Will industry react to new cell phone cancer scare?

The problem is that the market can't wait for a long-term study. Were one to be started now it would not yield results until many thousands of people had died. My guess is the industry will try to brazen it out and hope Dr. Herberman is wrong.

Dr. Ronald Herberman, University of PittsburghThere is a new flurry of news stories warning that cell phones cause cancer, ugga-booga-booga.

The stories were touched off by a memo from Dr. Ronald Herberman (right) to his staff at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Herberman's memo was of the "better safe than sorry" variety, acknowledging the lack of a definitive link between phones and cancer. "At the heart of my concern is that we shouldn’t wait for a definitive study to come out," he is quoted as saying.

Also the heart of Herberman's concern is his own research.

Herberman's work since the early 1970s has centered on Natural Killer (NK) cells, part of the body's own defense against cancer metastacizing. His lab is still working on the use of NK cells after conventional therapies, as a way to get the last little bits of cancer.

Given Herberman's background in the intelligence of individual human cells, studies which indicated potential for harm from radiation would no doubt pique his interest.

The question now is what the industry will do about it.

  • They could accommodate the fears with products that distance antennas from the head and wired headsets.
  • They could try to discredit Herberman's warnings, as they have pooh-poohed past studies.
  • They could ignore this and hope it goes away, which has been the general attitude.

The problem is that the market can't wait for a long-term study. Were one to be started now it would not yield results until many thousands of people had died.

My guess is the industry will try to brazen it out and hope Dr. Herberman is wrong.

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