Is using cellphones harmful to your health?
More than a decade ago, the US government launched a study to help answer this question, and the initial findings were released last week even before the entire research has been completed.
The study found “low incidences” of two types of tumors—one in the brain and one in the heart—in male rats that were exposed to the kinds of low-level radio waves emitted by cellphones, the Wall Street Journal reports.
However, scientists caution that it’s still too early to draw sweeping conclusions about whether cellphones cause cancer.
They cite some unusual findings in the research.
For example, tumors weren’t observed in female rats exposed during the tests.
Also, rats that were exposed to radio-frequency energy lived longer than the control group, which had no exposure.
“There is a long way to go from the findings reported here … and a finding that radio-frequency [electromagnetic radiation] is a human carcinogen,” said Jonathan Samet, a professor at University of Southern California who was chairman of the World Health Organization committee that in 2011 determined cellphones were possibly carcinogenic.
The report was released late Thursday night after some of the study’s conclusions began to leak to the media.
Michael Lauer, deputy director for extramural research at the National Institutes of Health, whose review of the results were included with the 74-page document, said he couldn’t support the study’s conclusions.
“The higher survival with [radio-frequency radiation], along with the prior epidemiological literature, leaves me even more skeptical of the authors’ claims,” he wrote.
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