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Is a Link Between Cell Phones and Cancer for Real?

In his first month as the new chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin announced he would begin an investigation into a possible link between mobile phones and cancer. "I'm reminded of this nation's experience with cigarettes," Sen. Harkin was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying. "Decades passed between the first warnings about smoking tobacco and the final definitive conclusion that cigarettes cause lung cancer."

The announcement of this investigation comes after years of warnings by advocacy groups. One of the most prominent of these advocates for greater scrutiny of cell phones' cancer risk is Devra Lee Davis, head of the department of environmental oncology at the University of Pittsburgh and author of The Secret History of the War on Cancer. "I don't know that cell phones are dangerous. But I don't know that they are safe," she says.

In 2007, Dr. Oz addressed the issue of cell phone safety on The Oprah Show, saying he practiced caution. "My personal belief, based on some data that shows that brain cells are affected by the cell phone ... [is] we may actually find some problems down the road," he said. "I wouldn't throw my cell phone away. I have one, but I think for a lot of us we ought to think at least about how much we're on the cell phone."

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