A memo went out to all students and faculty at the University of Pittsburgh on Wednesday urging all to limit their cell phone use to avoid increasing their risk of developing cancer.

Dr. Ronald Herberman, Director at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, says that a solid nexus between cell phone use and cancer is years away, but he still cautions people to keep their talk time to a minimum to decrease the risk for future health complications, including brain cancer.

“We shouldn’t wait for a definitive study to come out,” Herberman said, “but err on the side of being safe rather than sorry later.”

Dr. Herberman’s memo was distributed to about 3,000 students and faculty members. The memo stressed the importance of keeping cell phones away from the head and using the speakerphone or hands-free speaker when possible. Cell phones emit electromagnetic radiation, which some scientists claim can lead to cancerous brain tumors. Dr. Herberman’s memo also stated that children should restrict their cell phone use to emergencies only, as their brains are still developing.

Studies at the University of Utah, as well as documented studies in Norway and France, confirmed that a connection between brain cancer and cell phone use would have to be proven “by future studies.” Researchers involved in related studies stated that there was “no overall increased risk of brain tumors” associated with cell phone use at this time.

Devra Lee Davis, Director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Environmental Oncology, agreed with Dr. Herberman’s cautionary statements.

“I don’t know that cell phones are dangerous. But I don’t know that they’re safe.”

Davis supported the memo, confirming her agreement with the media via cell phone. She used her hands-free speaker at the suggestion of  Dr. Herberman.

Though study results do not show a link between cell phone use and the eventual onset of brain cancer, it may be advisable to take caution when using a cell phone from now on, as the consequences associated with cell phone use, such as brain tumors, could take decades to manifest themselves. Individuals who suffer from mesothelioma (pleural, peritoneal, or pericardial) for example, may not be diagnosed for decades after their initial exposure to asbestos, a known carcinogen that is the only confirmed cause of mesothelioma. This could be the case with exposure to electromagnetic radiation, furthering the need for increased funding and research.

Related article courtesy of MSNBC.com and CNN.com

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