Friday, April 23, 2010

Cancer Warning on Cell Phones Proposed

While the debate whether cell phones cause cancer is still going on, some groups say that a safety-warning label should be put on them the way they are put on cigarettes and alcohol.

A bill in the Maine state senate had recently proposed a label warning users, especially children and pregnant women, of the risks of brain cancer from electromagnetic radiation emanating from the device.

But the Maine legislature voted down the bill in March, stating that the scientific evidence does not indicate a public health risk.

Supporters of the Maine legislation argued that uncertainty about the long-term effects of cell phone radiation warranted public safety notices.

They also pointed to a handful of European studies that linked brain and auditory nerve tumours with using cell phones for more than 10 years and at younger ages.

David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and Environment at the University of Albany, and an advocate for the Maine bill on cell phone warnings says that there is a chance the device can cause cancer.

"I think my short answer is that the evidence isn't 100 percent, but there's a strong indication that, yes, cell phone use does cause cancer (over a long period of time)," Discovery News quoted him as saying.

Carpenter points to a 2007 meta-analysis that associated ipsilateral auditory nerve tumours (acoustic neuromas) with people who had used cell phones for at least 10 years, as well as a 2009 Swedish study that found a heightened risk for brain tumours among people who had used cell phones for at least 10 years, especially for those under 20 years old.(

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