Return to Transcripts main page
CNN Larry King Live
Missing Toddler Mystery: Mom Under Fire; Is There a Link Between Cell Phone Use and Cancer?
Aired July 29, 2008 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, court fight over those jailhouse tapes from that missing toddler mystery. What doesn't Caylee Anthony's mom want us to hear as she sits behind bars?
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CASEY ANTHONY, MOTHER OF MISSING TODDLER: In my gut, she's still OK.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KING: Her own mother's actions helped put her there and for reporting that the 2-year-old disappeared.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CINDY ANTHONY, GRANDMOTHER OF MISSING TODDLER: My granddaughter has been taken, she has been missing for a month.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KING: What's going on? I'll ask her. She's here.
Plus cell phones and cancer. Is there a link? Are children in immediate danger? A new warning should have everybody asking, does something I use every day kill me? Put down your cell phones now and find out, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Where is little Caylee Anthony? And what does her now-jailed mother know about her fate?
The 2-year-old went missing in mid-June. She was reported missing on July 15th, that's a day (sic) later. Her mother Casey (sic) then calls in. She has her arrested on charges of child neglect, making false official statements, obstructing a criminal investigation. Police have now named Casey Anthony, the mother, as a person of interest in Caylee's disappearance.
We welcome the grandmother, Cindy Anthony. She is with us in Orlando, Florida.
Do you have any thoughts, Cindy, as to what happened to your granddaughter? CINDY ANTHONY: My thoughts are a lot clearer now than they were that night that I made three 911 calls. I'm very confident that -- I'm very confident that Casey will be exonerated of all charges once we find Caylee, so that's why our focus is on trying to find our granddaughter.
KING: So you feel she's definitely alive?
CINDY ANTHONY: I believe she is alive when Casey handed her off to the baby-sitter. At this point, I just hope to god that no one has done anything to her.
KING: Little explaining, Casey and Caylee were both living with you, right?
CINDY ANTHONY: Yes, Casey has always lived at home. Caylee was born in 2005 and has lived with us ever since.
KING: And the father, I understand, was killed?
CINDY ANTHONY: Yes, he's never been part of her life.
KING: But he was killed in an automobile accident?
CINDY ANTHONY: Yes, but he was never a part of her life before that.
KING: And he wasn't supporting her?
CINDY ANTHONY: No, he was never even on the birth certificate. That was a mutual thing between Casey and the father.
KING: Why did you turn daughter in?
CINDY ANTHONY: Little background, Casey had gone on an extended trip, kind of trying to figure out -- she's 22. We were talking about when it might be the right time for her and Caylee to move out. And her trip just kept getting extended and extended, which was really not a red flag itself, I mean, the trip itself. There would be a few days at a time that she would go and stay with friends. She went from a couple different friends, and I never got a chance to speak with Caylee during that time.
I would ask Casey periodically if she could put Caylee on the phone or whatever, and there was always a very reasonable excuse. Either she was napping or she was already in bed. By the time I get home from work sometimes in the evening, and I would be able to speak to my daughter, it would be time for Caylee to be napping or going to bed.
KING: I got you. So she finally comes home?
CINDY ANTHONY: Well, what happened was, to set the background right, she had told me that she had been in Jacksonville for the last week and a half. We had gotten a notice in the mail that we had a registered letter. We found the registered letter a few days before, but it was the weekend, so we had to go down and get it. And when we got it, my husband found out it was from a tow truck or a towing company.
And when we actually went down and found out that the car that she, you know, uses was not in Jacksonville, it was in Orlando and we found out the date, that was a huge red flag.
So I started calling her friends and I found one friend that had just seen her a few hours prior, and she took me to where Casey was at, and when I got there, there was no Caylee. So I started to feel like, what's going on? She had told me that she was at the sitter's. So we took her friend home. Her friend and her and I drove around for a while. It was later in the evening, about 7:00, 7:30. That's typically when we start getting Caylee down for a nap and Casey's response was that Caylee was probably already getting ready for bed and didn't want to disrupt her.
But being the selfish grandma that I am, I wanted to see my granddaughter. So we drove around a bit. And I tried to convince her to take me to her, and I just started getting an eerie feeling that something wasn't right in Casey's voice. I know my daughter pretty well.
KING: So you decided -- in the interest of time, let's listen to your 911 call.
CINDY ANTHONY: Make sure you do the first one first, because there were three, actually.
KING: We'll do the first one. Let's listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DISPATCH: 911, what's your emergency?
