Watch Out, Michael Douglas

Looks like we can all keep our respective iPhones/Blackberries/Droids safely attached to our ears. Our spouses and bosses will be thrilled.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued a consumer update [PDF] stating that cell phone use does not increase the risk of developing certain types of brain tumors. Apparently, cell phones emit a type of electromagnetic radiation that four different types of brain tumors just love to absorb (as if one was not enough). However, in the largest study of its kind to date, Interphone, in connection with the World Health Organization, released the findings of a study [PDF] which indicate that using a cell phone did not increase a person’s likelihood of developing such a tumor. The study involved 13 countries and took place over 10 years. Pretty impressive. A National Cancer Institute study also cited by the FDA found no increased frequency of brain tumors between 1987 and 2005, despite increased cell phone usage between those two dates.

This is good news for those of us who use our phones so much that it would be best if we could simply duct tape them to our heads. All the same, we here at Abnormal Use found a few of the points in the FDA’s consumer update to be slightly discouraging. First, what the FDA giveth, the FDA taketh away:

“There are still questions on the effect of long-term exposure to radio frequency energy that are not fully answered by Interphone.”

]Great. So, FDA, you’re saying…you’re still not sure. Second, the FDA suggests that one reason cell phones don’t contribute to brain cancer today is because newer, smaller phones emit fewer emissions. We’re pretty sure Gordon Gekko might be in trouble:
Finally, the consumer update includes tips on how to decrease exposure to radiation while using your phone, including using hands-free devices and limiting the time on the phone.

So, FDA, you’re saying…you’re still not sure. Well, thanks for the update anyway.

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