FDA: Cell phones still look safe


There is not enough evidence to suggest that radiofrequency radiation (RFR) associated with cell phone use causes cancer, according to a review by the Food and Drug Administration.

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The FDA reviewed the published literature from 2008 to 2018 and concluded that the data don’t support any quantifiable adverse health risks from RFR. However, the evidence is not without limitations.

The FDA’s evaluation included evidence from in vivo animal studies from Jan. 1, 2008, to Aug. 1, 2018, and epidemiologic studies in humans from Jan. 1, 2008, to May 8, 2018. Both kinds of evidence had limitations, but neither produced strong indications of any causal risks from cell phone use.

The FDA noted that in vivo animal studies are limited by variability of methods and RFR exposure, which make comparisons of results difficult. These studies are also impacted by the indirect effects of temperature increases (the only currently established biological effect of RFR) and stress experienced by the animals, which make teasing out the direct effects of RFR difficult.

The FDA noted that strong epidemiologic studies can provide more relevant and accurate information than in vivo studies, but epidemiologic studies are not without limitations. For example, most have participants track and self-report their cell phone use. There’s also no way to directly track certain factors of RFR exposure, such as frequency, duration, or intensity.

Even with those caveats in mind, the FDA wrote that, “based on the studies that are described in detail in this report, there is insufficient evidence to support a causal association between RFR exposure and tumorigenesis. There is a lack of clear dose-response relationship, a lack of consistent findings or specificity, and a lack of biological mechanistic plausibility.”

The full review is available on the FDA website.

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