CINDY ANTHONY: I called a little bit ago. The deputy sheriff's not here. I found out my granddaughter has been taken. She has been missing for a month. I told you my daughter was missing for a month. I just found her today. But I can't find my granddaughter. She just admitted to me that she's been trying to find her herself. There's something wrong. I found my daughter's car today and it smells like there's been a dead body in the damn car.
DISPATCHER: Is your daughter there?
CINDY ANTHONY: Yes.
DISPATCHER: Can I speak with her?
CASEY ANTHONY: Hello.
CASEY ANTHONY: Yes?
DISPATCHER: Hi. What can you -- can you tell me what's going on a little bit?
CASEY ANTHONY: My daughter's been missing for the last 31 days.
DISPATCHER: And you know who has her?
CASEY ANTHONY: I know who has her. I've tried to contact her. I actually received a phone call today -- now from a number that is no longer in service. I did get to speak to my daughter for about a moment, about a minute.
DISPATCHER: Why are you calling now? Why didn't you call 31 days ago?
CASEY ANTHONY: I've been looking for her and have gone through other resources to try to find her, which was stupid.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KING: That was the third call. We didn't have the first two.
Cindy, are you now saying you believe your daughter -- you want her to come out, and you believe that we're going to find Caylee?
CINDY ANTHONY: I believe we're going to find Caylee if the investigation goes the right way, if the media will not just take their own spins on things.
I was in shock that first night and there's a lot of things -- the first phone call, there was no panic in my voice. The second phone call, a little frustrated. The third phone call, by the time my daughter had spoken to my son and actually said that Caylee had been kidnapped, I walked in on that conversation. So the police were going to be taking their time to get to the house, so I said whatever it was to get them out there right then and there.
KING: Cindy will be coming back with us. We want to talk to a couple of people about this. Casey Anthony's attorney is here as well. He'll join us after the break.
KING: Our grandmother friend Cindy will be coming back.
But let's meet Jose Baez, the defense attorney for Casey Anthony. Casey is being held on charges related to the disappearance of her 2- year-old daughter, Caylee.
In Miami is our friend Stacey Honowitz, the assistant Florida state attorney who specializes in child abuse and sex crimes.
And in Madison Heights, Michigan, Dr. Daniel Spitz, forensic expert, chief medical examiner for Macomb County, Michigan.
A judge today denied to block media access to Casey's phone calls and visitation conversations in jail. Everything was released.
Let's just listen for a moment to Casey talking with her brother, Lee.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
LEE ANTHONY, BROTHER OF CASEY ANTHONY: You think Caylee's OK right now?
CASEY ANTHONY: My gut feeling? As mom asked me yesterday and even Jose asked me last night, the psychologist asked me this morning that I meet with through the court -- in my gut, she's still OK. And it still feels like she's close to home.
L. ANTHONY: OK.
CASEY ANTHONY: So that's still my best feeling at the moment.
Again, if that changes, obviously I'm going to reach out and say something immediately. But I know mom will understand this better than anyone that there's that type of bond that you have with your kid.
L. ANTHONY: Right.
CASEY ANTHONY: And it's -- unexplainable, absolutely.
L. ANTHONY: Did you speak with Caylee over the phone at any time?
CASEY ANTHONY: I did one time, yes, and that was actually the day that mom called the police.
L. ANTHONY: OK. Do you remember what time you spoke to her?
CASEY ANTHONY: Around noon, it was through a private call.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KING: Jose Baez, you're Casey's attorney, what's your read on this case?
JOSE BAEZ, CASEY'S ATTORNEY: Well, my read on this is she is basically being prosecuted for a homicide without any evidence. And the presumption of innocence has flown out the window, and that really scares me.
KING: Stacey Honowitz, what do you read on the prosecution's case, if any?
STACEY HONOWITZ, ASSISTANT FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: Well first of all, anybody looking at this case, it doesn't take a prosecutor to realize that there's something not right. Thirty-one days go by and this woman does not report that her child is missing, and there's no panic in her voice when she's talking to anyone in a jail or even when she's sitting in a courtroom.
So certainly she's going to be a person of interest to the police because she's the only person who knows where this child might be. And the fact that she's not cooperating certainly brings to mind that something is not right. So all of these feelings of the presumption of innocence, these are things that she's bringing on herself by not cooperating, by not being in a panic, by not trying to figure out who has her child.
BAEZ: I think that's inaccurate.
KING: Dr. Spitz -- hold on, Jose, just one thing for Dr. Spitz.
Dr. Spitz, there were reports of the smell of a decomposing body in the trunk of that car. The answer was that it was a pizza or something. Is there a similarity in those two smells?
