In recent months, I have been made aware of two such instances of this scientific rumor mill. In May of this year, I received an e-mail from someone describing himself as a cancer researcher who wanted to know why I was ignoring the proven danger of cell phones: My colleagues in Sweden and Japan tell me that exposure to microwave radiation from cell phones are potentially dangerous -- and that this should be acknowledged by the phone companies which they don t bother acknowledging . He went on to describe his colleagues experiments with mice in RF fields that had increased incidence of brain tumors. I found the description of this research to be surprising, since no such research has appeared recently in the scientific literature.
In July of this year, a more extreme example of the same type of underground science hit the news. Dr Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, circulated a memo to 3000 faculty and staff members at his Institute, warning them that children should use cell phones only for emergencies because their brains are still developing. He also said that everyone should keep the phone away from their heads and use the speakerphone or a wireless headset. He even warned against using cell phones in public places because it exposes others.
On what does Dr. Herberman base this warning? Early unpublished data. He says it takes too long to get answers from science. Really, at the heart of my concern is that we shouldn t wait for a definitive study to come out, but err on the side of being safe, rather than sorry later, he stated.