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Cell phones: The next cigarettes?
A prominent researcher warns about cancer risk.
 

What happened
Dr. Ronald Herberman, the director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, warned his faculty and staff to limit their cell phone use, and that of their children, due to a possible risk of cancer. Haberman based his warning, the first from a major academic institution, on unpublished data, saying the risks are too high to wait for a definitive answer from science. (AP in The Washington Post)

What the commentators said
“Now he’s done it,” said Tami Dennis in the Los Angeles Times’ Booster Shots blog. While other doctors are saying “there’s just not enough solid evidence to warrant full-fledged alarm,” Haberman’s warning could set off a widespread panic.

This is “being treated as though it’s news”? said Truman Lewis in ConsumerAffairs.com. The “U.S. media have studiously ignored a growing wave of international concern about the long-term effects of cell phone usage for years.” Haberman cites numerous U.S. and foreign scientific studies, and if the cancer evidence isn’t yet conclusive, “no one can say there haven’t been a few clues along the way.”

Haberman’s warning is “a little unnerving,” said Julie Deardorff in the Chicago Tribune’s Julie’s Health Club blog, but we already know that cell phones can kill you if you use them while driving—or save your life, by letting you call for help after a wreck or giving emergency responders your contact information. Either way, “they aren’t going away,” so be smart in how you use them.

 

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