Friday, April 19, 2013

WHO Monograph on Cancer Risk from Mobile Phone Use Released

The World Health Organization concludes there is “limited evidence” in both humans and laboratory animals for the carcinogenicity of radiofrequency radiation, especially from cell phones.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) published its long-awaited monograph on the cancer risk to humans from exposure to cell phone radiation and other radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. The primary focus of the review is on the microwave radiation emitted by cell phones.

According to the monograph, “Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields are possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).” (p. 421) Children are particularly vulnerable to this carcinogenic effect as “the average exposure from use of the same mobile phone is higher by a factor of 2 in a child’s brain and higher by a factor of 10 in the bone marrow of the skull.” Also, the child’s brain is developing at a greater rate than the adult brain.

This 471 page report is based on the consensus of a Working Group of 31 international experts who met in Lyon, France in May, 2011. Although a few studies published since this meeting were included in this monograph, other recent studies that further support the evidence for increased cancer risk due to exposure to cell phone radiation were not reviewed.
The monograph only examines research on cancer risk. Other research has found that cell phone radiation has additional harmful effects on humans, especially on sperm and the fetus.

Following are what I consider to be the most important quotes from the monograph. I highlighted some phrases with boldface type.

From IARC's "Note to the Reader"
"The term ‘carcinogenic risk’ in the IARC Monographs series is taken to mean that an agent is capable of causing cancer...identification of cancer sites with sufficient evidence or limited evidence in humans should not be viewed as precluding the possibility that an agent may cause cancer at other sites. The evaluations of carcinogenic risk are made by international working groups of independent scientists and are qualitative in nature. No recommendation is given for regulation or legislation.”
Exposure Data
“While the number of mobile-phone subscriptions has been increasing rapidly around the world (4.6 billion subscribers in 2009), changes in mobile-phone technology have led to lower time-averaged RF power emitted from mobile phones used at present than those of previous generations. Of major interest to this Monograph is the exposure scenario in which mobile phones are held against the ear during a voice call.” (p. 407)
GSM 900/1800/PCS phones (Global System for Mobile communications/Personal Communications Service, operating at 900 or 1800 MHz) held next to the ear induce high spatial-averaged SAR values in the brain. This is because adaptive power control on average only reduces the output power to about 50% of its maximum during calls, but this would vary depending on the network software.” (p. 408) [SAR or Specific Absorption Rate is a measure of the maximum amount of radiation absorbed in the brain from a cell phone or cordless phone, averaged over a specific volume of tissue for a specific period of time.]
“Adaptive power control is much more effective with third-generation (3G) phone technologies, and this has led to a reduction of SAR in the brain by almost two orders of magnitude compared with that from GSM phones. The DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) phone is another widely used device that is held against the ear to make and receive voice calls. The average SAR in the brain from use of DECT phones is around five times lower than that measured for GSM phones … The spatial maximum exposure from cordless DECT phones is an order of a magnitude lower than that from mobile phones.” (p. 408) [DECT phone technology is used in cordless phones used in homes and offices.]
“Due to the closer proximity of the phone to the brain of children compared with adults, the average exposure from use of the same mobile phone is higher by a factor of 2 in a child’s brain and higher by a factor of 10 in the bone marrow of the skull.” (p. 408)

