Should people stop using electric blankets because scientists suspect they may cause cancer or a miscarriage?
Food and Drug Administration officials won't advise one way or the other.But they will tell you that the studies, while still inconsistent and inconclusive, are getting more troubling.
Even three years ago, the FDA said there was not enough evidence to be concerned, "but now the evidence is not as amenable to discounting," said F. Alan Andersen, an official in the agency's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
On Thursday, a divided FDA advisory committee endorsed the agency's policy that recognizes the suspicious link between electric blankets and cancer and miscarriages but stops short of a public warning of danger.
"We can't say there is no public health concern, but we can't quantify it (the risk)," Anderson said.
Panel members told the FDA to continue working with industry to make manufacturing changes to reduce the very low frequency radiation emitted by electric blankets and to continue monitoring scientific studies.
Anderson describes the evidence now as showing "a suggested association between exposure (to low levels of electromagnetic radiation) and the possibility of adverse health outcomes," including cancer and miscarriages.
"It's too soon to regulate, but it's (also) too soon to walk away," said panel member Mary E. Moore.