Prolonged mobile usage does cause cancer says new research

Researchers from the US National Toxicology Programme who had undertaken a major study to find potential dangers of mobile phone radiation in rats have disclosed that there is a link between mobile phone use and cancer. The peer-reviewed study found rats exposed to the type of radio waves emitted by mobile phones were more likely to develop tumours in their brains and hearts.

“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 radiofrequency radiation could have broad implications for public health,” said the authors of the study in a report.

The two-year trial involved more than 2,500 rats and each received carefully controlled doses of radiation for nine hours a day, every day for two years. Following this exposure, they found ‘low incidences’ of two types of tumours in rats in both the brain and the heart when exposed to the radiation.

The rats were exposed by the researchers to the type of radio frequencies, which are usually emitted by mobile phones. It found 2 – 3 per cent of male rats developed glioma in their brains and around 1 – 6 per cent developed schwannoma of the heart. But females weren’t affected at all and, strangely, the rats not exposed to the mobile phone radiation died much faster — at double the rate — of those that were.

The study is thought to be one of the largest and most in-depth analyses of mobile phones and cancers. Ron Melnick, a former National Toxicology Program researcher who reviewed the results said, “Where people were saying there’s no risk, I think this ends that kind of statement.”

But Professor Kevin McConway, an expert in applied statistics at The Open University, said: “It’s good that the US National Toxicology Program is researching these issues. But these partial findings don’t cause me any real concern about health risks from mobile phone use.
There has been much previous research on this topic, some of which has found no evidence of any risk, and some of which has found limited evidence of a small risk with heavy phone use. I don’t think that these results have moved us on from that yet.”

He said the rats had been exposed to levels of radiation far in excess of that seen by people who use mobile phones.

“I’m not going to stop using my mobile phone in the light of this,” he added.

Dr Rodney Croft, director of the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research, said: “At present, and particularly given a range of uncertainties regarding its results, the report does not provide reason to move from the current scientific consensus that mobile phone-like exposure does not impact health.”

At present, the researchers are still working on these results and there will be a lot of work to assess if it causes problems in humans. The study is part of a seven-year, $US25 million ($A34.64 million) effort conducted by the National Toxicology Program at the request of the Food and Drug Administration.

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