Maternal cell phone use during pregnancy and child behavioral problems in five birth cohorts

Previous studies have reported associations between prenatal cell phone use (exposure to radiofrequent fields) and child behavioral problems. In this study  data from 83,884 mother-child pairs in the five cohorts from Denmark (1996-2002), Korea (2006-2011), the Netherlands (2003-2004), Norway (2004-2008), and Spain (2003-2008) were analyzed. Cell phone use was grouped into none, low, medium, and high, based on frequency of calls during pregnancy reported by the mothers. Evidence for a trend of increasing risk of child behavioral problems through the maternal cell phone use categories was observed for hyperactivity/inattention problems; ADHD (OR for problems in the clinical range: 1.11, 95%CI 1.01, 1.22; 1.28, 95%CI 1.12, 1.48, among children of medium and high users, respectively). Thus, maternal cell phone use during pregnancy may be associated with an increased risk for behavioral problems, particularly hyperactivity/inattention problems, in the offspring. Increased risk was also found in the high cell phone use category for overall behavioral problems and emotional problems, although not statistically significant. The study can be found here.

In all analyses low cell phone use was used as the reference category. For no cell phone use decreased risk was found for all studied behavioral problems (overall problems, ADHD and emotional problems). It is unclear why low cell phone use instead of no cell phone use was used as the reference category. Using subjects that never used a cell phone would have given higher risk estimates in the high use category.

In the Dutch cohort cordless phone use was assessed yielding similar results as for cell phone use.

Increased risk for glioma associated with mobile phone use in Interphone Canada

Probabilistic multiple-bias modelling applied to the Canadian data from the INTERPHONE study of mobile phone use and risk of glioma, meningioma, acoustic neuroma, and parotid gland tumors.

Momoli F, Siemiatycki J, McBride ML, Parent MÉ, Richardson L, Bedard D, Platt R, Vrijheid M, Cardis E, Krewski D.


We undertook a re-analysis of the Canadian data from the thirteen-country INTERPHONE case-control study (2001-2004), which evaluated the association between mobile phone use and risk of brain, acoustic neuroma, and parotid gland tumors. The main publication of the multinational INTERPHONE study concluded that “biases and errors prevent a causal interpretation”. We applied a probabilistic multiple-bias model to address possible biases simultaneously, using validation data from billing records and non-participant questionnaires as information on recall error and selective participation. Our modelling sought to adjust for these sources of uncertainty and to facilitate interpretation. For glioma, the odds ratio comparing highest quartile of use (over 558 lifetime hours) to non-regular users was 2.0 (95% confidence interval: 1.2, 3.4). The odds ratio was 2.2 (95% confidence interval: 1.3, 4.1) when adjusted for selection and recall biases. There was little evidence of an increase in the risk of meningioma, acoustic neuroma, or parotid gland tumors in relation to mobile phone use. Adjustments for selection and recall biases did not materially affect interpretation in our Canadian results.

The article can be found here.


It is noteworthy that statistically significant increased risk was found already at 558+ hours of cumulative use corresponding to 9 min per day during 10 years. This amount is much lower than now used for wireless phones. Total Interphone showed for cumulative call time, 1640 hours or more, odds ratio 1.40 (95% confidence interval 1.03–1.89) for glioma. This corresponds to less than half an hour per day (27 min) during 10 years.

Interphone Canada confirms the increased risk for glioma associated with use of wireless phones, see our recent review, Carlberg, Hardell 2017.

High radiofrequency radiation at Stockholm Old Town in Sweden

Exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation was classified as a possible human carcinogen, Group 2B, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer at WHO in 2011. Outdoor RF radiation levels were measured during five tours in Stockholm Old Town in April, 2016 using the EME Spy 200 exposimeter with 20 predefined frequencies. The results were based on 10,437 samples in total. The mean level of the total RF radiation was 4,293 μW/m2 (0.4293 μW/cm2). The highest mean levels were obtained for global system for mobile communications (GSM) + universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS) 900 downlink and long‑term evolution (LTE) 2600 downlink (1,558 and 1,265 μW/m2, respectively). The town squares displayed highest total mean levels, with the example of Järntorget square with 24,277 μW/m2 (min 257, max 173,302 μW/m2). Measurements in the streets surrounding the Royal Castle were lower than the total for the Old Town, with a mean of 756 μW/m2 (min 0.3, max 50,967 μW/m2). The BioInitiative 2012 Report defined the scientific benchmark for possible health risks as 30‑60 μW/m2. Our results of outdoor RF radiation exposure at Stockholm Old Town are significantly above that level. The full report can be found here.

Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) and human cancer

Almost 5 000 persons world-wide have endorsed the petition to WHO/IARC to evaluate all scientific evidence and classify RF/EMF as human carcinogen, Group I. The petition is still open on Internet for those who want to sign it; follow this link. The joint statement is as follows:


Joint Statement

We—the undersigned organizations, doctors, and scientists—wholeheartedly support the scientific findings of a connection between cancer and RF/EMF radiation. For the sanctity of human life, especially our children, we respectfully request that:

  • WHO/IARC immediately conducts the appropriate scientific review within IARC to move RF/EMF radiation from its current class 2B to class 1, known carcinogen based on review of the complete scientific database.
  • As is the policy of the WHO with Smoking/Cancer related issues, we respectfully request that the WHO and IARC not permit any conflicts of interests amongst the scientists, doctors, policy making/administrating officials, or anyone serving in any other capacity determining classifications of carcinogenicity and policy decisions regarding EMFs and Cancer.
  • Specifically we respectfully request that any scientist, doctor, policy making/administrating official, or anyone serving in any capacity in WHO and IARC not receive now or in the near future any monetary compensation from the wireless industry or any company that produces products that emit or receive RF radiation or benefit from such products or companies – in the form of research grants, consulting fees or any other form of compensation including payments to any relative of the scientist or colleague in close association.


We respectfully request that these conflicts be vehemently policed and monitored to maintain the integrity of the classifications, assure absolute transparency and ensure safety of the public.

According to Dr. Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD, and oncologist:

“Based on the Hill criteria, glioma and acoustic neuroma should be considered to be caused by RF-EMF emissions from wireless phones and regarded as carcinogenic to humans, classifying it as group 1 according to the IARC classification. Current guidelines for exposure need to be urgently revised.”

Moving radiofrequency radiation from Group 2B to 1 as a human carcinogen

The carcinogenic effect of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on humans was evaluated at a meeting during 24 – 31 May 2011 at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) at WHO in Lyon, France. The Working Group categorised RF-EMF from mobile phones, and from other devices that emit similar non-ionising electromagnetic fields, as a Group 2B, i.e. a ‘possible’, human carcinogen.

After that meeting supportive evidence has come from e.g. the French CERENAT study and also our recent publication on glioma. An increased risk for acoustic neuroma associated with use of wireless phones was published by our research group after the meeting giving pooled results of our study periods 1997-2003 and 2007-2009. Also other studies have reported similar findings.

We evaluated the Hill viewpoints on association and causation used in the 1960’s in the debate on lung cancer risk among smokers. Using these viewpoints our summary was that RF-EMF exposure should be a Group 1 carcinogen according to IARC criteria. There is now a petition to support that notion aiming at alerting IARC to classify such exposure to cause human cancer. Those who want to support the petition can follow this link.

WiFi in classrooms

Both in Sweden and in many other countries wireless communication systems are increasingly installed in schools. They emit radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) when used. RF-EMF is classified as ‘possible’ human carcinogen, Group B. There is an alternative to use wired internet connections instead. This is discussed in more detail in this article.

New study confirms increased risk for gliomas associated with use of mobile phone

On 9 May 2014 a new French case-control study on mobile phone use and brain tumour risk in the CERENAT study was published online. It confirms an increased risk for gliomas in the heaviest users. Life-time cumulative use > 896 hours produced odds ratio (OR) = 2.89, 95 % confidence interval (CI) = 1.41-5.93. Number of calls (> 18 360 calls) gave OR = 2.10, 95 % CI = 1.03-4.31. Considering a 5-year latency period (5-year censorship) increased the risk further in the last decile of cumulative use to OR = 5.30, 95 % CI = 2.12-13.23.

Increased risk was found for analogue phone use; OR = 3.75, 95 % CI = 0.97-14.43, and digital mobile phone use only; OR = 2.71, 95 % CI = 1.03-7.10. Risks were higher for temporal tumours, occupational and urban mobile phone use. Unfortunately the study did not include use of cordless phones (DECT) which leads to underestimate of the risks since such use was regarded as no exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF).

The study included also cases with meningioma. A statistically significant increased risk was found for cumulative duration of calls > 896 hours yielding OR = 2.57, 95 % CI = 1.02-6.44. However, overall the results were less consistent for an association than for gliomas.

This study reports important findings that add to the conclusion that gliomas are caused by exposure to RF-EMF. It strengthens the conclusions in our article on causation using the Hill viewpoints on causation and association.