Triggering the debate of cellphone radiation and cancer, a new study from The National Toxicology Program (part of the National Institutes of Health) claims that cellphones might cause cancer. The ongoing study conducted on rats and mice says that the constant exposing of heavy dose of certain types of cellphone radiation develop brain and heart tumours.
Interestingly, male rats are said to be effected faster than the female rats. Also, the rats that developed tumors lived longer than rats not exposed to the radiation.
Although the result analysis is still going on, the research center released the initial findings. "We felt it was important to get that word out," said John Bucher, associate director of the program. "Overall, we feel that the tumors are likely to be related to the exposures." reports NBC News .
The study is yet to prove that human beings are at risk. The study also does not hint if using a headset or keep the phone away from the head and body can make a difference.
"The findings are unexpected; we wouldn't reasonably expect non-ionizing radiation to cause these tumors," commented Dr.Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.
"This is a striking example of why serious study is so important in evaluating cancer risk. It's interesting to note that early studies on the link between lung cancer and smoking had similar resistance, since theoretical arguments at the time suggested that there could not be a link."
According to the American Cancer Society, brain tumors are rare. About 23,770 malignant tumors of the brain or spinal cord will be diagnosed this year and 16,000 people will die from them. There has not been an increase in rates since the 1990s, when cellphones started to be used.
"It is very reassuring in fact that there has been no dramatic increase. It may well be that current cellphone use is safe," Bucher said. Bucher said he has not changed his own cellphone habits because of the findings.
For the experiment, a contract lab in Chicago generated cellphone signals, both in the GSM and CDMA radio systems — two major systems used by cellphone providers. They directed the signals into cages with pregnant rats, and then kept the signals focused on the rat pups for 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off, nine hours a day, as they grew for two years. So called control rats were raised nearby without radiation exposure.
There was little effect on the newborn rats, except the pups appeared to be very slightly lighter when the mothers were exposed to the signals. The radiation-exposed rats lived slightly longer than the control rats.
"A low incidence of malignant gliomas" was seen in male rats exposed to the GSM signals. Gliomas are a type of brain tumor. There was also evidence of pre-cancerous changes in brain cells called hyperplasia.
"Cardiac schwannomas were observed in male rats in all exposed groups of both GSM- and CDMA-modulated RFR, while none were observed in controls," the team added. That's a type of heart tumor.
"No biologically significant effects were observed in the brain or heart of female rats," they added.
The findings are strong enough to suggest that the radiation exposure caused the tumors in the males, the team concluded. The full report is due out next year.