Overheard on CNN.com: Readers question cell phone cancer risk
The World Health Organization now says cell phones can increase possible cancer risks.
May 31st, 2011
05:08 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers question cell phone cancer risk

Comment of the day: “Cancer? Yes, there's an app for that.” - katiefacemom

Hold that call

The World Health Organization has found enough evidence to categorize personal exposure to cell phones as "possibly carcinogenic to humans." In a report, the organization says the danger is in the same “hazard" category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform. Despite the report, the cell phone industry maintains that there is no conclusive evidence of danger.

CNN.com reader reaction to the report varied, although most were skeptical of the findings. Some said they are old news and others made light of them. Some said they hoped people would stop using their phones so often, while others lamented all things cancer-related.

cellosong said, “The 90s called. They want their urban legend back.” P3NGU1N said, “Breaking News from 1990!” But Zygmoid said, “No, this is not the same study they did 10 years ago. It's called ‘science’ people ... don't worry about it, go watch TV.”

new2wi said, “I wonder if someone will make an app so our phones can give us a CT scan?” ripley01 said, “So I guess talking to my mom WAS killing me.” GeorgeFnBush said, “They cause far more car wrecks than cancer.” SkyJim said, “Great, I can't wait to see the danger/warning labels they're going to start putting on these things. Next person to call me on my cell phone I'm going to answer with ‘are you trying to kill me?’ ” MoreMedsPls "This is your brain. This is your brain on Cell Phone." common51 said, “I'm sure the phone companies will charge us extra for the cancer.... We don't get anything for free from them.” MoreMedsPls said, “I'm certain WE will charge the cell phone companies via civil lawsuits.” Neutronium said, “what does a rock group know about cancer anyway?”

rosem4243 said, “So does this mean that cell phones will not be allowed to be used in restaurants, parks, office buildings....just like smoking? Sweet!” edvhou812 said, “This is good news! People just might stop talking on their cells phones while driving, in the restaurant, in the bookstore, etc.” kilroy101 said, “Get rid of the cell phone, you don't need it. Get rid of your Cable TV, you don't need it. Get outside and exercise, you NEED it!” Redman7176 said, “So there will be justice in the end for all the idiots on their phones while driving in the left lane.”

bcole04 said, “I feel like, at this point, I'm going to get cancer from something anyway. I will either get it from the sun I'm exposed to everyday, the air I breathe, the diet soda I drink, the cell phone I talk on or the deodorant I use. Should you try to reduce your risk of these? Sure. Should I be so scared of getting cancer from just about anything nowadays that I complete rearrange my life in response to that fear? No way. “And Rutledge2020 said, “Pretty sure that just being alive in general increases your risk of cancer.”

Taking the transgender lead

Nepal is registering “third gender” citizens in its 2011 national census, along with men and women. It is believed to be the world’s first official recognition of gay and transgender people - a move seen as a major victory for equality in a country that only decriminalized homosexual relationships three years ago.

Reactions from CNN.com readers prompted a discussion about what the terms “gender” and “sex” mean while others expressed surprise and delight that Nepal was the first country to include a new gender.

Krow said, “Wow. Nepal is more culturally accepting than the USA. That's kind of funny till you realize that a good portion of our citizens don't believe in evolution, think the Earth is 6,000 years old and are planning to vote for Sarah Palin. ThomasGypsie said, “America is falling farther and farther behind when it comes to social change and acceptance.” Lokari said, “One day, Nepal, I hope the USofA can join you in the 21st century, instead of languishing in our backwards Christian mindset.” Ozymandias71 said, “News like this is always welcome, but the fact that it's Nepal is just amazing. Go Nepal!” globalogic said, “Our planet is becoming a freak show.”

Fixer2010 said, “There is no such thing as a third gender. You are either male or female. Simple, basic anatomy. ‘Feeling’ like a woman or man does not change your gender. I could care less if you are hetero or homosexual; but let us be realistic.”

RevSchaeffer said, “Male and female are sexes. Gender is a description. These are legal definitions being applied, not biological.”

LoneQuark said, “Gender is a social construct, and an individual's gender need not match their sex. I am a PhD student in a biology lab (neurophysiology).

howiecarr said, “I don't see how an imaginary 'third gender' advances rights for anyone. They are literally just making this one up. There are two genders. That's it. This is not a discriminatory statement, it is simple fact. Everyone is free to use their parts any way they see fit, but you are one or the other.”

Mind the jellyfish

On a lighter note, there was a jellyfish “attack” on Memorial Day, from Cocoa Beach to Cape Canaveral. More than 800 people were stung, but no serious injuries were reported. CNN.com readers were amused by the story.

