Despite health risks, lawmakers not curbing cell phone usage

Lawmakers who have raised concern about a possible link between cell phones and cancer have not stopped using their held-held devices.

Several members of Congress in May spoke out when the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) labeled the radiofrequency fields generated by mobile phones as possibly carcinogenic to humans.


Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinNew Hampshire parochialism, not whiteness, bedevils Democrats Democrats must question possible political surveillance Wisconsin lawmaker gets buzz-cut after vowing not to cut hair until sign language bill passed MORE (D-Iowa), who has held hearings on the issue, told The Hill he's concerned about young people spending hours everyday with their cell phones next to their ears.

"We don't know the long-term effects," Harkin said.

"There's no scientific evidence, but it can't be good," he added, noting that intermittent use is OK.

In addition, Reps. Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyUS must act as journalists continue to be jailed in record numbers Warren proposes 'Blue New Deal' to protect oceans There's a lot to like about the Senate privacy bill, if it's not watered down MORE (D-Mass.) Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) asked the Government Accountability Office last month to conduct a thorough review of existing research on the health risks of long-term mobile use. 

Waxman said he is trying to secure funding for further research with his colleagues.

"With the significant increase in mobile phone usage over these years and this most recent study from the WHO, now is the time for further research," Markey said in a statement.

“The health of the American consumer is not something to play around with,” added Eshoo. “It’s absolutely imperative that we’re giving adequate attention to cell phone use as a public health issue, and that’s why it only makes sense for the GAO to reexamine their finding.”

But none of the lawmakers interviewed by The Hill said they had curbed their own cell phone use.

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay Budowsky: Would John McCain back impeachment? MORE (R-Ariz.), who is focused on other issues, said, "I'm concerned about a lot of things but not about that.”

Sen. Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinRemembering leaders who put country above party Strange bedfellows oppose the filibuster Listen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home MORE (D-Mich.) said he is "always concerned about things like that." But Levin said he isn't an expert on the matter and noted the IARC's research wasn't conclusive. 

Levin's point was affirmed this week when a new review of previous research published by a committee of experts from the U.S., Britain and Sweden concluded the evidence indicates there is no connection between mobile use and brain tumors.

"Although there remains some uncertainty, the trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumors in adults," the experts wrote in Environmental Health Perspectives.