Science: Electrosensitivity, illness and cancer

    back to: Science about ES: Individual Studies

Cancer from WiFi, cellphones and towers, and power-lines

Radiofrequency radiation causes cancer:  = Group 1 Human Carcinogen

  • "Based on the evidence reviewed it is our opinion that IARC's current categorization of RFR as a possible human carcinogen (Group 2B) should be upgraded to Carcinogenic to Humans (Group 1)."
                Miller AB et al.: "Cancer epidemiology update, following the 2011 IARC evaluation of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (Monograph 102)" (Environ Res., 2018)
  • "By now [2017] carcinogenicity has been shown in human epidemiological studies replicated in animal studies.
    Laboratory studies on RF radiation have shown increased ROS production that can cause DNA strand breaks.
    In 2013, we published the conclusion that RF radiation should be regarded as a human carcinogen Group 1 according to IARC definition, based on scientific evidence (Hardell and Carlberg, 2013) further supported in our up-dated article (Carlberg and Hardell, 2017).
    ​Clearly also based on the IARC preamble to the monographs, RF radiation should be classified as Group 1: The agent is carcinogenic to humans."

    (Hardell L, Carlberg M: "Use of Wireless Phones and Evidence for Increased Risk of Brain Tumors" (Section 11, November 2017 Supplement, Bioinitiative Report)

  • "RF fields can change radical concentrations and cancer cell growth rates ...  long-term exposures to relatively weak static, low-frequency, and RF magnetic fields can change radical concentrations. As a consequence, a long-term exposure to fields below the guideline levels may affect biological systems and modify cell growth rates ... there is epidemiological evidence for an association of small increases in cancer rates with long-term exposures to magnetic fields ... weak magnetic fields change the rate of recombination for radical pairs that are generated by the metabolic activity in cells, which, in turn, change the concentration of radicals such as O2 and molecules such as H2O2 ... long-term exposure to elevated magnetic fields can lead to elevated radical concentrations and an association with aging, cancers, and Alzheimer’s. This hypothesis is supported by some theoretical and experimental results ...  changes in magnetic field change the growth rate of cancer cells more than normal cells of the same type ... At low frequencies, the magnetic fields can both increase and decrease the growth rates of cells ... there are many experiments where no changes are seen. This, we believe, is due to the many feedback and repair processes in the body ...  these effects are frequency, amplitude, and time dependent."
              (Frank Barnes and Ben Greenebaum: "Some Effects of Weak Magnetic Fields on Biological Systems" IEEE Power                         Electronics Magazine, March 2016)
  • Cellphones exceed heating limits if used or held next to the body, in the way that most people use them. This was shown for the Samsung Galaxy, LG5 and Apple iPhone 7. Women can get cancers on their breast which match where the antenna of the cellphone is located. Yet regulators like Health Canada are still refusing to admit that there is a problem with tests which were devised decades ago. These tests still apply only to adult males, and not to children or people with genetic conditions or long-term ill health. Moreover, the test are based on the long-invalidated hypothesis that only heating can cause adverse health effects, when it has been established for decades that low-level exposure at certain frequencies can cause adverse effects.
               ​(CBC News: "The secret inside your cellphone (CBC Marketplace)" 22 minutes, 2017)
  • "Spurred by growing independent scientific reports linking wireless microwave radiation to a range of health problems, policies to reduce exposures, especially for children, are moving forward in France, Israel, Argentina, India and Taiwan. In contrast in the U.S. we are caught up in a well-financed national push for more and more wireless in more and more places.
    Outside the United States, educating children and young adults about reducing exposures to cellphone radiation has become a critical international public health concern. In high-tech countries like Israel, France, and Belgium, phones must be sold with headsets and information about keeping phones off the brain and body."

