Published: Mon, November 05, 2018
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Cellphone Radiation Causes Cancer in Rats, Government Study Finds

Cellphone Radiation Causes Cancer in Rats, Government Study Finds

Research has found that high exposure to 2G and 3G cell phone radiation is linked to cancer....

"The exposures used in the studies can not be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience when using a cell phone", John Bucher, a senior scientist with the National Toxicology Program, said in a statement. Changes from draft report in February include higher level of confidence for conclusion about tumours in male rat hearts, to "clear evidence" from "some evidence", Bucher said.

Cell phones emit radio frequency radiation (RFR) that scientists have long anxious could cause cancer.

What does this mean for us?

But he cautioned that the exposure levels and durations were far more significant than what people typically encounter, and thus can not "be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience". By contrast, people are mostly exposed in specific local tissues close to where they hold the phone.

The lowest exposure level in the studies was equal to the maximum exposure allowed for cellphone users, while the highest exposure level in the studies was four times higher than the maximum level allowed. During the tests, animals were housed in chambers specially designed for the studies and RFR exposure began for rats when they were five-weeks-old, while mice were exposed from six-weeks-old. Most phones still contain antennas that can pick up these frequencies, but rely more heavily on newer generation technology like 4G LTE and 5G, which is being rolled out across the US. "From what we now understand, it likely differs dramatically from what we studied", said Michael Wyde, a lead toxicologist on the studies.

Costing $30m, the studies took 10 years to complete and are the most comprehensive assessment, to date, of health effects in animals exposed to RFR with modulations used in 2G and 3G mobile phones.

The exposure levels and durations were far greater than what people typically encounter.

"We agree that these findings should not be applied to human cell phone usage", the FDA's Dr. Jeffrey Shuren said in a statement. The rats and mice in the study were exposed to radiation across their entire bodies, while humans are usually exposed to radiation near where they keep their phones.

"Exposure to radiofrequency radiation has always been thought to be of no health concern as long as the energy level was low and didn't cause heating of the tissues", Bucher said.

The result came after 10-years of study that says that it causes various types of cancers from heart to the brain.

One of the strengths of the studies was that scientists could control how much radiation the rats and mice were getting, which isn't possible when studying how humans use cell phones, Wyde said.

Still, "we believe that the link between radio frequency radiation and tumors in male rats is real, and the external experts agreed", Bucher said. "These studies should have been done before more than 90 percent of Americans, including millions of children, started using this technology day in and day out".

"Based on our ongoing evaluation of this issue, the totality of the available scientific evidence continues to not support adverse health effects in humans caused by exposures at or under the current radiofrequency energy exposure limits", Shuren said. We believe the existing safety limits for cell phones remain acceptable for protecting the public health'.

The studies could be an important step to understanding RFR's impact on humans.

As such, the NTP is planning more studies that would take months instead of years in hopes of identifying the biomarkers of damage from RFR exposure.

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