Excuse Me, I’m Talking On My Cell Phone … And Sipping Coffee

Written by Dr. Dave Hnida CBS4 Medical EditorEveryone seems to be up in ears today over an announcement by a panel with the World Health Organization (WHO) who said there may be a link between cell phone use and rare brain tumors. (Read the statement from the WHO.)

So let’s stop right there. They said “may.”

Not “is.” Not “definitely.” Not “no question about it.” But an impotent “may be.” And that “may be” is scaring the heck out of people — without a lot of hard science to back it up. Even the panel says there is no hard science… yet. And that’s cool. It’s something that needs to be studied. But you don’t yell fire when there’s no smoke. In other words, before you open your  official yap, please think about how people are going to react to what you say when you are a big voice of health.

My two cents is that it’s too early to declare cellphones as a cancer causer, or carcinogen. (Heck, even coffee and pickles are labelled carcinogens.) The FDA says it’s too early. Most doctors say it’s too early. Most studies say it’s too early.

And while about 10,000 Americans develop these brain tumors every year (gliomas), there is no way to say — yet — that cell phones caused the tumors. There were gliomas before cell phones. And the rise in gliomas over the past ten years is not that big. Yet think of the huge number of us who yak into these things.

Once again, more science before scaring us.

In the meantime, here’s what you can do:

Use hands-free devices, speakerphone, headsets — keep the phone away from your head.

And if you can’t use any of the above, keep the phone 1/2-1 inch from your ear– it drops the microwave type radiation from the phone tenfold.

Finally, text, don’t talk. Yes, I know that’ll make your kids happy.

And please tell them (and yourself) — NO texting and driving. Maybe even NO talking and driving. Those distracting habits kill more people each year than gliomas, coffee, or pickles.

LINK: Read more about the report on CBSNews.com.


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