Nightly News | May 31, 2011
>>> good evening. the world health organization today said cell phones are possibly karsin o'jennic. and they put cell phone use in the same category as contact with various chemicals for the possible cancer risk it could pose when the cell phone is pressed to the ear during use. this statement from the w.h.o. makes this topic front and center once again this statement label cell phones as a possible carcinogenic hazard comes from a panel of 31 scientists. and while it doesn't reverse any of the current studies, it does raise big questions about safety and long-term effects, and it's where we begin our broadcast tonight with our chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman . nancy, i'm not a scientist, but reading through this stuff, it appears to be saying it can't be good for you. which is what a lot of people walk around assuming anyway.
>> i think that's where the confusion starts, brian, because it's the conventional wisdom. and these 31 scientists that you mentioned from 14 countries advised the world health organization , and they said, look, we know that cancer and asbestos are known carcinogens, but now we've studied everything from the radio waves of cell phones , tvs, transmitter towers, and the concern is is there a link to date? there is no definitive evidence linking cell phones to cancer. but then a big hedge from this group, saying that there may be enough evidence and maybes and coulds and possibilities that they have now put this in a group that includes other carcinogens, things like color o'form, cleaning fluids that you use at your dry cleaner 's, gasoline fumes, and even the occupational hazards of being a carpenter, firefighter, or a dry cleaner . but we also heard counter from the cell phone industry, and they said that in fact there is no real concern and this classification really does not mean that cell phones cause cancer. and went on to say that the fda has stated that the weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones way health problem. and i think that's where you're going to see these two sides stort sort of stake ground. the real gulf between them is where is the science. and i think no one has seen that definitive proof yet.
>> and the questions all seem to be about could these tumors be long term, and so the science hasn't caught up with reality. and then the experts always say at the end, probably a good reason to use hands-free.
>> you just said something really smart, and that is 5 billion people around the world use cell phones and yet the gliomas, these brain tumors everybody's worried about, those numbers haven't budged up at all. that's why they're saying if you're concerned take your cell phone away from your ear, use handheld, and for heaven's sakes, there are probably more people who die every day by driving and texting and talking. that's the bottom line for right now.
>> a good note to end on as we learn more about this. dr. nancy snyderman , as always, thanks.