High exposure to cell phone radiation linked to tumor in male rats

Rare cancer found in heavy users of mobile phones have now been found in rats

They failed to prove a strong link between radiation and any health problems except one: tumors surrounding nerves in the hearts of male rats.

"The typical cell phone call has radiofrequency radiation emissions that are very, very, very much lower than what we studied", John Bucher, PhD, senior scientist at the National Toxicology Program (NTP), said during a media teleconference to summarize the study results. But the radiofrequency radiation from a cellphone doesn't work that way - and today's results support that.

The FDA has yet to finish its review of the NTP data, but a top official said the initial impression is that cell phone radiofrequency radiation does not pose a cancer threat to humans.

In this latest study, the NTP looked at the effects of high exposure to radiofrequency energy in rodents. "I am actually holding my cellphone up to my ear". Based on limited research that shows a potentially elevated risk of schwannomas near the brain in people, the International Agency for Research on Cancer now lists radio-frequency fields as "possibly carcinogenic to humans".

The studies used 2G and 3G frequencies and modulations, which are different from those used in the 4G and 5G networks.

For example, Bucher said, "The patterns of damage to brain in tissues in these animals are not particularly consistent with tumor outcomes". But they said the study was not created to tease out whether this was a direct effect on the babies or if it impacted how the mothers cared for their young. However, those animals eventually grew to normal size.

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However, the tumors researchers saw in these studies are similar to tumors previously reported in some studies of frequent cell phone users, Bucher said.

The CTIA had a different interpretation, pointing out that when partial results of the same study were released in 2016 numerous worldwide and USA health organizations "maintained their long-standing conclusion that the scientific evidence shows no known health risk due to the [radio-frequency] energy emitted by cellphones".

While the Federal Communication Commission limits how much radiofrequency radiation can come out of your cellphone, the Food and Drug Administration can have a say about whether those limits are safe.

For humans who text, watch videos and sometimes even talk on cell phones, the concern has been whether radiofrequency radiation might lead to brain tumors.

That debate has divided health agencies and organizations around the world, not to mention scientists, the cell phone industry, and consumer safety advocates.

"Based on our ongoing evaluation of this issue and taking into account all available scientific evidence we have received, we have not found sufficient evidence that there are adverse health effects in humans caused by exposures at or under the current radiofrequency energy exposure limits", Jeffrey Shuren, MD, JD, director of the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement.

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