Last week the New York Times ran an article by Nick Bilton that amounted to spreading a bunch of FUD around wearable devices and cancer (with an Apple Watch angle, of course). Since then plenty of folks have written takedowns of the article, such as this one by The Macalope. But ironically the best takedown is by none other than the New York Times' own public editor - published as an addendum to the original article:
Addendum: March 21, 2015 Editors’ Note
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.
It's embarrassing that the original article was published.
Related: An interesting take on the subject by Dave Pell.