EMF Health-effects Research

Lifesavers and cellular samaritans: emergency use of cellular (mobile) phones in Australia.

Chapman S, Schofield B.

Accident Analysis and Prevention 1998;30:815-9. 1998

Background: There has been highly publicised concern about possible radiation health effects from mobile phone and towers, but scant attention paid to the use of mobile phones in reducing notification times in emergencies.

Method: National random telephone survey of Australian mobile phone users (n=720) and extrapolation to national user population (n=5.1million)

Findings: Using a cellular phone, 1 in 8 users have reported a traffic accident; 1 in 4 a dangerous situation; 1 in 16 a non-road medical emergency; 1 in 20 a crime; 1 in 45 being lost in the bush or being in difficulty at sea.

Interpretation: Any debate about the net health impact of mobile phone proliferation must balance possible negative effects (cancer, driving incidents) with the benefits from what appears to be their widespread use in rapidly reporting emergencies and in numerous acts of often health relevant "cellular samaratanism"

Additional Web Notes

This was an attempt by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association to counter negative reports about the health effects of mobile phones by having one of Australia's best-known public health advocates (Simon Chapman led the fight against tobacco) do this essentially-PR report.

It isn't junk science, but it sails pretty close. This is more a collection of anecdotes, rather than reformal scientific research. Chapman collected a large part of his material by appearing on popular talk-back radio shows and asking people to send him stories about their beneficial incidences.

The statement "brain cancer..." just reveals the scientific ignorance of a sociologist when dealing with serious biomedical matters. To dismiss such a possibility in the light of hundreds of man-years of research by cellular and molecular biologists is the height of arrogance.

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