Sunday, December 19, 2021

Scientific American Created Confusion about 5G's Safety: Will They Clear It Up?

February 19, 2020 (Links to open access articles added on 12/19/2021)

In September 2019, Scientific American, the oldest, continuously published monthly magazine in the U.S., published an opinion piece on its website entitled, “5G Is Coming: How Worried Should We Be about the Health Risks? So far, at least, there’s little evidence of danger.” 

The piece was written by Kenneth Foster, an emeritus professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Foster is a member of a committee that sets exposure limits for wireless radiation and consults for industry and government. His article discussed the controversy about the rollout of 5G based upon widespread concerns about the adverse impact of this technology on our health. Foster argued that exposure to radio frequency radiation (RFR) from 5G will be similar to, or lower than, current levels because of the deployment of many “small cell” antennas. Hence, 5G exposure will comply with current RFR exposure limits that protect against “excessive heating of tissue.” 

Although Foster admitted that research on the effects of long-term exposure to 5G millimeter waves was lacking, he restated the FDA’s position that "[t]he available scientific evidence to date does not support adverse health effects in humans due to exposures at or under the current limits.” Thus, “the request to ‘stop the distribution of 5G products appears too drastic a measure. We first need to see how this new technology will be applied and how the scientific evidence will evolve.’”

In October, Scientific American published an opinion piece which I wrote entitled, “We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe:The technology is coming, but contrary to what some people say, there could be health risks,” that rebutted Foster’s article. My piece is reprinted on my Electromagnetic Radiation Safety website. 

In the eleven years that I have been writing about the effects of RFR exposure, I anticipated that my response to Foster would provoke an attack by industry-affiliated scientists so I began my piece as follows:

“The telecommunications industry and their experts have accused many scientists who have researched the effects of cell phone radiation of "fear mongering" over the advent of wireless technology's 5G. Since much of our research is publicly-funded, we believe it is our ethical responsibility to inform the public about what the peer-reviewed scientific literature tells us about the health risks from wireless radiation.”

I laid out the evidence that rebutted many points in the Foster piece and concluded:

“We should support the recommendations of the 250 scientists and medical doctors who signed the 5G Appeal that calls for an immediate moratorium on the deployment of 5G and demand that our government fund the research needed to adopt biologically-based exposure limits that protect our health and safety.”

About two weeks later, Scientific American published an opinion piece that attacked me and my article: “Don’t Fall Prey to Scaremongering about 5G: Activists cite low-quality studies in arguing radio-frequency radiation is dangerous, but the weight of evidence shows no risk.” This piece was written by David Robert Grimes, a science writer, cancer researcher, and physicist. 

Shortly after Grimes’ piece was published, the International EMF Alliance sent a 5-page letter to the editor of Scientific American that critiqued Grimes’ flawed interpretation of the science. Subsequently, Microwave News published a story entitled, “Open Season on 5G Critics: First NY Times, Now Scientific American,” reprinted by TruePublica, that criticized Grimes’ ad hominem attacks and explained why “it’s Grimes who gets the science all wrong.” The article raised the question “Why Did Scientific American Publish Grimes’s Hit Piece?"

Scientific American originally informed me that they would not publish a rebuttal to Grimes, but in January 2020 they invited me to submit a rebuttal. Two weeks after submitting my rebuttal, Scientific American sent me the following message:

“Thanks again for your recent submission, but we’ve decided against running it. You raise some valid points, but this is clearly a field where we’re a long way from definitive answers and the editors here have agreed that continuing this point-counterpoint argument in our opinion section is not the best way to serve our readers.

What we’ve decided to do instead is to commission an independent journalist to look at all of the evidence gathered so far and give readers an objective sense of what we know, what we don’t know, why uncertainty exists, and how scientists are trying to gather the evidence that governments and consumers need to make the most informed decisions possible.”

My unpublished rebuttal to Grimes, “5G, Public Health and Uncomfortable Truths” appears below.


