Smartphones Aren’t Giving You Cancer

Why you don’t need to worry about your phone killing you

Pictured: The root of all evil (probably)
Pictured: Clones. Yes, clones. It’s super cool
Truly, an amazing invention

Cancerous Nonsense

The usual premise behind the smartphone/cancer link goes something like this:

The Sun is basically just a huge ball of flaming radiation — it’s also responsible for all life on earth
Pictured: Wrong

The Science

The researchers in this story did something really interesting. They took pictures of two Spanish cities at night — Barcelona and Madrid — and mapped out visible light based on a clever algorithm. They then asked a large sample of people in these areas and others how much light they were exposed to in their bedroom, and finally compared how much these two factors — indoor and outdoor night light — were linked to breast and prostate cancer.

Pictured: Eeeeevvviiiillllll

Ridiculous Conclusions

This study was, essentially, wildly speculative. The connections that the scientists drew were extremely vague — how do you relate outdoor light to the amount of light someone is actually exposed to? As the study mentions, outdoor light is “ubiquitious”, so it seems odd that higher levels would be related to cancer — the background rate is so high already, an increase is probably not going to do much.

Pictured: Not easy to draw conclusions from
From the study. The ‘significant’ results are boxed in red

Media Madness

The thing about this study is that it was a very preliminary test of a hypothesis. Mostly, what the scientists were trying to do was see if the idea that blue light was bad for you could be seen in a population study.

Pictured: Science-speak for “We aren’t sure if this means anything at all”

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