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A giant U.S. study meant to help decide whether cellphones cause cancer is coming back with confusing results. A report on the study, conducted in rats and mice, is not finished yet. But advocates pushing for more research got wind of the partial findings and the U.S. National Toxicology Program has released them early.
The findings are giving new life to the longstanding debate over whether cellphone use might cause cancer. They suggest that male rats exposed to constant, heavy doses of certain types of cellphone radiation develop brain and heart tumors. But female rats didn't, and even the rats that developed tumors lived longer than rats not exposed to the radiation.
The partial report covers what the researchers considered the most worrying findings. "The occurrences of two tumor types in male Harlan Sprague Dawley rats exposed to RFR (radiofrequency radiation), malignant gliomas in the brain and schwannomas of the heart, were considered of particular interest, and are the subject of this report," the team writes in its report. Sprague Dawley rats are a common type of lab rat. "These findings appear to support the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) conclusions regarding the possible carcinogenic potential of RFR." IARC, the cancer arm of the World Health Organization, said in 2011 it was possible the devices might cause cancer and recommended further study.