Radiation literature survey

The radiation literature survey provides updates on published literature related to radiation (both ionising and non-ionising) and health.

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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)

Authored By:

United States National Toxicology Program

Published In:

United States National Toxicology Program


May 2016


The National Toxicology Program (NTP) in the US is currently conducting a series of radiofrequency (RF) cancer studies in rats. The current report presents partial findings from the overall project, specifically looking at brain and heart cancer (glioma and schwannoma). In the study rats were exposed in utero and continuing throughout their lifetimes to GSM or CDMA RF at 900 megahertz (MHz), for 18 hours/day (10 minutes on/10 minutes off), 7 days/week, at a whole-body specific absorption rate (SAR) of 0 (sham), 1.5, 3, or 6 W/kg. The report found that the incidence of glioma in the brain and schwannoma in the heart of male rats exposed to RF from both CDMA and GSM type mobile phone systems was generally comparable with baseline incidence apart from schwannoma in the heart for male rats exposed to CDMA at 6 W/kg. The report concludes that these findings appear to support the International Agency for Research on Cancer classification of RF as a possible carcinogen.

Commentary by ARPANSA:

There have been a number of animal studies that have investigated whether exposure to RF from mobile phones causes cancer (ICNIRP, 2013; SCENIHR, 2013). Overall a considerable number of well-performed animal studies have not shown mobile phone RF to cause cancer.

The conclusion of the current NTP report does not reflect the results reported which showed only one statistically significant association from the multiple endpoints tested which was schwannoma in the heart for male rats exposed to CDMA at 6 W/kg. It is important to note that this level of exposure is three times the SAR limit of 2 W/kg for the general public in the Australian Standard.

All other endpoints that were reported were not statistically significant and fell within the historical baseline incidence for these diseases in all animals from all studies undertaken by the NTP.