Government research shows link between cell phone radiation and tumors in rats
Government research shows link between cell phone radiation and tumors in rats
Man talking to cellphone
06 February, 2018, 14:56
Male rats exposed to very high levels of the kind of radiation emitted by cellphones developed tumours in the tissues around their hearts, according to a draft report by USA government researchers on the potential health risks of the devices.
Two new studiesreleased today have gone some way to dispelling concerns about the link between mobiles and risky tumours, finding normal radiation levels aren't harmful to humans.
Female rats and mice exposed in the same way did not develop tumours, according to the preliminary report from the US National Toxicology Program (NTP), a part of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Previous studies have shown that the link between cellphone radiation and cancer is weak at best and this study further adds to this view, according to Otis W. Brawley of The American Cancer Society.
The lead scientist who conducted the study, John Buckner, told NBC that the results of the study are not concerning and also said he hasn't made any changes to his own cell phone usage as a result of the findings. But don't read too much into that, experts say - because those radiation exposures were much bigger than even the heaviest cellphone users would experience.
The issue of cellphone radiation's impact on human health is one that has been hotly debated for years.
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".
The rodents in the studies were exposed to radiation nine hours a day for two years, more than people experience even with a lot of cellphone use, so the results can not be applied directly to humans, says John Bucher, a senior scientist at the National Toxicology Program, during a telephone news briefing. He added that if you are anxious about the results of the study, you should use an earpiece.
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U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials said the findings are reassuring, but still need "careful discussion". FDA radiation health chief Dr. Jeffrey Shuren said, "The current safety limits for cellphones are acceptable for protecting the public health". In the short term, however, a new study on rats suggests we should be okay.
The National Institutes of Health's National Toxicology Program (NTP) recently published two trials looking into the effects of cellphones on mice.
Shuren said that the topic of research had been nominated in 1999, at a time where there was a lack of epidemiological and long-term animal studies exploring the effect of RF energy from cellular phones. Some of the rats in the study did show DNA damage but there was no clear evidence that this was related to the radio waves.
The scientists also noted somewhat higher odds for damage to heart tissue in exposed male and female rats. The Environmental Health Trust maintains a regularly updated database of worldwide precautionary policies on cell phone radiation and health.
Some people may still want to minimize any potential harms from their cellphones.
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