The RF–cancer story took a remarkable turn a few days ago. A new animal study challenged many of the assumptions which lie at the heart of claims that RF radiation —whether from cell phones, cell towers or Wi-Fi— are safe.
The new study, from Germany, a replication of an earlier experiment, also from Germany, found that weak cell phone signals can promote the growth of tumors in mice. It used radiation levels that do not cause heating and are well below current safety standards.
Lerchl has shown that mice exposed in the womb with a known cancer agent, ENU, and then exposed to a UMTS cell phone signal had significantly higher rates of tumors of the liver and the lung, as well as of lymphoma than with ENU alone. (UMTS is a third generation, 3G, system based on GSM.) His study was designed to repeat, with a larger number of animals, an experiment published in 2010 by Thomas Tillmann of the Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Experimental Medicine in Hannover. When Tillmann first presented his results a couple of years earlier, he called them “remarkable” (see “3G Can Promote Tumors”). Since then, the study has been largely ignored —until now.
Lerchl’s animal study has one advantage over many of the others that have been carried out in the past: He, like Tillmann, used free-roaming animals. In a misguided effort beginning in the 1990's, the EC supported a series of animal studies, known as PERFORM-A, at a cost of over $10 million, in which the animals were restrained to better quantify exposures. The entire enterprise turned out to be a fiasco. The exposure system was found to put the animals under sufficient stress to obscure the possible effects of the RF exposure
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