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Cell Phones And Cancer, Congress Wants Answers
ABC News
Journalist: Sharyn Alfonsi
September 23, 2008

The mere question is controversial: Could your cell phone cause cancer?

Years of studies have yielded conflicting results, and there is no consensus among scientists about the degree of cancer risk, if any, cell phone use could cause.

In an effort to clear up the issue, this week Congress is asking some of the nation's top doctors and scientists to testify to their findings.

On one end of the spectrum is Dr. David Carpenter, the director of the Institute of Health and Environment at the University of Albany.

Carpenter believes that not only can cell phones cause cancer, but they can affect children more profoundly than adults. Carpenter pointed to a study by Swedish researchers that found that if children use cell phones before the age of 20 their risk of developing brain cancer goes up fivefold.

"Because the skull is so thin and the head is relatively small, the radiation penetrates almost through the head," Carpenter told "Good Morning America."

"In the adult, it only penetrates a smaller distance so the exposure for children is greater than that of an adult," he said.

Other scientists, however, are not so convinced. Most studies have found that there was no association between cell phones and cancer, a stance shared by the Food and Drug Administration and the American Cancer Society.

"When you have a cell next to your ear, the barriers of the bone is just too great for the low energy that comes out of a cell phone," said Dr. Myrna Rosenfeld, a neuro-oncologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

But some experts believe that, much like tobacco, it could be decades before any long-term effects are identified.

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