A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

IARC: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )

July 8, 2022

“Use of Mobile Phones and the Incidence of Glioma Since 1979,” IARC’s Isabelle Deltour and Joachim Schüz for Germany’s Federal Office of Radiation Protection, June 30, 2022. Free access. An increased risk of brain tumors in the 10% heaviest mobile phone users remains “plausible.” But any risk would be ”very small”, and would only occur after “very long latency periods of several decades”, or only affect small subgroups within glioma patients. For context go here.

June 11, 2021

A new analysis from the radiation group at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) calls into question the agency’s own classification of wireless radiation as a possible human carcinogen.

On May 27, IARC’s Isabelle Deltour presented the new analysis of the incidence of malignant brain tumors (glioma) in the Nordic countries —Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden— over the last several decades. She spoke at an online colloquium hosted by the German Federal Office of Radiation Protection, known as the BfS.

Deltour argued that the trends are mostly not “compatible” with those seen in the epidemiological studies —principally, Interphone and Lennart Hardell’s— that were the basis of IARC’s 2011 designation of RF radiation as a possible, or 2B, human carcinogen.

February 16, 2021

Alexander Lerchl wanted a seat at the table and wanted it bad. It was 2010 and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) was setting up a working group to assess the cancer risks of RF radiation. The meeting would be a landmark event with major long-term implications for the cell phone industry.

As it turned out, in May 2011, the working group voted, by a large margin, to classify RF, including cell phone radiation, as a possible human carcinogen. But that outcome was far from assured before its 30 members —from 14 countries— deliberated for eight days at IARC headquarters in Lyon, France.

Lerchl, a professor at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, was making a name for himself as a self-appointed debunker of claims of radiation health effects. Lerchl craved to be invited to Lyon, but IARC would not have him.

December 6, 2019

Simply saying that more health research is needed on 5G —the latest generation of cell phone technology— can be hazardous to your reputation.

Last May, the New York Times tried to take down David Carpenter, a public health physician and the country’s most prominent 5G critic. Veteran science writer William Broad painted Carpenter as a willing tool of a disinformation campaign promoted by RT America, a Russian TV network. Two months later, Broad was back for another hit on Carpenter. Much of what Broad wrote was fiction.

Now Scientific American has ambushed Joel Moskowitz, one of the few other academics willing to state the obvious: No one knows whether 5G is safe.

November 4, 2019

After eight years of work, the World Health Organization (WHO) is reopening its review of the health effects of RF radiation for a summary report intended to serve as a benchmark for its more than 150 member countries. The report will be used as a guide to respond to widespread concerns over the new world of 5G.

The WHO issued a public call in October for detailed literature reviews on ten types of RF–health impacts from cancer to fertility to electrohypersensitivity. Some see the move as a sign that the health agency is interested in opinions beyond those of its long-time partner, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). They hope that the WHO is finally ready to recognize evidence of low-level effects, in particular the link between cell phones and cancer. Others are far from convinced.

The skeptics see the new reviews as little more than a ruse.

August 4, 2019

“Parental Occupational Exposure to Low-Frequency Magnetic Fields and Risk of Leukaemia in the Offspring,” Occupational & Environmental Medicine, July 29, 2019.

“We did not find any associations.” Pooled analysis of 11 case-control studies by the Childhood Leukaemia International Consortium, including Joachim Schüz of IARC and Elisabeth Cardis. Open access.

June 3, 2019

De-Kun Li wants to change the conversation on cell phones and cancer. Li, a senior epidemiologist and veteran EMF researcher, believes that brain tumors have been getting too much attention at the expense of other types of cancer, notably colorectal cancer.

Efforts to reduce colon and rectal cancers have been a striking success story for those over 50 years old. Incidence among older Americans declined 32% between 2000 and 2013, due largely to better screening. But the story for young adults is very different. Those born around 1990 now face four times the risk of developing rectal cancer and twice the risk of colon cancer in their 20s, compared to those born around 1950, according to the American Cancer Society.

“No one can explain this apparent contradiction,” Li told Microwave News. Known risk factors for colorectal cancer include obesity, an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity, but Li doesn’t think they can resolve the paradox.

April 22, 2019

An advisory committee has recommended that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reassess the cancer risks associated with RF radiation. This should be a “high priority,” according to the panel’s report, which was issued last week.

The group, with 29 members from 18 countries, suggests that the new evaluation take place between 2022 and 2024.

In May 2011, an IARC expert committee classified RF radiation...

February 20, 2019

A major review of cell phone cancer risks is at the center of an ongoing controversy over whether it is biased and should be withdrawn.

The new paper by some of the most prominent members of the RF–health community contends that epidemiological studies do not show an increased risk of brain tumors or acoustic neuroma associated with the use of mobile phones. That is, cell phones are cancer safe.

Titled “Brain and Salivary Gland Tumors and Mobile Phone Use: Evaluating the Evidence from Various Epidemiological Study Designs,” the...