5G, Public Health and Uncomfortable Truths

Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
February 19, 2020

“So there really is no research ongoing. We’re kind of flying blind here, as far as health and safety is concerned,” proclaimed U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, chastising the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a Senate committee hearing on the future of 5G last year. This quote captures the reason why more than 270 scientists and medical doctors have signed the 5G Appeal, a petition calling for a moratorium on the deployment of 5G technology until we can establish safe exposure limits.  It is also one reason why I wrote about the status of the research and government and industry spin in “We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe.”

In an opinion piece that attacks my article, David Robert Grimes, a physicist, claims the research that finds radio-frequency radiation (RFR) is harmful is based on “low quality studies,” and that the weight of the evidence shows “no risk.” He repeats the mantra I have heard from other physicists in the ten years I have been studying the effects of cell phone radiation: “there is no known plausible biophysical mechanism of action for harm.” Grimes argues that my article “pivots on fringe views and fatally flawed conjecture, attempting to circumvent scientific consensus with scaremongering.”

Grimes’ arguments suffer the same biases he projects onto others (e.g., cherry-picking). His narrow perspective on the “mechanism of action for harm” seems shaped by a physics paradigm that can explain health risks from ionizing radiation (e.g., X-rays), but not from RFR (e.g., microwaves or cell phone radiation) which is non-ionizing. However, biologists have proposed various mechanisms that explain RFR effects. If not for his gaslighting and misrepresentations of published data, I might be charitably inclined to appreciate this debate. But Grimes aims to deny reality and discredit the preponderance of peer-reviewed science which finds low-intensity RFR can be harmful to our health.

The differences between the physicist’s and biologist’s perspectives could have been resolved decades ago had military and Telecom industry interests not interfered to ensure that RFR would be minimally regulated by policy makers. Microwave News has reported about these influences on scientific and policy developments since 1981. A recent Harvard monograph exposes how industry controls the FCC, the agency responsible for regulating RFR exposure from wireless technology in the U.S.

It is untrue, as Grimes argues, that RFR from cell phones cannot harm us because there is no mechanism. Numerous scientific studies provide evidence about mechanisms by which low-intensity RFR causes biological effects, including DNA damage in humans as well as animal models. For example, scientists who study RFR acknowledge that oxidative stress, an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants, is a common mechanism by which RFR harms living cells. The uneven number of oxygen-containing electrons in free radicals allows them to react easily with other molecules. A review of 100 experimental studies on the oxidative effects of low-intensity RFR found that in 93 of these peer-reviewed studies “RFR induces oxidative effects in biological systems” leading to “cancer and non-cancer pathologies.” The review concluded, “the oxidative stress induced by RFR exposure should be recognized as one of the primary mechanisms of the biological activity of this kind of radiation.”

In an ideal world, I would agree with Grimes that “science is not conducted by petition or arguments to authority; it is decided solely on strength of evidence.” However, health authorities and policy makers have for decades relied upon industry-funded scientists who provide them with biased analyses that dismiss the peer-reviewed evidence unless it supports their sponsors. This is why independent scientists have sanctioned collective action.

More than 240 scientists from over 40 countries have signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal, a petition that raises concerns about the public health impacts of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF), especially from wireless technology. All have published peer-reviewed research on EMF and biology or health – totaling over 2,000 papers and letters in professional journals. Based upon solid evidence of harmful effects, these global experts urge public health leadership organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), to establish more protective EMF guidelines and precautionary measures, and perform public education about health risks, particularly to children and developing fetuses.

Grimes cites the WHO’s current position that “no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.” Setting aside the politics and limitations of that specific WHO declaration, note that the WHO’s own cancer research agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), classified RFR as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” in 2011. Last year, an IARC advisory group of 29 scientists examined the peer-reviewed research for RFR cancer risk published during the previous eight years and prioritized RFR for re-review. Hence, the IARC will likely upgrade the carcinogenic classification of RFR in the next five years.

Cited by Grimes is the one major cell phone radiation study conducted in the U.S. since the 1990’s. In 1999, the FDA recommended that the National Toxicology Program (NTP) research the carcinogenicity of cell phone radiation. The results of this $30 million study were published in 2018 after extensive peer review by EMF and toxicology experts. The NTP found “clear evidence” that cell phone radiation caused heart cancer and “some evidence” that it caused cancer in the brains and adrenal glands of male rats. The study also found significantly increased risk of DNA damage in rats and mice of both sexes exposed to cell phone radiation.

