U.S. $25mm Study Indicates Tumor Risk from Cell Phone Radiation, Reinforcing Epidemiology Studies

National Toxicology Program (NTP) Rodent Research Study

In 1999, a Rodent Research Study on Radio-Frequency Radiation was recommended to the National Toxicology Program by the FDA. It was begun in the National Toxicology Program of the NIH, an interagency program housed in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. RF exposures to rats began in utero and exposures to mice started during adolescence and continued through young adulthood for two years.

Partial results of this largest-ever rodent study examining biological effects, in scenarios designed to mimic human exposure to cell phone radiation, were released in 2016. The study results show statistically significant increase in cancer incidence. The results show increases in brain and heart tumors in rats after chronic exposure to cell phone radiation, and reinforce similar results found in human epidemiology research.

The peer reviewed report, “Report of Partial Findings from the National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation in Hsd: Sprague Dawley SD Rats (Whole Body Exposure),” is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/055699.

Ronald Melnick, PhD, former lead scientist on the NTP study and Retired Senior Scientist with the National Toxicology Program and NIEHS, said of the results,

“Based on this new information, regulatory agencies should make strong recommendations for consumers to take precautionary measures and avoid close contact with their cell phones, and especially avoid use of cell phones by children. Also, cell phone companies need provide newer devices with much reduced emissions.”

It should be emphasized that the higher cancer incidence was found in low-intensity radiofrequency (or wireless) radiation, similar to exposures to cell phones and wireless technologies and infrastructure. Historically, it was believed in some circles that only higher power radiation, i.e. hot enough to heat tissues, could do harm, despite there being thousands of studies suggesting otherwise. U.S. government funded research now very clearly shows adverse effects without measureable heating, results that are also consistent with human studies showing cancer risk.

Dr. Melnick says, “This study should put an end to those who doubt the capacity of non-thermal levels of wireless radiation to cause biological effects including cancer. The study results clearly show that cell phone radiation can cause adverse health effects. The counter argument has no validity.”

The study was the largest and most complex ever carried out at the National Toxicology Program, and received much media coverage describing the cancer risks that were found (see links, below).

But as could be expected, telcom industry-linked spin-doctors soon began to criticize the study and cast doubt on its findings. Joel Moskowitz, PhD, Director of the Center for Family and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, prepared the following chart debunking such criticism.

Beyond the findings confirming brain and heart cancer risk also found in other studies, reasons this study was important was the care taken in its meticulous design, the extensive peer-review process that took place, and the fact that it was federal government funded after years of very little U.S. research.

Of note, DNA damage in the brain of rats was also analyzed as part of the NTP study and results were presented by Dr. Michael Wyde at the Bioelectromagnetics Society conference in June 2016 in Ghent, Belgium (see slide 30 from Dr. Wyde’s presentation). A paper on DNA effects found will be published. According to Microwave News, Dr. Ron Melnick says, “Finding DNA damage in the brain of rats supports NTP’s tumor data.”

It is uncertain when the full results of the NTP study will be published due to political dynamics in Washington at this time. Initially, the expected timeframe was by the end of 2017.



Report of Partial findings from the National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation in Hsd: Sprague Dawley® SD rats (Whole Body Exposure)

Media Telebriefing: NTP Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation Study: Partial Release of Findings

Overview of the studies presented to the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) by Dr. Michael Wyde, director of the NTP cell phone radiation studies

NTP Summary Page


Select Media Coverage:

Wall Street Journal: Cellphone-Cancer Link Found in Government Study

Fortune: U.S. Government Study Links Cellphone Radiation With Cancer (In Rats)

Scientific American: Major Cell Phone Radiation Study Reignites Cancer Questions

Microwave New: Cell Phone Radiation Boosts Cancer Rates in Animals;
$25 Million NTP Study Finds Brain Tumors. U.S. Government Expected To Advise Public of Health Risk

Consumer Reports: Government Study Finds Link Between Cell Phones and Cancer in Rats

Science Magazine: Questions abound after study links tumors to cellphone radiation

Mother Jones: Game-Changing Study Links Cellphones Radiation to Cancer

PBS News Hour: Major U.S. Study Links Cellphone Exposure to Cancer in Rats

American Cancer Society: ACS Responds to New Study Linking Cell Phone Radiation to Cancer







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