In the first installment of her "Dangerous or Safe?" series, pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson sets the record straight on cell phones -- once and for all.
This debate is not new, but this is the first time a leader at an academic center has advocated so strongly in favor of limiting cell use. In doing so, I think Herberman has moved the discussion about cell phones and cancer to a new level.
The FDA, the American Cancer Society, and a series of researchers in the U.S. contend that there is no data proving that cell phones cause cancer. However, these studies are only three years in duration, with a few lasting up to 10. Most neurosurgeons and brain tumor experts agree that brain cancer develops over a much longer time frame, up to 20 or 25 years. Unfortunately, the studies are too short.
Furthermore, there are no large studies of children using cell phones. The skull of a child is thinner than that of an adult. This theoretically allows for easier penetration of electromagnetic waves from a cell phone held up to the ear. And because a child's brain is developing (as opposed to an adult brain, which is much more static by comparison), many postulate that the cells in a child's brain are more susceptible to damage.