Do cell phones cause cancer? New study sheds light on lingering question.

For years, conflicting studies on the question of whether cell phone use can cause cancer have left mobile phone users without a clear answer. On Thursday, another study – an extensive one on the effect of cell phone radiation on rats – was released that may offer more insight into possible health risks associated with the devices.

The two-and-a-half-year study by The National Toxicology Program looked at changes in a rat's body when it is exposed to the radiation a cell phone produces.  The results point to a link between cellphone use and an increase in tumors of the bran and heart.

The study also leaves some questions unanswered – the research was conducted on rats and mice, not humans. However, the findings point to some concerns for the 90 percent of Americans who use cell phones every day. 

How worried should you be about your cell phone use?

Here are a few takeaways from the study.

How was it done?

The study involved exposing rats for nine hours a day, every day, to the typical radio frequencies used in cell phone calls. The rats were exposed beginning when they were in the womb and continuing through their lives. More than 2,500 rats were used in the study. 

Why did they do it?

According to NTP researchers, the study was launched, in part, because of other conflicting studies that showed a link between cell phone use and tumors of the brain. The report released Thursday is only part of the study’s findings. Two more reports, including their findings on studies involving mice, will be released later.

What did the study find?

The study shows that rats continually exposed to the kind of radiation a cell phone emits had low incidences of malignant tumors in the brain (gliomas) and the heart (schwannomas).

It also showed:

  • Female rats developed fewer tumors.
  • The more intense the radiation, the more incidences of cancer. The amount tested on rats at the highest level was five to seven times as much radiation as a human typically is exposed to while using a phone.
  • Rats that received no radiation did not develop the tumors.
  • And odd finding in the study was that rats who weren’t exposed to high levels of radiation had a lower survival rate than did the rats exposed to the radiation.

Main takeaway from the study

In short, researchers believe there is a link between cell phone use and some cancers, but the risk seems to be a low  one. Should you stop using your cell phone? No. Should you use it less frequently? Probably. Should you carry it on your person? Probably not. Put it in your purse or on the table or car seat next to you. More research will be done as to the effects of cell phone use on humans.

Where can I see the study?

Click here to view the study.  

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