Cell Phone Radiation Causes Cancer – Government Study Confirms

The National Toxicology Program under the National Institutes of Health has completed the largest-ever animal study on cell phone radiation and cancer.  The results confirm that cell phone radiation exposure levels within the currently allowable safety limits are the “likely cause” of brain and heart cancers in these animals, according to Dr. John Bucher, Associate Director of the NTP.

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By Nerti U. Qatja@VOP_Today


One in twelve (12) male rats developed either malignant cancer (brain and rare heart tumors) or pre-cancerous lesions that can lead to cancer.  Tumors called schwannomas were induced in the heart, in the same kind of cells in the brain that have lead to acoustic neuromas seen in human studies.  The NTP says it is important to release these completed findings now given the implications to global health.  No cancers occurred in the control group.

Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD of Orebro University says

“(T)he animal study confirms our findings in epidemiological studies of an increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma among people that use wireless phones, both cell phones and cordless phones (DECT).  Acoustic neuroma is a type of Schwannoma, so interestingly this study confirms findings in humans of increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma.   In 2013 we called for upgrading the risk in humans to Group 1, the agent is carcinogenic to humans. It is now time to re-evaluate both the cancer risk and other potential health effects in humans from radiofrequency radiation and also inform the public.”  says Hardell.   “This NTP evidence is greatly strengthening the evidence of risk, is sufficient to reclassify cell phone radiation as a known cancer-causing agent, and confirms the inadequacy of existing public safety limits.”

The World Health Organization’s 10-year study of human use of mobile phones concluded there is an increased risk for malignant brain tumors among the heavier mobile phone users, particularly where it is used mostly on one side of the head.  The 2010 Interphone mega-study of cancer in humans using mobile phones found higher cancer risk, but at that time there was little animal testing to support the risks identified in humans.  Now, this NTP study has shown statistically significant risks with a dose-response relationship to the amount of exposure.  It proves that non-ionizing radiation can plausibly cause cancer, not just ionizing radiation like x-rays and puts to rest the traditional scientific argument that cell phone radiation can’t do harm.

Dr. Bucher said the animals’ exposure was about the same as for people who are heavy users of cell phones.  He also confirmed that the exposure of 1.5 W/Kg is lower than currently allowed under FCC public safety limits. Testing on rats is standard in predicting human cancers.

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The BioInitiative Report (2014) documents nervous system effects in 68% of studies on radiofrequency radiation (144 of 211 studies).  This has increased from 63% in 2012 (93 of 150 studies). Genetic effects (damage to DNA) from radiofrequency radiation is reported in 65% (74 of 114 studies); and 83% (49 of 59 studies) of extremely-low frequency studies.

Dr. Christopher Portier, formerly with the NTP commented this is not just an associated finding—but that the relationship between radiation exposure and cancer is clear.  “I would call it a causative study, absolutely. They controlled everything in the study. It’s [the cancer] because of the exposure. “This is by far—far and away—the most carefully done cell phone bioassay, a biological assessment. This is a classic study that is done for trying to understand cancers in humans”.


The Wall Street Journal reports:

Multiyear, peer-reviewed study found ‘low incidences’ of two types of tumors in male rats exposed to type of radio frequencies commonly emitted by cellphones.

Reverberation chambers tested by National Institute of Standards and Technology.

A major U.S. government study on rats has found a link between cellphones and cancer, an explosive finding in the long-running debate about whether mobile phones cause health effects.

The multiyear, peer-reviewed study, by the National Toxicology Program, found “low incidences” of two types of tumors in male rats that were exposed to the type of radio frequencies that are commonly emitted by cellphones. The tumors were gliomas, which are in the glial cells of the brain, and schwannomas of the heart.

“Given the widespread global usage of mobile communications among users of all ages, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to [radio-frequency radiation] could have broad implications for public health,” according to a report of partial findings from the study, which was released late Thursday.

A spokesperson for the National Institutes of Health, which helped oversee the study, wasn’t immediately available for comment. Earlier in the week, the NIH said, “It is important to note that previous human, observational data collected in earlier, large-scale population-based studies have found limited evidence of an increased risk for developing cancer from cellphone use.”

While not all biological effects observed in animals necessarily apply to humans, the National Toxicology Program’s $25 million study is one of the biggest and most comprehensive experiments into health effects from cellphones.

“Where people were saying there’s no risk, I think this ends that kind of statement,” said Ron Melnick, who ran the NTP project until retiring in 2009 and recently reviewed the study’s results.

Since mobile phones were launched commercially in the 1980s, the only widely agreed upon physical impact from cellphone radio-frequency energy is that it can heat human tissue at high enough levels. Cellphones are designed well below this thermal level.

The U.S. government’s official position is that the weight of scientific evidence hasn’t indicated health risks. In 2011, the World Health Organization said cellphone radiation was a group 2B possible carcinogen. Illustrating the ambiguity of the designation is the fact that certain pickled vegetables and coffee are also considered possibly carcinogenic.

There also are many studies showing no harmful health effects. Just this month, a survey of brain cancer rates in Australia found no increase since the introduction of mobile phones there almost three decades ago, a finding also seen in other countries.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration appointed the NTP to study cellphone radio-frequency radiation nearly two decades ago. The NTP, established inside the Department of Health and Human Services in 1978, is tasked with identifying and testing agents that are potentially harmful to humans.

In 2005, the NTP selected the IIT Research Institute in Chicago to carry out the experiments. The parameters of the tests took several years to design and build because of their complexity, researchers say.

The study was conducted in an underground lab with 21 specially designed radio-frequency chambers to house mice and rats. More than 2,500 rats and mice were exposed to radio-frequency energy in various intervals over two years.

The study explored effects from the most common type of wireless technologies, GSM and CDMA, at two common frequencies, 900 megahertz for rats and 1900 megahertz for mice. It exposed the rats to the frequencies every 10 minutes followed by a 10-minute break for 18 hours, resulting in nine hours a day of exposure.

Results from the study on mice weren’t released.

The two types of tumors the study identified also have been discovered in some epidemiological studies. Those studies, which have found instances of gliomas and acoustic neuromas, were key factors in the WHO’s decision to classify cellphone radiation as a possible carcinogen. The NTP report noted that its findings “appear to support” the classification.

It found the cancer association appeared in male rats, and didn’t find similar results in female rats. Rats that were exposed to radiofrequency energy in utero tended to have slightly lower birth weights.

Partial findings from the NTP study were released after the results were earlier reported by the website Microwave News. The NTP report said the complete study results would be released by the fall of 2017.

It’s not clear how the results may impact the government’s cellphone safety recommendations. The Federal Communications Commission, which administers safety guidelines for U.S. cellphone use, has been briefed on the findings.

“Scientific evidence always informs FCC rules on this matter,” an FCC spokesman said. “We will continue to follow all recommendations from federal health and safety experts including whether the FCC should modify its current policies and RF exposure limits.”

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Current cellphone safety standards are centered around the heating effects from radiofrequency energy, which is the same type of energy that cooks food in a microwave. Tests for safe use of cellphones were designed in the 1990s around this heating effect. The latest findings could lead to changes in safety standards, such as only talking on a cellphone while using a headset and keeping the devices out of pants pockets.