DR. DANIEL SPITZ, CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER, MACOMB COUNTY: No, not really. That's very concerning to me. The smell of decomposition is very distinct. The fact that it was appreciated by this homicide detective and now child abuse detective, that's very concerning to me, and I think that as that evidence gets evaluated, you may in fact be able to prove this was the remains of a human body.
KING: Jose, is this something that -- is the prosecution saying, we don't have a body, but it sort of looks like a duck, acts like a duck, walks like a duck, it might be a duck.
BAEZ: You have to bear in mind this is the same dog that smelled something in the backyard, was inconsistent, so they had to bring in another dog and they dug there for two days and found nothing. At best, this dog is one for two, at worst it's zero for two. And quite frankly, I don't like those odds.
KING: What do you think happened to the baby?
BAEZ: Well, we believe this child has been kidnapped. And what's really disappointing is that people aren't searching for her as well as they should be.
We want to get the word out that Caylee is still missing. We want to do everything we can to facilitate the search. The prosecution can wait. If there's a missing child out there, we need to do every single thing we can to find this little girl and not put obstacles in front of that. And that's a problem.
What was said earlier about her not cooperating with police, that's clearly a misstatement. What happened was she spoke with police that night, they decided to charge her and start a criminal proceeding. Since then, I have opened myself up and the line of communications with law enforcement and I told them, if you have any leads that you want to bounce off my client, I will be happy to bounce them off her and give you access. The fact that she's not cooperating is just a misstatement.
KING: Stacey, does the 31 days, is that what bothers you the most?
HONOWITZ: I mean there's a number of things. If you look back into the investigation and everything that's been released so far, there's been such inconsistent statements. And his client in and of herself has given false leads because everything that they have tried to go down, every path that they have tried to find something out has been a lie.
She lied about working. She lied about the baby-sitter. She lied about leaving the baby-sitter. So all these things - when you say cooperating, the idea of cooperating is telling the truth. And in this case, all these leads by her have been false. So that's not just the 31 days. That's the worst of it. I think any parent would go crazy.
KING: Dr. Spitz, a mysterious stain apparently was found in the trunk. Police are awaiting for results. What might you read into that?
SPITZ: Well, I'll tell you. While Stacey's comments about all the misstatements are very concerning, it's going to be the forensic evidence which is going to crack this case open. And while the cadaver dog may not have been exact in the dog's approach, the dog certainly has led investigators to certain things that need to be further evaluated. The decomposition smell came from something. The stain that you mentioned is forensic evidence. So while that gets evaluated, I think we're going to have some results, and I think we're going to have much more information to go on.
It's very concerning the length of time this child has been missing. And the longer this goes, the more likely, we're dealing with a homicide investigation.
KING: Let's listen to more of a conversation Casey had with her brother Lee, released by the police. Watch.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
L. ANTHONY: Is there anything specifically -- I know you're going to meet with, you know the investigators and everything, you know -- is there anything specifically, the details, that you want to clarify for me now so when I'm following up on my own leads and my own information, putting the stuff together, you know then I can start working on it now?
CASEY ANTHONY: At the moment there's nothing specific or nothing that you know should probably be said here. Again, I'll put something together before I see Jose or when I see Jose and you know make sure that I have something also to put out.
L. ANTHONY: Right.
CASEY ANTHONY: So that way you can get whatever you like.
L. ANTHONY: OK. And just remember when you get to talk to those guys, you know, you mentioned that you're going to have your prep and everything with Jose. But remember truth don't hurt.
CASEY ANTHONY: I know but there are some things that I have told them that were misconstrued and not used to their benefit. I gave them the same resources that I gave you and you found out a hundred more things than they did. And they were given the same information. So it's just about the approach I guess and using the resources to their full extent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Jose, do you believe this child is alive?
BAEZ: Yes, I do. I really do, and I think if we concentrate on looking for her, that's exactly what we're going to do, we're going to find her.
I've said a million times, my case looks a whole lot better if we find Caylee. And that's what I want to try to focus on. We've done everything we possibly can to try and assist. There's a lot being said of her cooperation, but I have to tell you, I've taken an oath to protect my client and her interests.
If you want to drop it anywhere, drop it right here. I'm going to defend my client and protect her from what's going on in the system, and we certainly want to help with the cooperation.
KING: Stacey, do you believe law enforcement is looking for the child?
HONOWITZ: Well, I can't imagine why they wouldn't be. If they get a report that a child is missing, you know, within a couple hours they issue an Amber Alert under normal circumstances. So in this case, you heard the police officer on the tape say to her, why did you wait 31 days to report this? So you would hope, and I'm sure that they are actively investigating and trying to find this child.
KING: Dr. Spitz, you're saying forensics will answer this?
