ICNIRP Note: Critical Evaluation of Two Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Field Animal Carcinogenicity Studies Published in 2018
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Final results are now available from two large animal studies that investigated whether long-term exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields (EMFs) associated with mobile (or cell) phones or base stations is carcinogenic; these studies hale from the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the Ramazzini Institute in Italy, respectively. In both cases, the authors concluded that they had demonstrated that RF EMFs are carcinogenic in male rats but not in female rats or mice (NTP only). The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has evaluated their methods and findings for potential information about the carcinogenicity of exposure to RF EMFs. We found that these studies had important strengths; for example, both followed good laboratory practice (GLP), both used much larger numbers of animals than previous research, and both exposed animals over the whole of their lives. We also noted some major weaknesses, including a lack of blinding, difficulties interpreting statistical analyses due to the association between longer lifespans and tumor occurrence in the exposed rats (NTP only), and failure to account for chance. ICNIRP concluded that these substantial limitations preclude conclusions being drawn concerning RF EMFs and carcinogenesis.