Cell Phones and Cancer: Review Information

Updated 7/23/21

The evidence for the association of cell phones and cancer, including brain tumors, is growing. Brain tumor incidence in some areas is rising as well.  Most people have concerns about carrying cell phones close to their bodies after Dr. Hardell and others published carefully performed blinded studies showing an association between brain tumors with extended cell phone use (over 2,000 hours) and  on the same side of the head where the tumors were located.  Head and neck cancers are also on the rise with new scientific evidence that radio frequency wireless radiation can affect angiogenesis (blood vessel formation) that promotes cancer. Dr. West et al. published his small case series of several young women in their 20’s with multifocal breast cancer, occurring in the same location where they stored their phones for prolonged periods.  In 2017 the California Department of Public Health released a set of guidelines on how to reduce your exposure to wireless radiation from cell phones, stating the science was strong enough to take precautions.

CDPH Issues Cell Phone Safety Guidelines in 2017

In 2017 the California Department of Public Health issued guidelines for cell phone use after a court order forced them to. Dr. Joel Moskwitz filed a freedom of Information lawsuit claiming that the state of California was putting citizens in danger by withholding information on the potential side effects of cell phone usage. The first CDPH draft of the cell phone report was in 2010. It was reworked 27 times.  The final version cited scientific evidence, including the National Toxicology Program (NTP) on Cancer and Cell Phones, that indicated precaution was warranted. Several recommendations were given.

UCSF Professor Dr. Stan Glanz, worked on exposing the dangers of smoking, fighting Big Tobacco for decades. He writes on the similarities between Big Wireless and Big Tobacco here.

The CDPH Cell Phone Report is, How to Reduce Exposure to Radiofrequency  Energy from Cell Phones 


See also

2018 National Toxicology Program Report on Cell Phones and Brain Cancer: Clear Evidence of Carcinogenicity

The 10 year and $25 million dollar National Toxicology Program (NTP) study, which concluded in 2018 with a peer review conference, showed a clear causation between cell phone radiation and cancer of the heart but also a significant increase for brain tumors and tumors of the adrenal medulla, an organ that sits above the kidney.   In addition there was concern for prostate cancer increase as well as DNA damage, perinatal effects and  what appeared to be aging of the heart with long term exposure to whole body radiation from cell phone frequencies at non-thermal levels.

Former High level Government Official Provides Robust Scientific Testimony That Cell Phones Likely Cause Brain Tumors 

Christopher Portier, PhD., former director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR),  and currently a scientific advisor for the World Health Organization (WHO), provided expert scientific testimony in a long standing cell phone court case, Murray vs Motorola.  His 176 page research summary includes gliomas, acoustic neuromas, carcinogenicity studies, initiation and promotion studies, oxidative stress, genotoxicity and co-carcinogenesis. He notes, “The evaluation of whether RF exposure can cause brain tumors in humans requires the review and synthesis of scientific evidence from studies of human  populations (epidemiology), animal cancer studies, and studies investigating the mechanisms through which chemicals[exposures] cause cancer.”   His report  provided 441 references  with an additional appendix of 291  of his own published peer reviewed references.  Dr. Portier concluded, “In my opinion, RF exposure probably causes gliomas and neuromas and, given the human and experimental evidence, I assert that, to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, the probability that RF exposure causes gliomas and neuromas is high.”

For years industry attorneys have opposed expert witnesses in Murray vs Motorloa, citing the ” Daubert” clause distinguishing methodology from conclusion for expert witnesses.  Despite his glowing and irrefutable research Mr Portier was rewarded for his diligence and honesty by being  barred from being an expert witness.   Judge Irving state in a court motion filed  3/31/21. “[A]llowing Dr. Portier’s testimony four months before the Daubert hearing is scheduled to begin would disrupt the existing schedule and detrimentally affect the orderliness and efficiency of any trial,”  

The Expert Report testimony  to the court  by Dr. Christopher Portier can be found here-Expert report Christopher J Portier Murray v Motorola 3-1-2021   or at  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1we0YEJslnrmQkr2qzSFnQyqdsTqXbqSd/view

Spin Versus Fact

There have been various criticisms of the NTP study, however, with an understanding of how toxicology studies are performed and the care in which this study was undertaken to remove confounding factors, the only conclusion is that this study strongly supports both an association and causation.   This result is backed up by the Ramazinni study. For an easy to read review of how industry dismissed the 2016 partial findings of the NTP study see Dr. Moskowitz  Spin vs Fact NTP StudySome elements of the NTP study that were  criticized were that

  • only males developed brain tumors. the literature indicates that there is frequently gender difference in outcomes in animal carcinogenicity studies. This could be due to differences in hormone levels. The literature also shows that females seem to have more neuroprotection than males.
  • None of the controls developed tumors. This could be explained by the fact that these rats were housed in very clean environments, free of any confounding radiation. This unexpected result may give more strength to the association between ambient low level radio frequency radiation and cancer.

Dr. Ron Melnick, who led the design team for the NTP study, stated, “It is not surprising that the exposed males had more tumors than the females given what we have seen in the historical controls. But we can go one step further, the fact that we saw any of these tumors in the exposed females but none in the concurrent controls adds support to the conclusion that cell phone radiation leads to cancer among rats.” Dr. Melnick’s response to NTP Results

In his open letter addressing the criticisms from the NTP study Dr. Melnick explains, “In my view, a pediatrician would be acting irresponsibly if he or she knew and understood the implications of the human and animal cancer data on cell phone radiation and did not offer precautionary advice to the parents of his or her patients.” Correcting Misinformation About Health Effects Studies on Cell Phone Radiation

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a response to the NTP study. Pediatrician and Chair of the AAP Council on Environmental Health Executive Committee , Dr. Jennifer Lowry stated, “They’re not toys. They have radiation that is emitted from them and the more we can keep it off the body and use (the phone) in other ways, it will be safer.”  They have recommendation on their website to help reduce wireless radiation from cell phones AAP Healthy Children.

In The News

More people are aware of this risk and major magazines and newspapers have published insightful, well researched articles, even many years ago. A few of the many articles are below.

CBC News: The Secret Inside Your Cellphone

The Canadian Broadcast Corporation reveals that the current Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  exposure limits are exceeded with normal usage against the body. The City of  Berkeley has been fighting to allow full disclosure to consumers in their town.

Cell Phone and Wireless Radiation is Currently a Class 2B Possible Carcinogen

IARC Classification in 2011 as Group 2B possible carcinogen: The World Health Organization in 2011 International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies radiofrequency radiation as possibly carcinogenic (Group 2B), based on increased risk of glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer and wireless phone use.