The director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, on Thursday issued an advisory urging his faculty and staff to limit their use of mobile phones because of a possible cancer risk.
The advisory, by Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, suggested that users of cell phones take measures to limit exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted by the phones. In particular, he urged children to limit their use of cell phones.
"Recently I have become aware of the growing body of literature linking long-term cell phone use to possible adverse health effects including cancer," he said in the advisory. "Although the evidence is still controversial, I am convinced that there are sufficient data to warrant issuing an advisory to share some precautionary advice on cell phone use."
While there have been some isolated studies that suggest links to cancer by cell phone usage, the overwhelming majority of studies has found no links. In what may have been the most comprehensive study to date, Danish scientists studying 420,000 cell phone users concluded that the devices don't cause cancer.
Dr. Herberman said he is basing his concerns on unpublished data that indicates that the phones could cause cancer. In a focus on mobile phone use by children he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that a child's developing organs "are the most likely to be sensitive to any possible effects of exposure."
Earlier this year, a medical journal said studies had revealed that heavy users of cell phones face a 50% greater risk of developing cancer in their paritid gland located near the jaw and ear -- near where cell phones are usually held.
Another study this year in Japan examined brain cancer patients and twice as many patients without cancer; the study found that cell phones don't cause cancer.