Governments regulate cell phone radiation

Smartphones: Radiation could cause tumors to grow

A large-scale study by the US government is fueling the debate over whether cell phone radiation can contribute to cancer. A study by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) carried out according to scientific standards found a weak association between the radiation emitted by cell phones and two types of tumors in male rats.

The results contradict previous scientifically based studies on the subject, which had largely denied the risk of cancer from cell phone radiation. The Wall Street Journal reported on the current study. The weak link between brain tumors and tumors in the heart was found.

This is an interim result of a long-term study that has not been published in a scientific journal and has therefore not been checked by other researchers in a so-called peer review process. In addition, the researchers found the weak association only in male rats and not in female rats.

Should the suspicion be confirmed, even a weak connection between cell phone radiation and tumors would be explosive. Given the enormous global use of mobile communications in all age groups, even a small increase in disease due to exposure to radiation would have "a major impact on public health," the researchers write in an interim report.

One of the largest studies on cell phone radiation ever

According to the Wall Street Journal, the current US government study costing $ 25 million is one of the largest and most comprehensive studies to date on the health effects of cell phone radiation.

“These are the long-awaited results of an important study that was very carefully structured,” said radiation researcher Elisabeth Cardis from the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) in Barcelona to “Welt”. Cardis had carried out the so-called Interphone study, which in 2011 found indications of a possible weak link between the use of mobile phones and the two types of tumors that were also the subject of the current study: Schwannomas in the heart, tumors of the nervous system, and gliomas, one class of tumors that arise in the brain.

In response to Cardis ’Interphone study, the World Health Organization (WHO) has rated cell phone use as a potential level 2B carcinogen since 2011. In addition to the plant toxin DDT, certain pickled vegetables or coffee also fall into the same category. At the time, however, the researchers themselves pointed to methodological weaknesses in their study. For example, the evaluation of cell phone usage was based on surveys.

Tumor case numbers are very low

However, radiation researcher Cardis warns against premature scaremongering. "The tumor case numbers in the NTP study were quite small, and the results were only referred to as' low incidence" of gliomas and schwannomas in the heart, "says Cardis. Due to the enormous cost of such extremely controlled experiments, only 90 male and as many female rats per study group were exposed to the radiation.