A new study backed by the U.S. government suggests a new link between cell phone use and cancer. The National Toxicology Program’s study is still incomplete at this time, yet partial findings reveal a relationship between specific radio frequencies and tumor growth in male laboratory rats. At the very least, we can no longer say there is no risk at all in using cell phones.
The way some publications are reporting the news, you would expect to have a grapefruit-sized tumor growing in your skull this very moment, but the preliminary findings are a bit more complicated. The $25 million study, overseen by the National Institutes of Health, found “low incidences” of gliomas in brain glial cells and schwannomas in the hearts of some of the male rats used in the study; female rats did not yield a similar association.
The radio frequencies emitted from cell phones were reproduced in the rat experiments, raising concern for the same results possibly popping up in humans who use mobile devices. The partial findings warn, according to The Wall Street Journal, “Given the widespread global usage of mobile communications among users of all ages, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to [radio-frequency radiation] could have broad implications for public health.”
Labeling cell phones as possibly carcinogenic is not a new thing, as the World Health Organization did so after reviewing similar epidemiological studies which revealed a cancer link. The NTP’s study, however, is the largest and most comprehensive experimental trial concerning cell phones and public health and may influence the Federal Communications Commission to alter their safety guidelines in the near future. The full results are expected to be released in the fall of 2017.