Whereas, most toxicologists consider the NTP methods the “gold standard,” Grimes erroneously implies that the NTP study’s “methodology and low power” would increase the likelihood that the study obtained spurious results. Statistically, a “low power” study has the opposite effect. Low statistical power means a study would be less likely to detect a real effect, not more likely to yield spurious effects. Grimes has thus repeated an industry-promoted canard about the study which reflects a complete misunderstanding of this basic statistical concept.

Characterizing the Interphone study among “large and robust trials, with careful controls and large sample groups” Grimes nevertheless misrepresents the study’s results. Careful reading of Interphone reveals a statistically significant increased risk of glioma and acoustic neuroma  among long-term heavy cell phone users. The researchers found that the excess glioma risk held up when the data were subjected to many different analyses (Appendix 1). Additional analyses that corrected for a bias in the study demonstrated a dose-response relationship between glioma risk and mobile phone use (see Appendix 2). 

Followup papers using the Interphone study data found that the excess tumors were primarily located on the side of the head where people held their phones, and in the part of the brain where cell phone radiation exposure was greatest, the temporal and frontal lobes.

Although three sources of case-control data  have found an association between ten years of heavy mobile phone use and glioma risk, glioma incidence may no longer be the best potential correlate of increased mobile phone use as Grimes implies. Long-term heavy mobile phone use is associated with various head and neck tumors in case-control studies including acoustic neuroma, meningioma, and tumors of the thyroid and parotid glands. In some countries glioma rates have increased in certain subgroups (e.g., older age groups, specific types of tumors or anatomic locations), if not overall. In many countries, including the U.S., thyroid tumor incidence has increased in recent years, and two case-control studies provide evidence that cell phone use may be responsible.

Bigger is not necessarily better. Besides the large Interphone study, Grimes cites the Danish cohort study as evidence that cell phone use is safe. However, this study has serious methodologic problems due to a wholly inadequate exposure assessment. Hence, the results from this study are not reliable.

The Telecom industry claims that their cellular technology is safe; yet, there are no safety studies on exposure to 4G or 5G cell phone radiation. Moreover, the weight of research evidence regarding exposure to 2G and 3G radiation finds harm including sperm damage in males, reproductive harm in females, neurological disorders, DNA damage and increased cancer risk.

There is room to disagree about the implications and quality of scientific studies, but it is disingenuous to disparage other scientists and employ industry talking points in the process, as Grimes does. The public has a right to know about the health risks of RFR. As Senator Blumenthal argued: “I believe that Americans deserve to know what the health effects are, not to pre-judge what scientific studies may show, and they also deserve a commitment to do the research on outstanding questions.”

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Health Effects of Cellphone & Cell Tower Radiation: Implications for 5G Webinar

Speaker: Joel M. Moskowitz, PhD
University of California, Berkeley

November 3, 2021

The Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) is one of 18 regional Education and Research Centers (ERC), funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The ERC supports traineeships at three University of California campuses: UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UCSF.

This presentation summarized the research on biologic and health effects from exposure to radio frequency radiation emitted by cell phones and cell towers along with the implications of this research for 5G, the fifth generation of cellular technology. The inadequacy of current national and international radio frequency exposure limits to protect environmental and public health was also discussed.

Indicative of the widespread interest in this public health issue, the webinar was attended by 660 people from 40 states and 30 countries. About 20% of attendees were from California and 19% from foreign countries. More than 100 people submitted questions; however, there was only enough time to answer a handful.

