Clear Evidence of Carcinogenicity
“Given the widespread global usage of mobile communications among users of all ages, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to [radio-frequency radiation] could have broad implications for public health.” NTP Report on Cell Phones and Carcinogenicity 2016
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) Chronic Carcinogenicity Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation are the most comprehensive, carefully done research performed to date on the long term effects of radio frequency radiation from wireless devices such as cell phones. This 10 year $25 million dollar study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences was completed and peer reviewed March 26-28, 2018 in North Carolina. The animal research looked at long term non-thermal exposure to radio frequency (RF) cell phone radiation. The series of studies demonstrated positive findings (adverse effects) as follows:
- An increase in tumors of the heart (schwannomas), brain (malignant gliomas) and adrenal gland (pheochromocytomas)
- Increases in other organ tumors compared to controls (not statistically significant but noteworthy) for pancreas, prostate, pituitary, liver and lung
- DNA damage in rodents
- Cardiomyopathy similar to aging
- Adverse perinatal effects in some groups
Many Organ Systems Were Involved
There were increases in tumors in several other organs, including pituitary gland, thyroid, pancreas, skin and liver compared to controls. In some groups no tumors were seen in the sham control animals (malignant schwannomas of the heart, glial cell hyperplasia of the brain, malignant gliomas of the brain, hepatocellular adenomas or carcinomas in male rats) and in others the sham controls had lower incidences of cancer than historical controls. Although increases in tumor development in other organs were not always “statistically significant”, for the pancreas there was a significantly increased incidence of adenoma or carcinoma (combined) in pancreatic islets in the lowest exposure group, 1.5 W/kg SAR GSM in male rats. (Current SAR limit is 1.6 W/kg for cell phone exposure) There were also “significantly increased incidences of benign, malignant or complex pheochromocytoma (combined) in the adrenal medulla of the 1.5 and 3 W/kg GSM male rats and 1.5 W/kg CDMA female rats.” The full report is here https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/about_ntp/trpanel/2018/march/tr595peerdraft.pdf
The Ramazzini Study
This longitudinal NTP data supports 2 other scientific studies. One recent study by the famed Italian Ramazinni Institute, also looked at long term exposure to RF wireless radiation. The study, the largest of it’s kind, released March 2018 was a life-span study of far field exposure to cell phone base stations but at much lower radiation levels than even the NTP study. Despite less exposure, similar results to the NTP were found, with an increase in heart and brain tumors. The authors noted that these were the same types of tumors seen in some human epidemiological studies, which showed an increase in brain tumors with long term cell phone use over 10 years. In addition, they note that although a small increase in the incidence of tumors was induced by the exposure to RFR, this would have a substantial impact on public health due to the widespread use of cell phones and wireless devices.
The Chou Study
The results of a 5 year and $5 million Air Force study on long term exposure to non-ionizing radiation and cancer were published in 1992. This research, by Chou et al, used 200 rats exposing them to either no radiation or to low level radiofrequency radiation for 26 months until natural death. They found a statistically significant increase of primary malignancies in exposed rats versus controls which they found to be “a provocative finding”. They were exposed to 2,450-MHz (2.45GHz) pulsed microwaves (similar to 2.4 GHz signals used in current Wi-Fi and Wireless devices) at an average whole body SAR that ranged from 0.4 W/kg for a 200-g rat to 0.15 W/kg. In contrast the NTP study used 1.5 to 6.0 SAR. The 1.5 SAR is the current upper limit of safety for near exposure. All of these studies were at non-thermal levels. Chou et al commented; “The positive findings need independent experimental evaluation.”
A Confluence of Research Points to Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation as an Environmental Toxin
The NTP research, combined with basic cellular science, epidemiological research, prospective studies and other longitudinal studies showing adverse biological effects from radiofrequency radiation (RFR), strongly indicates that our current safety guidelines urgently need reevaluation to protect public health. It is notable that Dr. De-Kun Li’s 2018 prospective study of over 900 pregnant women showed a 3 fold increase in miscarriage rates with higher levels of everyday RFR exposure. Most people in urban areas have near constant exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) with Wi-Fi systems in the home, in schools, at work and through close proximity to cell phones, Wi-Fi routers, cordless phones, Smart Meters and cell towers. This non-ionizing radiofrequency radiation passes through the body and is absorbed in all organ systems. The NTP study now clearly shows that internal organs are variably targets of this manmade RFR and this exposure is harmful on a long term basis. Combining and reexamining this scientific information is critical and will have far reaching implications for the development and expansion of future wireless systems and cell tower placement.