SPITZ: I truly hope so. The fact that it's been 31 days puts law enforcement in a tough spot, but the bottom line is if this is a homicide investigation, it is going to be the forensics. Even without a body, the forensics in that car may in fact tell us what happened.
KING: We'll have Cindy Anthony come back and comment on what we've just heard, right after this.
KING: Few more things, back with Cindy Anthony.
From what you heard, Cindy, do you -- the key here is -- when she was gone for 31 days, didn't you think that was a little nuts?
CINDY ANTHONY: No, not really. I think what's nuts is for people to speculate on things that they don't know the whole truth.
I want to ask the question to the gentleman that doesn't think that pizza can cause an odor of that magnitude. I want him tonight to put a piece of pizza in the trunk, put it in the Florida hot sun for 19 days and then open his trunk and tell me how bad it smells when there's maggots in there. The sheriff's department was there that night with at least seven or eight deputies. That car we had aired out. They walked by it all night long. They left it in my driveway for two full days before they decided to take it down to where they look at things, and then they waited until the night before he bond hearing to even start looking at it. So if that was --
KING: Cindy --
CINDY ANTHONY: -- let me ask you one thing. If that was truly their key evidence in something, then why didn't they investigate that first thing?
KING: You want to answer it, doctor?
SPITZ: Sure. There's no question that the smell of a decomposing body is markedly different than the smell of some rotting food matter.
But, you know, that's not the real evidence. That's just sort of gets you going in that direction. What needs to be done is that evidence in the trunk needs to be evaluated, because with DNA testing, it can clearly be separated whether that was any type of food matter or the tissues or decomposing fluids that you would get with a body that had been in the trunk for any length of time.
CINDY ANTHONY: I was told today -- can I ask a question? I was told today, sir, that sweat in that car could also be construed as decomposition. Is that true?
SPITZ: No, that's entirely different. Sweat or those kinds of body fluids are not the same thing as decomposing tissue or the decompositional fluid that is generated from a body.
So again, it all is going to go back to the collection of that evidence, the analysis of that evidence. And when it comes back that that in fact shows that a body was in that trunk, then there's going to be some explaining that needs to be done. If in fact that's not the case, then maybe it will turn out differently.
KING: Cindy, when your daughter gave the baby to the baby- sitter, what was the baby-sitter supposed to do with it? What happened after that?
CINDY ANTHONY: The same thing that she's always done, is let her pick her back up and take her.
KING: And when she went to pick her back up, what happened?
CINDY ANTHONY: They weren't there. They weren't there.
KING: So is it the suspicion that the baby-sitter kidnapped her?
CINDY ANTHONY: That's not suspicion. That's what Casey has maintained all along.
KING: Did you get a ransom note? CINDY ANTHONY: No, it's not that type of kidnapping, sir, that this person loves this girl and wants to have her as her own. That happens all the time. That happened not too long ago. In Orlando, Florida, someone stole the baby right out of a hospital.
KING: So she's a runaway with this child?
CINDY ANTHONY: I believe so.
KING: And you're saying the authorities are not looking for that baby-sitter and the child?
CINDY ANTHONY: Well let me tell you why I say that. It's because they told us there was one person in central Florida with that name. In fact there's nine in central Florida. I just got a phone call on my way here that there's four in Fort Lauderdale and my daughter said that this girl had a Fort Lauderdale number and has connections in Fort Lauderdale and New York, and New Jersey.
In every state, there's people by this name. They think she's smart enough to make up this person for the last two and a half years, but dumb enough to park a car where in plain sight that her mother would drive by twice a day and see and leave her purse in the front seat of the car and not drive it into some lake.
So, my daughter is not a murder. My granddaughter is missing. My granddaughter is missing.
KING: Well will do more on this. Thank you, Cindy, and thank you, panel.
And we'll be right back. And when we come back - hey, you got a call phone? You want to know this. Is it putting your children and you at risk for cancer? That's next.
KING: Does cell phone use increase your risk of cancer? It's a hot-button debate. The latest development, a memo from Dr. Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, offering precautionary advice on cell phone use to his faculty and his staff.
We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE. Dr. Devra Davis, director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh's Cancer Institute. Dr. Keith Black, chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute in Cedars-Sinai in L.A. And also from L.A., Dr. Paul Song, radiation oncologist.
Dr. Davis has this new book, "The Secret History of the War on Cancer." Dr. Davis, what do you maybe of Dr. Herberman's memo? It should frighten everybody.
DR. DEVRA DAVIS, DIRECTOR, CENTER ENVIRONMENTAL ONCOLOGY: Well, we don't want to frighten people. We want people to take precautions. That's the reason he wrote the memo.
