June 2, 2011

Technology vis a vis Safety

The latest WHO report has people wondering how safe their mobile phones are and whats the risk of developing brain cancer... I am surprised the news is hogging so much space on prime time because there is nothing new in the report and the report also says they need more data to make a direct co-relation between cancer prevalence and mobile phone use! We all consume so many things that are carcinogenic like coffee, for example. All of us know the harm caused by alcohol on liver and cigarettes on the lungs. Have any of these come down?

But I look at this brouhaha as a positive development. Now the activists have another product to be "against":-). Looking back, I am glad we now have news reports of the safety concerns of nuclear energy, mobile phone use etc. Earlier, the activists were not educated on these issues and they thought that genetically modified crops are probably the only dangerous products in the world.

People will now wake up to reality as it is. Life is tough and with increased technologies and constant need of man to want easy and cushy lifestyle, we are exposing ourselves to different risks. I must say that the developers of new products do undertake rigorous testing and quality checks before commercializing a product. So, as educated citizens / government policy makers, we need to weigh the risks / benefits of any technology and strengthen safety and regulatory mechanisms for any and every technology. And not discard any technology (the recent decision by the Germans to close down all their nuclear reactors can be likened to pressing a panic button).

Some of the commonly used modern lifestyles that causes harm to the environment but we still use are driving cars; using jet planes, burning fossil fuels, generating tonnes of e-waste, producing more babies than the earth can hold, mining indiscriminately, building huge dams, etc. etc. The next time some activist talks about GMOs, you are now informed and armed:-)

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