It’s not just another “cell phones cause cancer” study.
One doctor said cell phones should never be stored in the shirt pocket.
Results of a new U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) study add “enormously” to the growing body of evidence that cell phones can be harmful to human health, said Dr. David O. Carpenter, an environmental health sciences professor at the State University of New York University at Albany.
“This is the best designed animal study ever conducted on this topic,” Christopher Portier, former director of NTP, said in a statement.
“It [the study] is a big deal,” Carpenter told LifeZette.
He said people have been reluctant to accept the possibility of harmful effects because there have not been definitive animal studies. Typically, science demonstrates results on animals first and then in humans, but there have been many human studies already out that show negative effects.
The study is not the final last word on whether or not cell phones are harmful, he noted. He also said it raised questions about why females were less affected. Overall, though, the evidence is strong.
Conducted by the IIT Research Institute in Chicago, the study involved more than 2,500 rats and mice exposed to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) over two years.
It identified heart tumors (cardiac schwannomas) and brain tumors (gliomas) that have been noted in other studies. Those are what led the World Health Organization to designate cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen in 2011. The NTP said its findings “appear to support” the classification. Partial findings were reported by Microwave News, but the NTP said the complete results have not yet been released — and won’t be until fall 2017.
The researchers noted a higher confidence in the link between RFR and the neoplastic lesions in the heart than in the brain.
Dr. Michael Miller, a cardiologist and professor at University of Maryland School of Medicine, said cancer of the heart is rare.
“Still, after a Maryland neurologist died of a brain tumor that he believed was caused after continuously placing his cell phone to his ear, I have recommended using headphones to communicate,” Miller told LifeZette.
“Based on the new research and until new studies suggest otherwise, I will now also recommend that cell phones not be stored in the shirt pocket as it is too close for my heart’s comfort,” Miller added.
What’s the Verdict?
For those who are concerned about exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation, this is a further reason to take precautionary measures, Dr. Jonathan M. Samet, director of the University of Southern California Institute for Global Health, told LifeZette. “But the answer is not in yet on what the risks, if any, of current smartphone may be for the users,” he said.
“There are lots of people who dismiss cell phones because they don’t think it’s possible. This study clearly shows that those people are totally wrong.”
Carpenter said the debate over whether or not cell phones could be cancerous has raged on because some people believe the energy field is too low to affect humans. Many people believe that if tissue isn’t heated, it can’t be affected.
“This study shows conclusively that that’s not correct. There are lots of people who dismiss [cell phones] because they don’t think it’s possible,” he said. “This study clearly shows those people are totally wrong.”
He said the reputability of the NTP is another reason for people to pay attention to the findings.
“You can take some reasonable precautions [to protect yourself],” Carpenter noted.
“Long-term cell phone use held to your head isn’t a good thing,” Carpenter said. “Use a wired earpiece or a landline when you can. They’re not going to destroy your lifestyle.”