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Do Cell Phones Give Kids Cancer?

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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.

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The director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Dr. Ronald Herberman, told 3,000 of his faculty and staff to limit their cell phone use. His rationale? That cell phones, with their electromagnetic radiation, may be linked to cancer.

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.

For the bottom line from Dr. Cara on whether kids get cancer from cell phones, click here.


65 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous July 24, 2008, 8:30 PM

Maybe all the idiots that drive while on a cell phone will get cancer.

Anonymous March 26, 2009, 1:13 PM

What are you idiots going to do next…outlaw cell phones? Perhaps this should have been studied before cell phones came out.

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