cell phones cause cancer, do cell phones cause cancer, cell phones brain tumors

Memo Warns of Link Between Cell Phones and Cancer

July 24, 2008 02:53 PM
by Rachel Balik
In a memo to 3,000 members of his staff, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute director suggested that cell phones could cause cancer.

30-Second Summary

Research on whether cell phones really cause cancer is thus far inconclusive. “The question is do you want to play Russian roulette with your brain,” argues Devra Lee Davis, the director of the University of Pittsburgh’s center for environmental oncology. “I don't know that cell phones are dangerous. But I don’t know that they are safe.” Her warnings were the catalyst for a memo sent out from Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the university’s cancer institute. He told 3,000 of his staff to reduce their cell phone use as a precaution against developing cancer. The memo also said that children, whose brains are still developing, should use cell phones only in case of emergency.

At the University of Utah, a 2008 meta-analysis of studies that examined the link between brain tumors and cell phones “found no overall increased risk of brain tumors among cellular phone users. The potential elevated risk of brain tumors after long-term cellular phone use awaits confirmation by future studies.”

But not all scientists are so sure. Like Herberman, Australian neurosurgeon Dr. Vini Khurana cautions against cell phone use: “It is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking, and directly concerns all of us, particularly the younger generation.”

One study examining long-term cell phone use found that those who used cell phones for more than 10 years were 40 percent more likely to develop a tumor close to the spot where they held their phone. Some scientists believe that earlier studies did not show similar results because people had not been using cell phones long enough to develop tumors.

Headline Links: Cancer researchers warn of potential risks of cell phone use

Opinion & Analysis: The significance of the memo

Reference: Herberman’s memo and research seeking link between cell phones and cancer

The memo
Cell phone/cancer research

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines