Saturday, June 14, 2008

Experts Revive Debate Over Cellphones and Cancer

What started as a status symbol in India has slowly transformed into a necessity for all. I am talking about the cell phone. It has reached a stage where even vegetable vendors, auto rickshaw drivers, school children,... you name a segment and you will find them using the mobile phones. India, has become a market with lowest tariffs and this has helped in growing the market by leaps and bounds. But it has its side effects too, as this New York Times articles points out.

What do brain surgeons know about cellphone safety that the rest of us don’t, asks TARA PARKER-POPE in this interesting article in New York Times. The article says that three prominent neurosurgeons had told the CNN interviewer Larry King that they did not hold cellphones next to their ears. Again, the American Journal of Epidemiology had published data from Israel finding a 58 percent higher risk of parotid gland tumors among heavy cellphone users. Also last year, a Swedish analysis of 16 studies in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed a doubling of risk for acoustic neuroma and glioma after 10 years of heavy cellphone use. The real concern, some doctors say, is not older cellphone users, who began using phones as adults, but children who are beginning to use phones today and face a lifetime of exposure.

Better to be safe, rather than feel sorry later. Its time that India too conducts some study to find if there are linkages between cell usage and ill health. Pending that it can atleast conduct an educational campaign using the mass media to suggest alternate (or) better and safe ways of using cell phones.