WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The National Toxicology Program released its final results on its study finding a link between cellphone usage and cancer risk.
- The study used second generation phones which were already phased out but contends wider implication even of small risk.
- FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health disagrees with the supposed “clear evidence” on heart schwanommas, a tumor.
The National Toxicology Program, which conducted an experiment to determine whether or not cellphones can cause cancer, released its final results on Thursday. The federal agency found positive but relatively modest evidence that radio waves emitted by some types of cellphones increase the risk of developing brain cancer for male rats.
The study, which was given a go signal during the Clinton administration, involved some 3,000 rodents and a budget appropriation of $30 million. Experts called it the world’s largest and most costly experiment to look into the question of cellphone risk and cancer link.
John Bucher, a senior scientist at the National Toxicology Program, said in a statement his belief — that the link between radio-frequency radiation and tumors in male rats — is real. However, he also cautioned that the result cannot be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience due to the higher exposure levels and durations that the rats were subjected to.
Furthermore, the study also studied the effects from radio frequency used by the early generation of technology which is now out of routine. The lowest level of radiation use in the federal study was equal to the maximum levels allowed by federal regulations.
However, experts contend that due to billions of people using cellphones nowadays, even a small demonstrated rise in cancer risk could have wide implications.
Current cellphones represent 4G or fourth generation with 5G expected around 2020. The rats on the federal study were exposed to 900 megahertz frequency which was typical of second-generation or 2G cellphones widespread in the 1990s, when the study started.
The study revealed that malignant schwanommas were found on about 5 to 7 percent of male rats exposed to radiation. Schwanommas are similar to acoustic neuromas which are benign tumors that can develop in the nerve that connects to the ear and to the brain.
However, the director of FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health said in a statement that it disagreed with the agency’s finding of “clear evidence” for heart schwanommas but raised no question on the citation of “some evidence” for brain tumors.
Source: The New York Times