Major Study Links Cellphone Radiation and Brain Cancer

Cellphone radiation may cause cancer in rats

The toxicology program released a preliminary draft of the study findings in May 2016, saying the radiation had "likely caused" the brain tumors.

"Exposure of people to RFR occurs primarily through use of cell phones and other wireless devices".

The experiment, by the National Toxicology Program, found positive but relatively modest evidence that radio waves from some types of cellphones could raise the risk that male rats develop brain cancer.

The FDA disagreed. "The current safety limits for cell phone radiofrequency energy exposure remain acceptable for protecting the public health", said Shuren, the Food and Drug Administration official.

Still, the researchers said their findings question the long-held assumption that the radio-frequency radiation used by cellphones poses no health concern. The controversial heart tumors, known as schwannomas, were only seen in male rats, and the risks of harm didn't increase along with the dose of radiation, as experts might have expected, he said.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, the U.S. FDA's director for Devices and Radiological Health, such animal studies are important in the discussion, but it was not created to test the safety of cellphones in humans and could therefore not be used to draw conclusions for humans.

In studies, rodents received radiation across their whole bodies, and at higher exposures and greater duration than what people experience, he said.

He cautioned that the exposure levels and durations were far greater than what people typically encounter and thus can not "be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience".

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According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while animal studies contribute to discussions on the topic, "this study was not created to test the safety of cell phone use in humans, so we can not draw conclusions about the risks of cell phone use from it".

In the studies, the rats were exposed to RFR starting from when they were in the womb. This early generation of cellphone technology was used mainly in the 1990s.

Unexpectedly, the study also found that, overall, the male rats exposed to the cellphone radiation lived longer than the rats who were not exposed to the radiation.

The final reports showed clear evidence that male rats exposed to high levels of RFR developed cancerous heart tumours as well as tumours of the brain and adrenal gland. As scientists often say, more study is needed. It focused on 900 megahertz, a frequency typical of the second generation of cellphones.

The National Toxicology Program is an inter-agency programme headquartered at the National Institutes of Health.

NTP is building smaller RFR exposure chambers that will make it easier to evaluate newer telecommunications technologies in weeks or months, rather than years. NTP will provide the results of these studies to FDA and the Federal Communications Commission, who will review the information as they continue to monitor new research on the potential effects of RFR.

Scientists have divided these rodents into several groups, each of which received a different dose of irradiation, since the maximum allowed for mobile phones and ending levels exceeding this figure by about 3-4 times. "From what we now understand, it likely differs dramatically from what we studied", said Michael Wyde, lead toxicologist on the studies.

"My family and I won't change our mobile-phone habits based on this news", said George Gray, co-author of the book "Risk: A Practical Guide for Deciding What's Really Safe and What's Really Dangerous in the World Around You".

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