High doses of cellphone radiation linked to some cancers in rats

Man talking to cellphone

If there's any lingering concern about possible cancer risks, the government researchers themselves say they have not changed their own cell phone habits. Cell phone radiation penetrates deeper into their bodies and they will have a lifetime of exposure leading to a higher cancer risk. But it's radiofrequency radiation, which is much lower energy than the ionizing radiation you'd get from an X-ray, or, say, nuclear fallout. But the radiofrequency radiation from a cellphone doesn't work that way - and today's results support that. Further, although these were large and well-conducted animal studies, the relative rarity of the tumors showing an increase in incidence means that it may be hard to demonstrate significant increases in incidence which may be seen in the very much larger numbers of humans exposed to radiofrequency radiation.

In the NTP mouse study, there was a significant positive trend in the incidence of alveolar/bronchiolar adenoma or carcinoma (combined) of the lung in males exposed to radiofrequency radiation, while compared to the sham controls, all exposed groups of females had increased incidence of malignant lymphoma. Neither study turned up clear evidence that radiofrequency radiation causes brain tumors, although the researchers are continuing to investigate. Separate reports of studies involving rats and mice are available on the NTP website. The study, nominated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has been called the most comprehensive assessment of RFR exposure in rodents to date. However he went on to remark that, "The tumors we saw in these studies are similar to tumors previously reported in some studies of frequent cell phone users". Some research has shown that mobile phone use could be associated with the specific type of tumours highlighted in the NTP studies, called schwannomas (albeit in the brain as opposed to the heart).

"Fortunately, since then, there have been hundreds of studies from which to draw a wealth of information about these technologies which have come to play an important role in our everyday lives. So, these findings should not be directly extrapolated to human cell phone usage", researchers wrote about the study, according to an NTP release.

And even with these unusually high levels of exposure, the links to cancer were still "mostly equivocal, or ambiguous", according to the FDA's statement.

The experiment involved placing rats and mice into special chambers and exposing them to different levels of radiation that mimic 2G and 3G phones, which were standard when the study was launched, for 9 hours a day.




The NTP studies first began 10 years ago and took $US25 ($31) million to complete.

So, what do these results in rodents mean for people? Even with frequent daily use by the vast majority of adults, we have not seen an increase in events like brain tumors.

This advice was echoed by Dr Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

The authors caution that while much more research is needed to find out whether or not the ways that average people use cell phones could raise cancer risks, the findings highlight an "area of concern". To make his point, he pointed out in a later interview, "I am actually holding my cellphone up to my ear".

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