Frequent smartphone readers who follow the kind of regular snack-reading habit just outlined by David Rothman may have had concerns about their health.
After all, scare stories about brain cancers from smartphone radiation have been doing the rounds for years. When you use your phone as a phone, you typically hold it against your ear. Might your brain get lethally zapped?
Well, now you can rest easy. A just-published Australian study in Cancer Epidemiology and covering a period of 29 years has concluded that “brain cancer incidence between 1982 and 2013 has not increased in any age group except those aged 70–84; in the latter group the increase began in 1982, before mobile phones were introduced.”
The study, entitled “Has the incidence of brain cancer risen in Australia since the introduction of mobile phones 29 years ago?”, and with a sample size of over 30,000 people, noted that smartphone usage in Australia now runs at over 90 percent. However, the abstract points out, “we found no increase in brain cancer incidence compatible with the steep increase in mobile phone use.”
Persistent smartphone health risk alarmists, confronted with similar studies in the past, have argued that the real risk is from long-term exposure, leading to far higher cancer incidence later in life. Writing in Quartz, one of the authors of the report, Simon Chapman, Emeritus Professor in Public Health, University of Sydney, noted that they appear “to be arguing that we would see a sudden rise many years later. That is not what we see with cancer; we see gradual rises moving toward peak incidence, which can be as late as 30-40 years (as with lung cancer and smoking).”
Long periods in close proximity to your favorite mobile device, therefore, appear to be completely safe. The dangers of focusing too fixedly on the text on your screen, however, are a different story. And meanwhile, studies of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, where the more ignorant you are, the more obstinate you are, among smartphone health alarmists are ongoing …