A report by a team of experts in the United States of America, says cellphone radiation may sometimes cause tumors in rats at high, continuous doses, but not in people.
The $30 million, decades-long study has involved 3,000 rats and mice, some of which were irradiated while pregnant and the pups then also exposed to the cellphone radiation.
The two most significant findings: Male rats bombarded with high doses of cellphone radiation had a higher risk of a type of rare cancer called a schwannoma in the nerves surrounding the heart. In February, the NTP said there was some evidence this happened but now says the evidence is clear.
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 final report doesn’t change much that the researchers said in a preliminary report released in February. It found there is evidence that bathing rats in certain types of cellphone radiation for their entire lives might raise the risk of certain cancers in some of the rats.
It’s still not clear why either thing might happen. The type of radiation that comes from cellphones is very different from the radiation that comes from gamma rays or nuclear energy. It can make tissue warm, but the rats were not given high enough doses to warm their tissues.
“We do believe that the tumor responses that we have seen in our studies is real and they are associated with radiofrequency radiation,” Bucher said.
But the bottom line of the report is that people should not worry that they will get cancer from using their cellphones.
“Exposure to radiofrequency radiation has long been thought to be of no health concern as long as the energy level was low and didn’t cause heating of the tissues,” Bucher said.
“Based on our results, we are planning further studies to confirm that the experimental evidence continues to support this.”
The Food and Drug Administration said it concurs that the research doesn’t indicate people have any risk of cancer from using cellphones.
The American Cancer Society, which tracks the incidence of cancer, has noted that there has not been a noticeable increase in cancer types that might be associated with cellphone use.
“Based on our ongoing evaluation of this issue, the totality of the available scientific evidence continues to not support adverse health effects in humans caused by exposures at or under the current radiofrequency energy exposure limits,” Shuren said.
People can be exposed to radiofrequency radiation from cellphone towers, the report notes, but it’s much more diffuse than what people get from using a cellphone.