Webinar video: (1 hour 22 minutes; starts 5 minutes in)


Speaker: Joel M. Moskowitz, PhD

Joel M. Moskowitz, PhD, has directed the Center for Family and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley since 1993. Dr. Moskowitz has published research on disease prevention for 40 years. In 2009 he served as the senior author on a hallmark paper reviewing research on mobile phone use and tumor risk published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Last year he updated this meta-analysis in a paper published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. This year he co-authored a paper on electrohypersensitivity published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

Since 2013 he has translated and disseminated research on the biologic and health effects of wireless radiation through his website ( In 2017, with legal representation from the UC Berkeley Environmental Law Clinic, he won a lawsuit against the California Department of Public Health for suppressing its own scientists' cell phone safety guidance for eight years. This resulted in the Department finally publishing cell phone health warnings. He serves as an advisor to Physicians for Safe Technology and to the International EMF Scientist Appeal which was signed by over 240 scientists who published more than 2,000 papers and letters in professional journals on electromagnetic fields and biology or health.

Webinar video: (1 hour 22 minutes; starts 5 minutes in)


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Thyroid Cancer & Mobile Phone Use

From: Carlberg et al. 2016 (see abstract below).

The figure above is from the open access paper: Carlberg M, Hedendahl L, Ahonen, Koppel T, Hardell L. Increasing incidence of thyroid cancer in the Nordic countries with main focus on Swedish data. BMC Cancer. 16:246. 2016.

Latest Statistics on Thyroid Cancer in the U.S. 

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that 44,280 new cases of thyroid cancer will be diagnosed in 2021. 

Age-adjusted rates for new thyroid cancer cases have been stable from 2009-2018 based upon an analysis of data from the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-9 (SEER-9) cancer registry program.

Rate of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The rate of new cases of thyroid cancer was 15.5 per 100,000 men and women per year. The death rate was 0.5 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2014–2018 cases and 2015–2019 deaths.

Lifetime Risk of Developing Cancer: Approximately 1.2 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2016–2018 data.

Prevalence of This Cancer: In 2018, there were an estimated 893,294 people living with thyroid cancer in the United States.

New Cancer Cases Diagnosed among Adolescents & Young Adults (Ages 15-39)

Thyroid cancer was the most common type of new cancer diagnosed in adolescents and young adults ages 15-39 from 2014-2018 in the U.S.


An Exploration of the Effects of Radiofrequency Radiation Emitted by Mobile Phones and Extremely Low Frequency Radiation on Thyroid Hormones and Thyroid Gland Histopathology

Alkayyali T, Ochuba O, Srivastava K, Sandhu JK, Joseph C, Ruo SW, Jain A, Waqar A, Poudel S. An Exploration of the Effects of Radiofrequency Radiation Emitted by Mobile Phones and Extremely Low Frequency Radiation on Thyroid Hormones and Thyroid Gland Histopathology. Cureus. 2021 Aug 20;13(8):e17329. doi: 10.7759/cureus.17329.


The use of mobile phones has widely increased over the last two decades. Mobile phones produce a radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF), a form of non-ionizing radiation. In contrast to the ionizing radiation proven to cause DNA damage, the harmful effects of non-ionizing radiation on the human body have not been discovered yet. The thyroid gland is among the most susceptible organs to mobile phone radiation due to its location in the anterior neck. Our purpose in this literature review is to explore the effects of the electromagnetic field (EMF), especially radiofrequency emitted from mobile phones, on thyroid hormones and thyroid gland histopathology. We searched PubMed and Google Scholar databases for relevant studies published after the year 2000, using the following keywords: 'cell phones', 'mobile phones', 'telephones', 'electromagnetic fields', 'radiofrequency radiation', 'microwaves', 'thyroid gland', 'thyroid hormones', and 'thyroid cancer'. Our review revealed that mobile phone radiofrequency radiation (RFR) might be associated with thyroid gland insufficiency and alterations in serum thyroid hormone levels, with a possible disruption in the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis. The review also showed histopathological changes in the thyroid gland follicles after exposure of rats to non-ionizing radiation. The results were directly related to the amount and duration of exposure to EMF radiation. Further human studies exploring thyroid gland hormones, microscopic morphology, and thyroid cancer are highly recommended for future researches.