NTP Results Released in 2016 and 2018
Partial results on rat studies were released in May 2016 while the final results discussing effects on mice were released February 2018. Technical report abstracts can be found here TR-595 (Rat) and TR-596 (Mice).
Actions From Peer Review Meeting 2018: A Peer Review meeting by an expert panel of the NTP Draft Technical Reports was held March 26-28, 2018 at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Actions from the Peer Review are listed here. Other NTP Meeting details and webcast links are here. Below are some discussions of the science and results.
Final National Toxicology (NTP) Report 2018
The final NTP report was released February 2, 2108. NTP Study Full Report Feb 2, 2018. Although some news media headlines stated the results were not conclusive, the conclusions of the scientists who conducted and reviewed the results were that whole body non-ionizing radiation from cell phone radiation caused:
- An increase in gliomas of the brain and schwannomas of the heart
- An increase of tumors in other organs (adrenal, prostate, pancreas, pituitary, lung and liver)
- An increase in glial cell hyperplasia of the brain (which is considered a precursor to malignant glioma in the exposed group) (10-13) No glial cell hyperplasia was seen in the unexposed control groups indicating causation of lesions from RF Radiation.
- DNA Damage from cell phone radiation in both rats and mice. The rat study data was reported at a Sept 9, 2017 annual meeting of the Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomic Society, held in Raleigh, North Carolina. Abstract Genotoxicity of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation
- Unusual aging cardiomyopathy in male and female rats
- Consistent perinatal effects in rats with lower pup body weights and lower pup survival rates.
EH Trust Research Presentation on Partial Results. Dr. Linda Birnbaum, Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences presented the Partial Results of NTP Chronic Carcinogenicity Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation in Rats on Jan 24, 2017 in Jerusalem, Israel at a meeting sponsored by the Environmental Health Trust. Dr. Birnbaum-NTP Study Partial Results Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation- The Environmental Health Trust NTP Information page is here.
Dr. Joel Moskowitz reported on the NTP studies here. He also examined the 2018 study from the Ramazzini Institute on whole body exposure of radio frequency radiation on rodents revealing that RFR caused a significant increase in malignant schwannomas of the heart in rats exposed to to 1.8 GHz cell phone radiation for 19 hours per day from prenatal life until natural death. The rat exposures were much lower than the NTP study. Dr. Moskowitz notes “The SAR values in this study ranged from 0.001 W/kg to 0.1 W/kg as compared to 1.5 to 6.0 W/kg in the NTP study.” These studies along with many other research studies in the literature indicate that long term exposure to low-level, non-thermal non-ionizing radiation from wireless devises causes and/or contributes to cancer and DNA damage in animals. Considering the many human studies on mutagenic effects of non-ionizing radio frequency radiation, this could translate in to a carcinogenic effect in humans.
Determining the Evidence
NTP Peer Review Meeting Conclusions from March 26-28, 2018
An NTP peer review meeting was held in North Carolina March 26-28, 2018. The scientists voted on the results. Video of the meeting can found here. The conclusions of the NTP Technical Report Peer Review on Cell Phone Radiation Frequency are here.
5 Categories of Evidence
According to the NTP 5 categories are used to describe the results; *Clear evidence and *some evidence indicate a positive result, *equivocal evidence indicates uncertain findings, *no evidence indicates no observable effects and *inadequate study indicates major flaws.
- Clear evidence of carcinogenic activity in malignant Schwannoma of the heart
- Some evidence of carcinogenic activity malignant glioma in the brain
- Some evidence of pheochromocytoma (benign, malignant, or complex combined) in the adrenal medulla.
- A significant increase in incidence of adenoma or carcinoma (combined) in pancreatic islets in 1.5 W/kg GSM male rats.
- Equivocal evidence of adenoma or carcinoma (combined) in the prostate gland.
- Equivocal evidence of adenoma in the pars distalis of the pituitary gland.
- Equivocal evidence pheochromocytoma (benign, malignant, or complex combined) in the adrenal medulla.
- Increases in nonneoplastic lesions of the heart, brain, and prostate gland occurred in males exposed
- Increases in nonneoplastic lesions of the brain in females
- Consistent perinatal effects were observed between modulations, and in both the 28-day and 2-year studies, including lower dam body weights in late gestation and lactation, lower pup body weights and lower pup survival rates.
- Increased incidences of right ventricular cardiomyopathy in the heart of male rats
- Increased DNA damage was identified in the hippocampus of males
- Significant increases in DNA damage were observed in cells of the frontal cortex of male mice
- Equivocal evidence of fibrosarcoma, sarcoma, or malignant fibrous histiocytoma in the skin, however, the combined incidences of fibrosarcoma, sarcoma, or malignant fibrous histiocytoma of the skin were increased in 5 and 10 W/kg males, which exceeded the overall historical control ranges for malignant fibrous histiocytoma.
