Cell Phones Don’t Cause Cancer!

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Hey guys: cell phones don’t cause cancer. I’m putting that write here at the top of the video, just like I did the last time this bullshit study made the rounds, and here we go again.

The Guardian has just published a completely ridiculous article claiming that scientists know that cell phones cause cancer but the mainstream media is burying it because they’re all in the pocket of Big Cell Phone, so now I have to make yet another video saying that that’s just not true.

To recap, all of this hinges on a study published in 2016 in which researchers took less than 100 rats that are prone to develop tumors and blasted half of them with cell phone radiation. The rats who got the radiation blasts developed tumors and the control group didn’t. However, the control group died much earlier than the radiation rats, and the tumors were late-stage cancers — in other words, tumors that don’t tend to appear until you’re old. As I said in the last video I made about this, the big news should be that cell phone radiation makes rats live longer, but nope, that just doesn’t fit in with the conspiracy theory crowd.

In addition to that, the researchers were pretty blatantly p-hacking — they didn’t go in with a hypothesis that cell phone radiation would result in two specific forms of cancer that would form specifically in the heart and brain. Instead, they just blasted the mice with radiation and then looked at every possible result in order to find something that was statistically significant. Of course they found it, because when you’re looking for anything you’re going to find something.

Cell phones produce radiation, and that is a scary word for the general public. But not all radiation is the same, and cell phones produce non-ionizing radiation. I talked about that in a video a few years ago, too, when I discussed whether or not wifi can make you sick. Wifi is also radiation, but again, it’s non-ionizing — that means it’s too low-energy to pull electrons off of atoms. As far as we know, there is absolutely no way for non-ionizing radiation to cause cancer. We have no evidence of it ever happening.

And as I mentioned in the case with wifi, if cell phones cause cancer than we would by now see a tremendous increase in cancer rates. But we haven’t — since cell phones started becoming ubiquitous in the 1990s, the United States has seen cancer rates fall by 25%. Hey, maybe there is something to that rat study! Maybe cell phones really do help us live longer, and maybe they do it by preventing cancer! But the mainstream media will never tell you that, because…because…oh, because Big Media wants you to keep buying their newspapers, and the best way to do that is to scare the hell out of you. Hey, I think I’m onto something here.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. You are write, of course you are “write”…

    Ain’t auto correct a bitch!

    Don’t anybody ever lecture me on the glorious wonders of AI.

    Also – fukken Sprague-Dawley rats again!
    No good ever comes from experiments with those motherfuckers.

    And yes, only IONISING radiation can cause cancer, microwaves do not count (think of all the juicy microwaves absorbed in our dinners, waitin’ to pop up at ya, yum yum).

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