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16 November 2016

Comprehensive TV News Report on Cell Phones and Cancer from the U.S.

This is an excellent, comprehensive news report.  Be sure to watch the 7-minute video.  

13 Investigates cellphones and cancer: Is the risk real?
by Bob Segall, wthr.com, 14 November 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — You carry your cellphone with you all the time, and it is constantly transmitting invisible electromagnetic energy. For years, there's been debate about that radiation and whether it can cause cancer. A new study suggests there actually might be a hidden danger. 13 Investigates explains what you need to know about the science -- and the easy steps you can take right now to help reduce possible risk.

Craig and Virginia Farver say their son Richard was perfectly healthy one moment, and the next, he was fighting for his life.

"Brain cancer is what he was diagnosed with," said Virginia, holding a graduation photo of her son. "The doctor said it was a glioblastoma."

"He said it's the most aggressive brain cancer that there is," added Craig. "That pretty much turned our lives upside down. Just devastating."

A neurosurgeon removed the brain tumor, but Richard died seven months later – just a week after his 29th birthday.

"It was horrible. We'll never get over it," his mother told WTHR.

It's a feeling Cristin Prischman knows all too well.

Her husband, Paul, was also diagnosed with a brain tumor, and never got to see his young daughters grow up.

"We found out on Easter it was cancer," she said. "After his surgery, he didn't know my name. He didn't know who the girls were. He couldn't speak clearly and he couldn't walk. It was scary."

The Farvers and Prischmans believe the deadly tumors were preventable and both caused by the same thing: a cellphone.

"I'm 100% certain," said Virginia Farver. "He talked on his cellphone two to three hours a day, and the tumor was on the same side of his head where he held the phone."

"I'm 99% sure it was cellphone radiation," said Prischman. She showed 13 Investigates years of invoices, showing Paul talked on his cellphone between 3,000 and 4,000 minutes each month.

Can radio frequency (RF) radiation from a cellphone really cause cancer? The science is mixed, with multiple studies showing contradictory results.

But a new research project – one of the largest and most expensive ever conducted – is getting lots of attention and raising more questions about the long term safety of cellphones.

Your cellphone transmits radiation

To understand the controversy and the concern, you first need to understand how your cellphone works.

Today's smartphones have several antennas located inside. When you talk, text, or stream music or videos, your phone sends out non-ionizing radiation, similar to the energy produced by a low-powered microwave oven.

Unlike X-ray radiation which can break the chemical bonds of DNA and is known to cause cancer, exposure to non-ionizing radio frequency (RF) radiation from cellphones is generally thought to be safe.

Multiple studies from around the world have concluded that RF radiation is not dangerous and does not cause brain cancer.

But critics say several of those studies were funded by the cellphone industry, and they point to other studies that suggest RF radiation is linked to an increase in certain types of cancerous tumors.

Concerned by some of those studies, the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer made a bold statement in 2011. After reviewing RF research, the agency classified the electromagnetic fields produced by cellphones as "possibly carcinogenic to humans." The WHO later announced "to date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use." At the same time, the organization stated "While an increased risk of brain tumors is not established, the increasing use of mobile phones and the lack of data for mobile phone use over time periods longer than 15 years warrant further research of mobile phone use and brain cancer risk."

With years of conflicting studies and rising concerns – combined with skyrocketing sales of cellphones – the U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioned an independent, ambitious project to examine the health effects of cellphone RF radiation.

The initial results were announced this spring, and they came as quite a surprise.

Inside the laboratory

"What we found here is fairly clear evidence of a signal," said Dr. David McCormick, director of the Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute, where the federal government conducted its RF study that cost nearly $30 million.

During the 10-year research project, mice and rats were exposed to RF radiation designed to mimic human exposure based on the radio frequencies and modulations used in the United States. Some of the male rats developed cancerous brain tumors, as well as a rare, malignant tumor known as a schwannoma of the heart.

"What we are saying here is that based on the animal studies, there is a possible risk cellphone RF is potentially carcinogenic in humans," McCormick explained to WTHR at his laboratory on the south side of Chicago. "These are uncommon lesions in rodents, so it is our conclusion that they are exposure related."

"So you're saying: in your lab you found cell phone radiation caused cancer?" 13 Investigates asked, making sure we understood correctly.

"That's correct," McCormick said. "At this point, do we have unequivocal evidence that says cellphone RF radiation is carcinogenic? In humans, no. In rats, I think the answer to that is ‘yes.' For us, that is a signal, and it means there is a question mark out there.

Funded by the National Toxicology Program(NTP) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the study's final findings will not be released until sometime next year. Researchers took the unusual step of releasing an initial report due to the widespread health implications of the study.

"This was, I think, a surprising finding to virtually all of us who were involved in the study," McCormick said.

While the NTP study partial results came as a surprise to researchers, they did not shock families like the Farvers.

"We're finally getting some answers to this," said Virginia, looking at a CT scan showing her son's brain tumor. "I just want other parents to know about it."

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