Cell Phone Study Scare

This week I have a guest post from my wonderful husband, Pete. Not only did I start a new job last week (and was thus rather distracted), we had a house guest arrive mid-week. So much for my good intentions. Besides, Pete is very good at researching matters of science, so you will benefit!In this case, a headline in our news feed caught our attention:

“Cellphone radiation linked to tumors in male rats”

Really? If so, this is a matter of grave concern. We all use cell phones! But as we read further, something didn’t seem quite right. I’ll let Pete take it from here.

Cellphone radiation linked to tumors in male rats? Or maybe not.

[Preliminary; I may post more data after gaining access to more than the study’s detailed data.]

There is a big scare growing about a new study of “cellphone radiation.” It warns that the radiation caused tumors in male rats. Let’s take a look!

Links to the actual study results are at the bottom of this page.

Here’s the actual study results, showing survival data over a two year period for male rats. Note that the black squares are the “control” rats, not exposed to the radiation:

Notice anything interesting? In general, the “exposed” rats lived longer.

Look at the fine print, which explains the exposure rates:

  • 1.5 to 6.0 watts per kg of body mass
  • Let’s take a worst-case human example… a 14 year old girl. Average body weight about 60 kg.
  • The exposure rate corresponds to a 75 to 300 watt light bulb being held close to your daughter’s body.

Here’s how different that is. Don’t worry if you don’t know milliwatt or “dBm” units. The “one in” table shows you how tiny a fraction of this is actually emitted by a cell phone:

In other words, they attempted to kill rats using huge amounts of radio frequency radiation—thousands to billions of times more than any human would encounter with a cell phone.

Most of the rats actually survived better. But the statistical shenanigans are reported to say humans may be at risk.


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