Secret Link Between Cigarettes and Cell Phones

Cell phones are used by an estimated 275 million people in the United States and 4 billion worldwide.

A recent review of studies assessed whether there was epidemiologic evidence for an association between long-term cell phone usage and the risk of developing a brain tumor.

In order to be included in the analysis, studies were required to have been published in a peer-reviewed journal, included participants who had used cell phone for 10 or more years, and analyzed the side of the brain tumor relative to the side of the head preferred for cell phone usage. Eleven long-term epidemiologic studies fit the criteria.

The results indicated that using a cell phone for 10 or more years approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same side of the head as that preferred for cell phone use.

Iowa senator Tom Harkin, newly empowered to investigate health matters as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has promised to probe deeply into any potential links between cell phone use and cancer.

Harkin, who took over the committee after the death of Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, said he was concerned no one has been able to prove cell phones do not cause cancer. A staffer said the senator became concerned by a report from the Environmental Working Group showing that radio wave emissions vary from one cell phone brand and model to another, as well as some reports suggesting there might be a link.

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