“In terms of cumulative call time, all odds ratios were uniformly below unity for all deciles of exposure except for the highest decile (≥ 1640 hours of cumulative call time). For this exposure group, the odds ratio for glioma was 1.40 (95% CI, 1.03–1.89). Some other analyses of the same data also pointed to a possible association of mobile-phone use with risk of glioma, including the findings related to location of tumour (a higher odds ratio for tumours in the temporal lobe) and laterality of mobile-phone use (an apparently higher odds ratio in those who used a mobile phone on the same side of the head as the tumour). In an attempt to obviate the distortions that might have been generated by differential non-participation, an analysis was conducted with the lowest exposure decile as the reference; this showed a high odds ratio in the highest exposure decile.” (p. 411)
“In summary, in the INTERPHONE study there was no increased risk of glioma associated with having ever been a regular user of mobile phones. However, there were indications of an increased risk of glioma at the highest levels of cumulative call time, for ipsilateral exposures, and for tumours in the temporal lobe, but chance or bias may explain this increased risk.” (p. 411) 
Swedish Studies
“When mobile phone users were compared with people who reported no use of mobile or cordless phones, or exposure > 1 year before the reference date, an increased odds ratio was estimated (OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1–1.6). The odds ratios increased progressively with increasing time since first mobile phone use, and with increasing cumulative call time for the ordered categories of exposure duration (1–1000, 1001–2000, and > 2000 hours) as follows: 1.2 (95% CI, 0.98–1.4), 1.5 (95% CI, 1.1–2.1), and 2.5 (95% CI, 1.8–3.5), respectively. Ipsilateral use of the mobile phone was associated with higher risk. Further, there were similar findings in relation to the use of cordless phones.” (p. 411)
Comparison of INTERPHONE and Swedish Studies 
“Overall, the Working Group reviewed all the available evidence with regard to the use of wireless phones, including both mobile and cordless phones, and the risk of glioma. Time trends were considered, as were several early case–control studies and one cohort study. The evidence from these studies was considered less informative than the results of the INTERPHONE study and the Swedish case–control study. While both of these are susceptible to bias, the Working Group concluded that these findings could not be dismissed as reflecting bias alone, and that a causal interpretation was possible.”
“In considering the evidence on acoustic neuroma, the Working Group considered the same methodological concerns as for glioma, but concluded that bias was not sufficient to explain the positive findings, particularly those of the study from Sweden.” (p. 412) [My note: positive findings refers to increased tumor risk]
“For meningioma, the same two studies mentioned above provided the key evidence. Overall, in each, the findings generally indicated no increase in risk.” (p. 412)
“The Working Group found the evidence to be insufficient to reach a conclusion as to the potential association of mobile-phone use and either leukaemia or lymphoma.” (p. 412)
Evidence to date does not point to a causal association of mobile-phone use with the various additional malignancies addressed, including ocular or cutaneous melanoma, cancer of the testis, cancer of the breast, or tumours of the parotid gland.” (p. 412)  
Cancer in Humans
“There is limited evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of radiofrequency radiation. Positive associations have been observed between exposure to radiofrequency radiation from wireless phones and glioma, and acoustic neuroma.” (p. 421)
Cancer in Experimental Animals
“There is limited evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of radiofrequency radiation.” (p. 412)
 Overall Evaluation
“Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields are possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).” (p. 421)
“The comparative weakness of the associations in the INTERPHONE study and inconsistencies between its results and those of the Swedish study led to the evaluation of limited evidence for glioma and acoustic neuroma, as decided by the majority of the members of the Working Group. A small, recently published Japanese case–control study, which also observed an association of acoustic neuroma with mobile phone use, contributed to the evaluation of limited evidence for acoustic neuroma.” (p. 421)


Non-ionizing radiation, Part II: Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields / IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans (2011: Lyon, France).  Vol. 102 (2013).

The complete monograph can be downloaded from the IARC web site:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Experts Adopt Two Resolutions about Pulsed Radiofrequency Radiation

An international scientific conference was held in Potenza Picena, Italy on April 20, 2013.  The meeting was organized by the International Commission on Electromagnetic Safety (  At the conclusion of the meeting, the twelve experts adopted two resolutions based upon the precautionary principle.
The scientists presented research which found that microwave radiation harms humans and other species. 

The experts reached the following conclusions:
  • Radar that uses pulsed radiofrequency (RF) causes biological effects more invasive than non-pulsed EMF;
  •  RF can cause structural changes in enzymes in nanoseconds, while pulsed RF emitted by radar occurs every milliseconds which suggests that for every pulsing event several enzymatic changes occur; 
  • the pulsed signals can induce significant modifications in DNA regulation due to methylation of the genome; 
  • the scientific literature concludes that biological/health effects can occur at low intensity exposure, and chronic exposure can make a living organism more susceptible to EMF effects; 
  • ICEMS monograph (Eur. J. Oncol., 2010) concludes there are nonthermal mechanisms of action of EMF (including RF) on living matter; 
  • experiments on cells cultured in residential areas of Potenza Picena showed that radar activates apoptosis for short exposures; 
  • preliminary results from animal experiments show that RF is a co-carcinogenic agent; 
  • RF induces oxidative stress in tissues and living organisms; 
  • epidemiologic studies find significant health risks for people exposed to pulsed RF; more research is needed especially regarding pulsed RF; 
  • and the scientific literature suggests that the precautionary principle should be applied to EMF internationally.
Thus, stricter safety standards for EMF need to be adopted by governments and public health agencies because the existing standards are obsolete and are not based on the recent literature about biological effects.

According to the precautionary principle, sources of RF should be reduced to be as low as possible because it is impossible at this time to establish a safe limit under which no biological effects can be observed.

RF sources should be kept far from residential areas. For pulsed RF sources, such as radar and Wi-Max antennas, the distance from the source should be even greater because they cause more biologic effects than non-pulsed signals.

Wi-Fi should not be placed in schools and in public areas since it employs pulsed signals.

The precautionary principle suggests the need for special precaution with younger people and with those susceptible to EMF effects, such as those with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, a condition found to be increasing in modern societies that makes people sick from EMF exposure even at low intensity.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Environmental Fields (EMF) Interact with Living Systems to Affect Health (book chapter)

Panagopoulos, DJ. Electromagnetic Interaction between Environmental Fields and Living Systems Determines Health and Well-Being. In Kwang, MH. and Yoon, SO. (eds.) Electromagnetic Fields: Principles, Engineering Applications and Biophysical Effects. Nova Publishers. 2013. URL:

This 41 page book chapter can be downloaded from:

Summary (from Abstract)

The chapter presents data showing the electric nature of the natural environment and living organisms and discusses how the interaction between the two, determines health and well-being.

