Alert reader Bahar Gholipour (@Alterwired on Twitter) pointed us to a story appearing in today’s New York Times Style section about the potential cancer risks posed by wearable technology such as the new Apple Watch.
With Gary out of the office today, we can’t do much more than raise a few obvious concerns about the quality of the Times’s coverage:
I have a hard time believing this story would have passed muster for the Health section of the Times. Do readers of the Style section deserve any less?
Note: We have a follow-up post about a commentary from New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan and author Nick Bolton’s troubling defense of his sourcing: Nick Bolton blames readers for not knowing who Joseph Mercola is.
Addendum: Others commented on the New York Times piece.
A New York Times editor’s note was added to the original piece. It reads:
Addendum: March 21, 2015
The Disruptions column in the Styles section on Thursday, discussing possible health concerns related to wearable technology, gave an inadequate account of the status of research about cellphone radiation and cancer risk.
Neither epidemiological nor laboratory studies have found reliable evidence of such risks, and there is no widely accepted theory as to how they might arise. According to the World Health Organization, “To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.” The American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have all said there is no convincing evidence for a causal relationship. While researchers are continuing to study possible risks, the column should have included more of this background for balance.
In addition, one source quoted in the article, Dr. Joseph Mercola, has been widely criticized by experts for his claims about disease risks and treatments. More of that background should have been included, or he should not have been cited as a source.
An early version of the headline for the article online — “Could Wearable Computers Be as Harmful as Cigarettes?” — also went too far in suggesting any such comparison.
Follow us on Twitter: