The debate on the potentially negative effects of cellphone radiation continues as more and more members of the public are using cellphones. A major study now finds evidence of cancer risk on male mice, but humans need not worry.
Because of the widespread cellphone use and limited knowledge about the potential health hazards associated with it, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration nominated radio frequency radiation (RFR) used by cellphones to be studied by the National Toxicology Program (NTP).
In the study, researchers used mice to study the potential health hazards such as cancer risks associated with long-term exposure to RFR similar to that used in 2G and 3G cellphones. Those were specifically looked into because they were the standard when the study was designed and is still being used today by some, though less commonly so.
Cancer Risk In Male Mice
Researchers found that upon exposure to high levels of RFR, there was “clear evidence” of tumors in the hearts of male mice, “some evidence” of tumors in the brains of male mice, and “some evidence” of tumors in the adrenal glands of male mice. Among the female mice, however, the evidence was unclear as to whether the cancers observed in them are associated with RFR.
Furthermore, NTP also found evidence of low birth weight among newborn rats and their mothers when exposed to high levels of RFR during pregnancy and lactation. However, they still eventually grew up to the normal size.
Interestingly, the researchers found that the male mice that were exposed to cellphone radiation actually lived longer than those that were not exposed.
No Need To Worry
According to NTP, the findings do not directly apply to humans. For one thing, the levels and durations at which they exposed the mice to RFR were much greater than what human receive via typical cellphone use. In fact, the lowest RFR exposure used in the study was the maximum level of exposure allowed for cellphone users.
In addition, the entire bodies of the mice were exposed to RFR during the study, as compared to the localized exposure that humans get while using their gadgets.
No Conclusions For Humans
It took 10 years for NTP to complete the most comprehensive study on RFR to date, and researchers surmise that the results of their investigation could serve as a guide in the research and development of new technologies. That said, the results do not apply to the newer 4G or 5G technologies and also do not apply to Wi-Fi.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, the U.S. FDA’s director for Devices and Radiological Health, such animal studies are important in the discussion, but it was not designed to test the safety of cellphones in humans and could therefore not be used to draw conclusions for humans.
"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 in a statement.
As such, the NTP is planning more studies that would take months instead of years in hopes of identifying the biomarkers of damage from RFR exposure.