Personal (cellular) telecommunications is a rapidly evolving technology that uses radio frequency energy or radiation for mobile communication. Most Americans use cell phones. Given this large number of users, if adverse health effects are shown to be associated with cell phone use, this could potentially be a widespread public health concern. Current scientific evidence has not conclusively linked cell phone use with any adverse health problems in humans, but more research is needed.
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The National Toxicology Program (NTP) headquartered at NIEHS is leading the largest laboratory rodent study to date on cell phone radio frequency. The NTP studies will help clarify any potential health hazards from exposure to cell phone radiation . The studies are designed to mimic human exposure and are based on the frequencies and modulations currently in use in the United States.
The NTP has worked closely with radiofrequency experts from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to design highly specialized study facilities to specify and control sources of radiation and to measure their effects on rodents. The NTP studies are designed to look at effects in all parts of the body.
On May 27, 2016, NTP released a report, "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)," on some important study findings. NTP found low incidences of tumors in the brains and hearts of male rats, but not in female rats. Studies in mice are continuing. The complete results from all the rat and mice studies will be available for peer review and public comment by the end of 2017.
In addition to the NTP studies, the NIEHS funded researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, to study whether exposure to cell phones in childhood can affect the nervous system.
- 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)
- NTP releases rodent studies on cell phone radiofrequency radiation
- Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation Studies(471KB)
- International Agency for Research on Cancer 2011 Press Release
- JAMA Study Shows Cell Phone Usage Increases Brain Glucose Metabolism
- NTP Associate Director's Statement(21KB)
- National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cell Phones and Cancer Risk Fact Sheet
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Consumer Update on Cell Phones
- FDA Resource on Radiation Emitting Products
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Q&A on Cell Phones
- World Health Organization (WHO) Fact Sheet on Mobile Phones