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Cellphones may cause cancer

by nickj on June 1, 2011

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced this week that, after a thorough analysis of collected data and studies, cellphones may be as carcinogenic as the exhaust fumes coming from cars. While the statement acknowledged that the findings were far from definite, WHO officials said that the results warranted more examination and follow-up. 

"When we as consumers hear 'possibly carcinogenic,' we freak," said Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, according to USA Today. "But the data is not at all certain, and needs further study. There are probably far more people killed in car accidents caused by cellphones than from brain tumors caused by cellphones."

Many experts are skeptical. Dr. Donald Berry of a Houston cancer center noted that, even though there has been a sharp spike in the use of cellphones in recent years, there has been no noticeable increase in the number of brain tumors among Americans. Others counter this argument by suggesting that the tumors caused by cellphones would take decades to develop.

Berry accused the study of propagating an "urban myth" that never seemed to fully go away.

Professor of neurology Michael Weaver seems to err on the side of caution. He recommended to the news source that people use landlines whenever possible, or utilize headsets that have cords which keep phones away from the head.

"You're not going to see the effects of the heavier users for a decade or so," he said.

Thus far, the WHO has labeled cellphones as possibly carcinogenic. The Washington Post reminds readers that other items in this category include coffee and vegetables.

Around the world, mobile phone growth has been nothing short of impressive – approximately 3 billion people use cellphones.  

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