Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer? Ask a UMW expert

Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer? Ask a UMW expert

August 20, 20181 min read

UMW Associate Professor of Biology Deb O’Dell was recently featured on “Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?” which began airing Saturday, Aug. 18, on the With Good Reason public radio show. The program, broadcast in Fredericksburg on Radio IQ 88.3 Digital at 2 p.m. Sundays, explores O’Dell’s research on the possible carcinogenic effects of one of America’s favorite gadgets.

Her results – she found that a single 25-minute exposure can significantly alter the activity of genes for up to 48 hours – “surprised and alarmed” her.

“You don’t use your cell phone once every two days,” O’Dell told With Good Reason host Sarah McConnell, who said she was “amazed” by the research. “What I’m afraid of [is] that these changes are not being permitted to go back to their original state … but rather, by continually activating them, we’re causing them to change persistently and that could then lead to changes in how cells reproduce themselves leading then, maybe, to tumors.”

Questions surrounding the safety of cell phones and the effects of the radiation they emit have long loomed large. O’Dell has spent years – and involved several UMW students – researching this phenomenon.

If you are covering this topic and need to know more – Dr. Deborah O'Dell is available to speak with media. Simply click on her icon to arrange an interview.


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  • Deborah O'Dell
    Deborah O'Dell Professor of Biology

    Dr. O'Dell performs research into how bees use magnetic fields to orient themselves.

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