Jury still out on health effects of cell phone use


For years, there has been a debate about whether cell phones are dangerous because of the radiation they emit. Much of the debate has centered on the question of whether or not excessive cell phone use can cause brain tumors or other health problems.

Fueling this debate was the death of GOP strategist Lee Atwater in 1991. He was one of the early adopters of cell phones and was often photographed with not 1 but 2 cell phones glued to his head. When he died of a brain tumor at age 40, many people started speculating about the long-term dangers of cellular technology.

Cell phone stores in Europe will now even disclose the levels of radiation emission for all the phones they sell, right there next to the price and technical specs of a model.

Now a new study published in The Journal of American Medical Association by the National Institute of Health finds that less than an hour of cell phone use can speed up brain activity right near where the phone antennae is located. Yet nobody knows if this finding can be linked to any meaningful effect on overall health, either positive or negative.

In the past, study after study has said any effect of cell phones on health is negligible or meaningless, but these studies were all funded by the cell phone industry.

If excessive cell use can harm you, I would be like a rat in the rat maze. In a typical month, I use 4,000 minutes (good thing I have an unlimited plan!) That’s more than 2 hours per day of talk time! So I’m a prime candidate for any detrimental effects that might be discovered down the road. On the other hand, I think about my father in law who uses a cell phone maybe 10 minutes a month. He certainly won’t have any problems at that rate!

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