Statement by Dr. John Bucher, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Toxicology Program on the Peer Review of the Cell Phone Radiation Radiofrequency Studies
Statement by Dr. John Bucher, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Toxicology Program (NTP) on the Peer Review of the Cell Phone Radiation Radiofrequency Studies
This statement by Dr. Bucher was sent to Environmental Health Trust by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Office of Communications and Public Liaison Monday April 2, 2018
“It was gratifying that the members of the expert panel unanimously praised the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation (RFR) Studies as very well done, and vitally important research. They acknowledged the difficulty of conducting the study and the challenges of analyzing the data. Scientific peer-review by external experts is an essential part of the NTP’s scientific process, and I thank the panel members for their expertise and service. They conducted a thorough review, engaged in spirited debate, and grappled with the same uncertainties experienced by the NTP staff.
In the end, the panel agreed with the NTP conclusions for the cell phone RFR studies conducted in mice. For the rat studies, the panel recommended that some of the NTP conclusions be changed to indicate a stronger level of evidence that cell phone RFR caused certain tumors.
Working from the NTP’s scale of Clear Evidence, Some Evidence, Equivocal Evidence and No Evidence, the panel made the following recommendations:
For male rats, GSM-modulated cell phone RFR
- Malignant schwannoma in the heart – reclassified from some evidence to clear evidence of carcinogenic activity
- Malignant glioma of the brain – reclassified from equivocal evidence to some evidence of carcinogenic activity
- Pheochromocytoma (benign, malignant, complex), a tumor in the adrenal gland – reclassified from equivocal evidence to some evidence of carcinogenic activity
For female rats, GSM-modulated cell phone RFR
- Malignant schwannoma of the heart – reclassified from no evidence to equivocal evidence of carcinogenic activity
For male rats, CDMA-modulated cell phone RFR
- Malignant schwannoma in the heart – reclassified from some evidence to clear evidence of carcinogenic activity
- Malignant glioma of the brain – reclassified from equivocal evidence to some evidence of carcinogenic activity
For female rats, CDMA-modulated cell phone RFR
- Malignant schwannoma in the heart – reclassified from no evidence to equivocal evidence of carcinogenic activity
The recommendations of the external expert panel will now be taken under consideration by NTP staff and reviewed for a final decision from the NTP Director. The final report will be published in fall 2018.”
-Statement by Dr. John Bucher, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Toxicology Program (NTP) on the Peer Review of the Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation Studies
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Toxicology Program released a statement about the conclusions of the panel for each endpoint, found here . This is the most important document to read from the meeting in terms of conclusions. https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/about_ntp/trpanel/2018/march/actions20180328_508.pdf
Read an NIEHS April 2018 article on the peer review meeting here “NTP cell phone studies — experts recommend elevated conclusions” National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences
Read more about the NTP NIEHS peer review at https://ehtrust.org/clear-evidence-of-cancer-concludes-the-expert-panel-to-the-us-national-toxicology-program-on-cell-phone-radiation-study-findings/
New Studies Link Cell Phone Radiation with Cancer, Scientific American March 29, 2018
“Can your cellphone cause cancer? Scientists find definitive link in study of rats” The News and Observer March 28, 2018
“Researchers find the cellphone-cancer risk is higher than originally thought” The Blaze March 30, 2018
The Nation: How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe: A Special Investigation: The disinformation campaign—and massive radiation increase—behind the 5G rollout. By Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie, The Nation, March 29, 2018
Advocates for Tougher RFR Standards Welcome Expert Views, Paul Kirby, Senior Editor, TRDaily
Families are calling for the removal of a cell phone tower at Weston Elementary School, where two students and two staff members were diagnosed with cancer. Parents started a Petition– which now has thousands of signatures- to remove this elementary school cell tower and to remove cell towers from all of Ripon School District grounds.
