Cellphone Radiation Linked to Cancer in Major Rat Study

Cellphone Radiation Linked to Cancer in Major Rat Study

Photo: Getty Images

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.


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