This article aimed to explore the effects of RF-EMF and ELF-EMF on the thyroid gland hormones and histopathology. Studies collected in this review showed that GSM mobile phone RFR could be associated with alterations in T3, T4, and TSH serum hormone levels. EMF emitted from mobile phones could disrupt the function of the HPT axis and lead to thyroid insufficiency. In addition, EMF could lead to hyperstimulation of thyroid gland follicles, causing oxidative stress and apoptosis of follicular cells. Most studies revealed a proportional correlation between thyroid gland dysfunction and the exposure duration, intensity, and SAR value of radiation. Moreover, non-ionizing radiation was seen to be significantly associated with histopathological changes in the thyroid gland follicles. The exposure duration and intensity also determined the degree of morphological damage occurring in the thyroid gland tissue. Non-ionizing EMF radiation might be responsible for the recent increase in the incidence of thyroid insufficiency and cancer in the general population. However, not enough data was found related to thyroid cancer risk with non-ionizing radiation exposure. Keeping in mind the ethical considerations, we recommend future observational studies be conducted on human beings to further explore the association of non-ionizing radiation emitted from mobile phones on the thyroid gland's hormones, histopathology, and cancers over the long term.


Jan 1, 2021

A new review of the research has found that cell phone radiation adversely affects cells in the thyroid gland and thyroid hormones. The study was published in the journal, Environmental Science and Pollution Research International by Jafar Asl and colleagues.

The findings from this study support the findings from two recent human studies. Ermioni Tsarna and colleagues recently found in a cohort study that cell phone use during pregnancy increased the risk of preterm birth.

Jiajun Luo and colleagues found in a case-control study that heavy cell phone use increases the risk of thyroid cancer. In a followup study, the researchers found that genetic susceptibilities modify the associations between cell phone use and risk of thyroid cancer (see below).

Adverse Effects of Cell Phone Radiation 
on the Thyroid Gland: Research Review

Asl JF, Larijani B, Zakerkish M, Rahim F, Shirbandi K, Akbari R. The possible global hazard of cell phone radiation on thyroid cells and hormones: a systematic review of evidences. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. Published online May 6, 2019. doi: 10.1007/s11356-019-05096-z.


The aim of this review was to investigate the effects of possible harmful waves from either cell phone use or being within the range of the cell phone from 450 to 3800 MHz on the thyroid cells and hormones. Eight electronic datasets were systematically searched using MeSH terms, including "cell phone," "mobile phone," "GSM," "radio frequency," "smartphone," "triiodothyronine," "thyroxin," "thyroid-stimulating hormone," "T3," "T4," "TSH," and "morphological" and all possible combinations, to identify relevant studies published up to Dec 2018. We also manually searched the reference lists of potentially selected studies to identify further relevant publications. About 161 relevant studies were initially found. After screening titles and abstracts, 139 studies were excluded, and finally 22 studies (comprising 7182 cases) were included in the qualitative synthesis.

Of the 22 included studies, 11 studies reported changes in T3 and T4 levels (six reported a decrease in T3 levels and one reported increase in it); moreover, five found decreased T4 levels and two studies an increased level. In other 10 studies, TSH alteration was reported. Of these, two studies reported a decrease in TSH level and one reported an increase in the hormone levels, while in the remaining studies non-significant changes were reported. Finally, seven studies examined histological changes in the thyroid gland follicles and showed that the volume of these cells was reduced.

Based on the evidence discussed above, the reduction in diameter of thyroid follicles is potentially linked with cell phone radiation. Exposure may negatively influence the iodine uptake in the thyroid gland or increases temperature effect on the thyroid gland. However, further research are needed in order to show that the level of TSH and thyroid hormone suppression by microwave.


The range of SAR [Specific Absorption Rate] reported in this study was 0.082–4.6 W/kg. Silva et al. stated that RFE [radio frequency energy] exposure conditions have no potential carcinogenic effect on thyroid cells with 0.082–0.170 (W/kg) SAR (Silva et al. 2016). It is expected that reducing this factor will reduce the risk of cell phone waves, but Bhargav et al. show that thyroid gland hormones are significantly lesser after RF-EMF with 0.54 W/kg SAR exposure compared to sham (Bergamaschi et al. 2004), and other studies show contradictory results about the role of SAR and hormonal effects. Despite the fact that SAR is a very important criterion for judging the highest energy of a radio signal released from a source of a particular model of a mobile phone, it alone cannot provide enough information to compare the amount of radio signal released by different phones to users.

