Cellphone-Cancer Link Revealed In Government Study - InformationWeek

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5/30/2016
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Cellphone-Cancer Link Revealed In Government Study

Research overseen by the National Toxicology Program found a slightly elevated risk of cancer in male rats exposed to CDMA and GSM signals from cellphones.

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Male rats exposed to radio-frequency radiation (RFR) emitted by mobile phones show low incidences of cancer in their hearts and brains, according to a peer-reviewed, multi-year study conducted by the US National Toxicology Program. The rats in the study were exposed to RFR during gestation and throughout their lives.

Female rats, subjected to the same conditions, did not show a statistically significant effect.

The findings are likely to revive debate about whether mobile phones raise the risk of cancer in humans.

The NTP study subjected more than 2,500 mice and rats to 900 MHz GSM- or CDMA-modulated RFR over the course their lives for almost two years. Exposure occurred in 10-minute-on, 10-minute-off cycles for 18 hours every day.

The study found a 2.2% to 3.3% increase in brain cancer (malignant gliomas) in four of six groups of 90 rats, compared to a 90-rat control group. This isn't a huge increase because, while no brain cancer showed up in the control group, other NTP studies have found a 2.0% rate of malignant glioma in rat control groups.

The study also found a 1.1% to 6.6% increase in heart tumors (Schwannomas) among six rat groups of 90, compared to a 90-rat control group, a more meaningful statistical deviation.

"These findings appear to support the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) conclusions regarding the possible carcinogenic potential of RFR," the study says.

(Image: Pixabay composite)

In 2011, IARC, part of the World Health Organization, convened a group of experts to review scientific research on the effect of cell phones on human health. The IARC Working Group concluded that mobile phones were "possibly carcinogenic to humans," while also stating the evidence linking brain cancer to mobile phone use was "limited," and the evidence linking other types of cancers to mobile phone use was "inadequate."

The Working Group defined "limited" by noting that, while the evidence suggested a causal link between certain types of brain cancer and cell phone use, "chance, bias or confounding could not be ruled out with reasonable confidence."

The NTP study noted that the results are limited to the health effects of RFR on heart and brain tissue. The NTP expects to publish further findings on RFR later this year and next, some of research covering the mice studied.

Mice and rats are widely used as models to study human health issues, but they may respond differently to drugs and medical tests. Evidence of RFR's effects on rats is suggestive but not conclusive.

Ionizing radiation, emitted by medical x-ray machines and by elements such as radon in the natural environment, is known to raise the risk of cancer in high doses. People are exposed to low doses of ionizing radiation daily.

RFR is non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, meaning it lacks sufficient energy to remove electrons from atoms. A 2015 European Commission study found little evidence of harmful effects from RFR exposure. In 2014, researchers from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology concluded that the weak magnetic fields from mobile phones and power lines do not harm human health.

Given the limitations of the studies to date, more research is certain to follow. But if a causal link between RFR and negative health effects is ever adequately established among scientists, is there a road back from where we are now?

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
5/31/2016 | 10:31:20 PM
Re: Frequency killer
Form what I understand, there is still a risk from holding the phone and wearing the phone not just holding it to your head.
hho927
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hho927,
User Rank: Ninja
5/31/2016 | 1:02:05 PM
Re: Frequency killer
Simple solution: use a headset (preferable the wire).

LOL, too much hoopla about nothing.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
5/31/2016 | 12:09:56 PM
Re: Frequency killer
The key is determining at what length of time and frequency the issue really materializes. The phones have gotten better over the years from my understanding at reducing the amount the level of the frequencies as our infrastructure has evolved. For people who sleep with their phones, I think they are always introducing more risk into their life at multiple levels. I don't think any of this research will stop the usage of phones it's getting more widespread at a younger age with the average first phone being had at 10 years old!!!
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
5/31/2016 | 8:30:47 AM
Re: Frequency killer
IF cellular phones can/do cause brain cancer there are a lot of us that are in trouble but it raises a question.  Tobacco companies had huge lawsuits over lung cancer deaths but people chose to smoke, it wasn't a requirement of their profession.  IF someone who was required by a job to carry a cellular phone is that employer on the hook now?  IF a lawsuit is ever won against an employer how quickly would corporate cell phone policies change?
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
5/31/2016 | 8:08:22 AM
Re: Frequency killer
Medical experiments on prisoners sends us down a very dangerous, Third Reich type of road which I don't think we want to go down.

Still, I do agree that this study seems a bit overblown. More regular-use scenarios with rats would be far more beneficial for this sort of study.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
5/30/2016 | 3:28:40 PM
Re: Frequency killer
Michelle, this kind of study has been done for years. No one ever found anything too alarming. Also, the cruelty of exposing those mice and rats to 18 hours of RFR exposure is far from what humars are really exposed daily. If reseacrhers can really see if there is an actual link to human health they should experiment with humans. Maybe those criminals sentenced to death could be the new lab rats. -Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
5/30/2016 | 3:21:25 PM
No road back
<"But if a causal link between RFR and negative health effects is ever adequately established among scientists, is there a road back from where we are now?"> No, Thomas, there is no road back from where we are now. If ever some future research find a link between RFR and negative health effects smartphone manufacturers will have to find a fix for it. I don't see a future where everyone stops using their smartphones, I'm afraid. -Susan
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
5/30/2016 | 12:52:00 PM
Frequency killer
I think I've seen this one before...

It sounds like there may be a link, but it must be studied more broadly before we'll know for sure.
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