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Earpieces Can Minimize Possible Risks From Cellphones, Experts Say
Date:6/1/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June, 1 (HealthDay News) -- Can using a cellphone increase the risk of cancer?

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that it might.

After a group of scientists from 14 countries, including the United States, analyzed peer-reviewed studies on cellphones, the team announced Tuesday that there was enough evidence to categorize personal exposure as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."

This puts cellphones in the same category as lead and auto exhaust. The WHO report noted that there wasn't enough evidence to prove the radiation from cellphones is linked to cancer, but enough to alert consumers to a possible connection.

Dr. Michael Schulder, vice chairman of neurosurgery and director of the brain tumor institute at North Shore Long Island Jewish School of Medicine in Hempstead, N.Y., said the category into which WHO is putting cellphones is one that asserts there may be a concern. "That's fairly weak as a concern goes," he addded.

According to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates radiation from cellphones, "there is no scientific evidence to date that proves that wireless phone usage can lead to cancer or a variety of other health effects, including headaches, dizziness or memory loss."

But, Schulder said, "commonsense would tell you that since a cellphone is a microwave generator and emits radiation, it has the potential to alter DNA. And it should be used in moderation."

Proving a causal relation between cellphone use and brain tumors is very hard to do, Schulder added. "It [would] take following many patients over many years to try to draw a connection," he said. "Even if a connection exists, it will be very hard to prove."

That's partly because the radiation emitted by cellphone includes very low level microwave radiation, a type of non-ionizing radiation which is absorbed near the skin. It's not
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