... epidemiological evidences have revealed that even a relatively slight decrease in T4 levels during pregnancy may lead to decrease of cognitive functions in offspring (Haddow et al. 1999; Pop et al. 2003). In this regard, Eşmekaya et al. stated that cell phone has the potential to cause pathological consequences in the thyroid gland via changing organ structure, as well as increasing the activity of caspase-dependent pathways related to apoptosis (Esmekaya et al. 2010). Silva et al. show the exposure to RFE seems to have no possible oncogenic consequence on human thyroid cells (Silva et al. 2016). Nonetheless, it is quite difficult to perform a study exploring the impacts of EMFs on a fetus or child due to ethical concerns (Sangun et al. 2015).

Conclusions and future perspective

Tissue heating may be usually linked to nonspecific stress reaction induced by microwave exposure. Exposure negatively influences the iodine uptake in the thyroid gland, or may influence with increased temperature effect on the thyroid gland. However, with the advent of new generations of communications like the 5 G, further research are needed in order to show the level of TSH and thyroid hormone suppression by microwave.


Heavy Cell Phone Use Linked to Thyroid Cancer

Dec 11, 2019

Genetic susceptibility may modify the association between cell phone use and thyroid cancer: A population-based case-control study in Connecticut

Luo J, Li H, Deziel NC, Huang H, Zhao N, Ma S, Nie X, Udelsman R, Zhang Y. Genetic susceptibility may modify the association between cell phone use and thyroid cancer: A population-based case-control study in Connecticut. Environmental Research. 
2020 Mar;182:109013. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.109013. Epub 2019 Dec 6.


• The interaction between cell phone use and genetic variants on thyroid cancer was investigated in this study.
• When some genetic variants were present, cell phone use was significantly associated with thyroid cancer.
• The association increased when cell phone use duration and frequency increased.
• Genetic susceptibility may modify the association between cell phone use and thyroid cancer.


Emerging studies have provided evidence on the carcinogenicity of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) from cell phones. This study aims to test the genetic susceptibility on the association between cell phone use and thyroid cancer. Population-based case-control study was conducted in Connecticut between 2010 and 2011 including 440 thyroid cancer cases and 465 population-based controls with genotyping information for 823 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 176 DNA genes. We used multivariate unconditional logistic regression models to estimate the genotype-environment interaction between each SNP and cell phone use and to estimate the association with cell phone use in populations according to SNP variants. Ten SNPs had P < 0.01 for interaction in all thyroid cancers. In the common homozygote groups, no association with cell phone use was observed. In the variant group (heterozygotes and rare homozygotes), cell phone use was associated with an increased risk for rs11070256 (odds ratio (OR): 2.36, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.30–4.30), rs1695147 (OR: 2.52, 95% CI: 1.30–4.90), rs6732673 (OR: 1.59, 95% CI: 1.01–2.49), rs396746 (OR: 2.53, 95% CI: 1.13–5.65), rs12204529 (OR: 2.62, 95% CI: 1.33–5.17), and rs3800537 (OR: 2.64, 95% CI: 1.30–5.36) with thyroid cancers. In small tumors, increased risk was observed for 5 SNPs (rs1063639, rs1695147, rs11070256, rs12204529 and rs3800537), In large tumors, increased risk was observed for 3 SNPs (rs11070256, rs1695147, and rs396746). Our result suggests that genetic susceptibilities modify the associations between cell phone use and risk of thyroid cancer. The findings provide more evidence for RFR carcinogenic group classification.

Also see: Yale University. Thyroid cancer, genetic variations and cell phones linked in study. Medical Xpress. Jan 28, 2020.


Nov 13, 2008

The first case-control study examining the association between cell phone use and thyroid cancer found elevated risks of thyroid cancer among heavier, long-term cell phone users.

