Maine Warning: Cell Phones Cause Cancer


A legislator in Maine wants to make cell phone packaging come with a distinct warning message that they can cause brain cancer. Some countries do have these warnings but they aren’t required anywhere in the United States and since no scientific consensus has been reached, it’ll probably be a difficult bill to have passed. The issue at hand is electromagnetic radiation and when the devices is placed directly next to your head during calls… I’m sure you get the idea.

Whether you agree with Andrea Boland (the representative behind the initiative) or not, I think you would find it hard to disagree with the following:

While there’s little agreement about the health hazards, Boland said Maine’s roughly 950,000 cell phone users among its 1.3 million residents “do not know what the risks are.”

This isn’t directly Android related but I think this is an important issue that needs to be addressed – much like texting while driving. Much like people have no clue how a car actually works – they just put in gas and it goes – the same is true of technology. We just turn on our phones and they make calls but seldom do we think about what actually transpires to make that possible.

brain-scanThink about it: your cell phone and wi-fi signals are powerful enough to go through houses, walls, and barriers of all sorts. At any given time there are signals from dozens of different sources flying through the air and invisibly bouncing off objects and emitting some type of signal. If these signals can go through walls… don’t you think they can probably go through your body?

These various technologies haven’t been around for too long in the grand scheme of things. But now it would be hard for you to go somewhere in public without seeing a cell phone or being within reach of a Wi-Fi network of some sort. A few decades down the road will we be realizing the negative impact our technologies have had on us? Hundreds of years down the line, will this have a hand in the evolution of mankind and the human body?

Sure, it’s just a cell phone… but I think its fair and necessary to think about the larger and long-term implications that could potentially be caused by our immediate need for convenience, communication and entertainment. Let’s hear from you – whaddaya think?

[HuffingtonPost via MobileCrunch]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Meh, I’ll take my chances.

  2. roulette …

  3. Many years ago when it wasn’t cell phones but mobile phones (the big honking things that had a car battery running the phone), there were two business men in Sweden who could tie blindness/sight loss in their eyes due to excessive use of mobile phones. They could tell because it was only the eyes closest to the phone that got effected, or where the major problem was noticed. But it took I think around 20 years for the connection to be made.

  4. I don’t want to die, but it’s inevitable.

  5. bull crap, what about the routers in our houses, and microwaves everywhere, and radio waves, and cell towers, blue tooth, etc etc. all of a sudden cell phones are to blam, not likely, we where screwed with the first discovery of radio/radio waves. and lets not forget the natural accruing solar and background radiation out there.

  6. The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. [H. L. Mencken]

  7. Just so we are clear on one part of this issue:

    We don’t have a lot to do in Maine in the winter. Even our lawmakers.

  8. With the proliferation of wireless, Wifi and other signals all over the world, we have made the earth a cancer zone. Its not just for high voltage carrier lines anymore.

  9. Even if you don’t own a cell phone, you are walking around with all of these signals passing through you. You can be sitting next to somebody on a bus or a train and the signals are being passed through your body….kind of like second hand smoke.

  10. Note To Self:
    Line house with lead.

  11. Next on the agenda: banning dihydrogen monoxide! Kills thousands every year!

  12. but i gotta surf the internet and talk to people everywhere i go rob. dont you realize this. its important all the time. I, MUST, BE, SOCIAL!!!!!!!1

  13. Here is what is what makes this ridiculous. If you look at the most common cancers in the United States they are cause by bad diet, tobacco, unhealthy living.

    Are we going to put warning labels on Fast Food? People who eat food loaded with preservatives and saturated fats are more likely to have health problems than normal cell phone use.

  14. Wow, it’s a disappointment to read this type of content on phandroid. Next up, vaccines cause autism?

    Should we have a warning on waffle packages that waffles cause leprosy? After all, you put waffles in your body. There’s no scientific evidence supporting this, but the 1.3 million residents of Maine aren’t aware of the potential risks!

