Mobiles and cancer: No causal link

Posted on April 15, 2011  /  2 Comments

I was surprised by the response to a recent piece that I wrote on mobilephobia and health. There seems to be a deep well of anxiety on this topic.

Siddhartha Mukherjee is an author I greatly admire. I will read his book Emperor of all maladies when they extend the day to 26 hours. He has written a beautifully argued piece on mobiles and cancer in the last NYT magazine. Worth a read.

It is possible, of course, that even these sophisticated experiments will be unable to determine the risk. The lag time of cancer development with phone use may be 50 or 70 years — and cellphones have been around for only three decades or so. Yet even a slow-lagging cancer is unlikely to arise at a single point in time after exposure. Like most biological phenomena, cancer risk typically rides a statistical curve, with some patients developing cancer early, others peaking in the middle and yet others trailing off decades later. Thus far, no such statistical curve has been evident for brain cancer.


  1. Mukherjee happened to win the Pulitzer last week.