- Equivocal evidence of alveolar/bronchiolar adenoma or carcinoma (combined) in the lung.
- Equivocal evidence of hepatoblastoma in the liver with a significantly increased incidence of hepatoblastoma in 5 W/kg males
- Equivocal evidence of malignant lymphoma (all organs), however, all exposed groups of females had increased incidences of malignant lymphoma and the incidences in the 2.5 and 5 W/kg groups were significantly increased. The sham control group had a low incidence of malignant lymphoma compared to the range seen in historical controls.
Letters From Physicians and Scientists Regarding the Final NTP Report
Several researchers and physicians commented on the results of the NTP study. Some of these comments are listed below. Draft Reports, Public comments and Related Information: TR Peer Review Panel are found here.
Dr. Lennart Hardell, Oncologist, Sweden:
Hardell Comments-on-NTP-study March 12, 2018. Dr. Hardell notes in his letter that the results showing an increase in schwannomas and gliomas are of increased concern as it corroborates carefully done epidemiological studies on cell phone use and brain cancer which revealed an increase of similar brain tumors in humans with long term use of cell phones on the ipsilateral (same) side of the head. In the final NTP study researchers also found an increase in malignant lymphomas of all exposed groups compared to controls. Dr. Hardell also notes an increase in thyroid cancers worldwide as well and discussing why the location of cell antennas on phones could account for this increase.
Dr. Ronald Melnick, toxicologist:
Dr. Melnick NTP comments Dr. Melnick worked for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) for over 28 years studying a number of toxic agents and led the design of the rodent NTP study on cell phones and cancer.
Dr. Melnick thoughtfully reviewed the data and NTP interpretations making some important points 1) Their review of previous toxicity and carcinogenicity studies are based almost exclusively on the IARC 2013 monograph on RFR and ignore important research since then that indicates “health effects and cellular/molecular alterations induced by RFR.” 2) The study shows that non-ionizing radiation causes a toxic effect on cells that is not thermal and thus argues against claims by physicists and engineers that non thermal cell phone radiation cannot cause harm. 3) Cardiomyopathy was seen in 2 male rats in the 3W/kg and in 15 rats in the 6W/kg CDMA group indicating that this is a major adverse effect of RFR. 4) The control rats had significantly reduced incidence of neoplasia compared to historical controls as they were housed in “uniquely designed reverberation chambers were fully shielded from external electromagnetic fields.” This may be one of the most significant findings indicating a carcinogenic effect of RFR. 5) Combining glial cell hyperplasia (premalignant) and gliomas as well as combining schwannomas and Schwann cell hyperplasia (premalignant) in the analysis gives increased significance to the data and should be part of the analysis. 6) The incidence of prostate epithelial hyperplasia was increased in all exposure groups indicating the prostate gland should be specified as a target organ for RFR. 7) In the lung there was a significant positive trend with increasing SAR for alveolar and bronchial adenomas or carcinomas.
Dr. Joel Moskowitz, researcher and professor UC Berkeley:
Dr. Moskowitz NTP comments Dr. Moskowitz has stated that he feels the NTP and FDA are downplaying the study results. He carefully analyzed the data and found that; “Overall, 5.5%, or 30 of 540 male rats, exposed to cell phone radiation developed heart or brain cancer as compared to 0% of 90 unexposed male rats (p = .027).” When taking into account that precancerous lesions lead to neoplasia he added these and determined “overall 8.5%, or 46 of 540 male rats exposed to cell phone radiation developed either heart or brain cancer or pre-cancerous cells as compared to 0% of 90 unexposed male rats (p = .002).” When he looked at the lowest exposure group (1.5W/kg) he found “6.7%, or 12 of 180 male rats, developed heart or brain cancer or pre-cancerous cells. Whereas, in the highest exposure group (6 W/kg), fully 13.3%, or 24 of 180 male rats, developed cancer or pre-cancerous cells as compared to 0% in the 90 unexposed male rats.” Dr. Moskowitz concludes “The NTP and the other animal studies are the missing links. These studies prove that long-term exposure to low intensity, non-thermal levels of microwave radiation can cause DNA damage and cancer in an animal model. To date, many hundreds of studies have found increased oxidative stress (including stress proteins, free radicals and DNA damage) from exposure to low intensity microwave radiation.” He also notes that many scientists are calling for a reclassification of radiaofrequency radiation asking that this be upgraded from a Group 2B possible carcinogen to a 2A Probable Carcinogen or a Group 1 Known Carcinogen.
