In 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified cellphones as a Group 2B “possible carcinogen,”1 and the evidence supporting the theory that electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from cellphones can trigger abnormal cell growth and cancer2,3 just keeps growing and getting stronger.
In February, the findings of two government-funded animal studies4 were published. Curiously enough, the published interpretation of this $25 million research (conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), an interagency research program currently under the auspices of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) significantly downplays the actual findings of the studies.
Cellphone Radiation Linked to Brain and Heart Tumors
The NTP research includes two studies: one on mice and one on rats. Male rats were more likely to develop heart tumors, while female rats and newborns exposed to high levels of radiation during pregnancy and lactation were more likely to have low body weight. DNA damage and damage to heart tissue were also observed in both male and female rats, but not mice. Other types of tumors did occur in both types of animals, though, including brain, prostate, liver and pancreatic tumors.
According to the researchers, if these results can be confirmed, then cellphone radiation may indeed be a “weak” carcinogen. As you’ll see below, that confirmation was delivered last month, in the form of published research by the Ramazzini Institute.
The animals in the NTP studies were exposed to cellphone radiation for nine hours a day for two years (basically the full life span of a rat). As noted by The New York Times,5 the heart tumors (malignant schwannomas) found in male rats are “similar to acoustic neuromas, a benign tumor in people involving the nerve that connects the ear to the brain, which some studies have linked to cellphone use.”
The scientists also expressed surprise at the finding of DNA damage, as the conventional belief is that nonionizing radiofrequency radiation cannot harm DNA. “We don’t feel like we understand enough about the results to be able to place a huge degree of confidence in the findings,” John Bucher, Ph.D.,6 senior scientist at the NTP told reporters. Such statements fly in the face of warnings issued by NTP researchers two years ago.
NTP Whitewashed Its Conclusions
Partial results from these studies were initially released in 2016 because they were deemed too serious to hold back. After all, the health of hundreds of millions of Americans, let along billions of users worldwide, is at stake. At the time, Christopher Portier, Ph.D., retired head of the NTP who was involved in the launch of the study, insisted the findings showed clear causation. “I would call it a causative study, absolutely,” he told Scientific American.7 “They controlled everything in the study.”
David McCormick, Ph.D., director of the Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute where the study was conducted, was equally clear, telling reporters,8 “What we are saying here is that based on the animal studies, there is a possible risk cellphone RF [radio frequency] is potentially carcinogenic in humans. These are uncommon lesions in rodents, so it is our conclusion that they are exposure related.”
As noted by Microwave News,9 while some of the pathology data was updated since the initial release in 2016, the changes are minor. The interpretation, however, changed dramatically. Now, even though the findings are identical, the NTP insists it’s “not a high-risk situation” and that the risk to human health is negligible.
Microwave News lists a number of possible political reasons for the sudden turnaround, including new NTP leadership, the current White House administration’s disdain for science that threatens big business, and the overarching power of the major telecommunications players of today: Apple, Google and Microsoft. There’s no doubt there are incredible amounts of money at stake.