Cancer and Radiofrequency Radiation

“Bioelectromagnetic research reveals clear evidence of joint actions at cell membranes of chemical cancer promoters and environmental electromagnetic fields. The union of these two disciplines has resulted in the first major new approach to tumor formation in 75 years, directing attention to dysfunctions in inward and outward streams of signals at cell membranes, rather than to damage DNA in cell nuclei, and to synergic actions of chemical pollutants and environmental electromagnetic fields.” Dr. William Ross Adey (1990)

Updated 4/10/20

Scientific Literature

Exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation is classified as a Group 2B Possible Human Carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer at the WHO as of 2011. Many scientists who work in the field of EMR feel there is clear evidence of harm from long term, low level exposure to this pulsating and penetrating non-ionizing radiation which warrants an IARC upgrade to a Group 1 Known Carcinogen. Hardell and Carlsberg (2018) and.Dr. Anthony Miller.

Wireless Radiation and Promotion of Cancer Growth

Researchers looking at sperm cells, nerve cells and in vivo rodent studies  have found that low power radio frequency (microwave) electromagnetic radiation (RF EMR) from wireless devices can alter DNA, promote cancer growth and act as a co-carcinogen.  Dr. W Ross Adey (1988 and 1990) and others  in the 1980’s were well aware of the non-thermal, non-linear, molecular nature of toxicity for both non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation but also for chemical interactions that cause cellular membrane alterations, leading to cancer and other chronic diseases.  Dr. Adey coined the term “biological windows” to highlight specific modulation, frequency and amplitude resonance effects on biological systems. Markov (2005)  Research since then has confirmed and enriched our knowledge of the mechanisms and pathways of biological harm, including complex membrane calcium channel effects. Both chemicals, which are ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin and non-ionizing radio frequency radiation, which passes through organisms, can broadly affect many organ systems through electrical and molecular pathways. These can thus act separately or synergistically as environmental toxins, broadly affecting human and environmental health.

Lurchi in 2015 found an increase in liver tumors, lung tumors and lymphomas in mice at low to moderate exposure at (0.04 and 0.4 W/kg SAR), and well below exposure limits for the users of mobile phones. The recent NTP study, the new Falcioni study of 2018 and an older study by Chou in 1992 found scientific evidence of carcinogenicity, demonstrating the reproducibility of this effect. There are variable results for some studies, that are felt to be due to stimulation of feedback and repair mechanisms with exposure to radio frequency radiation. Initially, exposure to RFR stimulates DNA repair mechanisms, however, over longer periods of stimulation biochemical systems are overwhelmed, the DNA damage accumulates and the carcinogenic effect becomes evident.

Risks to Health and Well-Being From Radio-Frequency Radiation 

Dr. Anthony Miller published a comprehensive review of RF health effects in 2019 titled Risks to Health and Well-Being From Radio-Frequency Radiation Emitted by Cell Phones and Other Wireless Devices. With regards to some researchers finding no carcinogenicity in their review he states, ” in grading the evidence, these authors failed to consider baseline DNA status or the fact that genotoxicity has been poorly predicted using tissue culture studies (). As well funding, a strong source of bias in this field of enquiry, was not considered ().”

He points to other challenges of performing adequate research on health effects

  • There are rapid changes in technology every year thus research in health effects is always behind
  • Complex mixes of wavelengths and frequencies is not considered
  • Epidemiological studies must have a large number of participants with  similar and known exposures

The authors conclude, “a lack of epidemiological evidence does not necessarily indicate an absence of effect, but rather an inability to study an exposure for the length of time necessary, with an adequate sample size and unexposed comparators, to draw clear conclusions. For example, no case-control study has been published on fourth generation (4G; 2–8 GHz) Long-term Evolution (LTE) modulation, even though the modulation was introduced in 2010 and achieved a 39% market share worldwide by 2018 ().”

Occupational Exposure to RFR and Cancer

A thorough 2018 review of studies by Peleg et al (2018), looking at occupational exposure to radiofrequency (RF) and hematolymphatic (HL) cancers (leukemia, Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma and plasma cell tumors) consistently revealed a highly elevated risk of cancer in military and electrical workers exposed to RF. The Israeli study looked at studies from Poland, Belgium, as well as Israel. Overall, hematolymphatic cancers were found in 40% of patients with 23% expected. A small study of employees exposed to RF in the Israeli defense industry showed a 60% frequency of hematolymphatic cancers vs 17% expected. Peleg notes, “Overall, the epidemiological studies on excess risk for HL and other cancers together with brain tumors in cellphone users and experimental studies on RFR and carcinogenicity make a coherent case for a cause-effect relationship and classifying RFR exposure as a human carcinogen (IARC group 1).”

