‘Sophisticated Evaluation of Serious Research’ at the New York Times?

On March 19, Nick Bilton, technology columnist at The New York Times, wrote an article in the newspaper entitled “New Gadgets, New Health Worries.” Approximately half of the piece was about the possible health hazards posed by the new Apple Watch and other smart watches; the other half concerned the health hazards associated with the use of cellphones. “We have long suspected that cellphones, which give off low levels of radiation, could lead to brain tumors, cancer, disturbed blood rhythms, and other health problems if held too close to the body for extended periods,” Bilton wrote.

Later in his column, he declared that the most definitive and unbiased findings leading to this suspicion had come from the conclusions of a panel of 31 scientists from 14 nations that had been convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization, located in Lyon, France. Bilton described the panel’s findings as follows: “After dissecting dozens of peer-reviewed studies on cellphone safety, the panel concluded in 2011 that cellphones were ‘possibly carcinogenic’ and that the devices could be as harmful as certain dry-cleaning chemicals and pesticides.” He cited the results of one of these studies, which had been conducted by the well known Swedish oncologist and epidemiologist Dr. Lennart Hardell, who had found that prolonged use of cell phones could “triple” the risk of developing a certain type of brain cancer, and that cell phone radiation might be especially harmful to the developing brains of children.

Toward the end of his column, Bilton told his readers that he had “stopped holding my cell phone next to my head and instead use a headset.”

Within hours, Bilton was taken to the woodshed by none other than Margaret Sullivan, the Times‘ public editor, —> Read More