KING: Precautions being?
DAVIS: Well, to use an earpiece and to not keep your phone on, on your body all the time and to make sure that children are not using cell phones.
KING: At all?
DAVIS: No, no, young children particularly need to be careful and particularly toddlers, who now have cell phones that they use to play with. This is a really bad idea.
KING: What led Dr. Herberman to this finding?
DAVIS: Well, he looked at the literature and was aware of the growing concerns that we do not have enough information, nor enough time to be sure that cell phones are safe. There's reason for concern that they may be harmful, so we need to take precautions rather than waiting to experiment on the rest of us.
KING: Dr. Black, meaning, if they are harmful, we don't know why they are harmful, right?
DR. KEITH BLACK, CHAIRMAN, DEPT. OF NEUROSURGERY, CEDARS-SINAI MEDICAL CENTER: We know that microwave radiation can damage cells, and there's been some experimental evidence to suggest there are harmful effects. As Dr. Davis said, at this point, they're looking at the relationship between cell phone use and brain cancer. We have conflicting studies. Some studies, which are not absolutely perfect, showed no correlation. We also have some studies that tend to suggest a correlation.
One of the recent studies from Sweden show that if you use cell phones an hour a day for ten years, your risk may be increased as much as two-fold. The real concern is analogous to this: we've only been using cell phones for a short period. Most of the studies are for a short period of time. So if you have a 14-year-old who smokes cigarettes, we don't expect that 14-year-old to develop lung cancer at 24. We expect them to develop lung cancer at 54. If you have an eight-year-old using a cell phone, we don't expect them to do you feel lung cancer at 18, but at 48.
What happens after 20, 30, 40 years of use, that's the concern and we don't have the answer to that.
KING: If we have -- we have millions of cell phones in use now, right?
BLACK: That's correct.
KING: Has there been an increase in brain cancer?
BLACK: Well, again we know that if you look at studies, there have been various explanations to try to account for the increase in brain cancer. KING: Has there been an increase?
BLACK: There's been an increase in reported incidents. That may be related to better MRI scans or more frequent use of CT scans, but we don't expect at this early stage -- we've only been using cell phones with a high frequency for less than ten years, for about 10, 20 years. So again, you know, the concern, and based on the biology we know with the development of cancer -- the real concern is what happens after 20, 30, 40 years. And that is what we need to be concerned about, and that's why I think the University of Pittsburgh advised us to be cautious.
KING: The evidence, Dr. Song, having done so many interviews over the years, against tobacco, was statistical. It wasn't -- they didn't know why tobacco caused lung cancer, only that it caused cancer. You use tobacco, you've got an increased chance. Is that going to be the evidence here, statistical?
DR. PAUL SONG, RADIATION ONCOLOGIST: It could be, but it may be another 10, 20 years before we have the necessary statistics to make those recommendations. What we do know from radiation studies, whether it was people exposed in Hiroshima, to kids treated for cancer with radiation, is that sometimes it took 15, 20 years before people developed cancer, secondary that we could attribute to the radiation.
When we talk about cell phones, we're looking at radio frequency, which is on the big spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. You've got radio waves on one side, which is responsible for TV, radio and cell phones, and then you've gamma waves on the other side. What we know about the gamma waves or the more intense radiation is that's a ionizing radiation that causes DNA damage, that mutates cells that develop into cancer.
For the radio waves, there has been no clear evidence to suggest that it's a DNA damage. So if there is some damage, it has to be some other mechanism that has really yet to be reported.
KING: So what would you say to people who use cell phones?
SONG: I think the most important thing is that when we look at any type of radiation exposure, whether or not it's radio waves or gamma waves, is that the duration of your exposure. So clearly if you're on the cell phone for a long period of time -- I think we all have been in situations where our ear gets warm -- that clearly means maybe we're on a little too long.
KING: So do what?
SONG: I think that an earpiece may help to greatly reduce the exposure for radio frequency radiation, but people need to keep in mind if the phone is on the hip pocket, their whole body is still being exposed to the same amount of radiation than if it was up to their ear.
KING: So it's what choice of cancer do I want? Hip or brain? SONG: Surprisingly, the concern about radio frequency exposure is not so much for the brain or the hip, but really the testes or the eyes. Those are the areas that are most sensitive to radio frequency, because they get hot and they don't have the blood vessels to cool off.
KING: Would you say, Dr. Davis, always use an earpiece. Don't put a cell phone up to your ear?
DAVIS: If at all possible, use an earpiece. It does reduce substantially the signal, because the further away you can have the phone from your body, the better off it is from you.
