The cell phone news this morning is scary – but I would suggest not succumbing to the hype. Although a working group of scientists from 14 countries said that available evidence suggests that cell phone use should be classified as "possibly carcinogenic," that doesn't mean that your individual cell phone will give you a brain tumor.
The scientists, who were convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), were not asked to make a definitive statement about whether cell phones actually do cause cancer. That's impossible at the moment because there just isn't enough research to settle the issue. They were asked to place cell phone use in one of four general categories: not carcinogenic, possibly carcinogenic, probably carcinogenic, and known carcinogenic.
By putting it in the second category, the scientists say that there could be some risk although more studies are needed to establish this. Other possible carcinogens in this group are coffee, Styrofoam cups, gasoline fumes and some medications, according to the American Cancer Society. Examples of known carcinogens are smoking and asbestos.
Other scientists have pointed out that there has been no overall increase in brain cancer in this country rates since cell phone use became widespread. Brain cancer can take years to manifest itself so that's not definitive either.
In the meantime, if you are still worried, here are two very simple things you can do to reduce your risk:
1. Use an earpiece instead of holding the cell phone to your ear all the time
2. Use a landline when you can