Senate Committee Talks of Potential Cell Phone Danger

After environmental group report, Senate examines cell phone health risks.

ByYunji De Nies via via logo
September 13, 2009, 11:23 PM

Sept. 14, 2009 — -- A Senate committee will take up in a hearing today the potential health risks cell phones pose, following a new, controversial report by the Environmental Working Group that warns of varying levels of radiation the different cell phones emit.

Using a cell phone for 10 years or more can significantly increase a person's risk for certain kinds of brain cancer, according to the report.

"These studies are showing 50 to 90 percent increased risk for those rare tumors," Jane Houlihan of the Environmental Working Group told "Good Morning America."

But the link between cell phone use and cancer has not been proved, ABC News senior health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser said.

"The best science doesn't show a link between cell phone use and cancer of any kind. No link whatsoever," Besser said. "We've seen expert panels in the U.S. and around the world. The conclusions are the same: no link."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, on its Web site, said, "The weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems."

According to the Environmental Working Group's report, however, different cell phones emit different levels of radiation, and children are especially vulnerable.

"Their skulls are thinner," Houlihan said. "They absorb about twice the radiation of an adult."

Her organization, which released its report last week, is a nonprofit, environmental research group based in Washington, D.C.

Click here for the group's 10 best and 10 worst cell phones for radiation.

T-Mobile, whose Touch 3G is listed among the worst radiation offenders, said their devices "more than meet the strict federal safety guidelines."

FDA Can 'Take Action' If Cell Phones Prove Hazardous

The International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry contests the new study, saying "scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk."

The FDA does not review safety for wireless devices before they're sold but does "have the authority to take action if cell phones are shown to emit radio frequency energy at a level that is hazardous to the user," according to the FDA Web site.

If cell phone users are concerned, Besser said they can limit their exposure by limiting their time on the phone and use hands-free devices.

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