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Published June 13, 2012, 09:08 PM

Debate on whether cell phones can cause cancer continues

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- The World Health Organization lists cell phones on the same list of "Carcinogenic Hazards" as lead and exhaust fumes, But can these do-it-all devices really cause cancer?

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- The World Health Organization lists cell phones on the same list of carcinogenic Hazards as lead and exhaust fumes. But can these do-it-all devices really cause cancer?

Well, it seems to be a debate with valid arguments on both sides. We spoke with an NDSU physicist to find out just how much radiation a cell-phone puts out, and is that enough to pose a serious risk?

Orv Swenson - Associate Professor of Physics NDSU: "Cell-phones produce about a watt of radiation, that's pretty small. Our bodies produce on the order of about 100 watts, just staying alive."

The World Health Organization found that cell-phones could be possibly carcinogenic to humans based on studies that found some increase in brain cancer among cell-phone users.

Orv Swenson is an Associate Professor of Physics at NDSU. He argues that we are surrounded by electromagnetic radiation every second of our lives, but that doesn't mean we are "over-exposed" or in "danger.

Orv Swenson: "A lot more risk from having a traffic accident because you're using it than a long-term cancer effect."

Everyone we caught up to said their cell-phone rarely leaves their side.

Joanna Heppner - Warroad, MN: "I always have it on me just in case somebody texts me like a guy or something."

But despite the cancerous theories, most are not worried.

Thomas Jaszczak - Lancaster, MN: "I think cell phones have become such an important part of everyday life that people don't care."

Aaron Feickert - Fargo: "Well, we can't really say for certain, that's not how science works. I don't think there's any cause for alarm."

So is it myth, or fact? It could be decades before anyone knows definitively.

Orv Swenson: "These have been around for a long time and I don't think there's any cause for cancer."

If you are someone worried about that cancerous possibility, there few suggestions: Hold your phone about a half-inch away while talking, or try to use speaker phone.

The further a cell-phone is away from your body, the less radiation is absorbed.

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