JimCampbell said, “Now all we need is a peanutbutterfish." zix said, “800 stung! It's the Jellocalypse!” alexDWD said, “Where is Spongebob when we need him? And OutlawJones responded, “In a pineapple under the sea?” TallinOK said, “Why can't jellyfish have a vacation like anyone else? They like the beach. royalhighnes said, “Another sign the world is coming to an end: ‘...and the oceans will turn to purple Jello bringing gnashing of teeth...’”

farkyew said, “Jellyfish don't attack. Stupid. You ‘bump’ into them. Your fault. They're not like sharks. They move with the current, waves, wind, etc.” MrEee said, “Listen, and understand. That jellyfish is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Debbie Downer

    I'm not lucky enough to get cancer and leave this stupid world. Wah Wahhhhhh.....

    May 31, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey

    "...lucky enough to get cancer and leave this stupid world?"
    I think you may really mean that.
    No, you're wrong,
    With all the stupid people here, and the few smart ones, this world is fantastic and beautiful! As is!
    I love it!
    Warts and all, I want to stay forever.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ryan

    What the heck are you guys doing, CNN is not a gay bar

    May 31, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Pix


    Debbie Downer was referencing a skit on SNL, with the character's name being Debbie Downer. It IS something that character would say.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debbie Downer

      @Pix: No really if I got cancer I wouldn't get it treated. I couldn't handle the expenses and don't want to spend years of my life paying back money to a hospital. I also think this place is not quite my cup of tea and don't see it changing in my lifetime.

      May 31, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Katherine

    After falling asleep all night with my phone under my head, i had such bad migranes all day and now for 3 days onnagain off again headaches.

    May 31, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • shelly kalnitsky

      Yes , people who are sensitive receive heat , headaches , fatigue, short term memory loss from cell phones AND CORDLESS phones.Go to ww.cprnews.com with over 170 studies posted on cell phon edangers under world news

      May 31, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bob2

    Then don't sleep with the phone under your head, Katherine! It's probably a tumor.

    May 31, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bonnie

      Not FUNNY at all. My husband was diagnosed in January with a brain tumor and passed away April 1st. And yes he was in sales and was constantly on his cell phone. I'm glad someone is finally looking into cell phones causing cancer.

      May 31, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John

    Of course they cause cancer the phones use the same energy as micro wave ovens if it were not for the billions being made we would have been told decades ago! As with big aggriculture, big pharma and big oil we are just customers and the almighty dollar trumps health and consumer interests every time. Why else would genetically modified crops NOT be labeled when 90% of consumers want them labeled! The goverment is not there for the people it is there for big business!

    May 31, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Texas Web

    Yeah, you have that thing on your ear 24/7 for the last 10 yrs, something has to fall off. I remember way back then, there was a report link of cancer with the use of radar detectors by the Hwy State Patrol. the state trooper have those things turned on resting on legs when they're not pointing it to a vehicle, and over the years some of the state troopers developed something on their legs.

    May 31, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texas Web

      I mean the hand held speed detector.

      May 31, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pix

    I have been hearing about this for years. This comes as no surprise to me at all.

    May 31, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |

    Protect Yourself from the Harmful Radiation emitted by cellphones – http://cellshield.blogspot.com/p/cellshield-emf-absorber.html

    May 31, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • shelly kalnitsky

      The only anti-radiation product that is proven and tested to reduce potential health risks from cell and cordless phones is the Waveshield at http://www.waveshield.com

      May 31, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike from Canada

    I use 3 cell phones 15 hours per day 5 days per week for 4 years. Approx 1,500 calls per day.
    I have developed aniety over the past 3 years. I feel my head is like mush for the whole 2 days 1 am off. Never had aniexty in my life before this. Yes I feel that the cell phones are causing problems and will get worse if I don't change my career soon. 306 380-6453

    May 31, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. stewie

    Just curious if they've done any studies on using cell phones for texting instead of calling.if the phone isn't near your head does it still cause cancer?

    May 31, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. stewie

    It seems as though this study is incomplete at best.

    May 31, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. shelly kalnitsky

    Cell phones and cordless phones are potentially very harmful.Waveshield is proven and tested to reduce the potential health risk by blocking the majority of radiation from your ear, the ear being the highest absorptionn rate of radiation in the body and the area where most tumors and health problems develop http://www.waveshield .com wired headsets and bluetooth are very dangerous products. Visit cprnews.com with over 170 studies on cell phone dangers posted under world news

    May 31, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. stewie

    I'm afraid I'd have to agree with Debbie Downer, I don't believe I'd want to go through cancer treatment just to prolong the agony for a few months of life, especially after seeing what Michael Landon and Patrick Swayze went through. Plus I'd never be able to pay for the treatments anyway even with insurance.

    May 31, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
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