Views on the NTP cell phone cancer study
Understandably the recently released NTP study has generated many opinions (some expert and some far from it) on what the study means for mobile phone users. The official audio download from Friday’s teleconference is now available here
In addition the NTP now has a new webpage titled “Cell Phones” here.
(the 74-page report of partial findings and the same audio are also linked at the bottom of it)
Following are some of the articles on the study. Please take special note at the last entry below, from the Australian Science Media Centre’s (AusSMC) SIMEX blog posting which quotes Dr Rodney Croft’s expert analysis of the NTP study. Dr. Croft has this amazing gift of being able to take a complex issue, such as the NTP study and simply boil it down to a brief reassuring statement for the media to unquestionably digest and regurgitate in their news stories.
Never mind the science such as the IARC classification of “mobile phone-like exposure” as a possible human carcinogen which is backed up by Professor Bruce Armstrong’s statement in the same SIMEX blog, immediately above Croft’s, that “This report supports the IARC monograph’s conclusion that RF is possibly carcinogenic to humans”. – Rodney simply and predictably avoids this and concludes that “the NTP report does not provide reason to move from the current scientific consensus that mobile phone-like exposure does not impact health.”
Just who’s scientific consensus does he follow?
I. Leszczynski: A brief comments on the NTP study
by Dariusz Leszczynski
Posted on May 27, 2016
National Toxicology Program‘s study should have been done a long time ago, before the cell phones were commercially introduced on the market. This is a typical toxicology study aimed at determining the safety of a radiation-emitting gadget.
NTP study suggests that the cell phone radiation increases carcinogenicity, formation of the brain cancer – glioma. Another animal study, published recently by the group of Alexander Lerchl from Germany, observed that cell phone radiation enhances carcinogenic effects of chemicals.
Furthermore, both above mentioned animal studies had well designed and executed radiation exposure of animals and both well controlled for the temperature of the exposed animals. This means that the effects observed in both animal studies were of non-thermal nature, no matter whether we know or do not know yet the mechanism of it.
This means that recently two large, well designed animal studies found that cell phone radiation is involved in carcinogenesis in animals. Such positive results, carcinogenic effect, suggest that human health might be in some danger. However, the size and the scope of the health risk needs to be further examined and determined by epidemiological studies.
As with every scientific study, there are some questions needing some answers and clarifications: SNIP
II Cellphone Radiation Linked to Cancer in Major Rat Study
By Prachi Patel (IEEE SPectrum)
Posted 27 May 2016
Results of the largest, most expensive animal study on the link between cellphones and cancer are in. And the link is positive—weak, but positive.
The much-anticipated two-year study led by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) has found low incidences of brain and heart tumors in male rats that were exposed to the radio frequency radiation commonly emitted by cellphones.
Exposed rats had higher rates of two malignant cancers: glioma of the brain and schwannoma of the nerves in the heart. But none of the unexposed control rats developed them. And these brain and heart tumors are similar to the ones found in previous epidemiological studies of cellphone use, the NTP report states, so “these findings appear to support the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) conclusions regarding the possible carcinogenic potential of” radiofrequency radiation.
In 2011, the IARC, which is part of the World Health Organization, convened an international panel of experts that concluded that exposure to RF radiation including that used by cellphones is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The panel analyzed available scientific papers and concluded that even though evidence was limited and incomplete, epidemiological studies had shown increased risks of 40–200 percent for gliomas and acoustic neuromas (benign tumors of the auditory nerve) among heavy and/or long term cellphone users.SNIP
III Update on National Toxicology Program Study
by Joel Moskowitz
Many major national media outlets participated in the teleconference conducted by the National Toxicology Program today. The journalists posed many questions about the study, and NTP staff did their best to answer them.
Toward the end of the call I asked whether the following observation is appropriate:
The report indicates that there was a “low incidence” of tumors in the cellphone-exposed groups. However, the report did not assess the overall risk of tumors for both types of tumors studied. By my calculation, thirty of 540 (5.5%), or one in 18 male rats exposed to cell phone radiation developed cancer. In addition, 16 pre-cancerous hyperplasias were diagnosed. Thus, 46 of 540, or one in 12 male rats exposed to cell phone radiation developed cancer or a pre-cancerous lesion. No cancers were found in 90 male rats in the unexposed control group.
NTP staff seemed to think my calculations were accurate, but admitted that they had not performed this calculation.
Many reporters questioned the study’s implications for cell phone users. In response, staff stated that other federal agencies needed to determine the policy implications. After the call, I calculated the overall risk for the male rats in the group exposed to the lowest intensity of cell phone radiation (i.e., 1.5 watts/kilogram or W/kg). Twelve of 180, or one in 15 male rats in this group developed cancer or a pre-cancerous lesion. This latter finding has policy implications as the FCC’s current cell phone regulations allow cell phones to emit up to 1.6 W/kg at the head or near the body (partial body SAR).
IV And from the AusSMC’s SIMEX website:
30 May 2016 10:00am
Dr Rodney Croft is Director of the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research, an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence at the University of Wollongong
“The National Toxicology Program (NTP) study addressed a range of important health-related endpoints in rats and mice and is an important contribution to the radiofrequency (RF) emission health debate.
Unfortunately there is not sufficient detail in the present report to evaluate it fully, particularly given a number of criticisms by the reviewers (and described in Appendix G of the report). Of particular note is that the rats treated with RF lived longer than the controls (which is counter intuitive given that the increased tumour rates normally lead to reduced lifespan), the controls did not have ‘any’ tumours (which is also not what is normally found), and the lack of clear dose-response relationships raises the possibility that the results may merely be ‘false positives’ (particularly given the large number of statistical comparisons, the one significant result would appear consistent with chance).
It is also noteworthy that the results do not appear consistent with the cancer rates within the human population, nor with the majority of other experimental research, even at the very high exposure levels, which are many times higher than humans are exposed to.
The NTP study will thus need to be fully evaluated once further details become available, and considered within the context of RF emissions science as a whole. At present though, and particularly given a range of uncertainties regarding its results, the NTP report does not provide reason to move from the current scientific consensus that mobile phone-like exposure does not impact health.”