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August 5, 2008

Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

It is a debate that has gone on for years now. The general consensus has been that cell phones probably do not cause cancer. However, a cancer expert is issuing a warning that is contrary to every report that has come out before hand. Devra Lee Davis, the director of the university’s center for environmental oncology was a key factor in the memo. She understands that the information from the study does not prove that there is a link between brain cancer and cell phone usage. However, because there is a chance, she wanted the memo issued.

A memo was sent to 3,000 faculty and staff at the University of Pittsburgh warning them about cell phone risks. Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, the director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, says that his research and warnings are based on earlier research that was not published. He also recognizes that it takes too long to get data from science and that people should protect themselves from these risks now. Especially children whose brains are still developing.

There have not been any other alarms sounded off about cell phone usage and cancer links but this warning may concern many users. The electromagnetic radiation is the thing that concerns researchers. Years ago the FDA recommended that people use headsets and hands free devices when using their cell phone. That way the electromagnetic radiation is kept away from the head.

Really, it seems that there could be a risk of brain tumors with increased, prolonged cell phone use. I guess that should encourage us all to cut our conversations short and stay off the phone when the call is not important. Although studies have not been conclusive either way, you only have one brain. It probably is best to be cautious when it comes to cell phone use.

The information the University of Pittsburgh is putting out was endorsed by 20 groups. However, there are some peer-reviewed journals that say that the information that Herberman is citing is not that alarming. In the study, more than 5,000 cases of brain tumors were studies. People with brain tumors were asked to recall how many times they used their cell phones. This type of information, many experts say, is to very reliable. There is a selection bias they say when dealing with a study conducted in such a manner because it relies on people remembering how many times they used their cell phones. It is also important to keep in mind that these people already had brain tumors and in addition to them having to remember the amount of times they used cell phones.

Studies from around the world have been done on the correlation between cell phones and brain cancer. Nothing of them have been able to prove that there is a definitive link between the tow. However, it is also important to note than none of them have been able to say that there is definitely not a connection between the two. So at this point, the warning is valid. Until someone can prove that there is no link, people should use caution.

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