Researchers Challenge Findings from AMA's Cell Phone Cancer Study

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University of Maryland researchers are challenging the validity of findings recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggesting that radiation from cell phones can produce biological changes in the brain.

The researchers in the A. James Clark School of Engineering also have raised concerns over a World Health Organization pronouncement that classifies radiation from cell phones as a possible carcinogen.

In a letter written to the Editor of the Journal of the AMA, the researchers offered a critique of a paper by N.D. Volkow, D. Tomasi and G.J. Wang at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court is reportedly considering whether to hear a class-action lawsuit against cellphone manufacturers over safety risks.

Christopher Davis, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Quirino Balzano, a senior research scientist, noted “that the highest temperature elevations that occur in the brain during cell phone use as a result of radio frequency fields from the cell phone are on the order of 0.1°C to 02.°C, and that these temperature elevations are smaller than those resulting from physical activity," the A. James Clark School of Engineering stated in a news release. The researchers further “argued that the study did not evaluate the exposure of the brain to the fields from the cell phone correctly, so a causal relation between the radiofrequency signal and the effect detected by Volkow … has no valid experimental support."

The controversy over a cell phone’s potential hazards has reached the nation’s highest court. The Supreme Court has asked the Department of Justice for its feedback on whether the judges should hear a class-action suit against 19 defendants, mostly cellphone manufacturers and telecom companies, Reuters reported.

The suit, which was dismissed by a lower appeals court on the basis that the plaintiffs’ claims were preempted by federal law, alleges that the defendants misrepresented that their cell phones are safe when they were aware of the potential dangers.

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