Low radiation risk found in cell phones, according to new study

06 February, 2018, 15:25 | Author: Otis Hoffman
  • High doses of cellphone radiation linked to some cancers in rats

Results from the study indicated that the male rats which showed carcinogenic activity were exposed to a radiofrequency energy exposure rate "much higher" than the current standard, and that now FDA safety limits are set to include a 50-fold safety margin from observed effects of RF energy exposure, according to the FDA release.

Researchers also observed mice in radiation chambers seemed to have a higher risk of DNA damage or heart problems. Bucher emphasized that even the lowest levels used in the study were much higher than the maximum exposure even a frequent cellphone user would get.

In a bid to clarify matters, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which plays a key role in developing U.S. cellphone regulations, asked the National Toxicology Program (NTP) at the National Institutes of Health to launch studies examining the issue. "We note, however, that the tumours we saw in these studies are similar to tumours previously reported in some studies of frequent cell phone users".

As part of the research, the rodents were divided into different study arms that were exposed to different levels of radiation.

The study specifically used 2G and 3G frequencies - not the frequencies used on more advanced 4G or 5G networks. Both newborn rats and their mothers had reduced weight but grew to normal sizes, and exposed rats lived longer than those that hadn't.

"We understand that the NTP draft reports for its mice and rat studies will be put out for comment and peer review so that their significance can be assessed", the group said.

"This is the most authoritative study published that connects cancer with mobile phone radiation - it should raise alarms for policymakers and awareness for all people", Olga Naidenko, a senior science advisor for the advocacy organisation Environmental Working Group, said in a statement. Their radiofrequency radiation exposure started in utero and lasted all their lives.

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The findings shouldn't be extrapolated to humans because the rats were exposed to higher levels of radiation than people take in, even with heavy mobile phone use, said John Bucher, a senior scientist with the National Toxicology Program. 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. In the short term, however, a new study on rats suggests we should be okay.

Two long-awaited studies of how cellphone radiation affects the health of mice and rats, released yesterday, are giving scientists plenty to think about-but the findings won't resolve the decades-old uncertainty surrounding the issue. While study authors also noted an increase in brain, skin, and lung cancers, this is only considered equivocal evidence at the moment.

The findings add to years of research meant to help settle the debate over whether cellphone radiation is harmful.

Most scientists aren't swayed either way by these studies.

"Based on this current information, we believe the current safety limits for cell phones are acceptable for protecting the public health", director Jeffrey Shuren said in a statement.

Years of research have still not reached a conclusion on whether or not cellphones cause cancer.

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