk, it turns out, is a technical term within the WHO, to be distinguished from "probably carcinogenic" and "carcinogenic."
"Probably carcinogenic" is a term reserved for really scary things, such as having a fireplace or art glass in your house.
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