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Cell phone health risks debated

Blake Humphrey
Staff Writer

College students are concerned about the mounting evidence of radiation emitted from cell phones and the possible health risk that comes with exposure, at least according to an informal survey conducted last week.

In the survey of 20 students from local colleges, 14 said they were substantially concerned about harm from cell phone radiation.

“I just do not believe that using a device all day long that emits radiation can (be) 100 percent safe,” said Darriana Davis, a student at American Career College in Ontario.

Several recent studies indicate these students’ fears have merit.

According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association last month, just 50 minutes of using a cell phone increases brain cell activity.

And while other organizations have found reason for concern, a study last year by the National Cancer Institute found that overall, cell phone users were not at increased risk for two of the most common types of brain tumor – glioma and meningioma.

“The government is consistently releasing information about research they have done, which they later retract due to more recent findings,” Davis said.

“Just because (some) research has not found cell phones to be harmful, it does not mean we will not learn that cell phone radiation is actually harmful within the next 10 years.”

Eddie Sanchez, sophomore political science major and the president of the Associated Students of Chaffey College, believes the evolution of cell phones in the future is where the real harm lies.

“My concern is that electronics will always evolve into bigger and greater things,” Sanchez said.

“What will the new strengths of cell phones be in the future of technology?”

The 20 students surveyed spend an average of five hours a day on their cell phones, and use their phones for a variety of activities such as calling, texting, games, navigation and Internet, they said.

Despite radiation concerns, none of the students indicated plans to cut back on their cell phone use.

David Jetton, a senior at UCLA majoring in biology, said he believes cell phone radiation is not harmful to the human body.

“The government has obviously done legitimate research,” Jetton said.

“Actual cells are exposed to the radiation emitted by cell phones, and (some) results continue to show that the emissions are harmless.”

John Walls, spokesman for the International Agency for Research on Cancer underscored that indications of negative health effects from cell phone radiation are inconclusive.

“The peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices, within the limits established by the FCC, do not pose a public health risk or cause any adverse health effects due to their use,” Walls said.

And yet students are still wary.

“It is not just about right now,” said Lance Wittenbrock, a sophomore at Crafton Hills Academy.

“I think it will have effects on my health in the later years of my life.”

Blake Humphrey can be reached at blake.humphrey@laverne.edu.

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