Cellphone radio-frequency waves can be decisively linked to cancer in rats, according to a national science panel meeting in Research Triangle Park on Wednesday. The scientists’ finding establishes the clearest connection of cellphone risk to humans in a major U.S. study to date.

The scientists made their announcement at the end of a three-day meeting to review a $25 million rodent experiment conducted by the National Toxicology Center in RTP for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The draft of the study, issued in early February, had established a weak link in some cases, but the scientific advisory panel on Wednesday said the data is more compelling and indicates greater risk than initially acknowledged.

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Wednesday’s decision is expected to change the debate over cellphone safety, and public health activists predict the results will increase pressure on federal agencies to issue safety warnings and tighten safety standards of the ubiquitous electronic device. SNIP