         Dr Devra Davis: "A public health revolution can reduce the growing cancer burden for the young" (The Hill, June 6 2017)
  • "We conclude that there is clear evidence that RF radiation is a human carcinogen, causing glioma and vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma). There is some evidence of an increased risk of developing thyroid cancer, and clear evidence that RF radiation is a multi‑site carcinogen. Based on the Preamble to the IARC Monographs, RF radiation should be classified as carcinogenic to humans, Group 1."
    Hardell L et al.: “Comments on the US National Toxicology Program technical reports on toxicology and carcinogenesis study in rats exposed to whole-body radiofrequency radiation at 900 MHz and in mice exposed to whole-body radiofrequency radiation at 1,900 MHz” (Int J Oncol. 2018)

IARC Review of Non-Ionizing Radiation (Radiofrequency)

The IARC is to review Non-Ionizing Radiation (Radiofrequency) in the latter half of its next 5-year period.
​It reports “New bioassay and mechanistic evidence to warrant re-evaluation of the classification”.

WiFi and cancer

  • Increasing numbers of reports now link WiFi and cancer. WiFi signals were invented in Australia in 1999 and became common around the world from about 2003. From about 2004 WiFi was linked with adverse neurological effects, such as electro-sensitivity symptoms, in adults, children and animals.
  • In recent years there have been reports of people with cancer suffering relapses and metastasis if they live or work in an area with WiFi radiation. Specific reports of cancers, especially skin cancers, suggest that they are more common on the side of the body exposed to radiation from the nearest WiFi router, especially for older people and people working at the same desk for long periods.

Cellphones and cancer

Cellphones and Doubling of Fatal Brain Tumors

The fatal brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme, has doubled within 10-20 years in a number of countries. These include Denmark, England, Sweden and The Netherlands.

Cellphone and TV and Radio Towers and Cancers

  • Since the 1990s many studies have shown biological effects in a dose-response pattern around cellphone and TV/Radio towers. From 1995 it has been shown that cellphone radiation can cause DNA breaks.
  • Since about 2003 studies have shown an increased risk of cancer around cellphone towers, with an increased risk of some 4 to 5 times within about 400 meters and especially for women. Cancer clusters are surprisingly common around towers, as are neurological illnesses.
  • Some studies suggest that skin cancer relates more to VHF radio transmissions than solar radiation, since people relocating from areas without high rates of skin cancer and without certain frequencies, amplitude and modulation of radio transmissions start to match local inhabitants in the rate of skin cancer when they move to areas with carcinogenic VHF transmissions.
  • Studies show increased cancer near FM radio transmitters with horizontally polarized waves, compared with FM towers emitting vertically polarized waves.  ('Cancer versus FM radio polarization types', 2016)
  • Mobilewise: "Mobile phone health risks: the case for action to protect children" (2011)

WiFi, Cellphones and Tower radiation should be a class 1 certain, or 2A probable, human carcinogen

NTP conclusions: 'Clear Evidence' RF cellphones cause cancer at non-thermal levels

"In males for both GSM- and CDMA-modulated RFR, we conclude that exposures increased the number of animals with tumors in the heart. Tumors of the brain were also considered to be related to exposure; and increased numbers of male rats with tumors of the adrenal gland were also related to exposure." 

FDA downplays 'clear evidence' that RF causes cancer:
The FDA appears to be supporting the wireless industry instead of human health by ignoring the clear evidence from the NTP study that cellphone radiation causes cancer.

FDA asked NTP to use rats to assess human carcinogenicity:

According to the letter by the FDA of 1999 commissioning the NTP to undertake RF research, they required the NTP to use rats and mice to assess human carcinogenicity, as with all other toxicology programs where using humans would be unethical and against the Nuremberg Convention:

Japan and Korea plan for flawed 'replication' of NTP mice cancer study:

A replication is planned for 2019-2020 by Japan and Korea of the NTP study which showed 'clear evidence' of RF causing cancer, and was itself confirmed by the Ramazzini Institute study also showing clear evidence, both confirming that RF causes cancer, as known and established since 1953.

