The FDA, after reviewing more than a decade of published scientific research, reaffirmed its conclusion that there is no risk for cancer from exposure to radio waves emitted by cellphones.

A report released by the agency acknowledged that some studies have shown a link between heavy cellphone use and development of tumors, but that these studies had flaws and did not exhibit a consistent pattern.

“Based on the FDA’s ongoing evaluation, the available epidemiological and cancer incidence data continues to support the agency’s determination that there are no quantifiable adverse health effects in humans caused by exposures at or under the current cellphone exposure limits,” the FDA wrote in its report.

The FDA conducted an updated radiofrequency exposure risk analysis using available data from animal studies published between Jan. 1, 2008, and Aug. 1, 2018, and from epidemiological studies published between Jan. 1, 2008, and May 8, 2018. The agency sought to determine whether there was any causal link between RF exposure and tumor formation.

The review yielded 125 animal studies that examined RFR’s effects on animals; however, none of the studies demonstrated that localized exposure to RF emitted at the level of a mobile phone can lead to adverse effects, such as tumors. The FDA also cited an inability to accurately determine the dose amount animals absorb in real-world studies as a major limitation of most animal studies, instead stating that “epidemiological studies generally provide more relevant and accurate information” in this area of study.

Nevertheless, the FDA’s review of epidemiological studies — approximately 70 from the decade-plus time period examined in the report — showed no link between RFR exposure and the development of tumors.

The FDA said the issue with epidemiological studies in this area is that they “lack direct measurements of RF exposure outside of a laboratory setting” and instead rely on the study participant to track and self-report their own data. As a result, RF exposure data is an estimate in most epidemiological studies, according to the FDA.

“While some studies suggest a possible link between, for example, ‘heavy’ users of cell phones and some tumors, there is no clear and consistent pattern that has emerged from these studies and these studies were subject to flaws and inaccuracies,” according to the report.

“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.”


FDA. Review of published literature between 2008 and 2018 of relevance to radiofrequency radiation and cancer. Available at: Accessed on Feb. 11, 2020.


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