Suit linking cell phones to tumors is dismissed


Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 30, 2002 at 10:34 p.m.
BALTIMORE - A federal judge Monday tossed out an $800 million lawsuit filed by a Maryland doctor who claims cell phones caused his brain tumor.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake said none of the evidence submitted by Dr. Christopher Newman wasn't substantial enough to warrant a trial against cell-phone maker Motorola and several major cell-phone carriers.
The $45 billion wireless industry has been watching the case closely because it could have opened the door to other lawsuits if allowed to proceed. No other such claims have succeeded so far.
Newman, a neurologist, claims the older, analog cell phone he used from 1992 to 1998 caused his brain cancer.
Newman's lawyers presented scientific evidence showing that analog phones might cause tumors, but Blake ruled it was overwhelmed by evidence showing no relationship between cell-phone radiation and cancer.
Newman's attorney, John Angelos, said he told Newman of the decision.
"He is disappointed, as we are. We didn't pass the standard," Angelos said, adding that his firm may appeal.
Newman's tumor was removed, but his lawyers said he is blind in one eye, suffers memory loss and slowed speech, and can no longer work.
Cell phones are used by 97 million Americans. 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.
Three major studies published since December 2000, including one by the National Cancer Institute, found no harmful health effects from cell phones.
Newman's attorneys pegged much of their suit 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.
But Blake questioned Hardell's methodology and said the study hasn't been "replicated or validated" by other scientists. She also cited several studies that rejected the findings.

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