There is no evidence that mobile phones can cause cancer, according to a US Food and Drug Administration review of a decade’s worth of studies.

The FDA reviewed 125 experiments looking at potential links between radiofrequency radiation (RFR) – the radiation from mobile phones – and tumours and cancer, and found “no consistent pattern” linking the two.

The FDA focused on the epidemiological studies after finding experiments conducted on animals to be “extremely challenging studies to design and undertake”.

Some of these tests involved exposing the entire body of the animal to the radiation which “does not reflect the real-world situation of localised exposure to the ear and head from a handset as used by humans”.

In contrast, the epidemiological studies “generally provide more relevant and accurate information”.

No link

After analysing 70 of these peer-reviewed studies, the FDA couldn’t find a clear link between mobile phone usage and cancer.

“None have adequately demonstrated that localised exposure of RFR at levels that would be encountered by cell phone users can lead to adverse effects,” the FDA report said.

“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 cell phone exposure limits.”

Studies that did identify some sort of link were found to be unreliable, the FDA said.

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

“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.

“There is a lack of clear dose response relationship, a lack of consistent findings or specificity, and a lack of biological mechanistic plausibility.”

Researchers would be better off focusing on the impact of RFR exposure on vulnerable groups in society rather than the general public, the FDA concluded.

“The data suggest the need for shifting the focus from the general population with undetectable overall risk to a very small subset of people who might be inherently predisposed to the risk for tumorigenesis and who therefore might be more susceptible to putative risk modification by the intense RF-EMF exposure,” it said.

“Existing epidemiological evidence indicates that if any risk does exist, it is extremely low compared to both the natural incidence of the disease and known controllable risk factors.”

5G is safe

The FDA has also said that it considers upcoming 5G technology to be safe.

“While many of the specifics of 5G remain ill-defined, it is known that 5G cell phones will use frequencies covered by the current FCC exposure guidelines, and the conclusions reached based on the current body of scientific evidence covers these frequencies,” it said.

“The FDA will continue to monitor scientific information as it becomes available regarding the potential impacts of 5G.”

The new report will be welcome relief for iPhone users after it was recently revealed that the Apple iPhone 7 produces radiation over the legal limit and more than twice what the company had reported to the regulator.

The lab tests found that the iPhone 7 “measured over the legal safety limit and more than double what Apple reported to federal regulators from its own testing”.

Apple slammed the testing, saying it was “inaccurate due to the test setup not being in accordance with procedure necessary to properly assess the iPhone models”, and that the phone complies with all regulations.