Cellphone Radiation Causes Cancer in Rats, Government Study Finds

Maricruz Casares
Noviembre 4, 2018

Because of the widespread cellphone use and limited knowledge about the potential health hazards associated with it, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration nominated radio frequency radiation (RFR) used by cellphones to be studied by the National Toxicology Program (NTP).

"Animal studies like this one contribute to our discussions on this topic, but we must remember the study was not created to test the safety of cellphone use in humans, so we can not draw conclusions about the risks of cellphone use from it", Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, who was not involved with the study, said in a statement.

The study found that 2 to 3 percent of the exposed male rats developed malignant gliomas, a deadly brain cancer.

What's most important is what happens in humans, not rats, said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

While this suggestion has been dismissed by a number of researchers, studies undertaken over a number of years by the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences appears to have found evidence that, at the outset, would appear to confirm these fears. As scientists often say, more study is needed. "The exposures used in the studies can not be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience when using a cell phone", Bucher said in a news release.

Concerns over whether cellphones can cause cancer have been around for years.

The findings do not apply to people, they said. Among the female mice, however, the evidence was unclear as to whether the cancers observed in them are associated with RFR.

He pointed out one well-known risk from cellphones: vehicle crashes when drivers are distracted by them.

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On the other hand, researchers noted the unexpected finding of longer lifespans among the exposed male rats. If you're wondering why 4G wasn't included in this list, it's because these two standards were the ones most commonly available when the studies started.

Some females and some mice developed tumors, but it was mainly male rats exposed to the highest levels of radiation that developed life-threatening cancers. Many epidemiologists see no overall rise in the incidence of gliomas in the human population. For one thing, the levels and durations at which they exposed the mice to RFR were much greater than what human receive via typical cellphone use. The challenge, he added, is how to move forward with experiments that are large enough to be significant yet nimble enough to keep pace with the rapidly evolving devices.

For future studies, NTP is building smaller RFR exposure chambers that will make it easier to evaluate newer telecommunications technologies in weeks or months, rather than years.

Cell phones emit radio frequency radiation (RFR) that scientists have long anxious could cause cancer. But the exposures in the studies can't be directly compared to what humans experience, Bucher said.

Scientists who reviewed the NTP study are calling for the Federal communications Commission to warn the public, but the FDA's response suggests the findings are over-hyped as it tries to quell consumer's fears.

The lowest exposure level used in the studies was equal to the maximum local tissue exposure now allowed for mobile phone users but this power level rarely occurs with typical use.

"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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