Why You Shouldn't Worry About the New Study Linking Cellphones to Cancer



Male rats, exposed to high levels of radio frequency radiation (RFR), like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones, developed cancerous heart tumours. The studies also found evidence that the radiation was linked to tumors in male rats' brains and adrenal glands.

"The exposures used in our studies are not directly comparable to the exposures that humans typically experience when using a cellphone", the National Toxicology Program's John Bucher told reporters.

The finding was the result of a $30 million 10 year study to assess the health effects in animals exposed to RFR with modulations used in 2G and 3G cell phones.

The studies did not investigate exposure to the radio frequency radiation used for Wi-Fi or 5G networks. For female rats, and male and female mice, the evidence was ambiguous as to whether cancers observed were associated with exposure to RFR. "Thus, the results of these studies remain relevant to current exposures, although the power levels of the exposures were much higher than typical patterns of human use". 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". On long calls, he said, he tried to use earbuds or find other ways "of increasing the distance" between the cellphone and his body, in keeping with advice issued to consumers about how to lower their exposure. The highest exposure level used in the studies was four times greater than the maximum power level allowed. These future studies are to focus on measurable physical signs, or biomarkers, of potential effects from radio-frequency radiation, including DNA damage, which can be detected much sooner than cancer.

The studies saw RFR exposure begin as early as the womb for rat test subjects and continue for up to two years (the subjects' natural lifespans).

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.

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RFR levels ranged from 1.5 to 6 watts per kilogramme in rats, and 2.5 to 10 watts per kilogramme in mice. 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".

While the FDA says that the smart and cell phones we spend hours with every day pass its muster, some experts warn the FCC should take pause before the auction day in light of the NTP's final report.

NTP is building smaller RFR exposure chambers that will make it easier to evaluate newer telecommunications technologies in weeks or months, rather than years. Professor Emeritus Anthony Miller MD, FRCP, FRCP (C), FFPH, former Director, National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group and former member World Health Organization Expert Advisory Panel on Cancer 2005-2015 (Professor Miller was also former Director Epidemiology Unit National Cancer Institute of Canada; former Director, World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Evaluation of Screening for Cancer; former Chairman Scientific Advisory Committee, Occupational Cancer Research Centre 2009-2017).

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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