View Full Version : Cancer and PowerBooks

Apr 3, 2003, 04:03 PM
I sent the following letter to Apple using the Mac OS X Feedback Form:

I would just like to bring the following information to your attention. Several scientists have proven that chances of developing cancer are increased with the use of cellphones because of the heat that they produce. this heat, so closely to the head can increase body temperatures which will provoke uncontrollable cell reproduction also known as cancer. The new PowerBooks also generate a lot of heat. I have just bought one myself and have now had it for almost 2 weeks, and I have to say that it does bother me and causes some concern with respect to health issues. I do know that Apple resently presented a document wherein they acknowledged that the PowerBooks do generate heat, but it is within safety boundaries and according to specified security rules. I would therefore just like to bring this to your attention: Be warned! Some people might actually become affected by this heat, and a lawsuit could look very grim for the company!!! Maybe Apple should take the first step and undertake a secret investigation of possible links to cancer provocation before somebody else does and brings you in trouble.

Thank you for listening

Apr 3, 2003, 04:05 PM
BSD is dying!

Apr 3, 2003, 04:08 PM
What lawsuit? Every laptop generates heat.

Sperm production will go down when your using a powerbook on your lap, but other than that, there is no real issue. Heat hasn't been linked to cancer at all. I'm sure a shaved guy in the Australian desert gets more heat to his noggin than you do from a cell phone. Also, the powerbooks are aluminum, which tends to shield any radiation you might have coming from the power supply, cd-rom, etc.

Sperm count will go down, because your testicles require a very exact temperature range to produce the little baby makers.

Apr 3, 2003, 04:31 PM
I donít think it heat. If that were the case a lot of pet owners who sleep in the same bed as their animals would have cancer. Also, desert dwellers, those that use heaters excessively etcÖ Would have a higher chance of cancer. Itís just not good science.

The best hypothesis, and it is a hypothesis, is that certain forms and frequencies of EMR resonate DNA causing damage. DNA is normally self-repairing, but it seems logical that this process could be interfered with.

I once saw a grid that showed cancer cases dotted along a line that matched up with power lines. After some probing into the study it didnít show a relation to the power lines and cancer, but demographics and cancer, as it was a poor neighborhood. Houses out of the region, but under the same kind of powerlines did not show an increased rate of cancer. PCBs, substandard living, etc... were more likely the causes. Unless there is a 1-1 cause and effect it hard to prove, and a study must take into account all the variables to be valid.

If your really worried use a pencil, go out side and play sports, see a play, and go to the symphony for music. All are less carcinogenic and you will be a better human for it. As for me, I'll just avoid the cell phone.
In any case- The PBs and iBooks are well shielded and temporally decreasing the effectiveness of anybodyís gonads is a good thing, as humans just love to multiply. The real question is our population equilibrium curve an R or an S type.

Apr 3, 2003, 04:55 PM
Your not correct......take it from someone with a great deal of study in the field of oncology, heat DOES NOT EQUAL the same radiation given off by cell phones. RADIOWAVES are the SUSPECTED cause of head and neck cancer in cell phone users. Next you'll be trying to say people in Florida get skin cancer more often than people in New York because Florida has an warmer average temperature (Hint - the more intense solar radiation may be a better idea to look into). This is the problem with lay people trying to understand science when they have no science background. I don't know much about transmissions and I don't make wild guesses about them either. This is not to say there counldn't possibly (I am unaware of any studies suggesting this) be an associted health risk with positioning a laptop on your lap, but this risk is NOT from the thermal heat making cells grow faster. Carcinogenesis starts at the level of DNA (you know tumor suppressor gene inactivation, oncogene activation, inactivation of DNA repair enzymes leading to mutator phenotypes, p53 inactivation, Rb, etc. etc. etc). I can assure you that proteins in "warm-blooded" mammals have evolved nicely to handle increased temperature (heat shock proteins, etc, etc). Your argument would also suggest that exercise (a highly exothermic activity) increased your risk of cancer and we know that's not the case. It is also a mutistep process that requires many, many mututions not only in the DNA but also requires something to force the cells to divide. Before you go scaring people, make sure you know what your talking about.