At greater risk of thyroid cancer were individuals who used a cell phone for more than 15 years, for more than two hours per day, or for a greater number of lifetime hours. Also, those who made the most cell phone calls in their lifetime were at increased risk.

Men who used cell phones for more than 15 years had over twice the risk of thyroid cancer as compared to non-cell phone users after controlling for other factors. Women who used cell phones for more than two hours per day had a 52% greater risk of thyroid cancer as compared to non-cell phone users.

Although the key findings in this study were of borderline statistical significance, this may be due to the relatively small sample size, especially for males. The study included 462 histologically-confirmed thyroid cancer cases and 498 population-based controls. Also, the study did not control for cordless phone use which may be a risk factor for thyroid cancer.

The study, published online in the Annals of Epidemiology on October 29, was conducted by researchers from the Yale School of Medicine and the Connecticut Health Department.

The authors recommended more research since the results from this study may not be generalizable to current cell phone users due to changing technology and patterns of use (e.g., hands-free use, texting). The authors noted that smart phones were not in common use during the period prior to 2010-2011 when the data for this study were collected. The majority of study participants did not start using cell phones until age 21. Future research should determine if age of first cell phone use is associated with greater thyroid cancer risk.

The authors reported that thyroid cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the U.S. Incidence has nearly tripled since the 1980’s from four per 100,000 in 1980 to fifteen per 100,000 in 2014 making this the fifth most common cancer among women in the country. Although over-diagnosis is believed to account for about half of this increase, the remainder is likely due to changing environmental and lifestyle factors.

Yawei Zhang, MD, PhD, of the Yale School of Medicine and Cancer Center was the senior author of this paper. The research was supported by the American Cancer Society, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China.

My comments: The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that 53,990 new cases of thyroid cancer will be diagnosed in 2018 making this the 12th most common cancer in the U.S. Rates for new thyroid cancer cases have increased 3.1% per year over the last ten years (on average) based upon an analysis of data from the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-9 (SEER-9) cancer registry program.

Since smart phones are more likely to have cell antennas located in the bottom of the phones than earlier cell phone models, the peak radiation exposure from a smart phone is more likely in the neck than in the brain. Hence, I would hypothesize that the association between cell phone use and thyroid cancer has increased in recent years. The switch from “candy bar" and flip phones to smart phones could explain upward trends over time in thyroid cancer incidence and relatively flat trends in brain cancer observed in some countries.


Luo J, Deziel NC, Huang H, Chen Y, Ni X, Ma S, Udelsman R, Zhang Y. Cell phone use and risk of thyroid cancer: a population-based case-control study in ConnecticutAnn Epidemiol. 2018 Oct 29. pii: S1047-2797(18)30284-9. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2018.10.004

Purpose. This study aims to investigate the association between cell phone use and thyroid cancer.

Methods.  A population-based case-control study was conducted in Connecticut between 2010 and 2011 including 462 histologically confirmed thyroid cancer cases and 498 population-based controls. Multivariate unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for associations between cell phone use and thyroid cancer.

Results. Cell phone use was not associated with thyroid cancer (OR: 1.05, 95% CI: 0.74-1.48). A suggestive increase in risk of thyroid microcarcinoma (tumor size ≤10mm) was observed for long-term and more frequent users. Compared to cell phone non-users, several groups had non-statistically significantly increased risk of thyroid microcarcinoma: individuals who had used a cell phone >15 years (OR: 1.29, 95% CI: 0.83-2.00), who had used a cell phone >2 hours per day (OR: 1.40, 95% CI: 0.83-2.35), who had the most cumulative use hours (OR: 1.58, 95% CI: 0.98-2.54), and who had the most cumulative calls (OR: 1.20, 95% CI: 0.78-1.84).

Conclusion. This study found no significant association between cell phone use and thyroid cancer. A suggestive elevated risk of thyroid microcarcinoma associated with long-term and more frequent uses warrants further investigation.

Open access paper:


Siegel D, Li J, Henley SJ, Wilson R, Lunsford RB, Tai E, Van Dyne E. Incidence Rates and Trends of Pediatric Cancer United States 2001–2014. Poster presentation at the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Conference, Pittsburgh, PA. May 2-5, 2018.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Overview: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evaluated cancer registry data from 48 states and found that the incidence of thyroid cancer among individuals less than 20 years of age increased 4.8% per year (on average) from 2001-2014. 

