Still No Proof Mobile Phones Cause Cancer, New Studies Show

The NIH published the preliminary findings from its first-ever large study on cell phone radiation and cancer on Friday finding an increased risk at least one kind of cancer in rats

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. Its guidelines set maximum radiation exposure levels based on the amount of heat emitted by mobile phones.

Unlike ionising radiation such as that from gamma rays, radon and X-rays, which can break chemical bonds in the body and are known to cause cancer, radiofrequency devices such as cellphones and microwaves emit radiofrequency energy, a form of non-ionising radiation.

Microwave radiation works by heating water.

That doesn't sound completely reassuring, except it's important to emphasise that these plucky rats were exposed to a dose of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) much, much higher than even the most smartphone-addicted human.

This animal evidence, together with the extensive human evidence from case-control studies on brain cancer in Sweden, France, Canada and other countries, coupled with the rising incidence of brain cancers in young people in the U.S., conclusively confirms that radiofrequency radiation is a category 1 human carcinogen. Separate reports of studies involving rats and mice are available on the NTP website.

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.

Now, reports released by the US Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program add to the cell phone conundrum.

Anthony Miller MD issues statement on the NIH/NIEHS National Toxicology Program (NTP) study linking cell phone radiation to tumors. The study looked at only 2G and 3G frequencies, which are still commonly used for phone calls. The rats and mice in the tests were hit with cellphone radiation for nine hours a day, over two-years. Because the rodents were exposed to radiation levels we would not typically experience, John Bucher, the lead author behind the research, said that the findings have not caused him to personally change how he uses his cellphone. And exposed rats lived longer than those who weren't exposed. A new provision in the state could block patients from enrolling for 3 months if they do not submit their paperwork in a timely matter, according to the report. And just because researchers discover an association in rodents does not mean they translate to humans. Not a whole lot, experts say.

The reports, along with earlier research show that current limits for mobile phone radiation, "remain acceptable for protecting the public health", Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in an emailed statement. Otis Brawley, the American Cancer Society's chief medical officer, agreed in an interview with The Associated Press. "I think this is the first clear evidence showing that these sorts of radiofrequency fields increase risks for all kinds of cancer", he says, noting that malignant schwannomas have been detected in previous human studies of cellphone risk. To make his point, he pointed out in a later interview, "I am actually holding my cellphone up to my ear".

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