Apr 3, 2003, 04:58 PM
Buy an external keyboard and mouse. Put the computer on a desk.

The problem with the cell phones is the power of the radio transmitter/receiver. Never before for any reason have so many people been exposed to such powerful waves at such close range. In the radio bands up to about 110MHz, the poblem isn't too bad because these waves are not as capable of moving through you, but moving into the 800, 900, and 1900 MHz spetrum, the waves are more capable of passing through the body's defenses. Also consider a 900MHz cordless phone. It has a relatively short range. Now imagine how much more powerful the transmitter on the cell phone must be to reach an antenna sometimes miles away.

A few years back, while the radiotion debate was on the front burner, there was talk about moving cell phones to a radio frequency in or slightly above the FM bands. This would greatly reduce the risk of exposure, but the arguments against it were the lack of security and the inability to include as many phones in the lower bands of the spectrum.

Apr 3, 2003, 05:19 PM
iPat makes the better argument.

I still think that if you truly have fear use a pencil for writing, visit somebody in person instead of email, play sport instead of a video game, watch a play instead of a movie, and play an instrument instead of an MP3.

Post links to articles in refereed journals. It makes for a better argument.

Apr 3, 2003, 07:27 PM
lmao, someone would have an extremely difficult time proving the their trusty mac caused them to get cancer. I doubt it would anyways.

Sun Baked
Apr 3, 2003, 07:31 PM
Originally posted by Eniregnat
I donít think it heat. If that were the case a lot of pet owners who sleep in the same bed as their animals would have cancer. Also, desert dwellers, those that use heaters excessively etcÖ Would have a higher chance of cancer. Itís just not good science.If that's the case...

I guess it's time to buy these idiots a one way ticket to Siberia.

We definitely wouldn't want them to get cancer.

Apr 3, 2003, 08:02 PM

I'm setting up the ice blocks in my apartment now

Apr 3, 2003, 08:26 PM
Originally posted by Eniregnat
iPat makes the better argument.

I still think that if you truly have fear use a pencil for writing, visit somebody in person instead of email, play sport instead of a video game, watch a play instead of a movie, and play an instrument instead of an MP3.

Post links to articles in refereed journals. It makes for a better argument.

Agreed. I got a good chuckle out of that "heat causes cancer posting" too.
What'll be next? Breathing oxygen oxidizes too much cellular DNA, causing increased cancer rates in people who breathe fresh air? Let's sue Mother Nature for having oxygen in the air. DAMN HER!!! ;)

Apr 3, 2003, 08:52 PM
This is some disgruntled PC user that's mad cause he has to use a crappy $999 100 lb cross between a george forman and a computer. WAKE UP BUDDY!!!! PC's are much much hotter. My mom has an HP and you can't even leave it on all day.

What an idiot.

Mr. Anderson
Apr 3, 2003, 08:56 PM
Ok, come on guys, no personal attacks.

So it was a little baiting - it was more than aptly dealt with by iPat (nice response, btw).

Let it go,

Thank you,


Apr 3, 2003, 09:22 PM
I like the heat. In my physics class, it gets so cold, the heat from my PowerBook is so comfortable warming up my hands in that room...

Maybe if Apple found a way to transfer the heat energy into electrical energy, or some other form of energy that can be used to power the PowerBook... Oh well. We can't have everything, so I guess this PowerBook/hand warmer is enough...

Apr 3, 2003, 09:39 PM
What a joke. I thought for sure he was going to suggest that AP Extreme would lead to cancer (who knows, right?), but this is ridiculous.


Apr 3, 2003, 10:36 PM
i said to maurice: hey you know is it possible that i got leukemia from excessive use of laptops from Apple, especially the PowerBooks?
his reply: WHAT THE #@!)*&$ ARE YOU SMOKING?!
me: umm i just read this thread on macrumors that made no sense at all...something about cancer and heat produced by a powerbook
maurice: (after taking a look at the thread) you're an idiot for listening to that crap

okay so what...we got two oncologists who say that it's totally false :D that's good...i would hate to think that powerbooks cause cancer :(

Apr 4, 2003, 08:43 AM

That is the most stupid thing I ever heard from this forum, just think about this:

-Hot chocolate generates more heat than a powerbook or cellphone.

