The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Maine Legislator Pushes Cell Phone-Cancer Woo

Posted by mattusmaximus on December 21, 2009

In another *facepalm* moment, the state legislature in Maine will soon be considering a bill that would require cell phones to carry warning labels that they, you guessed it, might cause brain cancer.  Ugh – I have posted about this topic before (in my post “Electromagnetic Fields & Cancer Myths”), and I cannot state strongly enough that there is no evidence that cell phone use causes cancer!  Not only is there no conclusive evidence that cell phone radiation causes cancer, but according to the known laws of physics there is no physical mechanism by which this is even possible. But that won’t stop some non-scientifically minded nut with political clout from pushing this nonsense into a useless law…

Maine to consider cell phone cancer warning

A Maine legislator wants to make the state the first to require cell phones to carry warnings that they can cause brain cancer, although there is no consensus among scientists that they do and industry leaders dispute the claim.

The now-ubiquitous devices carry such warnings in some countries, though no U.S. states require them, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. A similar effort is afoot in San Francisco, where Mayor Gavin Newsom wants his city to be the nation’s first to require the warnings.

Maine Rep. Andrea Boland, D-Sanford, said numerous studies point to the cancer risk, and she has persuaded legislative leaders to allow her proposal to come up for discussion during the 2010 session that begins in January, a session usually reserved for emergency and governors’ bills.

And here’s my favorite part of the article…

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.”

Ahem, Rep. Boland, this is an argument that is essentially begging the question… the assumption is that there is a risk, despite there being any conclusive evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship (not to be confused with correlation) between cancer & cell phone use AND a lack of any kind of physical mechanism to even facilitate that process.  Folks, this is what happens when you mix political power with the Paralyzing Precautionary Principle. Now this may be crappy science, but I’m sure it’ll raise Rep. Boland’s political profile – too bad she couldn’t just stick to the actual science as opposed to pushing pseudoscientific & fear-mongering woo woo.

Folks, if you live in Maine, please take a moment to contact your state representatives and ask them to – for the sake of good science & sound legislative policies – just throw Boland’s bill in the trash heap where it belongs.  I’m sure there are far better, more important, and real issues the Maine legislature could be dealing with on behalf of that state’s citizens.

Rep. Boland, this one’s for you…

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4 Responses to “Maine Legislator Pushes Cell Phone-Cancer Woo”

  1. promotegoodscience said

    Hey mattusmaximus,
    Looks like another article on woo-woo about this topic. The good news is it isn’t holding it’s ground with the readers of the article. In fact, the “doctor” who wrote the article reverts to name calling those promoting good science in her responses to their comments, haha! Check it out and maybe even comment yourself if you get a chance.

    http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/134270.html

    Just another call to spread quality/sound science everywhere we can.

  2. Promotegoodscience said

    A round of applause is due for the Maine Health and Human Services Committee,the rest (majority) of the Maine Legislature and Maine’s governer who saw the fallacy in this ridiculous bill put forth by Boland.

    Update on this story:

    “AUGUSTA, Maine — A proposal to require health warnings on cellular phones in Maine has been rejected by a legislative committee.

    None of the 13 members of the Health and Human Services Committee supported Sanford Democratic Rep. Andrea Boland’s proposal during a vote Tuesday. But eight committee members voiced support for more information about cell phone use on the state Web site, while five want the industry to launch an informational effort in Maine.

    Earlier, Gov. John Baldacci’s spokesman made clear the governor’s opposition to cell phone warnings, but stopped short of threatening a veto.”

  3. […] Maine Legislator Pushes Cell Phone-Cancer Woo […]

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