Results of a new National Institute of Health (NIH) study has found ‘clear evidence’ that exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) from 2G and 3G mobile phones increases the risk of cancer in the heart, brain and adrenal gland.[i]
As Dr Bucher stated:
‘Cell phones utilise a specific type of radio waves, or radio frequency radiation (RFR), to transmit between the devices and the network’.
This was an animal based study, involving male and female rats and mice. The researchers observed the effect of lifetime exposure to RFR’s, transmitted by US cellular telephone networks, on the rodent subjects. Exposure was intermittent (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off) for 9 hours per day.
The highest levels of radiation recorded were 4 times higher than the permitted exposure limit. As such, the researchers concluded:
We believe that the link between radio frequency radiation and tumours in male rats is real, and the external experts agreed’.
When the study began, 2G was the industry standard of broadband cellular network at the time, though 3G technology was under development. In December of 2013, 4th generation (4G) cellular network was launched in the UK[ii] and 5G is likely to be released nationwide in 2019.[iii] This study did not, however, consider the risks of 4G and 5G technology.
Regardless, Dr Bucher highlighted that:
‘While newer technologies have continued to evolve, it is important to note that these technologies have not completely replaced the older technologies.
A potential limitation of the study is that the effect observed in rats may not be the same in humans:
‘The exposures used in the studies cannot be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience when using a cell phone. In our studies, rats and mice received radio frequency radiation across their whole bodies’.
Another limitation of the NIH investigation was that it did not necessarily imitate expected patterns of daily exposure in humans:
“The results of these studies remain relevant to current exposures, although the power levels of the exposures were much higher than typical patterns of human use. The lowest exposure level to radiation used in the studies was equal to the maximum amount phone users can be exposed to – levels that rarely occur with regular phone use’.
Future studies will use physical indicators, or biomarkers, to detect DNA damage in exposed tissues, which is a symptom of cancer prior to onset.
[i] Andrea Downey, ‘‘Clear evidence’ mobile phones ARE linked to cancer, landmark study finds’ (1 November 2018 The Sun) <https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7637375/mobile-phones-linked-cancer-latest-study/> accessed 6 November 2018.
[ii] Thomas Newton, ‘4G: When is it coming to the UK and how much will it cost?’ (29 August 2013 Recombu) <https://recombu.com/digital/article/4g-when-is-it-coming-to-the-uk-how-much-cost_m10820-html> accessed 6 November 2018.
[iii] Matt Reynolds, ‘What is 5G and when is it coming to the UK? WIRED explains’ (4 September 2018 Wired) <https://www.wired.co.uk/article/what-is-5g-launch-date-mobile-networks-uk> accessed 6 November 2018.