Neurologist blames cell phone for his brain cancer

WASHINGTON, August 4, 2000 — A Maryland neurologist has filed an $800 million lawsuit against Motorola, Bell Atlantic and others, charging that years of using a cellular phone has given him brain cancer.

Chris Newman, 41, cited a 1994 study on rats that showed breaks in DNA, a possible sign of future cancer, after the animals were exposed to radiation.

The malignant tumor was discovered in 1998 behind Newman’s right ear. Attorney Joanne Suder said Newman used wireless hand-held phones several times a day from 1992 to March 1998, when the cancer was diagnosed.

The suit seeks $ 100 million in compensatory damages and $ 700 million in punitive damages.

“It’s a really tough issue,” said Robert Tufel of the National Brain Tumor Foundation. “We don’t want to unduly alarm the public, but some of the information we have read is very compelling.” The foundation recommends that people take precautions such as limiting phone time or using an ear piece to put distance between themselves and the phone “until this is resolved,” Tufel said.

To try and settle lingering questions, the FDA, with funding from the cell-phone industry, is planning new studies. But those results are not due for three to five years.
The debate started in 1993 when a Florida man alleged cell-phone use caused his wife’s brain tumor. Since then, scientists have studied the effects of cell-phone radiation on animals and looked at brain-tumor rates in people who used cell phones.

Brain cancer strikes about six in every 100,000 people in the United States each year.

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