“I want them to convince the district to take it down,” said Mason Ferrulli, a 6th grader who has attended Weston Elementary since kindergarten whose son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Mason underwent a 14-hour surgery to remove the tumor and has undergone six weeks of therapy to re-learn how to eat and walk.”Joe and Kelly Prime’s 10-year-old son Kyle also developed cancer. A tumor engulfed his left kidney and needed to be removed. He underwent months of chemotherapy and radiation, missing a year of school.
“It’s not proven either way, so we don’t understand why you would gamble with children’s health,” Joe Prime said. “We just want the school district to listen to us.”
Thousands of parents and community members signed a petition to remove the tower at Weston — and all cell phone towers near schools in the Ripon Unified School District.” – KCRA 3 News Report
Please see the recent news reports below.
$25 Million US Government Study Finds Increased Cancer in Rats From Cell Phone Radiation
Microwave News first broke the story that the long awaited National Toxicology Program’s radiofrequency radiation research study results showed increased brain and heart tumors in rats after two years exposure to wireless radiation.
Summary of the Radiofrequency Carcinogenicity Research Study
U.S. National Toxicology Program of the U.S. National Institutes of Health
The U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP), released a partial report on parts of the world’s largest, most thorough and well-designed study of its type – at a cost of $25 million – on the potential carcinogenicity of cell phone radiofrequency radiation in rats and mice.
What did the study find?
The study found adverse effects after long term exposure to cell phone radiation:
- Increased incidences of glioma (a rare, aggressive and highly malignant brain cancer) as well as schwannoma (a rare tumor of the nerve sheath) of the heart were found in both sexes of rats, but reached statistical significance only in males.
- Increased incidences of rare, proliferative changes in glial cells of the brain and in Schwann cells (nerve sheath) in the heart of both sexes of rats, while not a single unexposed control animal developed these precancerous changes.
- DNA damage was induced with both modulations of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in both rats and mice (mixed results in tissues and brain regions).
- Results from this study clearly show that biological impacts occur at non-thermal exposures like those that take place from cell phones today.
Data analyses in mice are ongoing. The complete results from these rodent studies will be available in NTP Technical Reports by the end of 2017.
The National Toxicology Program has posted an online draft of these research results.
Click here for PDF “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)”
Chris Portier former Head of the National Toxicology Program stated, “ this is the best designed animal study every conducted on this topic.” Ron Melnick, who led the NTP study design team, confirmed these leaked results to Microwave News stating, “The experiment has been done and, after extensive reviews, the consensus is that there was a carcinogenic effect.”
Wall Street Journal Interview with journalist Ryan Knutson
This study represents a “sea change” in science in that it is a well designed study providing hard evidence that that non-ionizing, radiofrequency radiation could cause cancer.
This study indicates that exposures to “weak” levels of radio-frequency radiation can have a significant impact. If wireless frequencies were “safe” and had “no impact on the body”, one would not see such results.
For decades the scientific understanding has been that the only way this radiation can harm us is by a heating mechanism via exposures at very high power levels. This research shows serious adverse effects without heating tissue. The study was carefully designed to ensure that the body temperature of the exposed rats increased less than 1ºC . Therefore, it substantiates the scientific understanding that heating is NOT the only mechanism by which this radiation could harm health.
“This study should put an end to those who doubt the capacity of non-thermal levels of wireless radiation to cause biological effects including cancer. The study results clearly show that cell phone radiation can cause adverse health effects. The counter argument has no validity.” -Ronald Melnick, PhD, former lead scientist on NTP study of RFR; Retired Senior Scientist with NTP/NIEHS
The NTP Study found increases in brain and heart tumors after chronic exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR).
In male Harlan Sprague Dawley rats exposed to chronic RFR, malignant gliomas in the brain and schwannomas of the heart were increased. “Cardiac schwannomas were observed in male rats in all exposed groups of both GSM- and 18 CDMA-modulated RFR, while none were observed in controls (Table 3). There also was a significant dose response relationship, meaning that as the radiation increased, the effect increased. In female rats, there was no statistically significant or apparent exposure-related effects.