Non- Thermal Mechanisms Found

The mechanisms more recently revealed, of how even weak radio frequency radiation can cause harm from long term exposure, are complex and do not involve heat damage. The injury is caused by membrane disruption interactions through calcium channels, reactive oxygen species, melatonin reduction or other direct or indirect mechanisms which promote cellular proliferation, angiogenesis and cancer.  These can cause harmful epigenetic changes in DNA and mRNA, as well as alterations of potentially cancer causing stem cells. As noted above, chemical and heavy metal exposures work in similar non-thermal pathways.

Stem Cell Effects from RFR at Levels Far Below Current Safety Standards

Markova(2010) Looked at effects of low power microwaves from mobile phones on human derived stem cells, which are widely dispersed in the body. He found that DNA repair foci in mesenchymal stem were significantly altered at levels 40 times less than current guidelines. He highlighted that mesenchymal stem cells are at higher risk of malignant transformation than differentiated cells. The author concludes,“Because almost all organs and tissues possess stem cells and because stem cells are more active in children, the possible relationship of chronic MW exposure and various types of tumors and leukemia—especially in children—should be investigated.” 

Robust Non-Thermal Radio-frequency Scientific Literature Not Considered in Policy

A 2018 research compendium, 5G- Great Risk for EU, US and International Health  by Dr. Martin Pall, highlights the threats of current 2G, 3G and 4G technology as well as proposed massive 5G technology rollout. Dr. Pall underscores how the European Commission’s  Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), states that the evidence is inconsistent with regards to harm from wireless technology. In a careful and well referenced review of the SCENIHR scientific policy documents, however, Dr Pall reveals that significant number of robust peer reviewed scientific articles  were not considered in their deliberations.

More long term studies are needed to uncover adverse latent effects prior to any 5G deployment. Regarding current wireless communication safety, government agencies need to examine all the current scientific literature before proclaiming that no conclusions can be drawn. Disregarding science does not serve the public interest, especially as industry is developing and promoting  a much more extensive worldwide wireless telecommunications system  broadening the use of all frequency bands.

National Toxicology Program Study Reveals “Clear Evidence” of Carcinogenicity

The recently released 10 year $25 million United States National Toxicology Program (NTP) study which examined cell phone radiation and cancer, confirmed other epidemiological studies showing an elevation of schwannomas of the heart and gliomas in the brain of mice exposed to radio frequency radiation  at non-thermal levels. NTP Study Full Report Feb 2, 2018. This was in addition to an increase in lymphoma and cancer of other organs with whole body exposure to this non-ionizing radiation which passes through the body.  Based on this researchers are asking for radio frequency radiation to be upgraded to a classification as a probable (Group 2A) or known (Group 1)  carcinogen, See also Scientific Literature on  NTP Study on Cancer  2018.

This new research is supported by a similar long term study of effects of cell phone radiation and carcinogenicity in animals from the famed Ramazanni Institute in Italy as well as basic science research and older studies looking at occupational and military exposures. 

Dr. Ron Melnick: Critical Comments on NTP Results

The NTP study had had criticism and dismissal of its’ positive results and implications for current FCC safety guidelines. Dr. Ron Melnick, a key scientist in designing the study, published a peer reviewed report in 2019 to address these unfounded criticisms of the design and results of the NTP study. Commentary on the utility of the National Toxicology Program study on cell phone radiofrequency radiation data for assessing human health risks despite unfounded criticisms aimed at minimizing the findings of adverse health effects. He notes, “This study was designed to test the (null) hypothesis that cell phone radiation at non-thermal exposure intensities could not cause adverse health effects, and to provide dose-response data for any detected toxic or carcinogenic effects.” and that the results “clearly demonstrate that the null hypothesis has been disproved.” He concluded that these criticisms were designed to  “minimize the utility of the experimental data on RFR for assessing human health risks.” Another important critique by Dr. Melnick is of the ICNIRP response to the NTP study-  Comments on ICNIRP by Dr. Ronald Melnick

He lists findings from the report

  •  Significantly increased incidences and/or trends for gliomas and glial cell hyperplasias in the brain of exposed male rats
  • Significantly increased incidences of schwannomas and Schwann cell hyperplasias in the heart of exposed male rats
  • Significantly increased DNA damage (strand breaks) in the brains of exposed rats and mice,
  • Reduced pup birth weights in exposed pregnant dams
  • Induction of cardiomyopathy of the right ventricle in male and female rats

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)  listed radio frequency radiation from cell phones and wireless devices as a Group 2B Possible Carcinogen in 2011. Many researchers currently believe that this type of non-ionizing radiation that we are increasing and unknowingly exposed to should be classified as a Group 2A or probable carcinogen or even a class 1 or known carcinogen.

