Posted on Nov 05, 2018, 6 p.m.
Exposure to high levels of radio frequency like those used in 2G and 3G mobile devices was observed to caused cancerous heart tumors and evidence of tumors in brains as well as adrenal glands in animal studies according to final results and conclusions of researchers from the National Toxicology Program and a panel of external scientific experts who reviewed the studies.
In studies that took over 10 years and $30 million to complete the most comprehensive assessment to date on health effects in animals exposed to RFR with modulations used in 2G and 3G cell phones, which when designing the study were the standard. The lowest level used was equal to the maximum local tissue exposure currently used for mobile device users, and highest was 4 times higher than the maximum power level permitted; researchers were able to control exactly how much radio frequency radiation the animals received.
Animals were kept in chambers designed and built for the studies with exposure beginning in the womb for rats and at 5-6 weeks old for mice continuing for 2 years or most of their natural lifespan. Exposure was intermittent at 10 minutes on/off totalling 9 hours per day, with levels ranging from 2.5-10 watts per kilogram in mice and 1.5-6 watts per kilogram in rats.
The types of RFR used for Wi-Fi or 4G and 5G networks were not investigated in this study. The emerging 5G networks operate at much higher frequencies and differ dramatically from what was studied.
The National Toxicology Program is building new smaller RFR exposure chambers that will make it easier to investigate newer telecommunication technologies in months rather than years, in future studies focusing on developing measurable physical indicators and biomarkers of effects from exposure which may include changes in metrics such as DNA damage in exposed tissues.
Mobile device radio frequency radiation exposure was nominated as a study for NTP by the FDA due to widespread public use of mobile devices and limited knowledge regarding potential health effects from long term exposure. Results from these studies will be presented to the FDA and the Federal Communications Commission to review the information as they continue to monitor new research on exposure effects of RFR.
The National Toxicology Program currently uses 4 categories to summarize evidence that a substance may cause cancer:
- Clear evidence 2) Some evidence 3) Equivocal evidence 4) No evidence.
These studies were concluded by the NTP and external expert panel to have CLEAR EVIDENCE of RFR exposure causing cancerous heart tumors, and some evidence of tumors in the brain and adrenal glands of exposed male rats. For female rats and mice of both sexes the evidence was equivocal.
The team and external expert panel have agreed that the link between radio frequency radiation and tumors in animals is real, it was noted that the studies should not be directly compared to human experiences as the animals had whole body exposure whereas human exposure is specific to local tissues touching the devices, and exposure durations could be higher or lower depending on the person but are typically lower than that used in the study.
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