-Excersice or workout generates more heat than a powerbook or cellphone.

-SEX generates more heat (down there) than a powerbook or cellphone.

-Any warm meal generates more heat than a powerbook or cellphone.

Those are sciencetist that just want to find their 15 minutes of fame telling something really stupid.

Apr 4, 2003, 09:07 AM
O.K feeling a little bad for being harsh.....so here's my advice to the person who posted the original message. I know that to the untrained eye there is a lot of difficulty dealing with the massive amount of misinformation out there. But there are things that a person can do to minize the amount of misinformation they are getting.

Three things to remember...especially when reading about science and medicine (especially in the popular news).

1. Remember that science isn't about JUST being right or wrong...it's about accumulating evidence to suggest something may or may not be occurring. Things that seem clear-cut and convincing often aren't as they seem because they're much more complicated (or simple?). Often we need to believe something that is incorrect before we can come to the correct conclusion.

2. The popular media loves to make big deals out of everything. It's often true that once believed "truths" are often disproved....but it is a step by step process of accumulating a little evidence.....then someone else gets a little evidence....then someone else, etc. etc. etc. Eventually you hope there's enough to convince people. But just because it's in writing doesn't mean it's true and just because science and the medical community dismisses something doesn't mean it isn't true. Point is you need to evaluate everything critically.

3. There are scientists who aren't good at what they do...just like every other profession. When someone makes an unbelievable statement that "bucks" everything known about a subject, they're either crazy or unbelievable geniuses.

So your scientists are either crazy or the best thing to happen since sliced bread and internists and the medical community need to do whatever is takes to convince patients to keep their body temps as low as possible, don't take hot showers, etc., etc., etc. Is it a possibility? Sure! Is it at all likely? NO!

Apr 4, 2003, 09:18 AM
Actually, it depends on how hot it is. Constant burning (not just heating) of an area, such as the skin or the esophoagous and stomach, can lead to cancer. We all know about skin cancer, but the PowerBook's heat is not going to cook you legs like the sun does. In country's such as Japan where food is eaten at extremely high temperatures, and the esophaous and stomach are burnt repeatedly, there is a statistically significant increase in the number of cancers in those areas.

Apr 4, 2003, 09:33 AM
I don't want to get into a lecture about every case of cancer but.... While it's true that things like esophageal reflux can lead to precancerous conditions such as intestinal metaplasia (Barrett's esophagus) and chronic gastritis can be a premalignant condtion to stomach cancer (usually H. pylori induced....now considered a carcinogen and NOT the cause of gastric ulcer), the only documented studies looking at the higher incidence of esophagela and stomach cancer in China, Japan, South Africa, etc. suggest that this is due to genetic predispositon, fungus-contaiminated foods, high levels of the a carcinogen called nitrosamine within the food, and a host of vitamin deficiencies and heavy metal contamination of food. Not because they eat their food too hot and it burns the esophagus and stomach.

Things aren't always what they seem. Women have a lower risk of lung cancer. Is it because of something a complicated as polymorphism in their HLA loci/P450 polymorphisms or is because something as simple as they smoke less? It takes a lot of time and energy to try and figure it out. Don't rush to conclusions.

Apr 4, 2003, 09:38 AM
Maybe some sort of microwave oven can be incorporated into the laptop - then it really WOULD be a dual-purpose machine...


Apr 4, 2003, 10:18 AM
It's very warm in my office at the moment.... so a huge fan has been switched on and is partly aimed at my PowerBook to keep it cool, I had to do it alot last summer on my old Rev A Ti 500MHz which incidently was like a furnace in comparison to my current 1GHz Ti.... I've checked for tumours and I'm lump free...

Incidently who actually uses a laptop on their lap??

Apr 4, 2003, 11:23 AM
Actually Cancer is not a result to heat but to the waves emited by the cell phones, transformed in the coprs to heat.

And it is not yet proven.
Really that s nonesense

Apr 4, 2003, 11:50 AM
iPat, again I think you make the best case here.
I don't believe that youíre being overly harsh.
I hope that krohde decides that this is a safe place to post.