KING: What about 8 and 9 -- 10-year-olds all over elementary school running around with them now?
DAVIS: Right now, unfortunately, of the 28 million children in this country between the ages of eight and 12, about half of them are using a cell phone. Sometimes it's their mom and dad's, but using it frequently. We're all very concerned about that. We know the cell signal gets deeply into the brain of a child.
KING: Are you concerned, Dr. Black, about the child?
BLACK: Yes, I am. We know that young brains may be more susceptible, and they have a longer exposure. And some of the studies have also suggested that the longer the exposure, the higher the risk. I think the key thing here, Larry, is that we would assume as a society that cell phones are safe, that the government wouldn't allow us to use this device unless it was safe. The reality is it's a source of microwave radiation. There have been studies to suggest there may be an associated risk of brain cancer and also a benign tumor of the ear, and there have been some studies to suggest eye tumors as well.
The important thing for your listeners to hear is that they need to be cautious, because we may not have the answer to this for another 10 years.
KING: Another distinguished doctor will be joining us, and we'll take some calls too. And some may come from cell phones. Stay there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I try to use the speaker, you know. I mean, you hear stuff on TV. It's like why not just use the speaker?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I actually text message a little more, because I hear about that all the time, and you think maybe 50 years down the road or something, it may affect you negatively. So, you see people using that all the time and you think, maybe we'll all be affected like DDT was back in the '40s or something like that. So it definitely is a concern right now for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Do you think there's a link between cell phones and brain cancer? That's our quick vote tonight. Go to CNN.com/larryking right now, cast your vote.
Joining our panel from New York is Dr. Ted Schwartz, director of brain tumor surgery at New York's Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell.
Where do you stand on this issue, Ted?
DR. TED SCHWARTZ, N.Y. PRESBYTERIAN/WEILL CORNELL HOSPITAL: Larry, thanks for asking. First of all, I want to say I certainly understand the public's fear of this issue. And I think that want to do everything I can for myself, for my patients, for my family to avoid any risk that would cause brain tumors. But I think there are a few things we agree upon here. The first is that the majority of brain tumors are not caused by cell phones. Brain tumors have been around long before cell phones were in existence. There's not an increased incidence that is significance, and it's probably an increased incidence of our ability to pick them up and our ability to publicize them.
The other thing I think we agree upon is that the currently available literature is at best inconclusive about whether there's a link between cell phone use and brain tumors. There are just as many studies showing that cell phones decrease the risk of brain tumors as increase the risk. And we're not here talking about the facts that cell phones may be protective.
KING: What do you make of the report out of the University of Pittsburgh.
SCHWARTZ: The Pittsburgh report is no new data. They're just looking at the data that currently exists. One of the problems with these long term studies, these ten-year studies is that they're based on the use of analog cell phones. Nobody uses analog cell phones any more. They have a higher power. They emit more power. We use digital phones now and there's absolutely no data on digital phones, their long-term use and the incidence of cancer.
The question is, is it reasonable to base a public health warning on a lack of evidence? Basically, we have no good evidence one way or the other. And my answer is no.
KING: Let's take a call. St. Louis, Missouri, hello.
CALLER: Good evening, Larry, and good evening to your panel.
I actually have two quick questions. If there's any study showing that using cordless phones are harmful? And living by a cell phone tower, if that's harmful?
KING: Two good questions -- Dr. Black?
BLACK: Cordless phones emit a much lower frequency of radiation, and they're much safer than cell phones. And I have no real concerns, Larry, with --
DAVIS: Well, there has been a study from Sweden where they have used cordless phones longer, and unfortunately what they found was that there was a doubled risk of a brain tumor with long use of cordless phones. And many cordless phones actually have as much radiation as a cell phone, if not more.
KING: Cell phone tower?
SONG: That's something that's still under debate. There's a lots of investigation of whether or not there might be an increase of lymphoma with people living next to cell phone towers, but still no conclusive data exists.
DAVIS: I guess that's the issue, if I may say. The data that we're talking about here are human, sick people. That's the challenge. That's why the doctor wrote the memo. That's what we do as Pittsburgh. We're doing one of the best things in the world, in terms of treating people with cancer. All the people here work on that. Yet, if we think there's a way to avoid future cancers by reducing the risk of something that may cause a lot of problems in the future, we ought to try to do that.
KING: Dr. Schwartz, how do you use your cell phone?
SCHWARTZ: I put it right up to my ear and don't use an earpiece unless I'm driving. I think that's the general recommendation.
KING: You put it up to your ear?
