Major studies find possible phone-cancer link, but no cause for alarm.

Two comprehensive studies into putative links between mobile phone radiation and cancer, conducted by the United States National Toxicology Program (NTP), have found an increased incidence of a range of cancers in rats and mice.

The findings do not, however, mean you should ditch your phone.

The studies, released in draft form ahead of peer review in March, exposed rats and mice to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) – also used in radio and TV broadcasting, pagers and microwaves – at frequencies typically emitted by mobile phones.

The experiment’s other parameters were decidedly more punishing.

The critters were subject to whole body exposure for up to 18 hours a day – ten minutes on, ten minutes off – over two years, at dosages ranging from zilch for sham controls to 15 watts per kilogram of body weight.

By comparison, the Australian standard maximum RFR a user should absorb from a mobile handset, laid down by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, is two watts per kilo.

The researchers found exposed male mice had an increased incidence of rare skin cancers such as fibrosarcomas, as well as a “positive trend” in the rate of lung cancer. Neither finding, however, reached statistical significance. Exposed female mice had higher rates of the blood cancer lymphoma.

Over in the rat enclosures, dosed-up males had higher rates of a rare heart cancer called schwannoma. Exposed rats of both sexes were also found to have tumours of the brain, pituitary, liver, prostate, adrenal and pancreas – only the latter two at rates that were statistically significant.

The researchers were duly cautious in their conclusions, describing the evidence for carcinogenic activity of mobile phone radiation as ranging from “some”, in the case of schwannoma, to “equivocal” for skin, lung, liver, blood, brain and adrenal tumours.

So what does it mean for the dedicated user of wireless tech? Not enough, perhaps, to lever the device from their iron grip just yet.

Read the full article in Cosmos magazine here