cellphones tumors

Evidence starting to mount about cellphones causing tumors

There has been plenty of “rumors” of cellphones and if they can cause tumors over the years, but scientists now think that they have found solid evidence which suggests there is a direct correlation.

A study conducted on rats by the National Toxicology Program has revealed that this form of radiation can increase the chances of a rare nerve tumor.

The results of the statistic could certainly be damming, with over 80% of the country who are over 13 said to have a smartphone. Not only that, but adults are estimated to spend almost three hours per day on their smartphone. This information was collected by comScore, which reviews data.

 

What did the study show?

The tumors that the rats started to develop go by the name of schwannomas. These are actually only prevalent in the heart of a male rat, and none were found in any female rats that were part of the study. Scientists believe that this is because male rats have larger bodies and as such, absorb more radiation.

On a more positive note, schwannomas are exceptionally rare when it comes to humans. In fact, in this study just 6% of rats got them, showing that again it was only a very small proportion.

Then, if we turn to something even more positive, it was found that radiation exposure seemingly prompted even more positive effects in rats. It was found that these rats lived longer, most probably because it manages to hinder a kidney disease which is commonly found in rats. Of course, these same benefits are never going to be experienced by humans.

 

How did the test unfold?

The importance of the test can be highlighted through the fact it cost around $25 million to deliver over a 10-year period.

The format used to administer the test was very similar to what has occurred before in other toxicology studies. Living things are exposed to increasing amounts of an agent, in this case radiation, to see if it has any biological effects and when these effects occur.

Over 3,000 rats, of both sexes, formed the study and were placed in chambers which were able to emit the same amounts of radiation which is present in a typical mobile phone. This exposure occurred before birth, and for as much as two years after they were born. To add some perspective, a 2-year-old rat is equivalent to a human who is 70-years-old.

 

Overall findings from the study

While there were some obviously biological effects from radiation on the rats, the study also prompted a lot of questions. This is the reason the bulk of the results are going to be analyzed by experts in March 2018. From this point on, the FDA will be consulted to calculate the impact that cell phone radiation has on the general public.

Something that is quite interesting is that the lead researcher, John Bucher, said that he hasn’t changed his cell phone habits following the results. He is still under the belief that radiofrequency radiation is a weak carcinogen, before going on to question whether it was a carcinogen at all.

At the same time, other studies have suggested that DNA will be damaged after it has been subjected to excessive cellphone radiation. It’s for this reason that a lot of scientists still exercise immense caution with cellphones; suggesting to people that they should at least try to be a little distant from them so they can reduce their exposure.

Not only this, but those people that carry it next to their body should make sure it is in airplane mode to reduce the radiation effect. Then, when it comes to children, their exposure to cell phones should be lowered as their growing tissues can be more susceptible to this type of damage.

A final word of warning from other tissues related to moments where weak signal is prevalent. This is when your phone works extra hard to attempt to boost the signal, and the result is more radiation being emitted.

Following on from the above, there are certainly a lot of questions left about cell phones and their effect on tumors, but if all of the evidence is collated it becomes clear that they certainly don’t cause anything positive to the human body.

About Dr Adam Blackwell

Adam Blackwell M.D. Author and Associate Professor of Medicine at NYU.
Dr Adam writes regularly for NBC med.