  15. I think the communication revolution will do more for human evolution than silent air waves will.

  16. I don’t understand the connection… microwaves and radiowaves are not strong enough to cause mutations in DNA. This is done by more energetic forms of radiation such as UV, X-rays, and gamma rays. Cancer is caused usually by mutations in certain regulatory regions of the cell, which could be the result of these higher forms of radiation, but not radiowaves and microwaves. I think until there is definte scientific evidence there is no reason to think cell phones cause cancer any more than anything else you have laying around your house.

  17. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the intensity of radiation from a point source is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source. So, the strength at 1-inch away would be 1,296 times the strength of a source 1 yard (36 inches) away. Radiation from a source 1 inch away would be 129,600 times as strong as that from a source 10 yards away. So, sure, there are wifi routers, cell towers, and things broadcasting signals all over the place, but the proximity to your head makes a huge difference. I have no idea if it causes cancer, but I wouldn’t say it’s irrelevant just because we’re getting bombarded by the other stuff.

  18. to chris, like i also said background radiation. no need to nit pick i think you get my idea.

  19. I’m not sure why this matters at all really. Rob pretty much summed it up really…
    “At any given time there are signals from dozens of different sources flying through the air and invisibly bouncing off objects and emitting some type of signal.”
    And one politician is getting her panties in a bunch over cell phones. People, like Andrea Boland, need to clam down. She should really be more concerned about how to better the lives of the people in Maine. There are more pressing issues out there than this.

  20. The 1990’s called, they want their unfounded, alarmist, baseless warning back…

  21. When I use my HTC Touch HD for more than 3 minutes, I SOMETIMES feel a sort of dull pain in my head. Move the phone away, the sensation goes away.

    I don’t thing its psychyosomatic as I have always been a bit dubious of the claims that cell phones were a health hazard.


  22. I think the larger point Rob made is what’s more important, and it’s something I’ve thought about before. In the big picture, compared to the thousands of years of human existence, the time w/ which we’ve been living w/ all these types of ‘new’ radiation is very short. We haven’t been living w/ it long enough to know what long term effects it may or may not have. And those effects may not become apparent for several more generations. We, as the human species, evolved into what we are today w/ zero EM radiation here on earth (yes there’s ‘normal’ EM radiation from outerspace that would still be present).

    On a side note, a friend of mine while working towards his doctorate, was tasked w/ researching this very subject at a major university. He had found that holding an average cellphone (this was around 8 or 9 yrs ago) against the side of your head, while on a call, for around 30 mins (IIRC), that the EM radiation would cause an increase in temperature of about a 1/2 degree of a half-orange sized mass of brain. This was kind of disturbing to me, and so I’m glad I do a lot more texting than talking on my phone. ;)

  23. Yeah, this is totally lame. There are studies that show the actual risk of developing brain cancer per person hasn’t significantly increased since the time cell phones where invented.

    Also, this energy is all around us now. If your cell phone says it has coverage, then you are already basking in the energy cast from a nearby tower. AM and FM radio were already doing this for decades before cell phones even emerged on the scene.

  24. of course cell phones cause cancer…everything does…there are only 2 things in this world that dont cause cancer and they are moon pies and love…but give it a few years and theyll prove they both do

  25. its quite interesting to read all this and see how many people are actually not thinking about it seriously. We are now the first generation of users of cell phones and the long term effects are impossible to see. not now. Maybe not in another 10-20 years.
    Just think of our children or grand children which are born in the era of mobile technology might have the effects of it?

  26. @gunner why would a 1/2 degree of heat increase alarm you? my next questions would be 1) was he 100 percent certain that the phone was causing this increase, or could it have been the hand that was holding it? either way, both the hand and the cell phone emit plain old heat. i bet laying on a pillow also increases heat in the brain…
    i am agreeing with jokeyrhyme. we are almost always amongst some type of radiation. cell phone sales are around 1 billion per year now and is there any increase in brain cancer? i would then compare that to if 1 billion more people a year started smoking what the rates of cancer would be then. that being said i still do believe that things like this should never go unmonitered. i would highly support rigorous testing to try and prove that cell phones cause any type of health risks.

  27. @Will – Exactly what sort of content should be prohibited? Rob hasn’t taken a side here, he’s simply made us aware of what’s going on out there and encouraged a dialogue. Personally, I’m glad to see the conversation happen.

