This Italian study on exposure to radiofrequency radiation and cancer in rats was started in 2005. It was a whole life-span study including 2448 animals. They were divided into 4 groups; 0 exposure (control group), 5 V/m, 25 V/m or 50 V/m. It has now been published and interestingly the results are similar as in the NTP study.
A statistically significant increase in the incidence of heart Schwannomas was observed in treated male rats at the highest dose (50 V/m). Furthermore, an increase in the incidence of heart Schwann cells hyperplasia was observed in treated male and female rats at the highest dose (50 V/m), although this was not statistically significant. An increase in the incidence of malignant glial tumors was observed in treated female rats at the highest dose (50 V/m), although not statistically significant.
The RI findings on far field exposure to RFR are consistent with and reinforce the results of the NTP study on near field exposure, as both reported an increase in the incidence of tumors of the brain and heart in RFR-exposed Sprague-Dawley rats. These tumors are of the same histotype of those observed in some epidemiological studies on cell phone users. These experimental studies provide sufficient evidence to call for the re-evaluation of IARC conclusions regarding the carcinogenic potential of RFR in humans.
Considering this study, the NTP study, increasing incidence of glioma, and human epidemiology studies showing increased risk for glioma and vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma) for persons using wireless phones it is time for International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to make a new risk assessment. The results indicate that radiofrequency radiation should be a Group 1 carcinogen to humans (sufficient evidence).
This study is now under peer review during March 26 to 28, 2018; the reports can be found here (NTP TR 595; rats) and here (NTP TR 596; mice). It has been able to submit comments and our views can be found here.
Our overall evaluation of levels of evidence of carcinogenic activity are:
Glioma: Clear evidence
Meningioma: Equivocal evidence
Vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma): Clear evidence
Pituitary tumor (adenoma): Equivocal evidence
Thyroid cancer: Some evidence
Malignant lymphoma: Equivocal evidence
Skin (cutaneous tissue): Equivocal evidence
Multi-site carcinogen: Some evidence
Based on the IARC preamble to the monographs, RF radiation should be classified as Group 1: The agent is carcinogenic to humans.
’This category is used when there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans. Exceptionally, an agent may be placed in this category when evidence of carcinogenicity in humans is less than sufficient but there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals and strong evidence in exposed humans that the agent acts through a relevant mechanism of carcinogenicity.’ (http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Preamble/currentb6evalrationale0706.php)
A recent article describes increasing incidence of the most malignant type of brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in England during 1995-2015. The number of patients increased from 2.4 to 5.0 per 100,000 during that time period. In total the yearly increase was from 983 to 2,531 patients, thus a substantial number. The incidence of low-grade glioma decreased but was stabilized from 2004, see figure 2. Thus the increasing incidence cannot be explained by low-grade glioma transforming to high-grade (GBM). The authors conclude that a general environmental factor must be the cause.
The increasing incidence is most pronounced for GBM in temporal or frontal parts of the brain, see figure 6. That is parts with highest exposure to radiofrequency radiation from the handheld wireless phone.
The increasing incidence of GBM was seen in all age groups but was most pronounced in those aged more than 55 years.
We published incidence data on brain tumours for the time period 1998-2015 based on the Swedish Cancer Register. In the age group 60-79 years the yearly incidence of high-grade glioma increased statistically significant in men with +1.68% (+0.39, +2.99 %) (n = 2,275) and in women with +1.38% (+0.32, +2.45%) (n = 1,585), see figures. Few patients were diagnosed in the age group 80+ yielding analysis less meaningful. High-grade glioma includes astrocytoma grades III and IV. Astrocytoma grade IV is the same as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) with bad prognosis, survival about one year or less.
Our results are similar to those now published from England. All results are in agreement with wireless phones (mobile phones and cordless phones) causing glioma.
Our research group published recently a study on radiofrequency (RF) radiation in schools using an exposimeter. RF emissions in the classroom were measured by the teachers in order to approximate the children’s exposure. Teachers in grades 7–12 carried a body-borne exposimeter, EME-Spy 200, in school during 1–4 days of work. Eighteen teachers from seven schools participated. The mean exposure to RF radiation ranged from 1.1 to 66.1 μW/m2. The highest mean level, 396.6 μW/m2, occurred during 5 min of a lesson when the teacher let the students stream and watch YouTube videos. Maximum peaks went up to 82,857 μW/m2 from mobile phone uplink. The exposure levels varied between the different Wi-Fi systems, and if the students were allowed to use their own smartphones on the school’s Wi-Fi network or if they were connected to GSM/3G/4G base stations outside the school. An access point over the teacher’s head gave higher exposure compared with a school with a wired Internet connection for the teacher in the classroom. All values were far below International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection’s reference values, but most mean levels measured were above the precautionary target level of 3–6 μW/m2 as proposed by the Bioinitiative Report. The length of time wireless devices are used is an essential determinant in overall exposure. Measures to minimize children’s exposure to RF radiation in school would include preferring wired connections, allowing laptops, tablets and mobile phones only in flight mode and deactivating Wi-Fi access points, when not used for learning purposes.
