So says Dr. George Carlo, an epidemiologist who headed a research program funded by the cellular phone industry, and co-author with journalist Martin Schram of
Writing in USA Today, Carlo reveals that media coverage of three epidemiological studies this winter produced mainly reassuring headlines saying the studies showed no link between cell phones and cancer missed some very important points.
"If journalists had paused to consider what the new studies were really saying – and not saying – we'd have a more realistic but less reassuring picture," Carlo wrote in describing the studies, two from the U.S. and a third done in Denmark.
The studies, which were not laboratory experiments but "statistical analyses of people who used cell phones and people who had brain tumors." The analysis, he wrote, had flaws.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) study in the New England Journal of Medicine responsibly noted, ''The most important limitation of our study is its limited precision for assessing the risks after a potential induction period of more than several years or among people with very high levels of daily or cumulative use.''
Overall, the studies failed to refute the alarming findings of lab experiments that appear to link cell phones to cancer by showing that human blood cells exposed to cell phone radiation suffered genetic damage, damage cancer experts consider to be a diagnostic marker of ''high risk'' for developing tumors.
"Will people who begin using cell phones as children or teens be high risks for developing brain cancer in their 40s or 50s?" Carlo asks, saying that no studies have answered that question and it will take as long as 20 years before long-term epidemiological studies can either give us truly comforting assurance or flag real danger.
Schram and Carlo recommend that until the final results are in, cell phone users should take such simple precautions as using a headset in such a way as to keep the radiation-emitting antenna away from their heads.
People should also, Carlo warns in USA Today, "read the fine print of any new studies that come in."
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