The National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Program (NTP) recently published two trials looking into the effects of cellphones on mice. While these tests aren’t conclusive, they do suggest heightened exposure to radiation could induce certain forms of cancer.
NTP researchers placed mice and rats in radiation chambers and observed them for two years. Some of these mice were only exposed to 900 MHz of radiation while others were in chambers that emitted 1900Mhz. The only frequencies used were 2G or 3G.
All of the mice in this study were exposed to these radiation waves for about nine hours per day. A few of the mice analyzed in this study were in the mother’s womb at the start of the test.
The major finding from these studies was that male mice exposed to 900MHz had a higher risk of a malignant form of cancer near the heart. While study authors also noted an increase in brain, skin, and lung cancers, this is only considered equivocal evidence at the moment.
Researchers also observed mice in radiation chambers seemed to have a higher risk of DNA damage or heart problems. However, researchers still couldn’t make a 1:1 comparison to radiation.
Strangely, male mice who were exposed to higher amounts of radiation had a heightened longevity. These male mice also had a lower risk of kidney disease compared with control male rats.
Most scientists aren’t swayed either way by these studies. Those that believe cellphones are bad say this study proves cellphones increase cancer risk, while skeptics believe there’s not enough data to support that claim.
One issue experts have with this study is that the researchers used radiation exposures far higher than the average human experiences in a day. Study authors admit to using between one and ten watts per kilogram in the mice’s chambers. The FCC, however, only allows cellphone manufacturers to make phones that emit 0.08 watts per kilogram.
The FDA said it won’t put out any public health warnings based on these latest findings. Executives from the FDA said they believed these studies didn’t show convincing enough evidence for an elevated risk of diseases due to cellphone radiation. It cost the FDA $25 million to fund these two long-term studies.
Members of the NTP have scheduled to have experts who didn’t contribute to this study review the data in March. The NTP also told reporters it was planning on testing mice in a 4G radiation chamber.