A $25 million National Toxicology Program study has found that exposure to cellphone radiation caused cancer in rats.

Radiation health advocates, citing the story yesterday in microwavenews.com, said the study is sufficient evidence to raise the classification of radio-frequency radiation from “possible carcinogenic” (Group 2B) to “carcinogenic (Group1).

National Toxicology ProgramThe body that would do that is the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization.

Joel Moskowitz of the Center for Family and Community Health, Univ. of Calif., Berkeley, said the findings parallel numerous epidemiologic studies in humans that have found that long-term heavy cellphone use increases the risk of brain cancer or glioma, a malignant tumor in glial cells, and acoustic neuroma, a nonmalignant tumor in Schwann cells in the brain.

In the rats, Schwann cells were in the heart.

Study Dates to 2001

The study was proposed by the NTP in 2001. Moskowitz said it is the only research on cellphone radiation health effects that the federal government has conducted since the 1990's and should be released soon.

Rats and mice were exposed to two second generation (2G) cell phone technologies which are still used for voice transmission. Both 2G technologies caused tumors in rats, but not in mice.

Moskowitz said 2G technologies will soon be obsolete because cellphone companies in the U.S. are planning to use 4G for voice transmission. However, recent research on 3G and 4G suggests these technologies, in spite of their lower power densities, may be more risky than 2G, he said.

Whether cellphones should have warning labels was debated in the May 23 Wall Street Journal by Moskowitz and Dr. Larry Junck, neurologist and professor, Univ. of Michigan Health System.

The feature occupied the top half of the first page of the WSJ section titled, “Journal Report | Big Issues: Technology.”

Radiation health advocates said the topic should have been “Health” and not “Technology.”