[UPDATE] Despite Warnings, People Dismiss Cell Phone Dangers

By: CBS/ Associated Press, Lanetra Bennett Email
By: CBS/ Associated Press, Lanetra Bennett Email

[UPDATE] 6-5-11 4:39 PM --

NEW YORK (AP) -- Despite the warning last week from a branch of
the World Health Organization that cellphones might raise the risk
of brain cancer -- a lot of Americans don't seem too concerned.

Some are vowing to get headsets to shield themselves from
radiation. And Google searches for "cancer" and "cellphones"
have spiked in recent days.

But many appear to be dismissing the warning as too vague. And
others figure that if a cellphone poses a slight health risk, then
so be it. One woman shopping for a phone in New York says she's
probably already paid the price -- because she's been "talking on
the phone for seven years."

The manager of a cellphone store says in six years, he's never
heard anyone ask if they cause cancer. He says the only things
customers want to know are "if it works, and if it texts."

The International Agency for Research on Cancer reviewed dozens
of published studies on cellphones and cancer before classifying
cellphones as "possibly carcinogenic." That's a risk category
that also includes night-shift work, engine exhaust and coffee.

[UPDATE] 6-1-11 6:18 PM --

The time people spend talking on cell phones continues to rise. It's gone up by almost a trillion minutes in the past five years.

A new report linking cell phones to cancer may put a hold on all that dialing.

As we mentioned Tuesday, the study says cell phones can cause brain cancer.

Wednesday, we talked to some people who say they may be pressing the "end" button much sooner than they used to.

"I bask every day in the number one skin-causing cancer--the sun."

Now, landscaper Greg Painter may have another cancer-causing element to deal with -- cell phones.

The World Health Organization just released a study that says electromagnetic fields from cell phones increase the risk of brain cancer.

Painter said, "I use an ear piece, which is not a Bluetooth, it's just a regular ear piece that clips on. It gives me hands-free operation of anything I'm doing."

A survey says there are more than five billion cell phone subscribers worldwide.

Experts say cell phone usage is as toxic as a car exhaust. But, some cell phone users say they are not changing their habits.

Tallahassee resident Amber Taylor said, "I think there's a million studies that say that everything causes cancer. So, I'm not personally worried about it. I don't thing that it actually causes cancer."

The cell phone industry says the number of texts people send in up. It went from almost ten trillion to nearly 188 trillion over the last five years.

Some folks in our area say they'll put their finger work to use more often to avoid the radio frequency waves from cell phones.

Cell phone user Todd Ford said, "Hurry up and find the solution because America lives off of cell phones."

Aside from texting and using hands-free devices, experts suggest just talking less on your cell.

There's also the good old fashioned speaker phone.


[UPDATE] 6-1-11 10:50 AM --

Are cell phone users making changes in light of the new study?

Eyewitness News is checking with local mobile phone stores and customers to see if cell phone users are cutting back on talking on cell phones.

Some suggestions include use hands-free devices, text more, or talk less on cell phones.

Stay tuned to WCTV and wctv.tv for more on this story.

(CBS/AP) Do mobile phones cause cancer? After reviewing details from dozens of studies, an international panel of experts says they might.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer issued a statement to that effect in Lyon, France, on Tuesday after a week long meeting. The experts reviewed possible links between cancer and the electromagnetic radiation associated with mobile phones (cellphones), microwaves, and radar.

The group gave cellphones a "2B" classification, meaning they are possibly carcinogenic in humans. Other substances given that designation include the pesticide DDT and gasoline engine exhaust.

Last year, a large study found no clear link between cellphones and cancer. But some advocacy groups said the study raised concerns because it hinted at a link between heavy phone use and glioma, a rare but often deadly brain tumor. The study was controversial because it began with people who already had cancer and asked them to recall how often they used their cellphones more than a decade ago.

In about 30 other studies done in Europe, New Zealand, and the U.S., patients with brain tumors have not reported using their cellphones more often than cancer-free people.

Because cellphones are so popular, it may be impossible for experts to compare cellphone users who develop brain tumors with people who shun the devices. A survey released last year showed that the number of cellphone subscribers worldwide has hit 5 billion. That's nearly three-quarters of the global population.

Since many cancerous tumors take decades to develop, experts say it's impossible to conclude that cellphones have no long-term health risks. The studies conducted so far haven't tracked people for longer than about a decade.

Cellphones signal nearby towers via radio frequency waves, a form of energy similar to FM radio waves and microwaves. But the radiation produced by cellphones cannot directly damage DNA and differs from stronger types of radiation like X-rays or ultraviolet light. At very high levels, radio frequency waves from cellphones can heat up body tissue, but that is not believed to damage human cells.

According to Cancer Research U.K., the only health danger firmly connected to cellphones is a higher risk of car accidents. The group recommends that children under 16 use cellphones only for essential calls because their brains and nervous systems are still developing.

A recent NIH study found that cellphone use can speed up brain activity, but it is unknown whether that has any dangerous health effects.

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