Over 100 million Americans currently use wireless communication devices with thousands of new users added daily. Personal (cellular) telecommunications is a rapidly evolving technology that uses microwave radiation to communicate between a fixed base station and mobile user. Most systems employ a hand-held cellular telephone where the radiation antenna is close to the user's head. Cellular phones and other wireless communication devices are required to meet the radiofrequency radiation exposure guidelines of the Federal Communication Commission. These guidelines are based on protecting the user from acute injury from thermal effects produced by radiofrequency radiation. Current data are insufficient to draw definitive conclusions concerning the adequacy of these guidelines for protecting against potential adverse effects of chronic exposure.
Studies in laboratory animals are considered crucial for understanding whether exposure to radiofrequency radiation may pose a danger to human health. Other research groups are performing several long-term animal studies addressing this issue. In addition, the NTP plans to conduct additional laboratory research to help clarify any potential health hazard for the U.S. population. The NTP is working with technical experts from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to test the suitability of various radiofrequency radiation exposure systems for use in these studies.
NTP staff is working with radiofrequency experts at the NIST to evaluate studies being planned or underway by a consortium of European investigators under the auspices of the European Union and by investigators at the Cancer Research Center of the European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences Commission.
For contact information visit the Experimental Toxicology Group.