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Can You Hear Me Now?
The public attention of Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy’s malignant glioma, which is a type of deadly brain tumor, has rekindled an old debate on cell phones’ link to brain cancer.
Many doctors who have discussed Sen. Kennedy’s condition and brain cancer in general have mentioned the connection, and also that they do not hold the phone to their ears, preferring ear pieces or speakerphone modes instead.
Yet the American Cancer Society and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have publicly stated there are no cases or studies that link cell phones to a health diagnosis of cancer. However, the FDA did note that the studies that have been done covered only a three-year span. So the long-term effects of cell phone use are still unknown.
The concern is that when cell phones are held up against the ear, the heat they generate along with low waves of radiation (too low to cause cancer) is absorbed mostly by the head and neck. Although the waves of radiation are extremely low, prolonged exposure could potentially lead to cancer. In addition, critics cite that patients who develop tumors typically develop them on the side of the head or neck where they typically held their cell phones.
All researchers agree that many more studies are needed.
How often do you use your cell phone? Do you think its affecting your overall health? [The New York Times]