Pembroke Pines warns that cellphones could cause cancer
Nov 26, 2012 (Sun Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
PEMBROKE PINES -- Holding your cellphone up to your ear could be hazardous to your health. Now, one South Florida city wants to make sure you know it.
Inspired by a resident's cancer survival story, Pembroke Pines passed what's thought to be the first resolution in the state to warn residents about the possibility of cellphone radiation causing cancer.
Studies from the World Health Organization, Government Accountability Office and National Cancer Institute show that cellphones could be linked to cancer. But scientists say the field of study is in its early stages and more research is necessary.
In May 2011, the World Health Organization said that a chance of a cellphone user becoming a cancer patient doubles after using a cellphone for at least 30 minutes a day for 10 years.
The Pines resolution encourages all residents to keep their cellphone at least one-inch away from their bodies, and to use a wired headset or speakerphone and to send messages by text or email. The resolution also encourages residents to stay informed about the latest scientific reports about cellphone radiation.
"Our city's resolution isn't about creating panic and alarm," said Commissioner Angelo Castillo. "It's about raising awareness in a responsible way to ensure that the health of all cellphone users is protected."
Pines plans to send the resolution, passed at its most recent meeting, to agencies across the state including the governor's office, the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Legislature to encourage other cities and school boards to adopt a similar resolution to protect Floridians.
Resident Jimmy Gonzalez went before the commission to push for a resolution that linked the possibility of cellphone use to cancer based on his own experience.
In August 2011, surgeons removed a cancerous brain tumor from the area above Gonzalez' left ear -- the same place where he held his cellphone for hours a day while working as an attorney. Just a year earlier, surgeons removed a tumor from his left hand, in between his index finger and middle finger.
"One day, it came to me," said Gonzalez, "maybe there's something in common with my hand and head."
Gonzalez, who is now cancer-free, wants his story to inspire others to be wary and cautious of how they use their cellphones. He hooks up his cellphone to equipment in his car so that he rarely has to hold the phone. He said he'll occasionally send text messages.
Pines commissioners also are taking precautions. Vice Mayor Carl Shechter stopped carrying his cellphone clipped to his belt all day, and Mayor Frank Ortis hooked up his cellphone to his car to avoid holding it against his head.
Commissioners said city cellphone policies won't be affected, but they hope employees follow the guidelines in the resolution to protect themselves when using cellphones.
"We are worried and this should be studied more carefully," said Castillo. "We're concerned. We're not a public health authority, but we see a possible scientific connection between cancer and cellphones."
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