Cell Phone Cancer Debate Heats up With Document Release

Cell phones have become ubiquitous over the last few years, along with the debate over whether or not they can cause cancer.

While many agencies — including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and National Institute of Environmental Health — say they’ve found no link between cancer and the electromagnetic fields emanated by cell phones, a newly-released document is reheating the argument.

It comes from the California Department of Public Health and is called “Cell Phones and Health.” It lists potential risks from cell phones to both adults and children.

The 2014 document was held back for years, but has now been released because of a court order.

Joel Moskowitz, Ph.D., the director of the Center for Family and Community Health at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, sued the state last year under the California Public Records Act. He did so in order to get the document released to the public.

Moskowitz calls the report something of a smoking gun.

“You ought to be concerned,” he said. “Children, pregnant women, and teenagers are potentially at greater risk from this form of radiation.”

Still, CDPH officials insist it is a “draft,” not a final statement. 

The report says that some ways to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields, include increasing the distance between yourself and your phone, whether by using headphones or sending text messages, and by limiting your cell phone use altogether.

It’s tough for anyone to say for sure whether or not cell phones cause cancer, but the debate just got a little louder.

Scott covers tech on Twitter: @scottbudman

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