SCHWARTZ: I have it right here, but I wouldn't take a call. I think it is safe to use, again, based on the current available data. We don't know whether watching a television has an increased risk of causing cancer. We don't know whether using a hair dryer increases your risk of cancer. IN fact, there are some studies showing there might be a link. But they're not well-performed studies, so we don't go around issuing public health warnings about it, based on the fact that we don't really and do have enough evidence. So I think it's a little premature to issue those kinds of warnings.
KING: Dr. Davis stays with us.
Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Song, Dr. Black, always good seeing you. Thank you very much.
You did four brain surgeries today, right?
KING: LARRY KING LIVE contacted cell phone companies to take part in our program today. We contacted T-Mobile, AT&T, Motorola, LG Electronics, Qualcom, Nokia, Verizon, Samsung and Sprint. All declined our invitation. We contacted Erickson too, got no response. Many companies we spoke with us referred us to the association that represents the wireless industry. They too declined our invitation, but they did give us this statement, quote, "This is an issue that should be guided by science. The overwhelming majority of studies that have been published in scientific journals around the world show that wireless phones do not pose a health risk. Furthermore, this is the public position of leading health organizations, such as the United States Food and Drug Administration, the American Cancer Society and the World Health Organization. Public statements and declarations not guided by published scientific research can have the effect of misinforming the general public. As technology continues to evolve, the industry supports continued research. But we want to stress the fact that this a consensus among leading health organizations concerning published scientific research, and they show no reason for concern."
And we'll be right back.
KING: We now welcome, in Atlanta, Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the America Cancer Society, a practicing oncologist, and our old friend Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, a practicing neurosurgeon himself.
Dr. Brawley, what do you make of the report out of Pittsburgh?
DR. OTIS W. BRAWLEY, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: I understand exactly why people are concerned, and I share their concern. but I think we need to tell people what's known, what's not known and what's believed, and not confuse what's believed with what's known. First off, the number of brain tumors in Sweden, the first country to get cell phones has actually gone down over the last 25 years. The number of brain cancers in the United States has actually gone down. They've not been flat or gone up with cell phones.
Secondly, this is the kind of radiation that is not ionizing radiation. This is not microwave radiation. And a lot of people are confused by that. I think we also need to know there are 19 studies that have been done, three that suggest that cell phones might be associated with brain tumors, 16 that actually exonerate cell phones as a cause of brain tumors.
So we have to take all of these things into concern. I'm afraid we're pulling the fire alarm, scaring people unnecessarily, and actually diverting their attention from things that they should be doing. And when we do need to pull the fire alarm for a public health emergency, we won't have the credibility for them to listen to us.
KING: Dr. Gupta?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I agree with what Dr. Brawley has said. I think part of the issue here is trying to prove a negative, trying to say that these are not dangerous and they are safe as well. You know, part of the issue is -- and I think Dr. Brawley's obviously looked at a lot of the studies -- one of the ones that a lot of people quote -- and I read these studies exhaustively -- defines, for example, a regular cell phone user as someone who uses a cell phone once a day for six months.
Now, that obviously is not how most people use their cell phones. It's not to say if you use it more than that, you're definitely at risk. but I don't know that the studies have been good enough and they certainly, I don't think, have been long term enough.
So I think right not to pull the fire alarm, but are we missing something here? Should we be a little more careful?
BRAWLEY: I would agree with you that we don't know what the 20 or 30-year experience is going to be with cell phones. I would also agree with you that of the 19 studies that have been done, each one of them, actually, I could criticize. Indeed, in my 20 year career, I think I can criticize virtually every study I've ever read. So you're right. There's a great deal of unknown here.
If an individual is concerned about this, we really do need to tell them the simple answer is use an ear piece. I agree with the recommendation that kids with developing brains ought not be using cell phones a lot. I have no problem with a child using it occasionally. But I am worried about people who are on it or four, five hours every day.
KING: That's fair enough. We have an e-mail question from Sage, Santa Barbara: "If the WHO Interphone study confirms a link between cell phone use and an increased risk of brain cancer, what should the public health community's response be" -- Dr. Brawley?
BRAWLEY: I think we're going to have to look at the Interphone Study very carefully. For those listeners who don't know, the Interphone Study is run by the World Health Organization of the United Nations. It's actually been completed for about two and a half years and the people who actually ran the study have yet to publish it. There's a lot of discussions going on amongst those scientists as to exactly what the data show. And it would be really nice if it were published, I must tell you.
KING: Thanks, Dr. Brawley, great seeing you. We hope to have you back real soon.
BRAWLEY: Thank you.
KING: Dr. Gupta remains. He will join our panel members. We'll have some e-mails coming in right after this.
KING: We're back with Deborah Davis, Dr. Ted Schwartz, Dr. Paul Song and, in New York, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Dr. Gupta wanted to add something about cell phones and children -- Doctor?
