Cross talk: Federal agencies clash on cellphone cancer risk

Cellphone Radiation Causes Cancer in Rats, Government Study Finds

Cellphone Radiation Causes Cancer in Rats, Government Study Finds

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.

Moreover, the rat study examined the effects of a radio frequency associated with an early generation of mobile technology, one that fell out of routine use years ago.

"By contrast, people are mostly exposed in specific local tissues close to where they hold the phone", Bucher added. But he cautioned that the exposure levels and durations were far more significant than what people typically encounter, and thus can not "be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience".

The study also found some evidence that the high levels of radiation exposure were tied to the development of brain tumors in a small percentage of the male rats. But "these are far higher cellphone radiation levels than people typically receive". The highest level was four times higher than the permitted maximum.

"We believe that the link between radio frequency radiation and tumors in male rats is real, and the external experts agreed", said Bucher.

The 2G and 3G networks were standard when the studies were designed and are still used for phone calls and texting.

He also noted the unexpected finding of longer lifespans among the exposed male rats. "This may be explained by an observed decrease in chronic kidney problems that are often the cause of death in older rats", said Wyde.

For the study, the animals were housed in special chambers so the researchers could control how much radiation they received.

Exposure to RFR began in the womb for rats and at five to six weeks old for mice, and continued for up to two years, or most of their natural lifetime. The animals were exposed for up to two years, for about nine hours a day (with 10 minutes of exposure and 10-minute breaks in between). RFR levels ranged from 1.5-6 watts per kilogram in rats, and 2.5-10 watts per kilogram in mice.

Study: Cell phone radiation may affect memory What about Wi-Fi and 5G? Most phones still contain antennas that can pick up these frequencies, but rely more heavily on newer generation technology like 4G LTE and 5G, which is being rolled out across the US. "From what we now understand, it likely differs dramatically from what we studied", said Wyde.

Future studies will focus on developing measurable physical indicators, or biomarkers, of potential effects from RFR.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which oversees cellphone safety, disagreed with the risk upgrade. Now, the issue is being raised yet again, as government researchers release the results of a major study that found evidence linking high levels of cellphone radiation exposure to certain types of cancer in rodents.

More information on the categories is available at

"If scientists can better understand biological changes in animals, they will know more about what to look for in humans", the NTP said in its fact sheet on the study. Professor Emeritus Anthony Miller MD, FRCP, FRCP (C), FFPH, former Director, National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group and former member World Health Organization Expert Advisory Panel on Cancer 2005-2015 (Professor Miller was also former Director Epidemiology Unit National Cancer Institute of Canada; former Director, World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Evaluation of Screening for Cancer; former Chairman Scientific Advisory Committee, Occupational Cancer Research Centre 2009-2017).

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receivessupport from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education.