A brief theoretical background of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and the differences between natural and man-made electromagnetic radiation are discussed.

The electromagnetic nature of the natural environment is discussed – terrestrial electric and magnetic fields, natural radiation from the sun and stars, cosmic microwaves and natural radioactivity. All living organisms live in harmony with these fields as long as these fields are within normal levels and not disturbed by changes, usually in solar activity.

The electrical nature of all living organisms is determined by electrical properties of cell membranes, the circadian biological clock, endogenous electric currents within cells and tissues, and intracellular ionic oscillations.

The periodicity of our natural environment mainly determined by movement of the earth around its axis and around the sun implies the periodic function of the suprahiasmatic nuclei (SCN) - a group of neurons located above the optic chiasm - which constitute the central circadian biological clock in mammals. The chapter describes: 1) the probable connection between the central biological clock with the endogenous electric oscillations within cells and organs constituting the “peripheral clocks”; 2) how the central clock controls the function of peripheral ones in the heart, brain, and all parts of the body by electrical and chemical signals; 3) how cellular/tissue functions are initiated and controlled by endogenous (intracellular/trans-cellular) weak electric currents consisting of directed free ion flows through the cytoplasm and the plasma membrane, and 4) the connection of these currents with the function of the circadian biological clock.

Experimental data are presented which show that the endogenous electric currents and the functions they control can be easily varied by externally applied EMF of similar or even smaller intensities than those generating the endogenous currents.

Two possible ways by which external EMFs like those produced by human technology can distort the physiological endogenous electric currents and the corresponding biological/ physiological functions are discussed: 1) by direct interference between the external and the endogenous fields and, 2) by alteration of the intracellular ionic concentrations (i.e. by changing the number of electric current carriers within the cells) after irregular gating of electrosensitive ion channels on the cell membranes.

Finally, the chapter discusses how maintenance of this EMF equilibrium between living organisms and the natural environment, determines health and well-being, and how its disturbance will inevitably lead sooner or later to health effects.

Book’s Table of Contents

Earth’s Natural Electromagnetic Noises in a Very-Low Frequency Band
(Yury P. Malyshkov, Sergey Yu. Malyshkov, Vasily F. Gordeev, Sergey G. Shtalin, Vitaly I. Polivach, Vladimir A. Krutikov, Michail M. Zaderigolova, Institute of Monitoring of Climate and Ecosystems, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science, Russia, and others)

Electromagnetic Interaction between Environmental Fields and Living Systems Determines Health and Well-Being
(Dimitris J. Panagopoulos, University of Athens, Department of Biology, Athens, Greece, and others)

Thermodynamics of Surface Electromagnetic Waves
(Illarion Dorofeyev, Institute for Physics of Microstructures, Russian Academy of Sciences, Nizhny, Novgorod, Russia)

Magnetic Field Originated by Power Lines
(J.A. Brandão Faria, M.E. Almeida Pedro, Instituto de Telecomunicações, Instituto Superior Técnico, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal)

Microwave Heating for Metallurgical Engineering
(Jingjing Yang, Ming Huang, Jinhui Peng, Wireless Innovation Lab, School of Information Science and Engineering, Yunnan University, Kunming, People’s Republic of China, and others)

Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic Field and Cytokines Production
(M. Reale, P. Amerio, Dept. of Experimental and Clinical Sciences, Dept. of Aging Medicine and Science (DMSI), Dermatologic Clinic, University "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy)

High Frequency Induction Heating for High Quality Injection Molding
(Keun Park, Seoul National University of Science & Technology, Seoul, Korea)

Electromagnetic Characterization of Electrically Small Piezoelectric Antennas and Waveguiding Devices for Detection of Cancer-Related Anomalies in Biological Tissues
(Diego Caratelli, Alessandro Massaro, Delft University of Technology, Microwave Technology and Systems for Radar (MTS-Radar), Delft, the Netherlands, and others)

Electro-Magnetic Field Induced Entropy Production in a Cell: Its Difference between Cancerous and Normal Cells
(Liaofu Luo, Changjiang Ding, School of Physical Science, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot, China, and others)

An Evaluation of Neurotoxicity Markers in Rat Brains, using a Pre-Convulsive Model and Exposure to 900 MHZ Modulated GSM Radio Frequency
(María Elena López-Martín, Francisco José Ares-Pena, Morphological Sciences Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and others)

The Effect of Settlement Reoccupation on Electromagnetic Induction Data Sets in Archaeology
(Daniel P. Bigman, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA)

New Cooperative Effects in Single- and Two-Photon Interactions of Radiators with Electromagnetic Bath
(Nicolae Enaki, Quantum Optics and Kinetic Process Laboratory, Institute of Applied Physics, Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Chisinau MD)