A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

Repacholi’s RF Review

October 25, 2011
Last updated 
November 10, 2011

Last year, sensing that the upcoming IARC assessment might undercut his legacy at both the WHO and ICNIRP, Mike Repacholi assembled a team to prepare its own assessment of the possible tumor risks from RF radiation: That review has just been released by the journal Bioelectromagnetics.

No surprise: In contrast to the IARC decision to classify RF radiation as a possible human cancer agent, Repacholi and his 14 coauthors could not identify any hazard beyond overheating. What is surprising is that no one from the WHO EMF project and only one member of ICNIRP, Paolo Vecchia, joined his study team. On the other hand, two who served on the IARC panel did sign up: David McCormick of the U.S. Martin Röösli of Switzerland. Repacholi’s second author is Alex Lerchl, who has long sought to discredit studies showing that RF can lead to DNA breaks. Here again no surprise: the paper finds that “studies do not support the conclusion that RF exposure causes genotoxic effects.”

As we long ago documented, Repacholi's EMF project at WHO received substantial support from the cell phone industry. Did the industry subsidize this new review? The published paper provides no information on possible conflicts. We have asked for clarification from Repacholi and Jim Lin, the editor of Bioelectromagnetics.

Later: Mike Repacholi replied that “there were no sponsors for this review.” He expressed surprise that the conflict-of-interest statement had been left out of the published paper. Some days after we raised the issue with Lin, a new version of the paper was posted with a detailed, two-paragraph statement covering two of the 15 authors. All the others “reported no conflicts of interest.” The conflict-free include Repacholi and Lerchl. We have yet to be told how the two paragraphs were omitted from the originally posted paper. That pdf is now a collectors’ item.