A prominent cancer researcher's warning to limit cell phone use has rekindled anew the longstanding question over mobile-phone health risks.
The media is abuzz with news of the memo from Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. He sent it to faculty and staff Wednesday, saying, among other things, that children should use cell phones only for emergencies, since their developing organs are the most likely to be sensitive to possible effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields.
In his 10-point advisory, Herberman also urges adults to keep phones away from their heads and use speakerphones or wireless headsets.
He suggests that people try to avoid constantly carrying their cell phones on their bodies and also try not to keep the devices nearby at night under the pillow or on a nightstand. He even warns against using cell phones in public places like buses because it exposes others to the phone's electromagnetic fields.
Herberman notes that the precautions have been reviewed by UPCI experts in neuro-oncology, epidemiology, and neurosurgery, as well as the Center for Environmental Oncology.
The tumor immunologist's words are grabbing widespread attention both because of his professional position and because they contradict numerous studies that don't find a link between cancer and cell phone use.
Herberman said his warning was based on early findings from unpublished data (see PDF for more).
"Recently, I have become aware of the growing body of literature linking long-term cell phone use to possible adverse health effects including cancer," he says. "Although the evidence is still controversial, I am convinced that there are sufficient data to warrant issuing an advisory to share some precautionary advice on cell phone use." … Read more