Two new US studies have investigated the effects of cell phone radiation on the health of rodents and found high exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR):

  • resulted in tumours in tissue around the nerves in the hearts of male rats;
  • but not of female rats or male or female mice.

The two studies were conducted by the US National Toxicology Program and senior scientist Dr John Bucher emphasised: ‘The levels and duration of exposure were much greater than people experience with even the highest level of cell phone use, and the rodents’ whole bodies were exposed.’

The NTP researchers constructed special chambers, in which they exposed the rats and mice to different levels of RFR – in a pattern of 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off, for over nine hours per day for two years.

Dr Bucher explained two years of age in a rat or mouse is about 70 years in a human and the RFR exposure levels ranged from ‘around the maximum legally allowed for cell phones in the US to around four times that level’; with the same ‘frequencies and modulations’ used to make voice calls and send texts in the US.

The tumors NTP researchers found in the hearts of male rats are called schwannoma, which develop from the Schwann cells that form the protective and supportive tissue that surrounds peripheral nerves. This type of tumour is rarely cancerous. The incidence of schwannomas went up as the animals were exposed to RFR levels ‘beyond the allowable cell phone emissions.’

However, they found little evidence of health problems resulting from RFR exposure in mice.

Dr Otis Brawley from the American Cancer Society told that while the preliminary results are ‘bound to create a lot of concern, the evidence for an association between cell phones and cancer is weak, and so far, we have not seen a higher cancer risk in people.

‘But if you’re concerned about this animal data, wear an earpiece.’

And in response to questions at a recent press conference, Dr Bucher said the new data has not altered his own use of cell phones, and he has not advised his family to change their use of them either.

Sources: US National Toxicology Program and