Dr. Ronald N. Kostoff, scientist and engineer:
Dr. Ronald N. Kostoff comments NTP Study. Dr. Kostoff notes that the NTP study showed some increase in cancer but the seriousness of the results “does not convey to the reader.” Dr. Kostoff believes it should be considered the tip of the iceberg with regards to the potential of RFR to damage health. The NTP study was done with rats with only one toxic exposure not the combination of toxic stimuli we are exposed to in real life. He states, “If one of the main functions of RFR exposure is that of promoter, or enabler, or accelerator, then concurrent exposures to other toxic stimuli are required to show the extent of damage possible from RFR. If future experiments include other frequencies and signal structures, other rodent species, and, most importantly, other potentially toxic stimuli in combination with the RFR, I would expect the damage observed to skyrocket!”
Dr. Olga Naidenko, Senior Scientist, Environmental Working Group:
Dr. Naidenko notes that 1) The NTP data are relevant for assessing human health risks from wireless devices as the exposure modulation and levels were carefully set up by It’ Is Foundation to mimic a cell phone user’s exposure in the environment and “local exposures were higher than the typical human exposure, yet the overall exposure remained within normal levels.” 2) The NTP data confirms earlier evidence about cancer risks of cellphone radiation 3) The NTP study results are especially relevant for children’s health .” As EWG, Environmental Health Trust,7 and other organizations and expert groups have reported, exposure studies show that the head and brain of a small child absorb significantly more radiation than those of an adult. This means that the health effects associated with exposure to cellphone radiation would likely be more pronounced for those who started using phones at a young age and will likely continue using them for a lifetime.”
Other NTP Comments March 12, 2018
Environmental Health Trust: EH Trust NTP Comments
Dr. Anne Sasco, former Unit Chief at IARC-WHO: Dr. Sasco NTP Comments
Dr. Cindy Russell: Dr. Russell NTP Comments
Devra Davis, Phd, Founder and Director of Environmental Health Trust and Former Advisor for the NIEHS: NTP Technical Report comments, March 26, 2018, North Carolina.
Dr. Devra Davis notes that the NTP study is a 2 year study and not a lifetime study, effectively ending at an equivalent age of 60 for humans, when most cancers occur. She also suggests that the NTP researchers combine data for hyperplastic lesions (precursors of cancer) with cardiac tumors and schwannomas, revealing a much more robust, realistic and statistically significant increase in tumor formation. She ends her talk holding up a commercially available baby teether cellphone case with multiple apps and advising stronger relation and recommendations for children use of cell phones.
Theodora Scarato, Director of Environmental Health Trust Programs, NTP Technical Report comments, March 26, 2018, North Carolina.
Ms. Scarato provides important comments regarding the technical report at the North Carolina peer review meeting, March 26, 2018. She points out critical research that supports the NTP report which needs to be included in the final report and also underscores that the data on DNA damage was left out of the full report. Ms Scarato also points out that the FCC standard levels are maximal permissible levels, not safety guidelines, as proper safety studies have not been done for long term exposure. She highlights that the current FCC guidelines are not protective of human health.
NTP Results: Questions
What about 3G,4G and 5G wireless systems? GSM and CDMA, which were the sources of RF radiation used in the study, are 2 variants of second generation (2G) cellular communication technology. GSM (Global Systems for Mobile) is used by AT & T and T-Mobile and most of the world. CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) is owned by Qualcomm and is used by Sprint, Verizon, US Cellular. We are now exposed to an increased mix of 2G, 3G and 4G radiation frequencies globally. 5G technology is now being promoted to power the Internet of Things. We do not have an NTP study for these other frequencies indicating a huge data gap and need for precaution.
Questions on NTP Study on Cellphone Radiation and Cancer Presentation June 2016
Issue: Controls in all groups had no cancer
Response: This could indicate that protection from exposure to cell phone wireless radiation protects from cancer promotion as the rate of tumors inrodent historical controls are at 2%.
Issue: Female rodents did not develop brain tumors.
Response: There are typically gender differences in rodent studies and it appears through studies that the female brain proves neuroprotection. Gender Differences in Chemical Carcinogenesis in National Toxicology Program 2-Year Bioassays. Sandeep Kadekar. Toxicologic Pathology. May 14, 2012. Gender Differences in Carcinogenic Studies
Interactions of estrogens and insulin-like growth factor-I in the brain: implications for neuroprotection.Cardona-Gomez. Brain Research. 2001. Estrogen as Neuroprotectant
Issue: Should we have a higher level of concern due to the addition of hyperplastic brain lesions in addition to the malignant brain tumors?
