Last updated on: 5/1/2015 | Author:

Devra L. Davis, PhD, MPH Biography

Founder and President of Environmental Health Trust
NC to the question "Is Cell Phone Radiation Safe?"

“First of all, cancer can occur without direct damage to DNA. This is what happens with cancers arising from hormone replacement therapy and asbestos.

Second, more than a thousand studies find that cell signals can affect the ability of our genes to protect us, impairing responses to stress, heavy metals and toxic chemicals…

It’s better to be safe than sorry and to reduce direct exposure to cell phone radiation by using head sets and speakerphones. Meanwhile, electrical engineers can continue to lower the amount of radiation to which we are exposed and we scientists can more fully evaluate the impact of cell phones on public health…

Yes, human studies on cell phone use and cancer are incomplete and inconsistent…

[But] the absence of definitive evidence in this instance should not be confused with proof of safety; rather, it reflects the hard realities of the modern world where we introduce new technologies before evaluating their potential impact on our lives.

Good public health practice requires that we take prudent precautions to limit exposure to cell phone radiation. Meanwhile, as engineers continue to refine the technology, research should proceed to clarify whether newer phones pose the same risk as older ones.”

“Be Careful with Cell Phones: More Research Is Needed to Know If They’re Safe,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 5, 2008

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Founder and President, Environmental Health Trust, 2007-present
  • Professor of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, 2004-2010
  • Founding Director, Center for Environmental Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, 2004-2010
  • Visiting Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Mount Sinai Medical Center
  • Founding Director, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, US National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Reviewer: American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Environmental Research, Environmental Health Perspectives, American Journal of Public Health, Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, British Medical Journal, and Environmental Research
  • Presidential Appointee, US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, 1994-1999
  • Scholar in Residence, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, US National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, 1983-1993
  • Faculty Associate, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 1982
  • Senior Fellow in Cancer Epidemiology, National Cancer Institute, Johns Hopkins University, 1981-1982
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, National Science Foundation Project on in-service Training Institute, 1973-1975
  • Director of Interdisciplinary Studies, Queens College, City University of New York, 1971-1973
  • MPH, Epidemiology School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 1982
  • PhD, History, University of Chicago, 1972
  • MA, Sociology of Science, University of Pittsburgh, 1967
  • BS, cum laude, Physiological Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, 1967
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