In Table 10 in the article examples of methods to reduce children’s exposure to RF radiation in schools are given
1. Wired connection to both teachers and students and no wireless networks or devices in school is the optimal choice. If this is not possible:
2. Wired connection to each classroom
a. to the teacher’s laptop,
b. for the students to download large files and videos.
3. To reduce exposure from Wi-Fi networks in school:
a. turn off Wi-Fi access points when not used for learning purposes,
b. position Wi-Fi access points outside of classrooms,
c. use directional Wi-Fi access points, which radiate into the direction of the client’s device.
4. Keep laptops and tablets in flight mode when Internet is not needed for learning purposes.
5. Wired connection to a landline telephone in each classroom could minimize the need for mobile phones for contact.
6. Mobile phones, including smart phones, could be left at home or collected in turned off mode. If allowed, they should be carried only in flight mode during school hours.
Recently we published a new article on brain tumor rates in Sweden using the Inpatient Register for the time period 1998-2015. Also incidence data using the Swedish Cancer Register were analyzed for the same time period. The full article can be found here, see also abstract below.
We used the Swedish Inpatient Register (IPR) to analyze rates of brain tumors of unknown type (D43) during 1998-2015. Average Annual Percentage Change (AAPC) per 100,000 increased with +2.06%, 95% confidence interval (CI) +1.27, +2.86% in both genders combined. A joinpoint was found in 2007 with Annual Percentage Change (APC) 1998-2007 of +0.16%, 95% CI -0.94, +1.28%, and 2007-2015 of +4.24%, 95% CI +2.87, +5.63%. Highest AAPC was found in the age group 20-39 years. In the Swedish Cancer Register the age-standardized incidence rate per 100,000 increased for brain tumors, ICD-code 193.0, during 1998-2015 with AAPC in men +0.49%, 95% CI +0.05, +0.94%, and in women +0.33%, 95% CI -0.29, +0.45%. The cases with brain tumor of unknown type lack morphological examination. Brain tumor diagnosis was based on cytology/histopathology in 83% for men and in 87% for women in 1980 in the Cancer Register. This frequency increased to 90% in men and 88% in women in 2015. During the same time period CT and MRI imaging techniques were introduced and morphology is not always necessary for diagnosis. If all brain tumors based on clinical diagnosis with CT or MRI had been reported to the Cancer Register the frequency of diagnoses based on cytology/histology would have decreased in the register. The results indicate underreporting of brain tumor cases to the Cancer Register. The real incidence would be higher. Thus, incidence trends based on the Cancer Register should be used with caution. Use of wireless phones should be considered in relation to the change of incidence rates.
We measured the radiofrequency (RF) radiation at the Stockholm Central Station in Sweden in November 2015. The full study can be read here. The exposimeter EME Spy 200 was used and it covers 20 different RF bands from 88 to 5,850 MHz. In total 1,669 data points were recorded. The median value for total exposure was 921 µW/m2 (or 0.092 μW/cm2; 1 μW/m2=0.0001 μW/cm2) with some outliers over 95,544 µW/m2 (6 V/m, upper detection limit). The mean total RF radiation level varied between 2,817 to 4,891 µW/m2 for each walking round.
Hot spots were identified, for example close to a wall mounted base station yielding over 95,544 µW/m2 and thus exceeding the exposimeter’s detection limit, see Figure below. A man is standing with his smartphone just a couple of meters below a base station (see arrow). In that area maximum measured power density in the GSM +UMTS 900 downlink band from the base station was 95,544 µW/m2, which is the upper limit of measurement for EME Spy 200.
Almost all of the total measured levels were above the precautionary target level of 3 to 6 µW/m2 as proposed by the BioInitiative Working Group in 2012. That target level was one-tenth of the scientific benchmark providing a safety margin either for children, or chronic exposure conditions. Considering the rapid progress of this technology, including 5G that is to be launched in the near future, it is important to monitor current RF radiation exposure in the environment.
There is growing international concern on the biased representation of persons in the preparation of the WHO Monograph on Radiofrequency Radiation. As discussed earlier the group is dominated by members of ICNIRP. In fact the Ethical Board at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden concluded already in 2008 that being a member of ICNIRP may be a conflict of interest that should be stated in scientific publications (Karolinska Institute Diary Number 3753-2008-609).
A recent letter to WHO written by members of the BioInitiative Working Group describes the unbalanced ‘no-risk’ group at WHO preparing the document. The full text may be read here.