As the American Cancer Society states in their statement about the NTP results, “It’s important to note that these sorts of gender differences often appear in carcinogenic studies, so the fact they show up here should not detract from the importance of the findings.” Read more about these gender differences in the published “Gender differences in chemical carcinogenesis in National Toxicology Program 2-year bioassays” which details how gender-specific tumors were common in rat research on carcinogens.
NTP findings also included reduced birth weight of exposed pups, increased survival in exposed rats, and sight Increased malignant glioma plus glial cell hyperplasia (precancerous cells of the brain). It is notable that in the Ramazzini study of rats that looked at extremely low frequency (50 Hz) ELF-EMFs, the exposed rats also developed a significant increase in malignant schwannoma of the heart.
The increased types of tumors found in NTP”s research rats parallel the types of increased tumors found in human long term users of cell phones.
In the May 27, 2016 press conference the NTP stated one of the reasons that they were releasing these findings was because the NTP research results showed effects similar to human epidemiological research. Research on humans repeatedly shows increased malignant glioma (a type of brain cancer) in people who used cell phones for over ten years and over 1625 hours of lifetime use. The male rats in the NTP study had significantly increased rates of brain gliomas.
In addition, cardiac schwannomas (a type of tumor) were observed in male rats in all exposed groups in the NTP study. The NTP study found the highest rate of this rare tumor of the nerve ever recorded so far in its more than 30 years of study. Schwannomas interfere with myelin, the fatty protective sheath that surrounds all neurons. Although the NTP study found heart schwannomas in rats, the most common type of benign schwannoma in humans is the acoustic neuroma. Epidemiological research on human cell phone users has found increased acoustic neuroma in long term users.
This similarity between the findings of epidemiological studies and the NTP animal studies adds a strength to the conclusions of the NTP study.
Scientists state this research should result in official recommendations to the public by federal agencies to reduce exposure.
“Based on this new information, regulatory agencies should make strong recommendations for consumers to take precautionary measures and avoid close contact with their cell phones, and especially avoid use of cell phones by children. Also, cell phone companies need to provide newer devices with much reduced emissions.” -Ronald Melnick, PhD, former lead scientist on NTP study of RFR; Retired Senior Scientist with NTP/NIEHS
The newly created National Toxicology Webpage on Cell Phones states “The FDA’s website provides a couple of steps people can take to minimize radiation exposure when using cell phones, including reducing the amount of time spent using a cell phone and using speaker mode or a headset to place more distance between one’s head and the cell phone.”
Watch the Reuters video below
The NIH Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation Study research is the world’s largest rodent study on radiofrequency radiation exposure to date.
This 25 million dollar study is the most complex study completed by the NTP. Exposures to rats began in-utero (meaning while the mother rats are pregnant). The exposures to mice start during adolescence and continued through young adulthood (subchronic) or for 2 years (chronic).
The radiation exposures are at very low levels similar to what people are exposed to by cellular technology.
The studies are designed to mimic human exposure to cell phones. The exposures are at nonthermal levels meaning radiation levels that do not cause heating. These exposures are well below what our current government regulations allow.
The frequencies being studied are already outdated.
Rats and mice are being exposed to radiofrequency radiation from the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications technologies, at frequencies of 900 and 1900 megahertz at three different levels: 1.5, 3 and 6 watts per kilogram.At the time the research was initiated, these frequencies and modulations were the most common in the United States. That has changed. Now higher frequencies like 4G and 5G are becoming widespread (Notice how many communities are getting cell towers in order to deploy LTE.) Wi-Fi is at 2.45 GHz. Some scientists think these higher frequencies may be more biologically active even at very low levels. However, if adverse effects are found in one specific radio frequency (RF) radiation frequency, it is scientifically understood that adverse effects will also be found in frequencies within the full range of RF.
The studies consider cancer risk and other health effects.
Special underground chambers were built for this research.
Twenty-one separate “reverberation chambers” were built. The chambers are essentially shielded rooms with a transmitting antenna emitting radiofrequency fields and rotating stirrers. This setup up helps to generate a statistically uniform field.
