Thursday, July 24, 2008

Better safe than sorry: cell phones and brain cancer

Preliminary results from a study of people who use cell phones over a period of ten years has some doctors worried, including Ronald Haberman of the University of Pittsburg Cancer Institute.

But most doctors want to wait until the final results are in before they warn against cell phone use.

Cancer researcher warns staff to limit cell phone use
By Jennifer C. Yates and Seth Borenstein
published in San Diego Union Tribune
July 24, 2008

Herberman...said it takes too long to get answers from science and that he believes people should take action now – especially when it comes to children.

“Really at the heart of my concern is that we shouldn't wait for a definitive study to come out, but err on the side of being safe rather than sorry later,” Herberman said...

In the memo he sent to 3,000 faculty and staff members yesterday, he said children should use cell phones only for emergencies because their brains are still developing.

Adults should keep the phone away from the head and use a speaker or a wireless headset, he said...

A 2008 University of Utah analysis looked at nine studies – including some Herberman cites – with thousands of brain-tumor patients and concludes that “...The potential elevated risk of brain tumors after long-term cellular phone use awaits confirmation by future studies.”

...A driving force behind the memo was Devra Lee Davis, director of the university's center for environmental oncology.

“The question is, do you want to play Russian roulette with your brain?” she said. “I don't know that cell phones are dangerous. But I don't know that they are safe.”

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