Response: The separate glial cell hyperplastic lesions seen in the exposed group are likely to turn into malignant glioma according to Dr. Wyde, the presenter. They have the same pathology but hyperplastic lesions are smaller in size. Many think the hyperplastic brain lesions need to be added to the malignant brain tumors when evaluating the statistics on brain tumor incidence. Brain tumor results starts at 25:09. Heart Schwannoma results start at 27:09to 28:50. 2016 NTP cell phones and cancer presentation of results
Dr. Wyde, Cell Phone Radiation Cancer Study US NTP presentation
Dr Wyde presents results of the rat studies from the U.S. NTP research on cell phones and cancer. June 2016.
2016 National Toxicology Program NIEHS 10 Year Study on the long term effects of cell phone radiation and cancer.
1) Report of Partial Findings from the National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation in Hsd: Sprague Dawley SD Rats (Whole Body Exposure). May 26, 2016. http://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/06/23/055699
2) NTP Toxicology and Carcinogenicity Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation-Slide Presentation. Michael Wyde, PhD, DABT. National Toxicology Program. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. June 8, 2016 https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/research/areas/cellphone/slides_bioem_wyde.pdf
3) National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation. May 2016. https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/results/areas/cellphones/
4) Major Cell Phone Radiation Study Reignites Cancer Questions. Scientific America. May 2016. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/major-cell-phone-radiation-study-reignites-cancer-questions/
5) Cellphone-Cancer Link Found in Government Study. http://www.wsj.com/articles/cellphone-cancer-link-found-in-government-study-1464324146
6) The NIEHS/NTP Cell Phone Radiation Study: Ronald Melnick PhD Full Interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46TbbcpVfjA
7) National Toxicology Program:Cell Phones. https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/results/areas/cellphones/
8) TR-595: 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. Feb, 2018 https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/results/pubs/longterm/reports/longterm/tr500580/listedreports/tr595/index.html
9) TR-596: Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies In B6C3F1/N Mice Exposed to Whole-Body Radio Frequency Radiation at a Frequency (1,900 MHz) and Modulations (GSM and CDMA) Used by Cell Phones. https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/results/pubs/longterm/reports/longterm/tr500580/listedreports/tr596/index.html
10) Glioblastoma-Initiating Cells: Relationship with Neural Stem Cells and the Micro-Environment. Cancers (Basel). 2013. Goffart N, et al. Sep; 5(3): 1049–1071. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3795378/
11) New aspects of glioblastoma multiforme revealed by similarities between neural and glioblastoma stem cells. (2018). Cell Biology Toxicicology. Jan 31, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29383547
12) Involvement of miRNAs in the differentiation of human glioblastoma multiforme stem-like cells (2013). Alda B et al. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 14;8(10). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24155920
13) The cellular origin for malignant glioma and prospects for clinical advancements (2012). Zong H et al. Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2012 May;12(4):383-394. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3368274/
14) Report of final results regarding brain and heart tumors in Sprague-Dawley rats exposed from prenatal life until natural death to mobile phone radiofrequency field representative of a 1.8 GHz GSM base station environmental emission. (2018) Falcioni L, et al.Environmental Research. March 7, 2018. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935118300367?via%3Dihub
15) Long-Term Low-Level Microwave Radiation of Rats. (1992) Bioelectromagnetics. 13:469-496. 1992. C.-K. Chou et al. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1482413 https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/60002060833.pdf
News Stories NTP Study
- Do Cellphones Cause Cancer? Government Study Reveals ‘Stunningly Important’ Findings . Ronnie Cohen. July 19, 2018. News week. https://www.newsweek.com/2018/07/27/cancer-cellphones-ntp-findings-toxicologists-brain-cancer-us-1024633.html
- Can your cellphone cause cancer? Scientists find definitive link in study of rats. John Murowski. March 28, 2018. http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/health-care/article207112454.html
- Can Cellphones Cause Cancer? Experts Surprised By Latest Tests. March 29, 2018
- Major Cell Phone Radiation Study Reignites Cancer Questions. March 27,2018. Scientific America. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/major-cell-phone-radiation-study-reignites-cancer-questions/
News Stories Brain Cancer
- Doctors, parents stunned as brain cancer strikes 2 young siblings at once. June 8, 2018. Soupy Karlamangla, Los Angeles Times Writer. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/doctors-parents-stunned-as-brain-cancer-strikes-2-young-siblings-at-once/ar-AAzAw03?ocid=spartandhp