From the San Francisco Chronicle (sfgate.com)
Stephanie M. Lee
Updated 8:16 am, Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Every weekday morning, Bret Bocook sits in a cozy Starbucks in downtown Los Altos. He sips coffee and reads the paper. But mostly, he watches people as they chat on their cell phones.
Then he walks over to deliver a message.
“I was observing you on your cell phone,” Bocook told a woman after she wrapped up a lengthy call on a recent morning. “I used a cell phone and I got a brain tumor.”
Startled, the woman politely listened. Bocook tends to command attention, and not just because he has the tall, broad build of a former competitive rower. The 49-year-old Los Altos man limps with a cane, the result of a surgery that removed a malignant brain tumor about four years ago but left him with shaky motor skills.
His right temple is indented where the tumor had once been. It’s also, he says, where he held his cell phone when he was a real estate agent, racking up an estimated 1 million minutes over two decades as he talked to clients.
Bocook is now among a growing number of people who believe beyond doubt that cell phones are a life-threatening health hazard. Some medical experts have also begun to raise concerns about the devices.
Scientifically, there is no consensus on whether, or to what extent, cell-phone radiation causes harm to humans. Some recent studies have tied phone use to cancer, decreased sperm count, impaired brain development and other maladies, but other research has found no such evidence.
Bocook needs no further study to convince him of the dangers of cell-phone use. In 2009, he was diagnosed with a cancer known as anaplastic astrocytoma. “As soon as I found out I had a brain tumor in this location,” he said, “it was just obvious.”
This month, Bocook appeared with a panel of scientists and physicians at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, arguing that phone users should gab with caution. Their point seems to be gaining traction.
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