Monday, December 4, 2017

Cell phone and cordless phone use causes brain cancer: New review

Increased Brain Tumor Risk from Wireless Phone Use:
2017 Supplement to the BioInitiative Report

Radio frequency radiation should be classified as “carcinogenic to humans” (Group 1).

In May, 2011, radio frequency radiation (RFR) was classified as a ”possible” human carcinogen (Group 2B) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) based upon an increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma observed in human epidemiological studies.

Since then, RFR exposure has increased in most countries as few countries took any precautionary actions due to confusion sowed by the wireless industry. The emerging fifth generation of wireless technology, known as 5G, will further increase RFR exposure.

The RFR exposure limits adopted by most countries were established in 1998 by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The limits were based on short-term thermal (heating) effects from RFR and ignored non-thermal biological effects.

Although the ICNIRP guidelines were updated in 2009, they still do not cover long-term health risks from non-thermal exposures.  ICNIRP’s current RFR exposure limits are 2 to 10 W/m2 depending on frequency. ICNIRP has 14 members; many have ties to industries that want to maintain these permissive guidelines.

In contrast to ICNIRP, in 2007 27 RFR scientists reviewed the literature on non-thermal health effects and released the BioInitiative Report. In 2012 when the report was updated, the authors concluded that health risks can be observed with an RFR exposure of 30 to 60 μW/m2. Applying a safety factor of 10, they proposed a precautionary target level of 3–6 μW/m2 which corresponds to three hundred thousand to three million times less exposure than the ICNIRP limits allow.

This supplement to the BioInitiative Report written by Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg examines the case-control research on brain tumor risk published since 2011 when IARC classified RFR as “possibly carcinogenic.” 

The report finds consistent evidence of increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma associated with mobile phone and cordless phone use. These results are supported by results from animal studies showing genotoxic, co-carcinogenic, and tumor-promoting effects from RFR. Animal research finds evidence for an indirect mechanism for RFR-induced cancer, namely, oxidative stress on the cells leading to free radical production and DNA damage.

The supplement concludes that RFR should now be classified as “carcinogenic to humans” (Group 1) based on the IARC definition for this category:

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."


Lennart Hardell, Michael Carlberg. Use of Wireless Phones and Evidence for Increased Risk of Brain Tumors: 2017 Supplement.  BioInitiative Working Group, November, 2017.

The supplement to the BioInitiative Report is available at:

April 13, 2017

Evaluation of Mobile Phone and Cordless Phone Use and Glioma Risk 
Using the Bradford Hill Viewpoints from 1965 on Association or Causation
"The nine Bradford Hill viewpoints on association or causation regarding RF radiation and glioma risk seem to be fulfilled in this review. Based on that we conclude that glioma is caused by RF radiation. Revision of current guidelines for exposure to RF radiation is needed."
This review paper by Michael Carlberg and Lennart Hardell evaluates the strength of the scientific evidence to determine whether there is a causal relationship between a risk factor and an associated disease -- namely, wireless (cellphone and cordless) phone use and glioma, the most common brain cancer. The paper applies the nine perspectives developed by Sir Austin Bradford Hill to the peer-reviewed data pertaining to this health risk.

The authors allege that official bodies that have reviewed the evidence on mobile phone use and health risks have been dominated by individuals with conflicts of interest. Moreover, these reviewers have relied upon data from methodologically unsound studies, including the Danish Cohort Study and a UK cohort study, to dismiss the evidence from case-control studies.

Drawing upon several lines of research, the authors present a compelling argument for their conclusion that glioma is caused by radio frequency (RF) radiation. The paper recommends that the current guidelines for RF exposure must be revised to protect the population from exposure to low-intensity, non-thermal levels of radio frequency radiation.


Carlberg M, Hardell L. Evaluation of Mobile Phone and Cordless Phone Use and Glioma Risk Using the Bradford Hill Viewpoints from 1965 on Association or Causation. Biomed Research International. 2017;2017:9218486. doi: 10.1155/2017/9218486. Epub 2017 Mar 16.


Objective. Bradford Hill's viewpoints from 1965 on association or causation were used on glioma risk and use of mobile or cordless phones.

Methods. All nine viewpoints were evaluated based on epidemiology and laboratory studies.

Results. Strength: meta-analysis of case-control studies gave odds ratio (OR) = 1.90, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.31-2.76 with highest cumulative exposure.

Consistency: the risk increased with latency, meta-analysis gave in the 10+ years' latency group OR = 1.62, 95% CI = 1.20-2.19.

Specificity: increased risk for glioma was in the temporal lobe. Using meningioma cases as comparison group still increased the risk.

Temporality: highest risk was in the 20+ years' latency group, OR = 2.01, 95% CI =1.41-2.88, for wireless phones.

Biological gradient: cumulative use of wireless phones increased the risk.

Plausibility: animal studies showed an increased incidence of glioma and malignant schwannoma in rats exposed to radiofrequency (RF) radiation. There is increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from RF radiation.

Coherence: there is a change in the natural history of glioma and increasing incidence.

Experiment: antioxidants reduced ROS production from RF radiation.

Analogy: there is an increased risk in subjects exposed to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields.

Conclusion. RF radiation should be regarded as a human carcinogen causing glioma.

Abstract for open access paper:

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