The rodents were “chronically exposed,” meaning exposed for many hours per day.
The reverberation chamber design exposed rodents to RF for 10-minute on, 10-minute off increments, totaling just over 9 hours a day from before birth through 2 years of age. Unfortunately, this may not adequately simulate real life exposure in the 21st century. Today we are exposed to these frequencies 24 hours per day. From the baby monitor near the crib to the cell phone in our bedrooms to the Wi-Fi at school and work, there is no time when we are without exposures. In addition real life exposures means exposures to several frequencies at once, not simply one frequency at a time.
The study was released years behind schedule.
The Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation Study was initiated in 1999 with a contract signed in 2005. It is EHT’s understanding that the research has been completed but the data and results have not been published. The results were due to be published in 2014. In April 2016 Dr. Davis wrote a letter to NIEHS asking for the results of the study to be released. The draft report was released in May 2016.
2009 Slideshow Presentation of the Research
The slideshow here was prepared for the Cell Phone Radiation and Health Congressional Hearing in 2009. The slideshow shows the special underground chambers (housing) created for the rats and mice and details the planned research study.
2013 Slideshow by the National Toxicology Program at the GLORE Conference
NIEHS’ Michael Wyde presented an update on the study in a slideshow at a by-invitation-only meeting in the 2013 annual meeting of the Global Coordination of Research and Health on RF Electromagnetic Fields at the Washington DC FCC offices. The public and the press were barred from the meeting, while representatives from Motorola and Orange (formerly France Telecom) were allowed to attend (see program here).
It is notable that in this slideshow Wyde shares that rats in the subchronic studies did respond to both GSM and CDMA cell phone radiation. Those exposed before and after birth gained weight more slowly and the response was dose-dependent. This result challenges the widely-held belief that wireless radiation is harmless.
Please watch the videos below of NIH lead investigator Michael Wyde Ph.D., D.A.B.T. describing the National Toxicology Program Radiofrequency Research Study in a 2009 lecture presentation. According to NIH, the slides he refers to in this 2009 talk are the same set as uploaded onto this page as the 2009 NTP Presentation.
Please learn more about this project by reading an update from Microwave News. Institute of Environmental Health Secrets: NIEHS Mum on $25 Million RF Animal Project Skirts Freedom of Information Act
NEWS COVERAGE OF NTP MAY 2016 RESEARCH RESULTS
NTP Statement to Congress in 2009 on Cell Phone Studies: Statement for the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Committee on Appropriations United States Senate September 14, 2009 Hearing on The Health Effects of Cell Phone Use Statement of John R. Bucher, Ph.D. Associate Director of the National Toxicology Program National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Institutes of Health U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Watch the full testimony by the National Toxicology Program to Congress in 2009 in the video below starting at minute 8:43.
Watch These News Reports on the NTP Study Showing the Various Ways the Study Is Being Understood By The Media
Lack of Brain Tumor Epidemic Does Not Prove Safety of Cell Phones; Warning Labels Needed
WASHINGTON, DC – February 22, 2011 — Expert scientists working with Environmental Health Trust (EHT), a nonprofit research and educational group, say that new studies showing that cell phone radiation excites the brain strengthen the need for a major research program on cell phones and health, revamping approaches to setting standards, and putting warnings on cell phones.
Writing in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a team of researchers led by the director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, psychiatrist Nora D.Volkow, found that just 50 minutes of cell phone radiation significantly affected brain function and metabolism of glucose—the brain’s main fuel—in those parts of the brain that received the most cell phone radiation.
Ronald B. Herberman, M.D., chair of EHT’s Board and a renowned cancer biologist and physician, indicated that this work offers an important clue about the ways that cell phone radiation can alter the brain and also shows why it is appropriate to take special precautions with cell phones today.