    I’m not a gloom-and-doomer, and I use a cellphone often or I wouldn’t be on this site. It’s funny, though…whenever this subject comes up, I think about the stories my mom used to tell about the x-ray machines that everyone used to stand on in shoe stores that let you see through the shoes you were trying on AND YOUR FEET to determine how well the shoes fit. Scary, no? This was in the 1940’s, about sixty years ago or so. Obciously, no one had any idea how much damage x-rays could do. I wonder sometimes what things we’re doing now will have people sixty years from now shaking their heads, unable to imagine how ignorant we were (are). Are cellphones one of those things? Hard to say.

    But did you hear the news reports about the dangers of moon pies? (@Brian)

  28. If there gonna put warning labels on cell phones then they better start putting em on everything else.

  29. @Brian: You are confusing electromagnetism and gravity.

  30. This is for people who have their mobile phones to their ears for extended periods. I spend probably 5 minutes a day max talking on the phone; however there are some people who have the phone virtually glued to their heads all day.

    The popularity of text messaging and fiddling with apps of recent years will go a long way towards mitigating these effects. There is, therefore, probably no real cause for alarm.

  31. Folks need to remember basic high school science: the difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

    People who forgot this lesson also thought food cooked in microwave ovens would give you cancer.

  32. I am a radio technician and have worked on Microwave and high powered RF transmission devices for many years. The frequency that is required to do adverse permanent damage to the body is that of your home Microwave and some radars, aorund 2.4GHz. At this frequency with high levels of power, water molecules are excited, creating heat. Heating flesh will cause damage, usually permanent. Change this frequency about 200MHz up or down and you are far less risk of damage. In fact the power required to do damage goes up exponentially. Now the heat created from a mobile phone is not good for you and is something that your body has a hard time adapting to. Think about that.

  33. Well dam it I loves my cellphone…Lol this news could hit the female cellphone users hard…all that bla blain they do…ha…but for real this is probably even more a risk for Droid users and all the other new powerful android phones coming…snapdragon and the so called Google phone

  34. The reason ultraviolet light, x-rays, and gamma radiation are bad for you, is because the wavelength is small enough to break apart DNA and RNA bonds. This can cause mutations in the affected cells causing them to reproduce uncontrollably. Ergo cancer. Because common radio wavelengths (vhf, uhf, cell phone, cordless phone, etc) have a much larger wavelength it is not currently believed they can break apart DNA and RNA bonds.

  35. This is all just a bunch of FUD as far as I’m concerned. Do you honestly think that putting brain cancer warnings on cell phones are going to prevent people from buying them? Even if you don’t buy one, there are more and more cell phones being activated every day. The radio signals are beaming through your body every moment of every day, whether you like it or not. Whether or not you yourself own and use a cell phone is irrelevant. I think this politician should actually get a brain before worrying about brain cancer.

  36. For more information on dangers of non-ionizing radiation see

    At the moment there really is no good proof for or against, just like there is no evidence that power transfer lines would cause childhood leukaemia. What has been proven is, that children are more susceptible to non-ionizing radiation, so had I any kids, I would definitely not buy a cell phone for him/her.

  37. I think that the reason the tests are inconclusive in the US has to do with the FCC. Think how this would further screw the economy and freak people out. Not to mention all the loss on revenue from lisencing and selling spectrum. A lot of money to be lost here. Where there is money, there is corruption. Even under your savior Obama’s watch.

  38. Sorry, but that’s bull.
    It’s a myth.
    There are so many independent studies that shows that there is no higher risk even on heavy usage. It’s just the fear of the unknown.
    The examples are ndless. There was a whole village which complained after a cell antenna was installed, about headache and sleeplessness. But the antenna wasn’t even connected to the power line, no usage.
    Or the ones who got heart beat skips (without electrical devices). It’s just your mind.

    Radiation in this frequency up to 2 Watt are NOT harmful. The govs of this world should have made this clear. There are NO PROOF who can show the opposite.

    Don’t believe in myth.