Many of the people I work with lament that there is no "classical" education any more. I just smile and know that times change. When my father was in high school they hadn't discovered DNA yet, there were only computation machines, and shop was a required elective. Now every (we hope) student that goes through high school is well versed in the basics of genetics, chemistry and physics. Programming is a suggested elective and what was once offered as the first year of collage level chemistry is taught during the first semester of high school chemistry.

Knowledge and the focus of learning/understanding changes with the times. We are in an odd transitional state, where it is difficult for the general population to catch up with the latest information about science and technology. We see the products (the effects) and little care or know about the fundamental concepts (causes) that underlie its creation.

Apr 4, 2003, 11:52 AM
WHAT jeeeze:rolleyes: this thread is lame.

Apr 4, 2003, 02:07 PM

-what are you smok'n Heat does not cause cancer, radiation yes. People had concerns with cell phone sending radiation through their heads which may cause cancer, but not proven.

Apr 4, 2003, 02:14 PM
this is absolutly the dumbest forum.

-where do you live krohde, in a rat hole?

what are you, nocturnal or some **** like that?
because your afraid of the sun

Apr 4, 2003, 02:57 PM
if this were true, there would be an increase risk of cancer for all those close to the equator.

temps there are after all much higher than closer to the arctic circle.

i think you need not worry about this.

my theory: if you look close enough, everything causes cancer.

Apr 4, 2003, 03:09 PM
man if your scared of a powerbook giving you cancer i would hate to see what else your scared of, no offense taken i hope. this reminds me of what about bob.


Apr 5, 2003, 08:25 AM
Here is just one link to some of sites that I have been reading. This site was just one result that came from a google search: cellphones heat cancer


On that website if you read carefully you will see that research has suggested that cancer can develop from sustained and longer periods of cellphone usage. Temperatures in the brain can rise by as much as 2 degrees! This would therefore help to prove the point that sustained usage of the powerbook could in some cases lead to cancer development. Apple claims a battery life of 5h but users are often plugged in for just as long and therefore this will constitute "longer periods of time."

Also I would like to say one thing to those who have claimed that I was on some kind of drugs: I am not and I do not live in a rathole! I dont know if you are trying to boost your macrumor membership status by replying with useless feedback, but If i was the admin i would erase you from the database because you defeat the purpose of an online community discussion forum. The MacRumor website is professional and so should be the feedback from the users who decide to respond to posts.

Finally I would like to say thanks to those of you who have been willing to give your input to this thread. The continous USEFULL information that some of you have submitted has increased my awareness of the underlying problem, and I hope the thread can develop further.


Apr 5, 2003, 08:56 AM
The worst place to get information....the internet. With no way of verifying who wrote what, and in the case of http://www.cancer-health.org/Brain_cancer.html, not a single actual reference (besides a name drop of a supposed doctor here and there) this website is essentially useless. If you look hard enough in the literature you can find published, peer reviewed research that counters even the most basic and well-understood science. There are thousands of journals out there, most of them are crap for people who need publications for tenure and have editors who are just trying to fill the pages every month (I publish in the area of immunology, a very large field, but will only publish in a handful of the top most respected journals. Not because I'm a science snob, because all the other journals run bad science, crap research). Hence, we are back to the idea that not all research is created equal; some research that has major flaws is still published (and nonreputible web sites try to "prove" there point" by using this bad science). How do I know this is a bad website? The lack of obvious references, no indication of the qualifications of the writers of the webpage, and the inflammatory nature of site all suggest this is not the best place to get your info. The question of when can you trust the website? When it's from an obviously credible source (i.e. The National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health, CDC, and major well-known Universities). I must stress that even then, the literature/site must still be critically evaluated (usually by someone who knows the subject inside-and-out). Like I eluded to in an earlier thread...I can clone a gene and could probably understand how a transmission in a car works, but you won't find me out in drive way trying to fix the transmissions because I'll leave that up to professionals who understand the intricacies. Science is the same way. It's easy to be let down a path that very convincingly shows you that x, y, & z must be occurring. In actuality, this may be far from the truth.

Be carefull what you choose to listen to and read. The smartest thing always in any situation, if your not an expert, is to find someone who is and can help you to understand it.