“This stunning report indicates that even short-term exposure to nerve cells from cell phones can increase glucose in the brain,” said Dr. Herberman. “We know that increased glucose also occurs with infections and other inflammatory processes, and leads to the production of potentially damaging reactive oxygen radicals that can alter the ways that cells and genes work. This important finding should stimulate many biologists to perform in-depth studies to determine the consequences of such changes in nerve cells or other bodily cells in the region of the radiation. We need to develop a better understanding of how radiofrequency radiation might contribute to increased risk for brain tumors as well as other alterations in brain functions.”
Echoing advice he had issued as director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute in 2008, Herberman noted that this new report provides additional reasons for taking steps to reduce direct exposure to the brain from cell phone radiation. “We need to take simple precautions to reduce brain exposures to cell phone radiation, while research on the biological impact of exposure to microwave radiation from cell phones is carried out in the meantime,” he said.
“The latest research from the California Institute of Technology and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) confirms that just 50 minutes of cell phone radiation affects the brain,” says Lloyd Morgan, Senior Science Advisor to EHT. “Yet standards for phones today rest on the assumption that such effects cannot possibly occur. It is time to revise the standards, and to take into account both the short- and long-term effects that microwave radiation from cell phones can have on the brain and body.”
Morgan explained that glucose in the brain indicates excitability. “The areas of the brain that had increased glucose in the JAMA study are involved in thinking, sensing and decision making, including repression of antisocial behavior.”
Sharing Morgan’s concerns, EHT scientific advisor Richard A. Stein, M.D., Ph.D., said, “By using radio-labeled PET scans to examine glucose and energy metabolism in the brain of healthy adult volunteers, the NIDA team got as close as one can get to visualize brain metabolism and brain activity in real time, in response to non-ionizing radiation. Their results validate and reinforce previous reports that used other experimental approaches, and have found that microwave radiation altered cellular signaling pathways and brain activity.
“As glucose is the sole energy source in the brain under normal dietary conditions, and there is an absolute requirement for glucose during synaptic transmission in the nervous system, the results of the current study emerge as even more significant,” Dr. Stein said. “Of course, we do not know whether the changes in glucose metabolism represent the primary perturbation, or whether they occur secondarily, as a response to some other disturbance—such as the activation of heat shock pathways, which was reported to occur by several independent groups in response to non-ionizing radiation. But one thing is certain—the current study clearly reveals changes in a pathway that is essential for brain energy metabolism and synaptic transmission, and is intimately interconnected with other pathways that fulfill fundamental roles in biological systems. The Volkow study is an important contribution to public health.”
Previous work from Prof. Dariusz Leszczynski’s group at the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, published in 2008 in BMC Genomics, involved a human study where punch skin biopsies were taken from the forearm of 10 human volunteers who were exposed for 1 hour of cell phone radiation. Study has revealed that the expression level of 8 proteins was changed upon exposure, and 2 proteins were changed in all volunteers, suggesting that protein expression changes might occur in response to RF exposure.
Writing in the journal Nature Neuroscience last month, neurobiologists at the California Institute of Technology showed that very weak varying electric fields affect the thinking, resting or sleeping brain.
Dr. Devra Lee Davis, president and founder of Environmental Health Trust, says that this new work, combined with studies carried out by Henry Lai, Allan Frey and others in the past three decades and documented in her new book, Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family (Dutton, 2010), reinforces the need for revamping our current approach to cell phone safety.
“Cell phone standards assume that no biological impact of microwave radiation from cell phones can occur without a detectable change in temperature,” said Dr. Davis. “In fact, this JAMA study used phones with a SAR of less than 1 W/kg for 50 minutes and found significant increases in brain glucose—the sugar that provides the brain’s main source of energy.
“The current study shows, along with other studies, that there are additional concerns related to cell phone use, besides tumors,” adds Dr. Davis. “Tumors are just the tip of the iceberg, but their development is preceded by years of other biological perturbations that have profound medical relevance—and this study confirms that significant biological changes occur after relatively brief exposures such as those that take place daily with the world’s five billion cell phones.
