Is your mobile phone trying to kill you?

Don't look now, but your mobile phone is out to get you. This deadly device can cause accidents, give you cancer or even kill you, according to a rising chorus of alarmist reports.

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) said this week that ER doctors are reporting an increase in both injuries and deaths caused by text messaging. People are apparently wandering into traffic and losing control of their cars because they're sending text messages instead of paying attention. The ACEP singled out text messaging while rollerblading as a risk.

Survey-based research reported by the Danish National Birth Cohort found that "Children with exposure to mobile phones (prenatally, postnatally, or both), tended to have higher percentages of borderline or abnormal scores for emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity, and peer problems."

Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, sent a memo to about 3,000 faculty and staff last week advising that they keep children away from mobile phones, except for emergency calls -- for example, if mummy rollerblades into a pole while text messaging.

US states are increasingly banning mobile phones for drivers. The laws are based on the belief that using a mobile phone while driving a car increases the risk of accidents.

Officials in Russia say that mobile phones are to blame for a rise in death by lightning -- more than a dozen people were killed there in the past few weeks by lightning. The theory goes that if you're using a mobile phone during a storm, the chances of you being struck and/or killed by lightning is greater than if you're, say, just sitting under a tree.

So let me get this straight: Mobile phones cause cancer, injuries and death.

This is horrible news because in the past 18 years, mobile phone use in the United States has risen from under 5 million to over 260 million.

The use of these dangerous devices has gone from zero to almost everybody. Surely cancer, injuries and deaths must have risen just as dramatically -- only, it turns out they really haven't.

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Mike Elgan

Computerworld

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