Scientists Push IARC to Classify as Group 1 or 2A Carcinogen  

Dr. Annie Sasco, International Agency for Research on Cancer

Dr. Annie Sasco, former IARC Unit Chief and Emeritus Director of Research and Epidemiology on Cancer Prevention, discusses her reasoning for elevating the IARC classification at a symposium in 2017 sponsored by Environmental Health Trust. Dr. Annie Sasco explains why non-ionizing wireless radiation should be upgraded to a Group 2A carcinogen.

Dr. Ann Sasco presents her findings on childhood cancer prevention at the Childhood Cancer Conference in the UK 2012. Session 12 : What Positive Steps Can be Taken to Reduce the Risk of Childhood Cancer?  Alliance for Prevention and Precaution for Childhood Cancer Control

Dr. Anthony Miller, Former WHO Advisor: Upgrade RF to Group 1 Carcinogen

Dr. Anthony Miller, Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto Dali Lama School of Public Health, adviser to the World Health Organization and expert on ionizing and non-ionizing radiation feels the listing to be upgraded to a Class 1 Known Carcinogen. Dr. Miller’s research paper, Cancer Epidemiology Update,  following the 2011 IARC evaluation of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, published in  Environmental Research (Nov 2018), explains the new evidence. In this video he explains his reasoning.   Dr. Anthony Miller on IARC Classification of RF EMR

Dr Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg

Well known researchers on brain tumors and cell phone use, Dr. Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg published a thorough examination of the NTP study results in the October 2018 issue of The  International Journal of Oncology. They stated , “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.”  Their 2018 article is here-  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 ,

Bioinitiative Report Update Supports IARC Classification of RF as Group 1 Known Carcinogen

Dr. Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg have reanalyzed the epidemiological studies on brain tumors and RF EMR from cell phone radiation and they also feel it  should be a Group 1 Known Carcinogen. His analysis is found in Section 11 of the BioInitiative Report .

Cancer Trends

A 2018 CDC Report indicates an increase in pediatric cancers from 2001to 2014. They found “cancer was increasing for lymphoma, thyroid, brain, kidney, and liver cancer and was decreasing for melanoma.”   CDC 2018  .

Incidence Rates and Trends of Pediatric Cancer — United States, 2001–2014. Abstract 

Authors: David Siegel, J. Li, S.J. Henley, R. Wilson, N. Buchanan Lunsford, E. Tai, E.A. Van Dyne

Background: Cancer is one of the leading disease-related causes of death among individuals aged <20 years in the United States. Recent evaluations of national trends of pediatric cancer used data from before 2010, or covered ≤28% of the US population. is study describes incidence rates and trends using the most recent and comprehensive cancer registry data available in the US.

Methods: 2001–2014 data from US Cancer Statistics were used to evaluate cancer incidence rates and trends among individuals aged <20 years. Data were from 48 states and covered 98% of the US population. We assessed trends by calculating average annual percent change (AAPC) using joinpoint regression (maximum of two joinpoints). Rates and trends were strati ed by sex, age, race/ ethnicity, census region, county-based economic status, rural/ urban status, and cancer type.

Results: We identifed 196,200 cases of pediatric cancer during 2001–2014. e overall cancer incidence rate was 173.0 per

1 million; incidence rates were highest for leukemia (45.6), brain tumors (30.8), and lymphoma (26.0). Rates were highest among males, aged 0–4 years, non-Hispanic whites, the Northeast US Census region, the top 25% of counties by economic status, and metropolitan counties. Overall pediatric cancer incidence rate increased (AAPC=0.7, 95% CI, 0.5–0.8) during 2001–2014 and contained no joinpoints. Rates increased across sex, age, race/ethnicity, region, economic status, and rural/urban status. Rates of brain, renal, hepatic, and thyroid cancers increased, and rates of melanoma decreased.

Conclusions: This study documents increased rates of pediatric cancer during 2001–2014. Increased overall rates of brain and hepatic cancer and decreased rates of melanoma are novel ndings using data since 2010. Next steps in addressing changing rates could include investigation of diagnostic and reporting standards, host biologic factors, or environmental exposures. Increasing rates may necessitate changes related to treatment and survivorship care capacity.

Page 108 of From Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference sponsored by the CDC, April 16-19,  2018 (page 108)

Published Literature on Cancer and Radiofrequency Radiation

Below is published scientific literature on cancer and wireless radio frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF EMR) from cell towers and other wireless devices, as well as co-carcinogenic effects.  Other brain cancer studies, DNA and RNA damage from RF EMR exposure and reproductive studies can be found on our website at:

Reviews on Cancer and RF EMR

1)  Non-ionizing radiation, part 2: radio frequency electromagnetic fields. WHO IARC.  Volume 102. 2011.

Newest Articles

Published Articles on Cancer and RF EMR 


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