Australian news, and some related international items

Mixed messages in research results on health effects of mobile phone electromagnetic radiation

Cellphone radiation study finds mixed effects in rodents without clear implications for human health, WP,  February 2  2018

The long-awaited results of a $25 million National Institutes of Health study on the effects of cellphone radio frequency radiation exposure on animals is out, and the results are mixed. They showed a higher risk of tumors, DNA or tissue damage and lower body weight in some groups of rodents, but no obvious ill effect in others and no clear implications for human health.

John Bucher, a senior scientist involved in the 10-year study, was cautious in his interpretation of the results in a conference call with journalists on Friday. Given the inconsistent pattern of the findings, the fact that the subjects were rats and mice rather than people and the high level of radiation used, he said he could not extrapolate from the data to potential health effects on humans.

“At this point we don’t feel that we understand enough about the results to place a huge degree of confidence in the findings,” he said.

Bucher also said “I have not changed the way I use a cellphone, no.”

The study by the National Toxicology Program is believed to be the most comprehensive assessment of the health effects of such radiation on rats and mice and involved 3,000 test animals. A draft report was released on Friday for public comment and peer review, in advance of an external expert review on March 26-28. Among other things, reviewers will examine whether some of the results might be statistical noise.

The issue of cellphone radiation’s impact on human health is one that has been hotly debated for years. In 2010, the Federal Communications Commission came under fire after it dropped a long-standing recommendation that consumers buy phones with lower radiation emissions. In 2015, the city council in Berkeley, Calif., approved a disclosure ordinance that directed sellers to let buyers know of the risk of carrying devices too close to their bodies. The CTIA, which represents the wireless industry, has sued, saying the warnings are “ill-informed” and violates retailers’ First Amendment rights.

The strongest finding in the new study involved male rats — but not female rats or male or female mice — which developed tumors in the nerves surrounding their hearts. Researchers also saw increases in damage to heart tissue in both male and female rats. If these results are confirmed, Bucher said, they appear to suggest this type of radiation could be a “weak” carcinogen.

The male rat tumors were so-called malignant schwannomas. Based on limited research that shows a potentially elevated risk of schwannomas near the brain in people, the International Agency for Research on Cancer lists radio-frequency fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

The new NIH study showed tumors in rats and mice in other parts of the body — the brain, prostate, liver and pancreas — but the scientists said it was unclear if these were related to the radiation. …….


February 3, 2018 - Posted by | General News

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