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12/28/2009
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Officials Seek Cancer Warnings On Cell Phones

Although there's no hard evidence linking mobile phones and cancer, elected officials in California and Maine are pushing for warnings.

Lawmakers in California and Maine are preparing to move in January to require cell phones to carry warnings that mobile phones can cause cancer.

Although there is no hard evidence linking cell phone use with cancer, several countries have warned that excessive cell phone use and the radiation associated with their use could cause cancer.

In San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom is slated to propose an ordinance that would require retailers to post labels on store shelves warning about possible dangers of cell phone radiation. In Maine, state representative Andrea Boland will present to the legislature her proposal requiring manufacturers to warn that excessive cell phone use could cause cancer.

In San Francisco, the issue was prompted after city environmental protection officials were alarmed by an Environmental Working Group report that cited studies that found cell phone use risky.

"We at Environmental Working Group are still using our cell phones, but we also believe that until scientists know much more about cell phone radiation, it's smart for consumers to buy phones with the lowest emissions," the EWG report said. "Recent studies find significantly higher risks for brain and salivary gland tumors among people using cell phones for 10 years or longer."

The EWG has prepared a listing of more than 1,000 cell phones and their radiation emission absorption rates.

The issue of whether cell phones could cause cancer has been debated for decades, with some studies claiming cell phones are safe while others raise concerns.

Cell phone industry trade association CTIA has consistently maintained that cell phones don't cause cancer. "The peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk," the CTIA said recently.

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