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Court rules: No relationship between cell phones and cancer.

O.P.M. (Other People’s Mistakes) Alert

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Court rules: No relationship between cell phones and cancer.

In an important case for all of us cell phone users (and who isn’t?), a federal judge yesterday dismissed an $800 million lawsuit filed by a Maryland doctor who claims cell phones caused his brain cancer. The judge ruled that none of the evidence submitted by Dr. Christopher Newman was substantial enough to warrant a trial. The lawsuit was brought against cell phone manufacturer Motorola, Inc., and several major cell-phone carriers.

The wireless communications industry was watching the case closely. Other similar claims against mobile-phone carriers also have failed.

Christopher Newman, a neurologist from Jarrettsville, claimed an old-fashioned analog cell phone he used for much of the 1990s gave him a cancerous tumor behind his right ear.

His attorney, responding to the decision, admitted: “We didn’t pass the standard.” The judge ruled that even though Newman’s attorneys presented scientific evidence showing that analog phones may cause tumors, it was overwhelmed by a body of evidence that shows no relationship between cell phone radiation and cancer.

“In addition to these epidemiologic studies, and the consensus expressed by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), the defendants have proffered reports from numerous international organizations, finding no reliable evidence of cancer causation from exposure to wireless handheld phones,” the judge said in the ruling.

Three major studies published since December 2000, including one by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, showed cell phones – used by 100 million Americans – don’t cause any adverse health effects. Digital phones emit radiation in pulses; older analog varieties emit continuous waves. By the time cell phones exploded in popularity in the late 1990s, most of those sold used digital technology.

Newman’s attorneys pegged much of their lawsuit on research by Swedish oncologist Lennart Hardell, who published a study in this month’s European Journal of Cancer Prevention that found long-term users of analog cell phones were at least 30 percent more likely than nonusers to develop brain tumors. But the judge questioned Hardell’s methodology and cited several studies that rejected those findings.

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