20 December 2016
Rat Study Launches New Debate Over Cell Radiation and Cancer
by Rachel Polansky, Reporter, nbc-2.com, 19 December 2016
SOUTHWEST FLORIDA -
A study in rats has reignited the long-time debate over cell phone radiation and cancer.
The NBC2 Investigators are taking a closer look at the cell phones and cell towers that are all around us to find out if they’re putting you and your children in danger.
It's a sound or a buzz that’s all too familiar. It's a tool we cannot live without: Cell phones.
"I'm on my phone pretty much all day long," said Margo Brewster.
It’s what these devices appear to be doing to rats that is now concerning doctors.
"There may be a health hazard," said David McCormick, Ph.D., Director at IIT Research Institute.
The NBC2 Investigators spoke with Dr. David McCormick from Chicago. He worked on the government study, where 3,000 rats and mice were continuously exposed to high levels of RF for nine hours a day, every day for two years.
Researchers found low incidents of brain and heart tumors in the male rats.
But, the female rats that developed cancer was minimal, barely different from the control group, which is one reason some experts are questioning the findings.
"What these series of studies do is provide a signal that perhaps something is going on, that we should potentially be concerned about," said Dr. McCormick.
The National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, said it is still analyzing the findings. More data is expected to be released in 2017.
The American Cancer Society calls the study “good science,” but is not changing its opinion that there is no credible health threat to people from cell phones.
What’s the difference between cell phone radiation and radiation coming from cell towers?
"The type of radiation that is emitted by cell towers is essentially the same as that emitted from a cell phone. The difference is one of exposure," said Dr.McCormick.
The intensity of radiation decreases as you move away from the source.
That’s why the RF exposure you receive from holding a cell phone to your ear, is much greater than the RF exposure you receive from standing below a cell tower.
"But there is a risk. Any risk when it comes to young developing bodies is a risk, and I think that they're more important," said Michelle Smith, a Lee County mother of two.
Michelle Smith has two children at Gateway Elementary in Lee County, where a cell tower stands in the school’s parking lot.
"Why can't they move it over, especially when studies are showing it can harm mice? Why put our children at risk?" said Smith.
"I was angry. I have to tell you I was very angry," said Elizabeth Radi, a Collier County mother.
Radi worries about the tower at Poinciana Elementary in Collier County.
"How can you make health decisions that could potentially danger my kid, without caring about my input or anything?" said Radi.
Cell towers on school grounds
The NBC2 Investigators pulled the cell tower agreements from our local school districts.
The Lee County School District has six cell towers on school grounds: Skyline Elementary, Gulf Elementary, Gateway Elementary, Mariner High, East Lee County High, and Lehigh Senior High.
The district generates $191,000 a year in rental fees.
The Collier County School District has three cell towers on school grounds: Poinciana Elementary, Lely High, Naples High.
The district generates $68,000 a year in rental fees.