“Could the stimulating impact of cell phone radiation to boost brain energy explain some of the growing addiction many of us feel for our phones?” Davis asks. “That is one of the many research questions that should be addressed.”
EHT is working with experts and governments in a number of U.S. cities and states, and in Finland, France, Israel and other countries around the world, to encourage a major independent research program on cell phones and simple precautionary policies in the meantime.
While that research is being carried out, EHT encourages simple precautions to reduce microwave radiation to the brain and body, such as those recommended by EHT chair Herberman in 2008 and now endorsed by a number of governments and experts around the world. Phones should be used with headsets or speakerphones and not kept directly on the body, and children should take special care not to have direct exposures.
Based on the growing evidence from laboratories and epidemiologic studies, two leaders of the WHO Interphone study on cell phones have recently broken ranks and are now calling for such precautions to be taken broadly. They note the growing biological evidence that microwave radiation from phones has impacts and that epidemiologic studies find increased risks of brain cancer after a decade of heavy use.
Professors Elisabeth Cardis and Siegal Sadetzki have urged that it is prudent to reduce exposure by simple means at this time, ranging from using speakerphones and headsets to reducing call time and children’s use of phones generally.
“There are now more than 4 billion people, including children, using mobile phones,” they write. “Even a small risk at the individual level could eventually result in a considerable number of tumours and become an important public-health issue. Simple and low-cost measures, such as the use of text messages, hands-free kits and/or the loudspeaker mode of the phone could substantially reduce exposure to the brain from mobile phones. Therefore, until deﬁnitive scientiﬁc answers are available, the adoption of such precautions, particularly among young people, is advisable.”
A recent widely publicized piece in the journal BioElectromagnetics concluded that because the U.S. and U.K. do not currently have a brain tumor epidemic (from 1998–2007) and cell phones have been in use for a decade, therefore cell phones are safe and there is no need for precaution.
Regarding this study, Allan Frey, a well-known expert in the field of bioelectromagnetics, noted the fallacy of the argument:
“It is well established in the scientific literature that generally a cancer is not seen until 10 to 30 years after the exposure to an agent. In addition, the radio frequency-biological literature shows that cancer is not seen until at least 10 years after the exposure, which is consistent with the rest of the scientific literature.”
In criticizing this study, Frey points out, “The authors analyzed data on brain tumors gathered before most of their study population owned a cell phone. Also, most of their population did not have a cell phone for more than five years. Thus, the authors knew or should have known, that if cell phones induced or promoted brain cancer, that their study would not have shown it. Yet they did the study and concluded in their paper that their study showed that there was no need for ‘…interventions to reduce radio frequency exposure from mobile phones’ that are used today.”
“To conclude that cell phones are safe misreads the science and misleads the people,” Dr. Davis advised.
Reference to BMC Genomics study:
Karinen A, Heinävaara S, Nylund R, Leszczynski D. Mobile phone radiation might alter protein expression in human skin. BMC Genomics 9, 2008, 77 (www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2164/9/77)
About Environmental Health Trust
Environmental Health Trust (EHT) educates individuals, health professionals and communities about controllable environmental health risks and policy changes needed to reduce those risks. Current multi-media projects include: local and national campaigns to ban smoking and asbestos; working with international physician and worker safety groups to warn about the risks of inappropriate use of diagnostic radiation and cell phones, exploring what factors lie behind puzzlingly high rates of fibroid tumors, breast cancer and endometriosis in young African American women, and building environmental wellness programs in Wyoming and Pennsylvania to address the environmental impacts of energy development, the built environment and radon. EHT was created with the goal of promoting health and preventing disease one person, one community and one nation at a time. Capitalizing on growing public interest in Dr. Devra Lee Davis’s popular books, When Smoke Ran Like Water, a National Book Award Finalist, and The Secret History of the War on Cancer, and recent documentary films, the foundation’s website will become the go to place for clear, science-based information to prevent environmentally based disease and promote health, and will have portals for the general public, children, and health professionals.
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