Thursday, 22 February, 2018

Cell phones are still safe for humans, researchers say

Cell phones cause tumors in rats says new research Cell phones cause tumors in rats says new research
Jerome Frank | 06 February, 2018, 14:58

In the short term, however, a new study on rats suggests we should be okay. Further, although these were large and well-conducted animal studies, the relative rarity of the tumors showing an increase in incidence means that it may be hard to demonstrate significant increases in incidence which may be seen in the very much larger numbers of humans exposed to radiofrequency radiation. They went on to say that the results still require "careful discussion", and that they would be participating in a peer review of the study, due to take place during March 26-28. "So, these findings should not be directly extrapolated to human cellphone usage".

Separately, the Federal Communications Commission in 2013 asked for comments on whether USA standards need to be updated to protect people from mobile-phone radiation, and it hasn't acted. There was a small increase of heart tumors in male rats but not in female rats. Neither study turned up clear evidence that radiofrequency radiation causes brain tumors, although the researchers are continuing to investigate.

The male rat tumors were so-called malignant schwannomas.

Cellphone radiation quickly dissipates, so the risk, if any, would be to areas of the body in close proximity to the device emitting the radiation, Bucher said.

In this study, researchers exposed rats and mice to high levels of radiofrequency radiation, 9 hours a day for more than two years.

The FDA today reiterated its view that radiofrequency energy exposure associated with cell phone use is safe in light of a new study from the National Toxicology Program, which indicated a carcinogenic effect in rats. The first is that the studies involved 2G and 3G signals, not the current generation 4G or upcoming 5G signals, so any risk specific to LTE will not have been noted. They said they some tissue and DNA issues but "we don't feel sufficient understanding to comment on their biological significance".

In addition to the heart tumors, researchers detected tumors in the brains, livers and some other organs in the rodents. But they said the study was not created to tease out whether this was a direct effect on the babies or if it impacted how the mothers cared for their young. The evidence for an association between cellphones and cancer is weak. The Environmental Working Group's Olga Naidenko, a senior science adviser, for instance, in a news release said the study "should raise alarms for policymakers and awareness for all Americans". The study by the National Toxicology Program, which was carried out over the last 10 years, is the most comprehensive body of research available looking at the effects of radiation on rats and mice.

The Federal Communications Commission sets exposure limits for radio-frequency energy from cellphones, but relies on the FDA and other health agencies for scientific advice on determining the limits, the statement says.

"Even with frequent daily use by the vast majority of adults, we have not seen an increase in events like brain tumors", he said.

The results have "given us the confidence that the current safety limits for cellphone radiation remain acceptable for protecting the public health", said Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

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