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The Marketplace Reader

Hold on, that may be cancer calling

Melissa Kaplan Jul 25, 2008

Three prominent neurosurgeons told CNN last week that they did not hold cellphones directly to their ears, which has stirred up an old debate on the risk of cancer in cellphone use.

From the New York Times:

According to the Food and Drug Administration, three large epidemiology studies since 2000 have shown no harmful effects. CTIA — the Wireless Association, the leading industry trade group, said in a statement, ”The overwhelming majority of studies that have been published in scientific journals around the globe show that wireless phones do not pose a health risk.

The Associated Press recently reported a prominent cancer researcher told his staff to limit the use of cellphones directly to their ears, but the warning was not based on any new information linking the disease to the technology.

Devra Lee Davis, the director of the University of Pittsburgh’s center for environmental oncology, put safety as a high priority:

“The question is do you want to play Russian roulette with your brain,” she said in an interview from her cellphone while using the hands-free speaker phone as recommended. “I don’t know that cellphones are dangerous. But I don’t know that they are safe.”

Whether or not there is a strong correlation between cellphone use and cancer, many Californians have lowered their risk due to the recent state law prohibiting the use of cellphones while driving unless the driver uses a “hands-free device.” Drivers under 18 can’t use a cellphone at all, which could be good news for those cancer researchers who want to protect the young, developing brain from any of the harmful radiation.

If you want more info, the National Cancer Institute has a good Q & A on the link between cellphone use and cancer.

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