- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 1, 2002

BALTIMORE (AP) A federal judge yesterday dismissed an $800 million lawsuit filed by a Maryland doctor who said cell phones caused his brain cancer.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake ruled that none of the evidence submitted by Dr. Christopher Newman was substantial enough to warrant a trial. The lawsuit was brought against cell-phone manufacturer Motorola Inc. and major wireless carriers.
The telecommunications world was watching the case closely; if it succeeded, it would have opened the door to other lawsuits against the $45 billion industry. Similar claims against mobile-phone carriers also have failed.
Dr. Newman, a neurologist from Jarrettsville, said an analog cell phone he used for much of the 1990s gave him a cancerous tumor behind his right ear.
His attorney, John Angelos, said he had told Dr. Newman of yesterday's decision.
"He is disappointed, as we are. We didn't pass the standard," Mr. Angelos said, adding that his firm may appeal the decision.
Even though Dr. Newman's attorneys presented scientific studies showing that analog phones might cause tumors, Judge Blake ruled that the research results were overwhelmed by a body of evidence that showed no relationship between cell-phone radiation and cancer.
Even the published studies presented by Dr. Newman included reasoning, theories and methodology that "have not gained general acceptance in the scientific community," Judge Blake said in a strongly worded, 23-page ruling.
Kim Kuo, a spokeswoman for the industry group Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, said people who use wireless phones may be reassured by the ruling.
"Hopefully, as people see more studies coming out, and people get used to seeing the body of research, they'll become comfortable with that," she said.
Dr. Newman's attorneys pegged much of their lawsuit on research by Swedish oncologist Lennart Hardell, who published a study in this month's European Journal of Cancer Prevention that found long-term users of analog cell phones were at least 30 percent more likely than nonusers to develop brain tumors.
Dr. Hardell studied 1,617 patients with brain tumors and compared them with a similar-sized group of people without tumors.
Judge Blake questioned Dr. Hardell's methodology and said the study hadn't been "replicated or validated" by other scientists.
Three major studies published since December 2000, including one by the National Cancer Institute, showed cell phones didn't cause any adverse health effects.
Digital phones emit radiation in pulses; older analog varieties emit continuous waves. By the time cell phones exploded in popularity in the late 1990s, most of those sold used digital technology.
Dr. Newman's tumor was removed, but he was permanently disabled, his attorneys said. Dr. Newman is blind in his left eye, suffers memory loss and slowed speech and no longer can work, they said.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide