Low radiation risk found in cell phone study

Ebony Scott
February 5, 2018

Researchers have long debated the health impacts of cellphone use. Given the inconsistent pattern of the findings, the fact that the subjects were rats and mice rather than people, and the high level of radiation used, he said he could not extrapolate from the data to potential health effects on humans.

The voluminous but sometimes puzzling results also aren't likely to prompt US agencies or other bodies to immediately change how they regulate the ubiquitous devices or view their health risks.

"All cell phones sold in the US must comply with the FCC's radiofrequency exposure standards, which are created to include a substantial margin of safety for consumers".

Those study results suggested that cell phone radiation possibly could be a co-carcinogen, "that is if you have another cancer-producing agent, the radiation would help promote the formation of tumors", he said.

"We note, however, that the tumors we saw in these studies are similar to tumors previously reported in some studies of frequent cell phone users".

A new study has found out that male rats, when exposed to cellphone radiations, develop tumours in tissues around their heart. In general, the animals were exposed to radiation levels that either matched or exceeded what's permissible under current USA regulations.

The rodents in the studies were exposed to radiation nine hours a day for two years, more than people experience even with a lot of cellphone use, so the results can not be applied directly to humans, said John Bucher, a senior scientist at the National Toxicology Program, during a telephone news briefing.

"In our complete evaluation, we again had a lower level of certainty that small increases in the numbers of male rats with tumors in the brains were associated with exposures to cell phone radio-frequency radiation". They showed a higher risk of tumors, DNA or tissue damage and lower body weight in some groups of rodents, but no obvious ill effects in others, and no clear implications for human health.

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In a counterintuitive result, male rats and mice exposed to radiation lived longer, and had lower levels of age-related kidney disease, than males not exposed to radiation. "Numerous experts and government health and safety organizations around the world have reviewed the existing database of studies and ongoing research and concluded that RF products meeting established safety guidelines pose no known health risk".

John Bucher, a senior scientist involved in the 10-year study, was cautious in his interpretation of the results in a conference call with journalists Friday. He noted some additional unusual findings in the study, and said his team is continuing to assess them, but emphasized that based on all available scientific information the agency does not believe there are adverse health effects in humans caused by cellphone radiation.

For humans, who text, watch videos and talk on cell phones, there has always been a concern whether radiofrequency radiation from cell phones might lead to brain tumors.

Some health and environmental groups immediately seized on the findings as more evidence of the dangers of cellphones.

Trying to settle the debate over whether mobile phones' radiations are harmful or not, the researchers conducted the animal study.

"It's important to consider the magnitude of the exposures to the animals in these studies in relation to what one might typically receive from using a cell phone", Bucher said.

"I think the reports don't go much further than what we reported earlier, and I have not changed the way I use a cellphone, no", said Bucher. Unfortunately, these reports only increase the cell phone radiation enigma.

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