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Your Environment. Your Health.

NTP Speaks about Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation


The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is conducting studies to help clarify the potential health hazards from exposure to cell phone radiofrequency radiation. The NTP is a federal, interagency program, headquartered at the NIEHS, whose goal is to safeguard the public by identifying substances in the environment that may affect human health.

John R. Bucher, Ph.D.
John R. Bucher, Ph.D.
Associate Director, National Toxicology Program

Tel (919) 541-4532
Fax (919) 541-4255

Listen to Dr. Bucher as he speaks on the June 11 segment of the public radio show, People's Pharmacy, about the partial findings from the cell phone studies released by the NTP in May, 2016.

NTP found low incidences of tumors in the brains and hearts of male rats, but not in female rats. Studies in mice are continuing. Complete results from all the rat and mice studies will be available by the end of 2017. For more information about the findings, visit NTP at the cell phones webpage.

Michael E. Wyde, Ph.D., D.A.B.T
Michael Wyde, Ph.D.

Tel (919) 316-4640
Fax (919) 541-4255

Toxicologist, Dr. Michael Wyde is overseeing the NTP cell phone studies. Here is what Dr. Wyde has said about cell phone radiation and the NTP studies.

Dr. Wyde discusses what is currently known about cell phones and health

Currently, there’s little or no evidence to suggest that cell phone usage is associated with brain tumors or any other adverse health effects in humans. A lot of the epidemiological studies or the human studies investigate the association between radiofrequency radiation or cell phone usage in humans and an association with cancer have confounding factors that affect the validity of the studies or our ability to draw adequate conclusions.For example, some studies have had too few participants, so they have a limited sample size. Other studies rely heavily on people’s memories of their cell phone use over the course of a number of years. There’s other confounding factors in epidemiological studies in general, such as lifestyle choices; exposure to cigarette smoke; drinking; environmental exposures; some studies are done in multiple countries where there can be different geographical exposures to environmental chemicals.

Currrent Knowledge About Cell Phones

Dr. Wyde discusses the comprehensive nature of the NTP studies

We’re conducting comprehensive studies in laboratory animals to determine the potential toxic and carcinogenic effects of radio frequency radiation that’s emitted from cell phones and other similar wireless devices. Exposures in our studies start during gestation while animals are in utero and are carried through the lifetime of the animals.This study is the largest study that the NTP has ever conducted -- it’s the largest of this kind on cell phone radio frequency radiation that’s been done to date. Our studies are targeted not just at brain cancer, as many other studies have been targeted; our studies also address effects in other parts of the body.

Comprehensive NTP Studies

Dr. Wyde discusses how the NTP studies will be applicable to humans

The studies at the National Toxicology Program have in fact started. Our studies are designed specifically to mimic the human exposure scenario. The NTP studies are looking at exposures for 10 hours a day. There’s heavy cell phone users that may approach the 10 hour mark - that may be excessive, but it allows us to fully investigate whether or not there is an effect of cell phone frequency radiation.Our studies are designed to look at the frequencies that are currenly in use in the United States centering around 900 megahertz and 1900 megahertz, as well as the two modulations that are currently in use in the US, which are CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and GSM ( Global System for Mobile communications).

NTP Studies Applicable to Humans

Dr. Wyde discusses how NIST and others helped in the study design

There’s been a lot of leg work leading up to the exposure studies. We’ve pulled together some of the world’s experts on radio frequency radiation. We’ve specially designed chambers to expose the animals in. Engineers from NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology , have come in to validate the chambers. So, we have third-party validation of the exposures. Additionally, there was a lot of architectural construction that needed to be done at the lab - these chambers are rather large. And they had to be shipped from where they were constructed and designed in Switzerland to our laboratory in Chicago, Illinois.

Cell Phone Study Design

Dr. Wyde discusses how results will be used

Currently, radio frequency radiation from cell phones is regulated by the FDA – the Food and Drug Administration. Certain aspects of the particular phones are regulated by the FCC – Federal Communications Commission . So, the data that we’ll generate will primarily be used by the Food and Drug Administration, but also, the data will be available and be highly used by consumers and the public.

How Results Will Be Used

Dr. Wyde discusses what actions consumers could take if concerned about cell phone radiation

If you are concerned, there are methods to decrease your exposure to radio frequency radiation. Those include decreasing the amount of time that you spend on the telephone and the increased use of speakerphone or a headset.

Actions Consumers May take

Terms of Use

The Wyde audio clips and the three images on this page are in the public domain and copyright free. Anyone is freely able to use these files. These materials were created by the Office of Communications and Public Liaison of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. As a courtesy, it is requested that an appropriate acknowledgement be given: "Courtesy: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences."

For terms of use for the audio clips from the People's Pharmacy, see their terms and conditions.

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