A critical analysis of the latest cellphone safety scare

Enlarge / Maybe don’t rush to throw away that scary death phone quite yet. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty)

Last night, a fellow editor emailed me a link to yet another study purporting to show that cell phone use could be associated with cancer. This one was worth looking at in more detail, however, because it purported to see an increase in a specific cancer—the same type of cancer that was increased in a problematic US government study.

A quick glance at the study identified significant issues with its primary conclusion. Normally, at this point, the decision would be to skip coverage unless the study picked up unwarranted attention from the rest of the media. (See: Scott Kelly’s DNA). But in this case, we thought we’d describe how we went about evaluating the paper, since it could help more people identify similar issues in the future.

Background checks

The first step in evaluating a scientific paper is to get ahold of a copy of the paper. Fortunately, this one has been placed online by an organization that consistently promotes the idea that cell phones create health risks. The Environmental Health Trust’s involvement shouldn’t be seen as a positive or a negative; they’ve promoted very low-quality material in the past, but the organization would undoubtedly promote higher quality studies if those agreed with its stance.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs

Source: FS – All – Science – News
A critical analysis of the latest cellphone safety scare