Cell Phone Panic Comes to San Francisco

Could you give up your cell phone if you had to? Probably not -- but what if it turned out it was killing you?

That's the claim by Devra Davis, whose book "Disconnect" says that cellular radiation weakens everything from sperm to hearing to memory to cancer resistance. Davis visited San Francisco to give a talk to the posh Commonwealth Club, where she called for decreasing usage. Or simply turning the phone off.

Anti-cell-phone activists began protesting at the Moscone Center earlier this week, coinciding with the annual CTIA Enterprise and Applications conference. The conference and trade show was founded fifteen year ago "to drive wireless data deployment within the enterprise and consumer markets." Wireless is big business, and KQED hosted a giddy panel talk Thursday morning about the future of pocket-sized gadgets and gizmos.

Are the trade show attendees concerned about health? Not especially, judging by the schedule of events. Although events are scheduled on topics like "Smart Energy Management" and applications for doctors, there's scant acknowledgment of the alleged health risks of cellphones.

Maybe that's because the issue is still far from settled. Cell phones might affect our health -- they do emit radiation, after all -- but nobody can agree on the extent of those effects. The only way to know for sure is to conduct long-term studies and see what happens. In 30 years, we'll know for sure.

But are you willing to wait?

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