Completely revised with additional information: November 30, 2019
All documents accessed November 30, 2019
U.S. Government Cell Phone Radiation Studies – Cancer & DNA Damage
National Toxicology Program: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
Cell Phone Radio Frequency Radiation
NTP conducted two-year toxicology studies in rats and mice to help clarify potential health hazards, including cancer risk, from exposure to RFR like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones which operate within a range of frequencies from about 700–2700 megahertz (MHz). These were published as Technical Reports in November 2018.
The NTP studies found that high exposure to RFR (900 MHz) used by cell phones was associated with:
- Clear evidence of tumors in the hearts of male rats. The tumors were malignant schwannomas.
- Some evidence of tumors in the brains of male rats. The tumors were malignant gliomas.
- Some evidence of tumors in the adrenal glands of male rats. The tumors were benign, malignant, or complex combined pheochromocytoma.
As a follow-up, NTP submitted a manuscript accepted for publication in October 2019 that evaluated DNA damage in three regions of the brain, the liver, and in blood cells in rats and mice that were removed at an earlier timepoint from the ongoing 2-year toxicology study. DNA damage, if not repaired, can potentially lead to tumors. . . .
NTP scientists found that RFR exposure was associated with an increase in DNA damage. Specifically, they found RFR exposure was linked with significant increases in DNA damage in:
- the frontal cortex of the brain in male mice,
- the blood cells of female mice, and
- the hippocampus of male rats.
What are NTP’s future plans for studying cell phone RFR and 5G wireless technology?
5G is the emergent technology that will eventually overtake the existing 2G, 3G, and 4G technology. In the meantime, people will continue to be exposed to RFR in the 700–2700 MHz range. As the 5G network is implemented, some of the signals used by the 5G network will use the same lower frequencies used by the older technology previously studied by NTP, but the 5G network will also use higher frequencies—up to 60,000 MHz—thereby exposing wireless users to a much broader spectrum of frequencies. The higher frequencies, known as millimeter waves, can rapidly transmit enormous amounts of data . . . Millimeter waves do not travel as far and do not penetrate the body as deeply as do the wavelengths from the lower frequencies. Millimeter waves are likely to penetrate no deeper than the skin, whereas the lower frequencies have been shown to penetrate at least three to four inches into the human body.
NTP is currently evaluating the existing literature on the higher frequencies intended for use in the 5G network and is working to better understand the biological basis for the cancer findings reported in earlier studies on RFR with 2G and 3G technologies. Additionally, work is ongoing to develop smaller RFR exposure chambers for additional short-term studies that will take weeks and months to complete rather than years. . . .
“NTP TECHNICAL REPORT ON THE TOXICOLOGY AND CARCINOGENESIS STUDIES IN Hsd:SPRAGUE DAWLEY SD RATS
EXPOSED TO WHOLE-BODY RADIO FREQUENCY RADIATION AT A FREQUENCY (900 MHz) AND MODULATIONS (GSM AND CDMA) USED BY CELL PHONES”
NATIONAL TOXICOLOGY PROGRAM P.O. Box 12233 Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
NTP TR 595
National Institutes of Health
Public Health Service
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Quoting from the conclusions on page 12 and 13 (or page 125):
Under the conditions of this 2-year whole-body exposure study, there was clear evidence of carcinogenic activity of GSM-modulated cell phone RFR at 900 MHz in male Hsd:Sprague Dawley SD rats based on the incidences of malignant schwannoma of the heart. The incidences of malignant glioma of the brain . . . were also related to RFR exposure. . . .
Increases in nonneoplastic lesions of the heart, brain, and prostate gland in male rats, and of the heart, thyroid gland, and adrenal gland in female rats occurred with exposures to GSM-modulated RFR at 900 MHz.
The conclusion for CDMA-Modulated RFR is almost the same as the above.
November 1, 2018 News Release:
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) concluded there is clear evidence that male rats exposed to high levels of radio frequency radiation (RFR) like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones developed cancerous heart tumors, according to final reports released today. . .
Document for the public: Cellphone Radio Frequency Radiation Studies
. . . 2G and 3G networks were standard when the studies were designed and are still used for phone calls and texting. . . . (p. 1)
. . . the studies question the long-held assumption that radio frequency radiation is of no concern as long as the energy level is low and does not significantly heat the tissues (p. 2).
The rats and mice were exposed to whole body RFR at frequencies of 900 and 1900 megahertz, respectively, from two technologies – Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) (p. 3)
NTP studies of RFR used in 2G and 3G cellphones do not apply to 4G or 5G technologies. These newer technologies use different methods of signal modulation than NTP used in the studies. The NTP studies also did not investigate frequencies and modulations used for Wi-Fi
Testing Status of Cell Phone Radiation: GSM 08013
Testing Status of Cell Phone Radiation: CDMA 08015
The FAQ at the bottom of the page: https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/whatwestudy/topics
/cellphones/index.html includes a discussion of 4G and 5G. There is no mention of any health research results yet on 4G and 5G. Just quoting a couple of points from it:
Current wireless communication networks like 4G still use 2G and 3G technologies for voice calls and texting . . .
. . . What is known regarding 5G, however, is that while continuing to be exposed to the current frequencies, wireless consumers will be exposed to the higher frequencies as well.