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Safety Of Cell Phones In Limbo Again

Safety Of Cell Phones In Limbo Again
September 6, 1994

Do cellular phones cause brain tumors? No. Yes. No. Well, maybe.

A study in December declaring cellular telephones safe has been declared invalid by the researcher who performed It and by other scientists who reviewed It. The cellular phone industry now says it will be several years before there will be a definitive answer on whether they cause brain tumors or other problems.

“This is a scientific process and, yes, you find some errors,” said Dr. George Carlo of the Scientific Advisory Group on Cellular Telephone Research, established by the industry to oversee research.

The safety question was raised last year after a Florida man filed a lawsuit alleging his wife’s brain tumor was caused by her cell phone use.

The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association said thousands of studies over the past 40 years showed the phones posed no health hazard. But Carlo says they’re not enough. “We have found data gaps areas where there is insufficient evidence to establish whether the radio frequency radiation emitted by the phones is harmful,” Carlo said.

The invalid study was done by Dr. Om Gandhi at the University of Utah, who got lower readings of radiation at various points on a model of the human head than did other scientists. But when he redid the tests, putting the phone closer to the head, he got higher readings.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises people to use hand-held cellular phones only when necessary and to keep calls short.

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