Commentary — June 1, 2011, 10:24 am

Nathaniel Rich on Cell Phones and Cancer

The chair of a working group from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said yesterday that cell phone use should be considered “possibly carcinogenic.” The W.H.O. is the most significant body to classify the radiation emitted by cell phones in this way.

Nathaniel Rich, author of the novel The Mayor’s Tongue, wrote about the debate over whether cell phones cause cancer in the May 2010 issue of Harper’s Magazine. His article is available, for free, at http://harpers.org/archive/2010/05/0082932. You can also download the free PDF from our archives. (And of course you can subscribe here to get free access to more than 160 years of Harper’s Magazine.)

For those interested in getting additional context on the cell phone news, Cancer Research UK has posted an excellent piece contextualizing the W.H.O.’s findings.

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Mrs. B’s Baby Village Day Care was on a frontage road between a mattress wholesaler and a knife outlet. There were six or so babies as regulars and another one or two on weekends when their parents were passing through looking for work. They wouldn’t find work, of course, all the security positions were full, the timber and ore had all been taken under the active-stewardship program, and the closest new start-up industry was the geothermal field hundreds of miles away. Mrs. B didn’t even bother to write those babies’ names down in her book. It was fifteen dollars a day and they had to be in reasonable health. Even so the occasional mischievous illness would arise and empty the place out.

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