24 Jul 2008

UPMC Cancer Institute Head Warns Of Tumor Dangers From Cell Phone Usage

PITTSBURGH — The director of the UPMC Cancer Institute is one of more than 20 international experts calling for precautions for cell phone use.

The precaution comes on the heels of a not-yet-published international study pointing to cell phones as a potential health risk, said Dr. Ronald Herberman.

UPMC employee Amy Joe McDade said she doesn’t even have a landline phone at home and that she and her husband use their cell phones for everything.

“My cell phone’s important,” said McDade. “It’s my alarm clock, communicate with my husband, my kids, day care. It’s making me second guess my cell phone use and definitely the cell phone use for my children.”

Herberman said he’s become increasingly concerned about the data pointing to the hazards of cell phones and the electromagnetic waves reaching parts of the brain.

“This potentially could contribute to increased risk for developing brain tumors, particularly the area of brain close to the ear,” said Herberman.

“There’s no debate the cell signal gets into the brains, and it gets more deeply into the brain of children then it does in adults,” said Dr. Devra Davis.

Among the suggestions to limiting exposure is don’t allow children to use a cell phone except in an emergency.

Whenever possible use a speaker phone or BlueTooth, which has one-one hundredth of the electromagnetic emission of a cell phone. Even texting is safer, experts said, because the phone is in your hand.

And experts suggest avoiding carrying your cell phone on your body.

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