Article Rebuttal – Does the Use of Cell Phones Cause Brain Cancer?

In this paper valid points will be presented to refute the statement made by Dr. Ronald Herberman, Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, to his faculty and staff on July 21, 2008. “Limit cell phone use because of the potential risk of cancer” (Reyes, 2009). Herberman based his claim on unpublished data and stated “it takes too long to get answers from science and I think people should take action now” (Reyes, 2009).

Herberman quoted one study that was published in a paper by the Royal Society in London, which found that “pre-teen and teenagers who started using cell phones before reaching the age of 20 were five times more likely to develop brain cancer by the age of 29 than the ones who did not use a cell phone” (Reyes, 2009). Some experts labeled that study as being “biased and flawed”. My Position.

Besides the University of Pittsburgh, there were no other major academic cancer-research institutions that have sounded the same alarm that using a cellular phone will cause cancer. It was also found that Herberman had no expertise on this subject and was unnecessarily scaring people. According to the NCI’s (National Cancer Institute) data, it shows that in despite the increase in cellular phone users, brain tumor rates have been steady. Cell phone users have increased from 110 million users in 2000 to 208 million users in 2005.

My Refutation
Nine studies were looked at in a 2008 University of Utah analysis – some studies that was cited by Herberman was also included – with thousands of patients who had brain tumors and they concluded that the risk of brain tumors increasing among cellular-phone-users was none at all. Studies completed in France and Norway came to the same conclusion in 2007.

“If there is a risk from these products – and at this point we do not know that there is – it is probably very small,” the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) says. The cell phone industry, of course, says that there is products are safe. “The significant weight of the evidence demonstrates that radiofrequency energy in mobile phones poses no credible health risks,” says Motorola spokeswoman Paula Thornton Greer.

“Although there have been reports of negative health effects from low levels of radio frequency energy, these reports have not been replicated or confirmed” (Childs, 2009). However, “research and anecdotes have suggested a number of other means by which cell phones may adversely affect health – and possibly not in the way we might think” (Childs, 2009). These health issues can be bacteria caused by not cleaning their cell phones that can be treated with antibiotics. It was also found that cell phone showed a significant deterioration in the quality of driving a vehicle.

When walking and talking on a cell phone their attention to traffic is lowered and they stand the chance of getting hit by a car. Another health issue is to the thumb from texting, causing sores and blisters. Those users with allergies to certain metal can have additional side-effect in the form of contact dermatitis. The noise-related side effect to the ear from using an earpiece with a high volume, this is easily remedied by just by turning down the volume.

Almost in every case, the beliefs that cell phone usage can lead to or cause a higher risk of brain cancer have been proven to be false by scientific investigation. Scientific evidence did not indicate any harmful health consequences associated with contact to radio frequency energy from cell phones. Users of cell phones who were unnecessarily scared or think that their cell phones are cooking their brains can put their mind at ease knowing it is not so.

Reyes, M.D., T.M. (2009). The Philippine Star. Are Cell Phones Dangerous to Your Health? Retrieved from
Childs, D. (2009). ABC News Medical Unit. 7 Surprising Ways Cell Phones Affect Your Health. Retrieved from

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