Can Cell Phones Lead To Cancer?

Scientists Say Precautions Need To Be Taken

POSTED: 4:08 pm EDT October 30, 2008
UPDATED: 9:32 am EDT October 31, 2008
It’s hard to live without a cell phone nowadays, but there are emerging concerns about their safety from scientists who say we need to know if our phones are causing an increase in brain cancer.

Watch: 11 News Reporter Donna Hamilton
10 Cell Phone Precautions

Cell phones allow us to be in constant communication with others 24 hours a day, seven days a week almost anywhere in the world — something that what was once uncommon. But some scientists said they think the devices need a closer look.{
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Dr. Devra Davis is director of the world’s first Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. She said she first became interested in cell phones and cancer after seeing some studies from Scandinavia that showed an increased brain cancer risk for people using cell phones for 10 years or more.”There have been more studies that show no risk. Unfortunately, those studies haven’t looked at cell phone use for 10 years or more,” she said.Davis said it takes 10 years for most brain cancers to develop. Pictures from cell phone companies show the electromagnetic signal goes about two inches into the adult brain — halfway through the brain of a 10-year-old and completely through the brain of a 5-year-old. Yet children are one of the fastest growing markets for cell phones.Davis said children’s’ brains are the most vulnerable.”Many children sleep with them under their pillow on vibrate, so the signal gets right into their head while they’re sleeping,” she said.A September bulletin from the National Cancer Institute said, “Children may be at greater risk of health effects than adults because their nervous systems are still developing at the time of exposure. In addition, young people may accumulate many years of exposure during their lifetimes.”The bulletin said larger studies are needed to answer questions about long-term cell phone use.WBAL TV 11 News contacted CTIA The Wireless Association, who referred questions to the American Cancer Society. On the ACS Web site, it lists cell phones causing cancer as one of their four cancer myths.Even so, Chief Mission Officer Patricia Hoge agreed that the jury is still out.”At this point, anybody’s guess is as good as anybody else’s. But when you look at the science, the science would tell us there’s no evidence at this juncture,” she said.Davis said that’s not the whole story. She said preliminary findings by a well-known epidemiologist in Sweden, where they’ve used cell phones for 20 years, has found something disturbing.”He has told colleagues that he has findings that people who started to use cell phones as teens, by the time they reached their late 20s, had five times more gliomas,” she said, referring to a type of brain cancer.In spite of privacy concerns, scientists have asked for cell phone companies to release their usage records, saying the final answer could be found in a few years.But Davis said there has been no response from the cell phone industry.”The silence has been deafening,” she said.Davis said she believes society cannot wait until there is definitive proof before acting to reduce exposure. The Center for Environmental Oncology has already put out warnings to colleagues, friends and anyone who’s listening.They said that limiting cell phone usage, texting instead of calling, using a headset or the speakerphone or anything that gets the phone away from you is better for your health. Davis said a cell phone is pulling in its maximum signal when you’re in a moving train or car.She said she uses a cell phone, but differently until the brain cancer question is answered.”There are 3 billion cell phone users across the world — half the world using cell phones. Don’t you think we should find out, and soon?” she asked.There is a multinational study being done in Scandinavia and the United Kingdom on the subject that is nearing completion. The Multinational Inter-Phone Study is already showing a significant increased risk of brain cancer in people who used cell phones for 10 or more years.

~ by sunil khemaney on November 1, 2008.

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