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U.S. Study Finds Cellular-Cancer Link In Rats

Partial findings from a two-year U.S. government study released yesterday found a link between exposure to cellphone radiation and two types of cancers in male rats, possibly adding new urgency to the debate over the potential for cellphone use to cause cancer.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP), a part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, said the findings “appear to support” the 2013 conclusion by the International Agency for Research on Cancer “regarding the possible carcinogenic potential” of cellphone radiation.

CTIA responds: For its part, trade association CTIA issued a statement Friday afternoon pointing out that multiple international and U.S. organizations — including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization, and American Cancer Society — have determined that the already existing body of peer-reviewed and published studies shows that there are no established health effects from radio frequency signals used in cellphones.”

That evidence includes federal brain-cancer statistics showing that since the introduction of cellphones in the U.S. in 1983, “the rate of brain cancer in the United States has remained stable, CTIA said.

The National Institute of Health also recently noted that “previous human, observational data collected in earlier, large-scale population-based studies have found limited evidence of an increased risk for developing cancer from cellphone use.”

Earlier this month, an Australian survey found no increase in brain-cancer rates since cellphones were introduced there almost 30 years ago.

NTP findings: The NTP study found elevated levels of brain and heart cancer in male rats, with female rates exhibiting lower rates of both types of cancers.

Male rats exposed to CDMA radiation showed “a statistically significant positive trend” in the incidence of glioma brain tumors, though a “a low incidence” of the tumor was seen in male rats exposed to GSM radiation.

Exposed female rats exposed to CDMA and GSM radiation exhibited fewer instances of the brain tumors than the male rates, although the report notes that female rats received lower doses of CDMA radiation than male rats.

As for heart tumors, the report said rare “cardiac schwannomas were observed in male rates” exposed to GSM and CDMA radiation at varying levels. Exposed female rats showed far fewer incidences of the tumor.

In an apparent incongruity, the study also found that the rats exposed to radiation survived longer after the two-year study compared to a control group.

Complete NTP results will be release by the fall of 2017.