2015 — Dateline, New York City. Michael Bloomberg, who after purchasing his fourth term as Mayor of Gotham, today signed into law a ban on cellphones in public. This follows similar bans on trans fats, smoking on beaches, and salt. “Everybody has a right to use cellphones,” said Mr Bloomberg, “Just not in public, where the damaging effects of radiation cause not only harm to the user but to those around him.” Not wanting to seem less progressive, other cities, and several small countries, follow New York and institute their own bans.
The mayor will have based his decision on a study release by the World Health Organization. WHO? I’ll tell you who: a group of perpetually confused doctors and bureaucrats who assume that because something might cause you harm you should not be allowed access to that thing. Yesterday, for example, WHO celebrated its self-created “World No Tobacco Day.”
You will not be surprised to learn that WHO is an arm of the United Nations—which has more arms than the Goddess Kali. This particular arm has been following a Joe Weider-like regime of exercise and, consequently, looks (as somebody once said of Arnie) like a bag full of walnuts. Money—some of it yours—flows into WHO faster than into Chicago’s Democrat machine.
And now we hear that WHO says—Who says? – Naturally – That’s what I’m asking!—that cellphones might, just might, possibly, perhaps, maybe, it is logically possible that they cause cancer.
WHO knows what you’re thinking. “Cellphones cause cancer! Golly!” So WHO was quick to add that they had no evidence that cellphones cause cancer, they had no “direct correlation” between phones and cancers. They merely stress that phones might be a carcinogen.
Which is a true statement. Your jeans might cause cancer, and so might newsprint, pine cones, fish scales, lipstick, perfume, DVD wrappers, even water. Anything might cause cancer. The only question is: does it? So far, the answer is: WHO doesn’t know.
Your reporter, well known to be diligent and unsparing in his efforts to uncover the truth, went to the WHO web site and typed in “cell phones” into its search box. The first link to arise was this:
Cell phones help save the lives of mothers, infants and children
8-10 NOVEMBER 2010 | WASHINGTON DC – Simple mobile technology, like basic cell phones, can be used to save the lives of mothers in childbirth, and improve the care of newborns and children, reaching underserved [sic] populations in remote areas…
What about, I wondered, blacks and gays? Perhaps they were covered in the second link, which was “The impact of cell phones on public health surveillance.” The “impact” is, the researchers tell us, a good one: people can be called anywhere and asked how they fare—WHO knew? WHO knows!
The third link expands on the second, the fourth (and sixth) summarizes Bill Gates’s feelings on cellphones (positive). Number five! Which led with the “Key Fact” (dated May 2010):
To date, no adverse health effects have been established for mobile phone use…
[R]esearch does not suggest any consistent evidence of adverse health effects from exposure to radiofrequency [sic] fields at levels below those that cause tissue heating. Further, research has not been able to provide support for a causal relationship between exposure to electromagnetic fields and self-reported symptoms, or “electromagnetic hypersensitivity.”
It went on like that, insisting no links could be established between cellphone use and illness. It even said that there was no known physical or biological explanation of how phones could cause cancer.
Since the WHO website was of no use, your reporter had to go to the press, repository of all that is true.
What WHO did, according to various news reports, was to gather all previous studies that sought cellphone-cancer links. No evidence could be established looking at the studies individually, but grouped together and input into a statistical model the conclusion was that there might be a problem.
But they had to look through a lot of different diseases before they hit upon just one, something called a glioma, which are rarer than Republicans on the Upper West Side. Massaged through enough statistical models, the researchers said that maybe—and therefore maybe not—“high end” cellphone users have higher glioma incidence rates. The glioma were still exceedingly rare in any case.
Only WHO knows why they added cellphones to their ever-expanding list of “possible” carcinogens. Perhaps its lawyers discovered how much telecommunications companies take in every year. Be nice to have a piece of that—through “donations”, of course—to “study” the problem.
Or was it simply that all bureaucracies are like malignant tumors: unless they are surgically excised, they continue to grow until they kill the host?
Thanks to Ari, Al, and Jade, who urged I cover this story.