American Morning

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June 1st, 2011
05:13 AM ET

Will the risk of cancer change the way you use your cell phone?

(CNN) - Radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization. The agency now lists mobile phone use in the same "carcinogenic hazard" category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.

Read the whole story here.

Question of the Day: Will the risk of cancer change the way you use your cell phone?

Tell us what you think. American Morning could read your response on the air this morning.

Filed under: AM Asks
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. mary patt

    When I first broke down and got a cell phone in 2007 I noticed that
    it would get hot and hurt my ear after more than a few minutes on the phone, but didn't know why.
    In the last 6 months I have been using it more and in the last month
    I have feeling a kind hot sensation inside my ear. After watching your show I think I know why. Thanks, Mary

    June 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  2. Lena Conway

    My ex-husband died in 2004 after being diagnosed with stage 4 Glioblastoma Multiform-the worst form of brain tumor. His family and I believe that it was his cell phone use that caused this. In the late 90's, he had to travel throughout the world on business. His company gave him a cell phone that he could use world wide. He communicated with his company, and his family practically all the time with that cell phone. He would call our daughter sometimes at 3am from places like Morroco or Russia, because he lost track of the time difference and wanted to say hi. We could call him on his cell phone whereever he was in the world at any time. He continued to use his cell phone as his main line of communication and never used an ear piece. We knew that he often had lengthy conversation on work, and with his family members, via the cell phone. These calls often lasted at least an hour long. Then in November 2003, he had a seizure while at church and that's when he was diagnosed with the GBM. He died in April of 2004 because the tumor was too aggressive and no treatment could control its growth. His family did not have a history of this type of cancer. Nobody could figure out how it came about. The only major change in his lifestyle was the constant lengthy use of his cell phone.
    Perhaps everyone's body is different and some people were not affected as he did by the frequent use of cell phones, especially they were short conversations. But in his case, it was definitely the cell phone radiation the caused his brain turmor. I knew that his brothers started using wired earpieces. But to me, I rarely carry my cell phone on my person, like my pants pocket etc... I put it in my purse. Call me paranoid but if you watched he deteriorate the way he did in 6 months after diagnosis, you'd think twice about getting that cell phone to close to you too. I hope people take precautions and take the WHO finding seriously. Please share my story so that other people don't have to suffer. Thanks. Lena Conway

    June 1, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  3. chibuzor

    yes. This will be possibly done by dimming the brightness of our cell phones and also avoid the use of cellphones in the dark. This increases the chances of cancer infection,resulting from exposure to its radiations.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  4. Denny

    How is this story any different from anything else. It seems to come back into the news everyother year or so, however with a different product thats going to kill us now. I personally dont even own a cell phone, mainly because I like my alone time to myself, if i dont want to be reachable I just don't answer my home phone.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  5. della mast

    Definitely will be more vigilant of the use of the cell phone. Use speakerphone most of the time. Do not take calls in restaurants where conversation will disturb others or at any other time in the presence of others that, that I consider to be rude behavior.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  6. Harold Weiner

    What about portable (wireless) house phones? Do they pose the same risk as cell phones? They also have batteries held near the head, maybe even stronger ones. No one seems to have mentioned anything about their safety.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  7. Tim miller

    Having worked for the cellular industry in the 90's, Ive been waiting for
    This story to finally break. You connot hold a radio transmitter to your
    head as much as people do, without consequences. Radiation is radiation, no matter how low the dosage,it accumulates. Another 20 years will probably show an epidemic of brain tumors in our children.
    Also Bluetooth is also a transmitter so it is not much better.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:28 am |
  8. Kris

    I have acoustic neuroma on the right side of my brain so now I have total hearing loss on that side. The convenience of a cell phone is not worth it.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  9. Rick from Ohio

    What cell phone? Don't own one..I see enough rude people using them all the time.Restaurants are my pet peeves. They think they are so important that they can't turn them off while they eat and annoy others in the process.We are raising a group of children who can't carry on a conversation with others.God help us if they go for a job interview and are unable to talk to someone without using a phone..

    June 1, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  10. Domenic DiVirgilio Jr.

