For years, researchers have questioned if excessive cellphone use is linked to cancer.
Millions of people every day are constantly connected to their phones – making calls, texting, taking pictures, and surfing social media. Even cellular radiation experts can have a hard time disconnecting.
The issue is especially timely as 5G, a new and stronger broadband, is expected to come online later this year.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina recently hosted a panel of the world's top experts to review findings from a $25 million study on cellphones and cancer, according to WNCN-TV.
What did the research find?
During "years of testing on thousands of rats and mice," researchers found an increase of malignant tumors in the hearts of male rats, reports state.
Under the study, the animals were subjected to increasing levels of radio frequency radiation.
The radiation rates were higher than allowable cellphone emissions, according to published reports. In two years, the rodents received about the same amount of exposure people are expected to have in 70-plus years of life, according to the report.
Still, the panel determined that the cancer risk associated with cellphone use is more significant than was originally thought, KDKA reported.
"The heart tumors are of a type that have been shown to be elevated in some epidemiology studies of humans who have used their cellphones under the highest power conditions for the longest period of time," said John Bucher, a senior scientist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Bucher said that in humans, it's found in the vestibular nerve, in the ear, the acoustic nerve.
Some activists are calling for the government to increase regulations on cellphone radiation emissions.
“And I think it’s the responsibility of the ones making the phones to make them as safe as possible, and I’m sure they can do better than what we actually have,” said Annie Sasco, a panel member and retired cancer researcher for the World Health Organization.
Does this have legal ramifications?
The latest study may also fuel brain tumor lawsuits connected with cellphones.
“Many brain tumor lawsuits going on right now that are waiting for a study like this to prove that people’s brain tumors were caused by their cellphone radiation,” Kevin Mottus of the California Brain Tumor Association told KDKA.
Apparent health risks associated with cellphone use can be minimized by holding the phone away from the body when in use, and by not placing the cellphone in your pocket.