Cell phones and cancer

May 31, 2011 1:34:03 PM PDT
There have been warnings before - about the possible links between cell phones and cancer. But this time it's different.

The respected World Health Organization has insisted in the past that there are no harmful effects that have been proven.

Now - it's reversed itself. And that's big.

The study - involving 31 scientists from 14 countries - says that there's enough evidence in other studies to say that exposure to cell phone radiation is "possibly carcinogenic to humans."

The caveat is that there aren't enough long term studies to make a hands-down no-doubt-about-it statement about cell phone radiation safety - but there is enough evidence that consumers should be warned.

And there are a lot of cell phone users: 5 billion - that's nearly three-quarters of the world's population.

And one recent survey showed that 85% of Americans now own a cell phone.

The other headline in today's world health organization study is that magnetic radiation from cell phones is now classified as a category 2b - a category that also includes pesticides like DDT, and exhaust from car engines. In other words - potentially harmful stuff.

And the harm isn't just the risk of cancer and brain tumors - but other brain-related problems - because where most of us hold the phone is close to the area that affects your memory.

None of this is shocking. There have been questions raised for years about cell phone safety, and it was never surprising to think that the radiation so close to your brain might have some kind of effect.

The cell phone industry has usually pooh-poohed these warnings.

But now the chorus is growing.

Best advice - kids under 16 should limit cell phone use - which they're doing because texting - not talking - is all the rage. And for the rest of us - use an ear piece - or the speaker function. We'll have more on the new study, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, the Sarah Palin non-campaign campaign pulls into New York City tonight, two days after she crashed the "Rolling Thunder" parade in Washington, D.C. - much to the dismay of some of the parade's organizers. What a fascinating contradiction Ms. Palin is: She blasts the "mainstream media" (she calls them the "lame stream" media) but tries in a slight-of-hand way to get them to cover her. She tweets most of her statements, and then hopes she gets press coverage.

Meanwhile, the polls don't lie - her favorability quotient is relatively low, and while she's a draw at rallies, there's precious little evidence she'd draw peeps to the polls. Even members of her own party are leery.

But she's what passes for news in politics these days. And when she meets in Manhattan tonight with Donald Trump - another media-oriented creature - the media will be there. Us included. One tidbit emerging out of all this: Trump's apartment in his Trump Tower measures a not-at-all-cramped 45,000 square feet. Sheesh!

We're also awaiting the arraignment of a former big-wig in the Egyptian banking world, who's now charged with sexually assaulting a maid at the Pierre Hotel. What's going on that these powerful money men are suddenly busted for disgusting assaults on hotel maids? Jim Dolan is on the story for us, tonight at 11.

We'll also have the latest on the deadly bus crash in Virginia - a bus headed from North Carolina to Chinatown in New York City. Four people were killed in a bus that was owned by a company that, it turns out, had been involved in several accidents over the past two years. The bus driver has now been charged with reckless driving.

And we're analyzing a report today from The Boston Consulting Group that looked at global wealth. No shocker - the rich are getting richer.

The firm's figures show that, globally, there's about $121.8 trillion in wealth today - that's up $20 trillion since the depths of the worldwide financial crisis.

Those are just big numbers - until you start digging a tad deeper. Turns out, millionaire households - those peeps with at least $1 million in "investable" assets - represent just 0.9% of the population, but they control about 39% of the world's wealth. And the real news in that: that's up from 37% in 2009.

One more note about the study: of the 12.5 million millionaire households around the world - the U.S. has the largest share of them: 5.2 million.

And Consumer Reports tonight takes a look at car rental fees - especially important as we enter the summer-travel season. Like the airlines, rental car companies are tacking on all sorts of extra fees these days, which can increase the real rental rate by up to 40%.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me tonight, after game one of the NBA Finals.


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