  39. actually. im not too worried bout the cell phone causing me 40 lbs chubby, high blood pressure, you know. i firmly believe cell phones cause the majority of my headaches. and a constant pain in the butt.
    then again, i work in the retention department for TMobile USA.
    wonder why i got a headache half the time. :)
    no is the cell phone whats gonna kill me? shoot lemme think bout this…darnit i need another drink. pass me a lighter, my cigarette went out. mmmm this chicken sammich an fries from BK is just da bomb shiggity…
    not too worried bout the thing thats the basis of my livlihood causin too much for me. just the same ol song & dance.
    it isnt gonna be cell phones that kills people….its the rest of our lives gonna do it sooner or later.

  40. If i’m not mistaken, there was a study showed that the cell phone will not cause cancer. You may try to find out this from this article

  41. well we mite never no for sure if cell phones cuase cancer all i know is that everone has got so used to them that we welcome the cancer then rather get rid of the phone

  42. @Nanashi: LOL!

  43. Hey, glad to see that the wave bullshit is evenly shared across the Atlantic. :)

  44. Why worry, you have all been receiving TV signals for years and they can go deeper into walls than cellphones. The lower the frequency the greater the depth achieved.

  45. My initial comment was not about cancer, but about sight loss, that these two business professional could only link to their cell phone usage. It was also during the initial time where there were a stronger and less controlled use of signals.
    With that said. I still use a cellphone and I believe that the risk is not the same today as it was 20 years ago.

  46. i think its a silly debate. the fact that our TV and radio signals are strong enuf to be, at this very moment, moving further and further out into deep space, and the worrysome parts of our paranoid, germophobe, health conscious society, pick cell phones as a bad thing, strikes me as retarded. then again i see whats popular on american television and then i remember, most americans are dumb as dirt, their children too.

  47. They do heat up your head when holding them up for too long. I always use handsfree so I never experience this, but a lot of people I know notice it.

    I recommend everyone use handsfree speaker that all cell phones come with today.

  48. @scorpio
    Thanks, but it appears to me that both EM and gravity intensity both drop of porportionally with the square of the distance. I’m seeing that light intensity decreased proportionally with the square of the distance from a point source here:

    And light is just a band of EM radiation. So what am I missing here? Thanks.

  49. Actually there is a scientific consensus. The consensus is there is cell phones do NOT cause brain cancer. These are relatively low powered radio waves, not ionizing radiation like gamma rays (x-rays). Cancer is caused by damage to DNA, radio waves do not affect DNA in any chemical way, unlike X-rays.

  50. Folks, the universe is full of these energies and they are passing through the earth all the time. Just because we’re making some waves that are meaningful doesn’t make them any more harmful than all the natural noise.

    Besides, even if cell phones caused brain cancer, no one is about to stop using them. We’ve already go warnings on everything…it doesn’t change anything.

  51. This is funny and really stupid because about a week ago on the news they had a 30 year study that proved that Cell phones has absolutely no link to any kind of cancer.

  52. I have but one question. With the recently leaked e-mails showing that scientists can lie about results, why should I believe anything any scientist wishes to give me? I think I will conduct my own experiments from here on out.

  53. Children’s Health and Cell Phones-

    It is now being reported that the World Health Organization will soon announce that cell phones are linked to higher brain cancer rates, their conclusion from the huge, (likely)soon to be released Interphone studies, the most significant studies to date.

    These findings confirm many independent scientific studies, the majority showing biological effects from cell phone radiation. It is a myth that there is a scientific consensus of safety. Cell phones were never tested for safety, like a medicine would be. Safety is not confirmed and is deeply controversial.

    As of right now, let the WHO finding immediately erase any sense of doubt for parents, schools, and others concerned about the safety of children.

    ****It is no longer reasonable to consider cell phones to be safe for children.******

    Suggested actions to take:

    * Starting immediately, don’t ever put a cell phone next to a child’s head.
    * Teens are advised to only use cell phones in emergencies.
    * Pregnant women may wish to consider not using a cell phone.
    * Get your elected officials involved. First steps could be the creation of public warnings as to the danger of cell phone use, and ending cell phone advertising to children.
    * Head sets and speaker phones are immediate options to reduce radiation exposure.

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