NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine -

Cell phone cancer scare on Larry King Live

Posted By


The Cancer Letter (subscription required) does its usual excellent job in reporting on the latest network TV free-for-all on cell phones and cancer. Excerpts:

“A teaser for the Larry King Live news show July 29 got to the quintessence of the scientific controversy over cell phones:

“A prominent cancer researcher says, ‘Put down that phone right now, if you want to reduce the risk of cancer!’â€?

CNN cell phone.png

The researcher in the spotlight was none other than Ronald Herberman, a respected immunologist and founding director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

A week earlier, Herberman stunned his colleagues by sending out an e-mail blast to his cancer center’s 3,000 employees, urging them to limit their exposure to cell phones. This exploded into an international story: director of an NCI-designated cancer center sounds alarm over dangerous occupational exposure.

Meanwhile, Herberman’s peers—including current and former directors of comprehensive cancer centers—say privately that they are watching with considerable surprise as the formerly cautious, conservative immunologist is staking his well-deserved, hard-earned prestige on a cause where data have been weak and findings cherry-picked.

“This whole thing makes no sense to me,â€? said one prominent researcher. “What was the urgency?â€? asked another peer. Scientists who know Herberman only by his publications were equally surprised. “I can’t help but wonder just what on earth Dr. Herberman was smoking when he decided to issue this warning,â€? David Gorski, a surgical oncologist at Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, wrote on a quackbusters’ blog called Science-Based Medicine. “Scaring the nation based on ‘early unpublished data’ that can’t be examined by the entire medical and scientific community is generally not a good idea. That’s why I’ve been asking over the last few days: Why on earth did Dr. Herberman do it?â€?

Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, was similarly surprised. “I am afraid that if we pull the fire alarm, scaring people unnecessarily, and actually diverting their attention from things that they should be doing, then when we do pull the fire alarm for a public health emergency, we won’t have the credibility for them to listen to us,â€? Brawley said on the CNN show.”

You might also like


Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.


August 4, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Why wait until people have the cancer before they get warned. This sounds like the “cigarettes don’t cause cancer” cry.