GUPTA: One thing that Dr. Brawley brought up is this idea that electromagnetic radiation that can be of concern. Larry, I know you like pictures. Sometimes they can be worth a thousand words. Take a look here. This was from a study looking at the amount of penetration of this electromagnetic radiation in a five-year-old over. Certainly see it's more. This is the brain and this is the amount of radiation penetrating into the brain, compared to a 10-year-old and compared to an adult.
Again, this type of radiation is not ionizing radiation, which everybody agrees, I think, is bad for you. But the question is what is this really doing to a young child's brain? A lot of these studies being done on adults. Now you have children using these phones and they're going to use them their entire lives. They're going to have 60, 70 years usage. What is that effect of penetration of radiation on the brain?
KING: And Dr. Davis, during the break, you said you agreed with the industry?
DAVIS: Of course I agree with the industry. That's the reason why we issued the warning. The reality is we do not have studies yet and, with all due respect, we can't vote on whether or not cell phones cause cancer with polls. What we need is independent research. In fact, Dr. Herberman and the doctors here, Dr. Song and I, Dr. Bondy from MD Anderson, we join now to call for the cell phone industries to make their data publicly available for independent evaluation by scientists. The cell phone industry is correct, that is the only way we'll answer the question.
The old phones were bad, but let's see whether the new ones have any risk at all, given the fact that so many of us are using them now.
KING: Dr. Schwartz, we have an e-mail from Danny in San Clemente (ph): "I hear all these stories that cell phones may cause cancer and they scare me, but I'm a teenager, so I'm on my phone all the time. I like to talk to people through the speaker phone on my cell phone. Is that dangerous?"
SCHWARTZ: Well, if he holds the phone far or close, again, currently available data doesn't show it will really make a difference, because the data is suspect. There are no good studies. We need better studies. I agree with most of the people here, that we should focus on good randomized studies, where we follow patients for a long period of time, or people who use phones and see if there's an increase incidence of brain tumors over time. Then we'll know the answer and we can issue appropriate statements.
KING: Dr. Song, what does your gut tell you?
SONG: I think that it's still way too soon to tell, because any radiation induced malignancy takes about 15 to 20 years for us to see. With regard to the last question, I just wanted to add that the viewer, if you hold your phone half the distance from where it is right now, you will actually reduce your radiation exposure by a quarter. So it's probably a good idea to take more advantage of the speaker use if you are concerned about it.
Again, there isn't any clear evidence that doing that is going to reduce your cancer risk because we don't know that it does cause cancer. If you are concerned about any radiation frequency exposure, that might be a safe thing to do.
KING: We're down to about a minute. Dr. Gupta, an e-mail from Jack in Davy, Florida: "if future research shows that cell phones can cause cancer, what are we supposed to do? Cell phones are a very big part of today's world. Terminating cell phone use would be extremely disruptive, assuming it was even possible."
GUPTA: I don't think it is possible and I don't think that you need to terminate usage. The earpiece sounds simple, but it can be very effective. The idea is that the cell phone may be giving off -- may be a radiation source, simply moving it away from your brain. Use a wired earpiece, don't carry it in your pocket. There are simple things that you can do and still have access to your cell phone.
KING: Dr. Schwartz, do you think we'll find out the answer?
SCHWARTZ: I think if we do the right study, we'll find out the answer. But if we don't do the right study, we'll never know.
KING: Do you we'll find out, Deborah?
DAVIS: I think we shouldn't wait 20 years to experiment on our children. That's why we need to take precautions. We will eventually solve this scientifically, but I'm concerned about what we do in the meantime. And that's why we've issued this precautionary statement.
KING: We are out of time. I thank you all, Deborah Davis, Dr. Ted Schwartz, Dr. Paul Song, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Before we wrap this up, I want to take a moment to remember a pal of mine, Sid Craig. He co-founded Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centers with his wife and he died last week at age 76. There was a memorial service for him today in San Diego. Sid was a great father -- look at that face -- a great father, a wonderful husband, a terrific friend, a rock solid businessman and a real sweetheart of a guy. He was also crazy about thoroughbred race horses. He even owned one named Larry King. He was a generous man too, always ready to lend a helping hand.
Our deepest sympathies go out to Sid's family. A special hug for Jenny Craig, a very dear friend. Jenny, Sid will live in all of our hearts. We know he's up there dancing.
Tomorrow, the foreclosure nightmare. What can you do before losing your home? That's Wednesday's LARRY KING LIVE.
Now, here's Campbell Brown with tonight's "AC 360" -- Campbell.