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Red alert! The cellphone warning has been issued

July 23, 2008 |  5:05 pm

Newcellphone Now he's done it. Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, has said what no one else would -- no cancer experts anyway. Herberman told his faculty and staff today that they should limit their use of cellphones. Why? They might increase the risk of cancer.

Here's the AP story: Pittsburgh cancer center warns of cellphone risks. In it he says, essentially, that he'd rather be safe than sorry.

Other doctors have been more reluctant to warn against the devices, saying there's just not enough solid evidence to warrant full-fledged alarm.

Here's a recent review of the data from Health reporter Shari Roan: Cancer risk from cellphone use is still a matter of study. This was published just a couple of weeks ago when that pesky new California law took effect. 

Ah, well, if you're gonna panic, do it wisely. Here are some tips, which accompanied the earlier story, on how to reduce one's exposure to cellphones' radio-frequency emissions.

* Use cellphones for short conversations or when a conventional phone isn't available.

* Use a hands-free device that will place more distance between the cellphone's antenna and your head. The antenna emits radio-frequency waves. And your brain lies just beyond your ears.

* Limit children's cellphone use -- both to reduce their exposure at a time when their brains are still developing and to reduce their lifetime exposure. (Unlike us, they still have a lot of years left.)

* In the car, use an external antenna mounted outside the vehicle.

* Keep the phone away from your body when it's turned on. Sure, it's adorable, but you don't need to hold it all the time. Nor do you need, if you're the more manly type, to clip it to your belt.

* Check your phone's SAR value at the Federal Communications Commission website. This value, for Specific Absorption Rate, is the amount of radio-frequency absorbed from the phone into the user's tissues.

In the meantime, I guess we'll wait on proof.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo credit: STR / AFP / Getty Images

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Comments (34)

Blackthorn: anyone that refers to the "Danish study" needs to be aware of the following:
Firstly, the studies data is old (1982-1995). The study discarded 300.000 corporate users (the "heavy users" of that time) because the scientists wanted to link every cellphone user to the social-security database and the national cancer registry. Corporate phones could be used by any number of employees. Some of these excluded corporate users ended up in the control-group (the unexposed group) and that skewed the findings towards a lower cancer risk for those "regular" users in the exposed group.
The studies definition of a "regular user": 1 call pr. week over a period of 6 months. Like finding a needle in a haystack really...
Expensive call charges and expensive phones in the timeframe of the Danish studies data, compared to today, mean that the studies conclusion of "no risk" is not comparable to today when you consider how much people use their cellphones now.

it's a great natural selection mechanism

There are some people who are sensitive to cell phone radiation. Myself, for example.

When my company started requiring us to use cell phones, they gave us a small black plastic cell phone with a pull-out antenna. That wicked little thing made me feel a sharp stabbing pain immediately when I held it up to my ear. The pain was in my skull, in the immediate vicinity of the antenna. Wearing it on a clip on my belt gave me a persistent rash on my side, about 18” diameter, with the cell phone in the belt clip centered on the rash.

Our currently assigned cell phone doesn’t hurt so much, but it still ‘registers’ on my skull after a few seconds of use. I don’t wear it on a phone clip. I use a fabric pouch lined with anti-static plastic. After much experimentation with aluminum foil, metal screening, and metal plates, I settled on the anti-static plastic bags our electonic components come in. Folded over so I use several layers to line the inside of the pouch (but not the outside), it works fine. No rash.

Air cards and wireless cards on our D610 laptop computers also bother me. The cards cause a warmish-penetrating pain on whichever part of my hand is closest to the card.

Bluetooth earpieces work fine because they use much lower power, and they use a different power scheme than standard cell phone RF. But they’re expensive and unreliable. I personally use the the “Speaker” button to talk on the phone, using it like a walkie-talkie. It keeps the little rat away from my skull.

Talking about power levels - the industry is lying to everyone by claiming radiated power is measured using traditional sine-wave RF power formulas. These power formulas don’t take into account the fact that cell phones don’t use sine wave radiation. Cell phones use digital radiated pulses. Using the wrong formula masks the con. The con is that nobody really knows what the effect of digital radiation is on biological tissues. So the industry tells everyone it’s all about heat generation.

The industry gets away with the lies because of an advantage digital radiation power mesurements have over sine wave power measurements, something called “duty cycle”. Duty cycle says, in efffect, that the measured power of a radiated digital signal will remain the same if it you increase the transmitted signal amplitude but **decrease** the duration of individual pulses per second by a corresponding amount. Concievably, your cell phone can be pulsing 500 watts peak-to-peak but, if the duration of each pulse is shrunk to the microseconds range, the total radiated power (as measured by the industry) is still going to be measured in milliwatts. Well within published spec. But the cell phone -and your head- is still getting the benefit of an outrageously outsized power signal, which is more reliable connectivity and better sound quality.

The public won’t know the hazards of cell phone radiation as long as the industry determines how the phones are tested and who tests them. They still want to speak in terms of heat generation. That’s not heat I feel in my skull. Or in my hands. It is pain.

This takes me back to when Cigarettes were approved & recommended by DOCTORS. When all of the INDEPENDENT tests showed that smoking tobacco was not only 'safe' but GOOD for you. This is also like the pesticide Malathion controversy & debate which llasted for many years, with one man on the National News even drinking some in a small paper cub mixed with a little bit of water to show how SAFE it was. (He is now dead at a young age). Malathion is 'supposed' to be finally taken off the market (Brain Tumors, & Leukemia's) There is controversey & contradiction here because there are simply too many ways for the CELL & RELATED industries to make sure that too many tests come out with FAVORABLE results for Cell Phones, exactly llike tobacco did for so many years. Just a thought$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Well where there is smoke there is fire. That is my argument whether it is true or not there has to be some significant incident or study that has caused the cellphone/cancer debate. Cancer is a serious disease and I suggest limiting your cellphone use just to be on the safe side.

can a single rifle bullet 30.06 fired from the ground knock down a jet fighter from the sky ?? the answere is (YES) IT has been done !!,,,
Can a cell phone give you cancer ??NO.!!..NOT UNTIL IT HAS BEEN PROVED !!

surfs-up,, people,,,GET REAL !!

I have always been very sensitive to chemicals ect. I have had four different cell phones and two of them REALLY affected me. One was so bad that after being on the phone for fifteen minutes I felt like getting sick to my stomach. A headache would start up and it was a bad one. Wireless things like wireless computers can make me really sick if in the room with them over thirty minutes. Please think about your young children with their brains still in developing....

Wait for proof??? That is code for "Be the Guinea Pig!"

I noticed about 5 years ago that when I touched the ridges of my skull starting from that high ridge behind my ear and going all along the base of my skull to behind the other ear, that it was very tender to the touched, as if it were bruised. I purchased a cell phone protection device here: (scroll down to "ZeroPoint Earth Hearts). After about 3 months, that constant pain I had for years was 100% gone! I now have the Earth Hearts on all my cordless phones, my microwave, my blender, my hairdryer, etc. How can we believe that a microwave signal could go from a phone in the USA to a phone to China and not be strong enough to cause damage to your brain???? How can it go through walls but not our skull? I have heard that the cell phone companies now put a disclaimer in fine print that they are not liable for any health consequences of using the phone - has anyone seen this? If so, I would call that a clue!

Studies have linked cell phone radiation to health problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, brain tumors, cancer, Alzheimer's, and more. There is a latency period for most diseases and it may take years and more studies before the required weight of evidence is established. But the effects are cumulative and precautions should be taken now before it is too late. There is lot's of more information at



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