February 20, 2019

It has been nearly eight years since an expert panel of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified RF radiation as a possible human carcinogen. Since then, neither the World Health Organization (WHO) nor the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has recommended precautionary policies to limit potential health risks.

No U.S. health agency has yet advised the public to reduce RF exposures.

Even after two large animal studies —by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) and Italy’s Ramazzini Institute— presented clear evidence of a cancer link last year, the WHO has remained silent; ICNIRP responded by calling both animal studies unconvincing.

Now comes the Annual Review of Public Health, which on January 11 posted a paper by five leading epidemiologists who posit that, after a systematic review of all the human studies, they don’t see an elevated cancer risk. The takeaway is that the IARC classification was a mistake.

March 22, 2018

Partial results of the Ramazzini Institute’s RF–animal study, which show a statistically significant increase in tumors in the hearts of male rats exposed to GSM radiation, were officially released today. They appear in Environmental Research, a peer-reviewed journal.

As we reported last month, the Ramazzini finding of Schwann cell tumors —called schwannomas— in the rat hearts is consistent with a similar finding by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) in a $25 million RF project.

In an interview with Microwave News, Fiorella Belpoggi, the senior author of the new paper and the director of the Ramazzini Institute’s Research Center in Bologna, Italy, offered her views on the new results, the parallels with those of the NTP and the implications for IARC’s designation of the cancer risk of RF radiation.

August 18, 2016

“Increasing Incidence of Thyroid Cancer in the Nordic Countries with Main Focus on Swedish Data,” BMC Cancer, July 7, 2016.

New from Lennart Hardell’s group in Sweden. “With the emergence of the smartphones in the mid and late 2000s, the internal antenna location started to shift from the top of the phone to the bottom of the phone.” This would entail greater RF exposure of the thyroid gland than earlier phones. (Open access) … In a report issued on August 18, IARC maintains that, “the growing epidemic of thyroid cancer reported in recent decades in several high-income countries is largely due to overdiagnosis.” Read the IARC press release here. We asked Hardell whether the IARC analysis changed his outlook on the possible role played by smart phones. “No,” he replied.

June 25, 2015

Lancet Oncology, the journal which published the official announcement of IARC’s decision to designate RF radiation as a possible human carcinogen, has issued a correction to the conflict of interest (COI) statement it had included for...

March 13, 2015

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. Complicating matters even further, lower doses were often found to be more effective tumor promoters than higher levels; in effect, turning the conventional concept of a linear dose-response on its head.

October 20, 2014

Some leading epidemiologists have been saying that cell phones don’t pose a brain tumor risk because cancer rates are not going up. Now comes word that Swedish cancer registry data are in disarray and official statistics may be masking a disquieting trend.

Since 2008, there has been a close to 30% increase in patients with a brain tumor of an “unknown nature” and that increase is not reflected in the national cancer registry, according to a new analysis by...

December 13, 2013

Just over a year ago, the Danish Cancer Society (DCS) issued a news advisory with some alarming news: The number of men diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most malignant type of brain cancer, had doubled over the last ten years. Hans Skovgaard Poulsen, the head of neuro-oncology at Copenhagen University Hospital was quoted in the release as saying that this was a “frightening development.”

At the time, Christoffer Johansen, a senior researcher at the DCS told us: “I think the data is true and valid.” And Joachim Schüz, a long time collaborator of Johansen’s at the DCS who is now at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon told Microwave News that the news was “indeed a concern.” He said that he could not explain it. (See our report here.)

After that, there was silence.

April 19, 2013

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has released its detailed evaluation of the cancer risks associated with RF radiation, which serves as the rationale for designating RF as a possible human carcinogen.

The IARC monograph comes close to two years after an invited panel of experts from 14 countries reached this conclusion following an eight-day meeting at IARC headquarters in Lyon, France (see our...

January 15, 2013

“Cancer Risks Related to Low-Level RF/MW Exposures, Including Cell Phones,”

by Poland's Stan Szmigielski, posted online by Electromagnetic Medicine and Biology, on January 15, 2013: "[S]o far, the published studies do not show that mobile phones can increase considerably the risk of cancer. This conclusion is backed up by the lack of a solid biological mechanism, and the fact that brain cancer rates are not going up significantly. However, all of the studies so far have weaknesses, which make it impossible to entirely rule out a risk."

March 18, 2012

IARC has closed the book on the Interphone project, its study of mobile phone tumor risks. A couple of days ago, the cancer agency quietly issued a final report, stating that its work "has now been formally completed." The report, though dated October 3, 2011, was released on March 16th.

March 9, 2012

A new analysis from the U.S. National Cancer Institute has found that the rates of brain tumors (glioma) in the United States are inconsistent with the results of Lennart Hardell’s group in Sweden. The NCI team, led by Mark Little, does allow that “the U.S. data could be consistent with the modest excess risks in the Interphone study.’’


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