A study performed by the National Cancer Institute indicates that cell phones are not likely to cause brain cancer while warning that the findings are not conclusive.

Paul Wong
Economics sophomore Jasmina Chhabra talks on her cellular phone yesterday afternoon in Espresso Royale Caffe.<br><br>DAVID KATZ

The results show people who use cell phones do not have an increased risk of developing brain tumors. In addition, there is no evidence to suggest the risk of tumors increases with phone use or that brain tumors occur more frequently when a phone is used on one side of the head.

Most University students who are avid users of cell phones do not feel they are at risk for cancer. Some even said the idea of cell phones causing brain cancer is ridiculous.

“I think people who do worry about it are weird. A lot of things are going to kill me before my cell phone,” said Meghan Rohling, an LSA senior. “It was never a concern.”

In the study, NCI collected information from participants including how long they have used their phones and how frequently they use them. Information about specific phones the participants used was not collected.

“We don”t see any evidence that cell phones cause brain tumors,” Peter D. Inskip, principal investigator for the study from NCI”s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, said in a written statement. “But if an increased risk of brain tumors occurs only after five years or more years, or only among very heavy users, this study would probably not detect it.”

It is difficult to make a conclusive statement about cell phone health risks because brain tumors usually take 10 to 20 years to develop and most people in the United States have only used their phones heavily in the past five years.

“In my opinion, based on the results of this study and on the lack of theoretical evidence, it is highly unlikely that cell phone use increases the risk of brain cancer development,” said Laura Dawson, a lecturer in the University Radiation Oncology Department.

Research on the possible effects of cell phone use continues to advance with the growing number of cell phone users.

According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, there are currently about 107 million cell phone subscribers in the United States.

NCI said the Food and Drug Administration will provide scientific and technical guidance for studies which evaluate the health effects of cellular phone use.

Gerald Jenkins, an LSA senior, stressed the importance of being conscious that there still might be possible risks in using a cell phone.

“People should be aware that using a cell phone is exposure to radiation. I am being conscious in my use of my cell phone,” Jenkins said.

Jason B. Johnson, an Engineering senior, said, “The key is to use in moderation. However the benefits of a cell phone outweigh the costs.”

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