Sci-tech

High exposure to radio frequency radiation linked to cancer

High exposure to radio frequency radiation linked to cancer”

Two U.S. government agencies are giving conflicting interpretations of a safety study on cellphone radiation: One says it causes cancer in rats.

"Exposure of people to RFR occurs primarily through use of cell phones and other wireless devices".

The link between exposure and cancer was less clear in female rats and in male and female mice, according to the November 1 report from the National Toxicology Program (NTP) at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

The FDA disagreed. "The current safety limits for cell phone radiofrequency energy exposure remain acceptable for protecting the public health", said Shuren, the Food and Drug Administration official. "These findings should not be applied to human cellphone usage", Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, FDA's chief of radiological health, said Thursday. "Tumors of the brain were also considered to be related to exposure; and increased numbers of male rats with tumors of the adrenal gland were also related to exposure".

The rodents in the studies were exposed to radiation nine hours a day for two years, far longer than even heavy users of cellphones. The rats and mice in the study were exposed to radiation across their entire bodies, while humans are usually exposed to radiation near where they keep their phones.

However, those thinking this is about to blow the lid on the mobile phone industry will need to think again, as the researchers stressed that "exposures used in the studies can not be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience when using a cell phone".

American biologists have introduced a new potential evidence that radio waves are now used in 2G and 3G cell phones, can cause cancer of the heart, liver and some other organs.

Currently, 95 percent of American adults use cellphones. Also, the February report cited "equivocal evidence" of brain tumors in the male rats.

Some scientists have warned that 5G - which uses milimeter waves, rather than the microwaves that were the basis of previous generations - may in fact be more risky, but its far too soon to tell for sure.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) concluded there is clear evidence that male rats exposed to high levels of radio frequency radiation (RFR) like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones developed cancerous heart tumors, according to final reports released today.

The rats were exposed to radiation at a frequency of 900 megahertz, typical of the second generation of cellphones that prevailed in the 1990s, when the study was first conceived. They employ much higher frequencies, and these radio waves are far less successful at penetrating the bodies of humans and rats, scientists say. "From what we now understand, it likely differs dramatically from what we studied", said Wyde.

While this suggestion has been dismissed by a number of researchers, studies undertaken over a number of years by the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences appears to have found evidence that, at the outset, would appear to confirm these fears.

As such, the NTP is planning more studies that would take months instead of years in hopes of identifying the biomarkers of damage from RFR exposure.

An oversight of the study was that it did not investigate RFR used in Wi-Fi, 4G or 5G, the latter of which "likely differs dramatically from what we studied", the researchers said.

"My family and I won't change our mobile-phone habits based on this news", said George Gray, co-author of the book "Risk: A Practical Guide for Deciding What's Really Safe and What's Really Dangerous in the World Around You".



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