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Cancer and Cell Phone Debate Continues with Rat Study

Jun 1, 2016

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) released findings in a recent report that could rekindle the debate regarding safety of the use of cell phones. Small increases in rare cancers in the brains and hearts of male rats exposed to high doses of nearly constant radiation from cell phones were found compared to rats that were not exposed. Exposed female rats had no increase in cancer, reports USA TODAY.

The rats were exposed to "whole body" cell phone radiation for nine hours a day for two years. Approximately 2 percent of exposed rats - 11 out of 540 - developed malignant gliomas, a type of brain tumor. About 3.5 percent of exposed rats - 19 out of 540 - developed a type of tumor, schwannoma in the heart. Schwannomas can develop in the acoustic nerve, as well, which has to do with hearing, according to USA TODAY.

The ongoing concern that cell phones may cause brain tumors due to low-frequency radiation has been debated since cell phones are normally held near the side of the head. In 2011, the International Agency for Research on cancer, a subsidiary of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified cell phone use "as a possible carcinogen," USA TODAY reports.

"Given the widespread global usage of mobile connections among users of all ages, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) could have broad implications for public health," says the Report of Partial Findings from the National Toxicology Program.

The report released by the NTP even had its officials, who conducted the research, acknowledging that further studies were warranted to provide the clear answers many seek, USA TODAY reports.

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