Objections to the Japan and Korea plans include:

  1. The conflicts of interest and bias of the steering committee, many of who below to the minority viewpoint private cartel of ICNIRP/WHO, 
  2. The number of mice per group where reducing the NTP 90 to 70 significantly weakens the power of the study to find small effects, especially at lower heating powers,
  3. The reduced power levels which again make it much more difficult to identify effects and why the NTP study like all other toxicology studies use higher powers as well as lower powers to identify effects,
  4. The need to use actual data transmission and not pretend or simulated signals,
  5. The need for much longer exposure durations to replicate actual usage by young people today, not artificially restricted durations,
  6. The need to study animals for all their natural lives and not just an arbitrary period,
  7. The desirability of including cognitive and other tests in addition to the established cancer outcomes,
  8. The desirability of using 4G and other frequencies to make the study relevant to modern cellphone usage.

Power-lines and cancer

  • In 1979 cancer was established for ELF power-lines, At first this was shown for childhood leukemia, but since then many other cancers have been associated with ELF exposure.
  • In 1979 power-lines were also show to increase the risk of depression and suicide.
  • In 2005 it was confirmed in a large study of over half the Swiss population that residence near power-lines is associated with Alzheimer's disease in a dose-response manner.

Rates of cancers in the head and neck are starting to increase significantly

Evidence from Sweden in 2018, based on data to 2016, shows significant increases in the following cancers:

  • Thyroid cancer, especially in women, where the increase since 2008 is over 150%.
  • Cancers in the mouth, pharynx and of the tongue are also increasing, with a steeper rise since about 2008.
  • Pituitary cancers also showed a greater rise from about 2010.
  • Malignant brain tumours, glioma grade 3 – 4 are also increasing slightly for all ages.  The number of new cases started to increase around 2003 among men, and about 2010 among women.
  • Malignant glioma, grade 3-4, among men aged 50-79 years has increased more significantly, especially since about 2005. This is the age group that supposedly has the longest mobile phone users, those aged 25-55 years at the beginning of the 1990s. Again men are more hit by the disease than women who only in 2013 reached the level which men were at in 2003 (the last lowest point for men; since then it has been a continuous rise).

    "Cancers in the head and neck are increasing in Sweden" (Swedish Radiation Protection Foundation, January 10 2018) 
  • Henry Bodkin: “Mobile phone cancer warning as malignant brain tumours double” (Daily Telegraph, May 2 2018)
  • Jacqueline Howard: "Brain tumors on the rise in England, raising cell phone concerns" (CNN, May 2 2018)

