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).
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 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
Lennart Hardell, Michael Carlberg. Use of Wireless Phones and Evidence for Increased Risk of Brain Tumors: 2017 Supplement. BioInitiative Working Group, November, 2017.
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
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.
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.
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.
Bradford Hill's viewpoints from 1965 on association or causation were
used on glioma risk and use of mobile or cordless phones.
nine viewpoints were evaluated based on epidemiology and laboratory
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
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.
reduced ROS production from RF radiation.
Analogy: there is an increased
risk in subjects exposed to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic
Conclusion. RF radiation should be regarded as a human
carcinogen causing glioma.
Key Cell Phone Radiation Research Studies