Can cell phone radiation cause cancer? Yes, says NTP rat study

Can cell phone radiation cause cancer? Yes, says NTP rat study

Source: NIEHS

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluded there is clear evidence that male rats exposed to high levels of radio frequency radiation (RFR) like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones developed cancerous heart tumors, according to final reports released today. There was also some evidence of tumors in the brain and adrenal glands of the exposed male rats.

“The original objective of the study was to test the assumption that nonionizing radiation – which radiofrequency radiation is – could not cause adverse health effects because it did not have enough energy to break chemical bonds. Well, we now know that that assumption is wrong because of the multiple effects that were identified in the NTP study.”

Dr. Ronald Melnick - NTP study lead scientist

Heart and brain tumors

The $30 million NTP study took more than 10 years to complete and is one of the most comprehensive assessments to date of health effects in animals exposed to RFR.

The study found that exposure to high levels of RFR, like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones, was associated with:

  • Clear evidence of tumors in the hearts of male rats. The tumors were malignant schwannomas.
  • Some evidence of tumors in the brains of male rats. The tumors were malignant gliomas.
  • Some evidence of tumors in the adrenal glands of male rats. The tumors were pheochromocytomas.

DNA damage

DNA damage was significantly increased:

  • In the frontal cortex of male mice from either 3G or 2G cell phone radiation exposure.
  • In peripheral leukocytes of female mice from 3G exposure.
  • In the hippocampus of male rats from 3G exposure.

Male and female rats and mice were exposed to cell phone radiation at 1.5, 3, or 6 W/kg specific absorption rate (SAR) for 19 weeks from gestation day 5. The mice were exposed to radiation at 2.5, 5, or 10 W/kg SAR for 13 weeks from postnatal day 5.

DNA damage was assessed in three brain regions, in liver cells and in blood leukocytes using the comet assay method. Chromosomal damage was assessed in peripheral blood erythrocytes using the micronucleus assay.

The authors concluded that, “exposure to RFR [radio frequency radiation] has the potential to induce measurable DNA damage under certain exposure conditions.”

The FDA called for this research in 1999.

Dr. Ronald Melnick, NTP study lead scientist

Ronald L Melnick, PhD presenting the results to the National Institutes of Health NTP study peer review:


Environmental Health Trust interviews Dr. Melnick to discuss the FDA action on the findings:


More sources

Environmental Health Trust: Statement of Ronald Melnick, NTP study lead scientist

Detailed coverage on Microwave News: Cell Phone Radiation Leads to Cancer, Says U.S. NTP in Final Report

The Wall Street Journal: Scientists find ‘clear evidence’ cellphone radiation can cause cancer in rats

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