    People are real quick to ban smoking everywhere......let's ban cell phones from all restaurants, bars, beaches, parks, every public place and see how people like that. I'm all for it.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:21 am |
  11. Diane

    As a high school teacher I see teens with their phones constantly. Even though they are texting more than talking, they have their phones in their pockets or in their laps much of their school day. Is this possibly harmful also?

    June 1, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  12. Sam

    A Bluetooth headset device emits EM radiation at 2.5GHZ, which is the same as a cellular phone – but it remains pemanently attached to your ear. That doesn't seem to be a logical fallback if you are worried about this issue.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  13. Amelia Ceale

    Has anyone seen a person die of a brain tumor? I saw my dad die from a glioma on the brain and I saw him go through surgery and chemo. He eventually died.

    Who would want to go through that terrible disease over a phone call?

    June 1, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  14. James Schwartz

    I do not own a cell phone nor have plans to get one. I find them far too instrusive!

    June 1, 2011 at 8:01 am |
  15. susan of charleston

    headphones....saving lives in more ways than one!!

    June 1, 2011 at 8:00 am |
  16. Ernie Bagnasco

    I have never used a cell phone in my life. Just like a "TWILIGHT ZONE" episode I will be the last living person on earth.

    June 1, 2011 at 7:59 am |
  17. MLF

    I've never felt comfortable having a cell phone and bluetooth near my ear. I don't mind looking odd and ancient using my ear piece with long hanging wire. LOL

    June 1, 2011 at 7:46 am |
  18. Alice

    Absolutely. Speaker or text only from now on. I can't understand why anyone would be surprised by this- it makes logical sense if you just think about the way they work. I heard of a young girl who kept her cell phone in her sports bra while jogging and (consequently) developed tumors in precisely the same region. Along the same lines, what do we even know about the long-term affects of constant wireless around us these days?

    June 1, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  19. Jefff McCambridge

    I did a research paper about this very subject, and warned everybody I know or who would listen. I found it amazing how many people would respond, "So what are you going to do?" The person saying we should text more is misinformed. I see people in class who text all the time. For woman who text on their lap, ovarian tumors are the major risk.
    I first learned of this watching C-SPAN when Dr. Devra Davis testified. Watch her speak about her book "Disconnect" on BookTV part of C-SPAN
    Frankly I can't believe there has not been more coverage on this.

    June 1, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  20. Festus Asiago

    Yes, it determine the way you position your phone when you recieve a call. For me i now ask if you may switch your phone into the buzzer which is more loud but far from the ear, i hope it may reduce someone from getting cancer through radiation which comes in a straight line.thank you festus from Kenya.

    June 1, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  21. Madelyn

    I am a heavy cell phone user for business and personal. About 8 months ago my phone was getting hot and I noticed a pain above my left ear where I hold the phone. The pain persisted for weeks and I had a cat scan of the area as I was concerned. The test was negative however since cancer can take years to develope I am afraid that some damaged cells may be multiplying. I am definately not holding the phone to my ear anymore. I am using speaker or an ear piece or texting. I am also concerned about my children and husband who use cell phones. Thank you for bringing this story to the public.

    June 1, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  22. Richard Oettinger

    People who have worked with radio frequency energy have been aware of the dangers for more than 40 years, and more recently of the tissue-heating potential of cell phones too. The eyeball is all water and it absorbs the energy and heats – just like food in a microwave oven...

    June 1, 2011 at 7:29 am |
  23. George Merrill

    Cops have been wearing two-way radios for years. Wouldn't they have a higher cancer rate if radio waves caused cancer?

    June 1, 2011 at 7:27 am |
  24. Brylon Terry

    Yes it will. But some will say that the fact is fake and end up seeing the effects when they continually put their cell phone to their ear. I hardly ever talk with the speaker right next to my phone but I always put it on speaker phone. I text way more than I talk.

    June 1, 2011 at 7:24 am |
  25. louis

    all I can say is ITS ABOUT TIME

    June 1, 2011 at 7:23 am |
  26. David - Greenville, SC

    No it will not change my cell phone usage. This discuss reminds me of the discussions and research in the 80's and 90's about radiation from CRTs. There were studies that were suppose to demonstrate a link between using CRT computer monitors and cancer. This finally died away.

