Testifying before a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions subcommittee hearing on Monday, scientists agreed that further research is needed to ascertain whether brain cancer is linked to cell phone use, as lawmakers sought recommendations on precautions consumers could take to reduce any potential risk. In opening remarks, subcommittee chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) said one of his goals in calling the hearing was to determine whether the U.S. should fund further National Institutes of Health (NIH) studies on the health effects of mobile phones, as he observed that the current debate over cell phone use and cancer compares to “this country’s experience with cigarettes.” Appearing at the request of wireless association CTIA, Linda Erdreich, a senior scientist for Exponent in New York, explained that radio frequencies authorized for mobile phone use emit non-ionizing radiation which should not damage the DNA in cells. Although Erdreich maintained that evidence gathered over the past few decades has failed to establish a conclusive link between cancer and wireless phone use, Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) countered that science has yet to prove that no connection exists, as he quipped: “we just don’t know what the answer is.” Meanwhile, Dariusz Leszczynski, a research professor at Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, said his research indicates a possible biological response to non-ionizing radiation from wireless handsets that could result in DNA damage. While recommending further study with human volunteers, Leszczynski advised: “in the current state of uncertainty, it is reasonable to support the use of reasonable precautions in everyday life.” Such precautions, added Siegal Sadetzki of the Gertner Institute in Israel, include the use of speakers, earpieces, and hands-free devices, and the avoidance of cell phone use in areas with poor reception. Asserting that his group is “deeply committed to safety and to providing timely, accurate information to consumers about wireless phones,” CTIA President Steve Largent told the panel that the wireless industry relies on data supplied by the Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, the NIH, and the American Cancer Society, “which have all concluded that the scientific evidence to date does not demonstrate any adverse health effects associated with the use of wireless phones.”