Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Why You Shouldn't Worry About the New Study Linking Cellphones to Cancer

Cell phone Bronek Kaminski Getty Images
Celia Hoffman | 04 November, 2018, 12:10

Indeed, the only clear link between cellphone radiation and cancer was found among male rats (not female rats or male or female mice), and the researchers stressed that the findings do not apply to humans.

But the bottom line of the report is that people should not worry that they will get cancer from using their cellphones. However, just seven months ago the National Toxicology Program (NTP) released an alarming study stating that cell phone radiation could be responsible for tumors in male rats.

"Animal studies like this one contribute to our discussions on this topic, but we must remember the study was not created to test the safety of cellphone use in humans, so we can not draw conclusions about the risks of cellphone use from it", Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, who was not involved with the study, said in a statement.

The Food and Drug Administration, which monitors radiation-emitting devices, said it agreed the findings shouldn't be applied to human cellphone use. "The incidence of brain tumors in human beings has been flat for the last 40 years", Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, told USA Today regarding the new research.

Researchers were able to control the amount of radio frequency the animals received - something that isn't possible with humans. Among the female mice, however, the evidence was unclear as to whether the cancers observed in them are associated with RFR. So, basically, while that whole "your cellphone gives you brain cancer" myth your mom's been harping on you about isn't 100 percent disproven, there really isn't a lot of evidence to support it.This specific cellphone cancer study, which was conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), has been going on for decades, according to The New York Times.

Two U.S. government agencies are giving conflicting interpretations of a safety study on cellphone radiation: One says it causes cancer in rats.

The rodents in the studies were exposed to radiation nine hours a day for two years, far longer than even heavy users of cellphones. As scientists often say, more study is needed. The tests for the study were done on rodents at levels much higher than humans are now exposed to. Malignant schwannomas are similar to acoustic neuromas, benign tumors that can develop in people in the nerve that connects the ear to the brain. It focused on 900 megahertz, a frequency typical of the second generation of cellphones.

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Current cellphones represent a fourth generation, known as 4G, and 5G phones are expected to debut around 2020. There is debate regarding the potential hazards of cellphone use because of radiation, but there is still no conclusive evidence of cellphone radiation harm among humans.

And since 1999, it has been a concern to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), too, prompting the agency to dedicate $30 million to the NTP to study the link.

He said the overall findings of the study - 384 pages devoted to rats, 260 to mice - had been conveyed to the Federal Communications Commission and the FDA.

People can be exposed to radiofrequency radiation from cellphone towers, the report notes, but it's much more diffuse than what people get from using a cellphone.

"I have become, based on these studies, a little more aware of my use of cellphones and if I make a short call I have absolutely no hesitation at all in picking up the phone and using it in a traditional manner", he said.

Others who study risk aren't hanging up.

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