    I think we need to continue sane research into this area.

    June 1, 2011 at 7:23 am |
  27. Tod Hale

    So maybe the cell phone execs are asking the tobacco execs how to handle this from a public relations standpoint. Ofcourse, they are only texting and using email.

    June 1, 2011 at 7:22 am |
  28. Michael

    Since I only use my cell phone, of which I'm on my parent's cell plan, when I'm away from where I live, I will not change the way I use my cell phone, because I only use it to make an IMPORTANT phone call. If I want to chat on the phone with someone, I use my land line. None of my friends have my cell #, nor will they ever get it from me. Only my family, work contacts, and health care contacts have my cell #. Most of the time, I keep my cell phone in my day bag.

    June 1, 2011 at 7:10 am |
  29. Harold Vandiver

    Tobacco kills 1,200 Americans each day and we seem more concerned with the possibility that cell-phones MAY be dangerous to our health.

    June 1, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  30. Erin Killoran

    I think its true, but I dont have a cellphone yet. I will look into this more before thinking again of getting one. But I think that with the rising of polution and global warming, our new gadgets could actually become harmful to our internal and external enviorment.( meaning ourselves and others )

    June 1, 2011 at 7:00 am |
  31. Katie Black

    I'm 20 years old and my cell phone is my life.... Needless to say the fact that cell phones may cause cancer will not change the way I feel about my cell phone. My phone is everything my phone, my texting machine, my iPod and many other things!

    June 1, 2011 at 6:26 am |
  32. Katie black

    I'm 20 years old and my cell phone is my life... The fact that cell phones may cause cancer will not change my life style. My cell phone is my phone, texting machine, alarm, and iPod!.... How could u stay away from them?!?!?

    June 1, 2011 at 6:22 am |
  33. Tod Hale

    So the kids who use their phones mainly for texting are ahead of the game?( Try to lecture them now) And my friends think I'm asocial because I never answer my phone, just part of a healthy lifestyle.

    June 1, 2011 at 6:18 am |
  34. Katie black

    I'm 20 years old and I use my phone for everything alam, night light flash light when the power is out. The farthest my phone is ever away from me is like a foot away from me when I am sleeping... Any other time it is in my hands texting or aginst my head. Needless to say the fact that they may cause cancer more than likely won't change my lifestyle.... Ever

    June 1, 2011 at 6:16 am |
  35. Dan Riley

    I love my iPhone and would never give it up, even if it were proven to be carcinogenic. My iPhone has become a part of me. I love it for better or worse. Has anyone given up their car and avoided all places with cars because automobile exhaust might cause cancer?

    June 1, 2011 at 6:15 am |
  36. Genet E

    Oh yes !oh yes!.I have been telling people about it ,for some four years.

    June 1, 2011 at 6:14 am |
  37. Ken in NC

    "CAUTION: LIVING CAN BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH". I saw this a couple of weeks ago and thought to myself, this pretty much covers it all so go on and make that call.

    June 1, 2011 at 6:13 am |
  38. Alan

    We have many practical options to mitigate the risk. It makes sense to avoid the highest risk practices. One question – how serious is the risk to other body parts ( hip, when the phone is attached to my belt all day long)?

    June 1, 2011 at 6:12 am |
  39. Wade

    Sorry guys- not to be cavalier, but these days we have cancer all around us. If we worried too much about it we would do little next to nothing. I want to live so therefore I cannot see making any changes beside talking about it from time to time – LOL 😉

    June 1, 2011 at 6:12 am |
  40. andy gray

    cigarette in one hand whisky in the other no will not change my cell phone usage

    June 1, 2011 at 6:11 am |
  41. justin in connecticut

    It's like reports that to much coffee or too little sleep can cause cancer. But I will begin to use the speaker feature whenever possible.

    June 1, 2011 at 6:10 am |
  42. Kevin

    If many brain surgeons and Dr. Gupta are concerned enough to always use a headset, then I will use a wired headset whenever possible. Does this go for wifi calls as well?

    June 1, 2011 at 5:56 am |