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Making the Call: Cell Phone Health Risks Debated in D.C. Today

September 14, 2009

Pennsylvania senator and brain cancer survivor Arlen Specter holds a U.S. Senate committee hearing today (Monday) on the possible health risks of cellular phone use. At the same time, an international conference also being held in the nation's capital examines the scientific research on cancer risks linked to cell phone radiation exposure.

Dr. Devra Davis, director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, will testify at the Congressional hearing and also organized the conference. She says there's mounting evidence cell phone use may come at a high price, and more research is needed - despite cell phone industry assurances of no public health risks.

"I have lots of good reasons for concern, and my concerns are shared by the governments of Finland, and France, and Israel, and China, and some of the states of India."

A recent report from the International EMF Collaborative (IEMFC) raised questions about the design protocol used to analyze cell phone cancer risks in studies funded by the cell phone industry. It cites research that shows regular cell phone use can lead to a "significant" increase in brain tumor risk.

Lloyd Morgan, author of the IEMFC report, is attending today's events. He says children are especially vulnerable to cell phone radiation exposure, which is alarming because more and more kids are using cell phones.

"Not only is there data from peer-reviewed science about cell phones, but there's data from all sorts of carcinogen exposures that children are far more at risk than adults, because their (brain) cells are still dividing."

Morgan's report, "Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern," is online at

The National Cancer Institute, meanwhile, says there is no solid evidence of a link between brain cancer and cell phone use.

The Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies meets at 2:00 p.m. today in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room SD-138. The "Expert Conference on Cell Phones and Health: Science and Public Policy Questions," is at the Credit Union House, 4th and Maryland Ave N.E., both in Washington, D.C.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - SD