HIGHTOWER: Cell Phone Alert

I find cell phones to be the Newt Gingrich of technology -- loud, arrogant, and obnoxious.Of course, it's the user, not the phone that's so rude, and at times I've wished bodily harm on some yo-yo for yammering at full volume into his little phone. But I certainly would not wish a tumor on him. Unfortunately, more and more scientific research is finding that people who keep a cell phone jammed to their ear for prolonged periods are getting doses of radiation that can lead to tumors on the inner ear, brain tumors, and genetic damage.Wait, says the cell phone industry, claiming that thousands of studies prove these products are perfectly safe. Wrong. Consumer Watchdogs Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman report that in 1993, when the industry first made such a claim, no studies had even been done. Since then, the industry itself has hired scientists to do studies that -- lo and behold! -- found no safety problems.But, in 1995, one of their hirelings balked. Public health scientist George Carlo told industry big shots that their devices were interfering with pacemakers. The industry responded not by alerting heart patients and doctors, but by cutting off Carlo's funding. Later, however, after agreeing not to research cell phones and pacemakers, Carlo again was funded to do industry research -- and this time his findings are even more alarming, connecting longtime cell-phone use to brain and inner-ear tumors. Again, however, the industry is in denial, which led Carlo to chastise top cell-phone company CEOs for ignoring scientific evidence about health effects, for falsely claiming that these phones are safe even for children, for failing to release factual information about risk, and for failing to consider changes in technology that could reduce the danger.This is Jim Hightower saying ... If you must use a cell phone, make sure you have a headset so the source of radiation is not shooting right into your ear and brain.

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