Electromagnetic stress, inflammation, tumor promotion and cancer

  • In 2015 it was confirmed that both ELF and RF electromagnetic exposure, as from power-lines, WiFi and cellphones, promote tumors. (As stated above, this apparently requires that they should now both be classified as class 2A human carcinogens.) The electromagnetic exposure which causes this tumor promotion is one form of the stress on the human body which both contributes to the development of cancer and reduces the effectiveness of treatments against cancer. Recent studies are beginning to show how such stress affects the sympathetic nervous system and thus causes cancer progression, perhaps through oxidative stress.
  • It is well known that electromagnetic radiation causes stress and stress causes inflammation. Inflammation is a hallmark of most diseases, from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and cancer. Since 1908 stress has been noted as the top cause of cancer (Dr Eli G Jones: “Cancer, Its Causes, Symptoms and Treatment”, 1908). A 2016 study on mice found that “chronic stress induces signalling from the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and drives cancer progression … Here we show that chronic stress restructures lymphatic networks within and around tumors to provide pathways for tumor cell escape … These findings reveal unanticipated communication between stress-induced neural signalling and inflammation, which regulates tumor lymphatic architecture and lymphogenous tumor cell dissemination.” (Le CP et al, Nat Commun. 2016)
  • Cancer cells typically spread to other areas of the body either via the blood vessels, or through the lymphatic system; stress hormones affect both of these pathways or channels. The mechanism found is related to the way adrenaline activates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) to increase the rate of lymph formation. Adrenaline also causes physical changes in the lymph vessels, allowing cancer cells to migrate into other body parts at a faster rate. The role of the SNS for metastasis was discovered in 2010: “Metastasis to distant tissues is the chief driver of breast cancer-related mortality … Stress-induced neuroendocrine activation had a negligible effect on growth of the primary tumor but induced a 30-fold increase in metastasis to distant tissues including the lymph nodes and lung … These findings identify activation of the sympathetic nervous system as a novel neural regulator of breast cancer metastasis.” (Sloan EK et al, Cancer Res. 2010)
  • The body’s neuroendocrine response (the release of hormones into the blood when stimulated by the nervous system) can directly alter cell processes which help protect against cancer, such as DNA repair and the regulation of cell growth. The stress hormone norepinephrine can increase the growth of cancer. Norepinephrine can stimulate tumor cells to produce two compounds (MMP-2, MMP-9) which break down the tissue around the tumor cells, thus allowing the cells to more easily move into the bloodstream, where they can travel to other organs and tissues and form additional tumors. Norepinephrine may also stimulate tumor cells to release a chemical (vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF) which aids the growth of the blood vessels that feed cancer cells. This too can increase the growth and spread of the cancer. (Yang EV et al, Cancer Res. 2006)
  • Epinephrine, another stress hormone, also causes changes in certain cancer cells, specifically prostate and breast cancer, making them resistant to apoptosis (cell death). (Sastry KS et al, J Biol Chem. 2007)

          Dr Mercola: “How Chronic Stress Promotes Spread of Cancer, and What You Can Do About It” (March 24 2016)

National Toxicology Program (NTP)

This US $25M study, the largest and most authoritative of its kind, has already provided results confirming that RF radiation causes cancer. The full results are expected in 2018.

NTP results February 2018:

Comment on government and wireless industry spin to downplay cancer confirmation:

Peer Review Panel, March 2018:

The ICNIRP wrong on NTP study and Ramazzini Institute study:

The ICNIRP's assessment on these excellent studies "contains numerous false and misleading statements".

"ICNIRP is not a public health agency that routinely evaluates carcinogens. On the other hand, an independent agency that has evaluated over 1000 agents, IARC, as early as 2013 classified RFR as a possible carcinogen on the basis of limited evidence in humans and limited evidence in animals. The studies of the RI and NTP will certainly contribute to the burden of evidence that IARC and other public health agencies can draw upon as a solid base for the re-evaluation of RFR carcinogenicity."

Ramazzini Institute, Italy

A new study of 2018 confirms the NTP study of 20128. It also finds effects in Schwann cells around the heart, similar to the glial cells found in the brain.

Hand-held radar combine with toxic chemicals to cause cancer

Electromagnetic exposure is an established co-carcinogen; that is, it increases the risk of cancer where a person already has a risk from chemical exposure.

World Health Organization recognizes EM radiation as cancer risk

The World Health Organization recognizes electromagnetic non-ionizing radiation, like ionizing radiation, as a risk factor for cancer.

  • "Reducing the cancer burden: 
    Between 30–50% of cancers can currently be prevented.
    This can be accomplished by avoiding risk factors and implementing existing evidence-based prevention strategies."

  • "Modify and avoid risk factors:
    Modifying or avoiding key risk factors can significantly reduce the burden of cancer.

    These risk factors include:
           ionizing and non-ionizing radiation."
                                                                                 (World Health Organization: "Cancer" Fact sheet, number 297, February 2017)
    [Later, by May 2017, changed to: "ionizing and ultraviolet radiation"]
  • "Non-ionizing radiation" includes radiation from cellphones and WiFi.
    The WHO Fact Sheet number 297 was previously revised in February 2011. In May 2011 the WHO's IARC classified Radio-Frequency Radiation, like ELF ten years earlier in 2001, as a class 2B carcinogen.

