Cellphone emissions promote long life... maybe

February 14, 2018 | 01:10
Cellphone emissions promote long life... maybe
Cellphone emissions promote long life... maybe
According to the US National Toxicology Program, radiation emitted by cellphones is safe for humans, according to recent studies in rats and mice.

Over the past two decades, hundreds of studies (of varying quality) have been commissioned to ascertain the health implications of cell phone usage. After some initial scares everything went quiet and so far no scandals have been uncovered. The official line seems to be: much ado about nothing. This was also the findings of a recent study involving some rodents…

Over the test period of two years (almost the complete life expectancy for these creatures) the rodents were continually exposed for nine hours a day to electromagnetic radiation for periods of ten minutes on followed by ten minutes off. Rats were exposed to an RF field strength of 1.5 to 6 W/kg body weight. This equates well to the 1.5 W/kg body weight (peak) power to which people are exposed when using a mobile phone. In mice, the dose was upped to 2.5 to 10 W/kg.

The results were somewhat inconsistent. In mice, irrespective of the dose, no harmful effects were observed compared to the control group. In rats abnormalities such as cardiomyopathy were however observed indicating that radio frequency radiation may have a negative effect on cardiac muscle tissue. In addition, male rats more frequently developed tumors in the damaged heart nerve tissue compared with those in the control group. Female rats irradiated during pregnancy produced offspring with a lower birth weight, but who went on to recover during a period of normal development.

Based on these results and from many other similar studies, the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) have a high level of confidence that cell phone radio emissions do not pose a danger to public health. One surprising outcome of the study was that the irradiated rats lived longer than those in the control group. Overall, the jury is still out on that one, it could be down to random effects of this one trial, further studies are needed to identify any trend. Results indicate that mobile phone emissions are not necessarily harmful as any link to cancer was mostly equivocal or ambiguous but as the old maxim goes ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’.

The trials were carried out using electromagnetic field patterns corresponding to those produced by 2G and 3G cell phone networks, data traffic therefore comprised of digitized voice and text messages. 4G and 5G networks used by more recent and future smartphones employ a higher frequency band (up to 40 GHz) so the trial results will not be applicable. Research into the topic is ongoing albeit rather slowly.
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