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Cell Phone Radio Frequency Radiation

Final reports from the rat and mouse studies, plus the press release and fact sheet, are now available.
Cell phone

Research Overview

Status: Completed
Substances: Cell Phone Radiation: GSM, Cell Phone Radiation: CDMA
Nominated: May 1999

Background Information

Cell phones are currently used by 95% of American adults. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nominated radio frequency radiation (RFR) used by cell phones for an NTP study because of widespread public use of cell phones and limited knowledge about potential health effects from long-term exposure.

NTP Studies & Findings

NTP conducted toxicology studies in rats and mice to help clarify potential health hazards, including cancer risk, from exposure to RFR like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones.

What did the studies find?

The NTP studies found that high exposure to RFR used by 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 benign, malignant, or complex combined pheochromocytoma.

For female rats, and male and female mice, it was unclear if tumors observed in the studies were associated with RFR used by cell phones. This is also known as equivocal evidence.

The final conclusions represent the consensus between NTP and a panel of external scientific experts who thoroughly reviewed the draft NTP technical reports at a public meeting in March 2018.

The results are based on NTP’s four categories of evidence that a substance may cause cancer: clear evidence (highest), some evidence, equivocal evidence, no evidence (lowest).

Informational Resources

Fact Sheet
Media Briefing and Interviews
Newsletters
Presentations
Publications
  • Wyde ME, Horn TL, Capstick MH, Ladbury JM, Koepke G, Wilson PF, Kissling GE, Stout MD, Kuster N, Melnick RL, Gauger J, Bucher JR, McCormick DL. Effect of cell phone radiofrequency radiation on body temperature in rodents: Pilot studies of the National Toxicology Program's reverberation chamber exposure system. Bioelectromagnetics. 2018. https://doi.org/10.1002/bem.22116
  • Capstick MH, Kuehn S, Berdinas-Torres V, Gong Y, Wilson PF, Ladbury JM, Koepke G, McCormick DL, Gauger J, Melnick RL, Kuster N. A radio frequency radiation exposure system for rodents based on reverberation chambers. IEEE Trans Electromagn Compat. 2017; 59(4):1041-1052 https://doi.org/10.1109/TEMC.2017.2649885
  • Gong Y, Capstick MH, Kuehn S, Wilson PF, Ladbury JM, Koepke G, McCormick DL, Melnick R, Kuster N. Life-time dosimetric assessment for mice and rats exposed in reverberation chambers for the two-year NTP cancer bioassay study on cell phone radiation. IEEE Trans Electromagn Compat. 2017; 59(6):1798-1808 https://doi.org/10.1109/TEMC.2017.2665039
  • Wyde M, Cesta M, Blystone C, Elmore S, Foster P, Hooth M, Kissling G, Malarkey D, Sills R, Stout M, Walker N, Witt K, Wolfe M, Bucher J. Report of partial findings from the National Toxicology Program carcinogenesis studies of cell phone radiofrequency radiation in Hsd: Sprage Dawley SD rats (whole body exposure). BioRxiv 055699 [Preprint] May 26, 2016 (modified Feb 01, 2018). https://doi.org/10.1101/055699
Photos of the Radiofrequency Radiation Research Facility

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