ICNIRP/GLORE plan to re-assess RF as established cancer agent:

Some regulators traditionally supporting the wireless industry have tried to question the evidence for RF causing cancer established since 1953. These include representatives of ICNIRP and GLORE who intend to conduct their own studies.
At the ICNIRP/GLORE meeting in Paris in November 2018, Korea and Japan agreed to undertake a smaller version of the NTP study. 
The Japanese section is under the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, whose main mission is to improve communication networks, giving it a conflict of interests, rather than a health agency with expertise in biology.

Reducing Electromagnetic stress and cancer risks from WiFi, cellphones and towers

Key ways to reduce EM stress and thus the risks of cancers and neurological illnesses.

            (See: Liz Barrington: “How to Combat the Effects of Electromagnetic Stress on Your Body” Natural Body Healing)

  • 1) Reduce your exposure to EMFs. Keep away from wireless devices and appliances. The use of cabled equipment is much healthier.
  • 2) Review and change your ‘sleep’ environment. The body’s immune resistance is considerably lowered during sleep because it has to rest and repair itself. All metal bed frames and bedsprings should be avoided. Remove electrical appliances and mobile devices away from the head area especially and preferably out of the bedroom. Pull your bed from wall if the bed is near an electrical outlet. If you have to use one, remove your electric blanket from the bed after it has warmed, or better still use a hot-water bottle. Baby Monitoring Devices must never be used anywhere near the head of the baby.
  • 3) Regularly detoxify your body. Specific ‘heavy-metal’ detoxing is recommended.
  • 4) Strengthen your body through a healthier diet and care for your bowels. Eat plenty of fibre and probiotics. Take essential fatty acid supplements. Consider using botanical flower remedies.
  • 5) Remove the metal in your mouth, such as amalgam fillings.
  • 6) Improve your immune system. Change your diet, your lifestyle, your attitudes and beliefs to healthier ones, so your body becomes stronger. Exercise regularly.
  • 7) Get rid of mould and fungus. Watch out for mould on the walls in your home, a give-away that there is radiation within your environment because research shows that 600 times more neurotoxins develop in high EMF areas. 

Ethical issues in allowing the general populations to be exposed to WiFi, cellphone radiation and TV/Radio transmissions

  • To expose large parts of a population to WiFi, cellphone radiation and TV/Radio transmissions, now considered a 2B carcinogen, is unprecedented historically.
  • To expose large parts of a population to WiFi, cellphone radiation and TV/Radio transmissions also appears unethical, since most people are not aware of the medical science and they are unable to avoid this carcinogen even if they wish to do so.
  • Schools and employers often allow pupils and workers to be constantly irradiated with this carcinogen from the use of cellphones and WiFi, arguing that they can deploy such radiation so long as pro-wireless activist regulators describe the known evidence of harm as not ‘consistent’ or ‘convincing’.

International Cancer Classification of Electromagnetic energy 

Most frequencies of Electromagnetic energy, both ionizing and non-ionizing,  can now be regarded as possible or certain human carcinogens. These effects are mainly low-level or non-thermal and thus outside the range of the ICNIRP safety limits. The method of causing cancer is different for ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. (Havas M, 2016)

(a) Electromagnetic energy: ionizing frequencies (X-rays and gamma (γ) rays)

(b) Electromagnetic energy: visible blue light frequencies at night, as in shiftwork

  • ​Canadian Union of Public Employees: “Shiftwork” Health & Safety Factsheet.

(c) Electromagnetic energy: Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) and Microwave and Radio Frequency (MW, RF)

  • Morgan LL et al: “Mobile phone radiation causes brain tumors and should be classified as a probable human carcinogen (2A) (review)” (2015) PMID: 25738972.

PHIRE Conference, London, November 5 2018

Accounts of cancer caused by wireless radiation

Rates of cancer

Significant increases in rates of brain tumors are beginning to be seen.