Written By: Ryan McCaughey, PhD.

Exposure to cellphone radiofrequency (RF) radiation resulted in tumors in tissues surrounding nerves in the hearts of male rats, according to studies from the NIH National Toxicology Program (NTP). On February 2nd 2018, the NTP released draft technical reports from its 10-year, $25 million toxicological studies assessing the health effects from exposure to radiofrequency radiation in rats and mice.[i] The NTP will hold an external expert review of its complete findings from these rodent studies March 26-28.

The studies show an increase in the incidence of malignant schwannomas in the hearts of male rats as they were exposed to increasing levels of RF. It is possible the effect was only observed in male rats because they are larger and absorb more radiation than female rats or mice. Researchers also noted increases in an unusual pattern of cardiomyopathy, or damage to heart tissue, in exposed male and female rats.

Researchers also saw lower body weights among newborn rats and their mothers, especially when exposed to high levels of RF during pregnancy and lactation. A significant increase in DNA damage was observed in hippocampus cells (part of a brain responsible for memory formation and navigation) of male rats.

The reports also indicate statistically significant increases in the number of rats and mice with tumors found in other organs at one or more of the exposure levels studied, including the brain, prostate gland, pituitary gland, adrenal gland, liver, and pancreas. However, the researchers determined that these were “equivocal” findings, meaning it was unclear if any of these tumor increases were related to RF exposure.

"The levels and duration of exposure to RFR were much greater than what people experience with even the highest level of cell phone use, and exposed the rodents' whole bodies. So, these findings should not be directly extrapolated to human cell phone usage," said John Bucher, Ph.D., NTP senior scientist. "We note, however, that the tumors we saw in these studies are similar to tumors previously reported in some studies of frequent cell phone users."

Although the findings cannot be directly extrapolated to humans and not all observed effects could be conclusively linked to RF exposure, they do raise further concerns about exposure to cellphone radiation. If you are concerned about cellphone radiation the California Department of Public Health has issued guidelines on how to reduce your exposure.


[i] https://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsroom/releases/2018/february2/index.cfm