A report released last week on the bioRxiv preprint server by the National Toxicology Program showed that statistically Pain in the neck or more? microwave radiation contributes to an increase in the incidence of two forms of cancer in rats.

This isn’t the first such result but the studies which show these results are always dismissed. It is important to realize that the cell phone business is gigantic both on the supply side and the service provider side - the recently concluded strike by Verizon wire workers in the U.S. was so contentious because the wireless business is so much more valuable.

As I've been reporting for decades, more needs to be known about the potential dangers of cell phones to the human body. (NOTE: I'm a trained physicist and retired Certified Radiologic Monitor for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

The inverse square law strikes back.

This topic comes up every few years but those who dismiss the possible danger by saying the amount of radiation is too small to worry about always seem to ignore the most basic of physics which tell us that holding a microwave generator pressed to the skull instead of perhaps in a pocket with the user having a bluetooth or even wired headphone means the power of the signal to the most vital part of the body is hundreds of times more powerful.

The exact difference depends on the exact distance but just a few feet, such as from hip pocket to head, is enormous.

The real question is, with all the alternatives why take the chance that years down the road it will be proven that there is a real danger? Use hands free phones in cars and earpieces when walking around.

To panic or not to panic?

That is the question.

While it is too soon to throw out your power from your body, you might want to consider whether you should be walking around everyplace with one glued to your brain case. Just what is so critical that people have to be walking through parking lots with moving traffic, or worse yet driving while on the phone?

You can actually hear some of those conversations and I’ve never heard anyone talking about anything more important than what colour shoes they were shopping for or how much salad to prepare for a dinner.

The study

Now for the facts, the early results from the $25 million study shows that in MALE rats there is an increase in malignant glioma (cancerous brain tumor), 2% to 3% of male rats exposed to the radiation in specially designed enclosures which control the radiation levels. 2% to 6% of male rats in the cellphone radiation level groups a Schwann cell tumor of the nerves around the heart.

21 groups of 90 animals each were exposed in the study either to the “safe” radiation level set by the U.S.

FDA. Others got higher doses.

While the 2% to 3% numbers seem small, remember that rats were only tested for two years, not 20 to 30 as with human cell phone exposure.

The results were similar to much more limited studies of humans.

There were some strange results - such as the fact that the heart tumors were just as prevalent in the low dose rats as in the high dose rats, which was not true in the brain tumors.

Neither kind of cancer was detected in any of the control or unradiated rats.

Bottom line?

Certainly Children and teens with growing brains should not use cell phones held to the head except in emergencies.

Why take the risk?

As for adults, well you place your bets and take your risks.