Background: Cancer is one of the leading disease-related causes of death among individuals less than 20 years of age in the United States. Recent evaluations of national trends of pediatric cancer used data from before 2010, or covered less than or equal to 28% of the US population.

Objectives: This study describes pediatric cancer incidence rates and trends by using the most recent and comprehensive cancer registry data available in the US.

Design/Method: Data from US Cancer Statistics were used to evaluate cancer incidence rates and trends among individuals aged <20 years during 2001–2014. Data were from 48 states and covered 98% of the US population. We assessed trends by calculating average annual percent change (AAPC) in rates using joinpoint regression. Rates and trends were stratified by sex, age, race/ethnicity, US Census region, county-based economic status, and county-based rural/urban classification, and cancer type, as grouped by the International Classification of Childhood Cancer (ICCC).

Results: We identified 196,200 cases of pediatric cancer during 2001–2014. The 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. The overall pediatric cancer incidence rate increased (AAPC=0.7, 95% CI, 0.5–0.8) during 2001–2014 and contained no joinpoints. Rates increased in each stratum of sex, age, race/ethnicity (except non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native), region, economic status, and rural/urban classification.

Rates were stable for most individual cancer types, but increased for non-Hodgkin lymphomas except Burkitt lymphoma (ICCC group II(b), AAPC=1.2, 95% CI, 0.4–2.0), central nervous system neoplasms (group III, AAPC=0.4, 95% CI, 0.1–0.8), renal tumors (group VI, AAPC=0.6, 95% CI, 0.1–1.1), hepatic tumors (group VII, AAPC=2.5, 95% CI, 1.0–4.0), and thyroid carcinomas (group XI(b), AAPC=4.8, 95% CI, 4.2–5.5). Rates of malignant melanoma decreased (group XI (d), AAPC=-2.6, 95% CI, -4.7– -0.4).

Conclusion: This study documents increased rates of pediatric cancer during 2001–2014, in each of the demographic variables examined. Increased overall rates of hepatic cancer and decreased rates of melanoma are novel findings using data since 2010. Next steps in addressing changing rates could include investigation of diagnostic and reporting standards, host biologic factors, environmental exposures, or potential interventions for reducing cancer risk. Increasing pediatric cancer incidence rates may necessitate changes related to treatment and survivorship care capacity.

Dec 26, 2017

Trends in Thyroid Cancer Incidence and Mortality in the United States, 1974-2013

H Lim, SS Devesa, JA Sosa,et al D Check,CM Kitahara, Trends in Thyroid Cancer Incidence and Mortality in the United States, 1974-2013. JAMA. Published online March 31, 2017. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.2719

Key Points

Question:  What have been the trends in US thyroid cancer incidence and mortality, and have they differed by tumor characteristics at diagnosis?

Findings:  In this analysis of 77,276 thyroid cancer patients diagnosed during 1974-2013 and of 2,371 thyroid cancer deaths during 1994-2013, average annual increases in incidence and mortality rates, respectively, were 3.6% and 1.1% overall and 2.4% and 2.9% for patients diagnosed with advanced-stage papillary thyroid cancer.

Meaning:  Thyroid cancer incidence and mortality rates have increased for patients diagnosed with advanced-stage papillary thyroid cancer in the United States since 1974, suggesting a true increase in the occurrence of thyroid cancer.


Importance:  Thyroid cancer incidence has increased substantially in the United States over the last 4 decades, driven largely by increases in papillary thyroid cancer. It is unclear whether the increasing incidence of papillary thyroid cancer has been related to thyroid cancer mortality trends.

Objective:  To compare trends in thyroid cancer incidence and mortality by tumor characteristics at diagnosis.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Trends in thyroid cancer incidence and incidence-based mortality rates were evaluated using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-9 (SEER-9) cancer registry program, and annual percent change in rates was calculated using log-linear regression.

Exposure:  Tumor characteristics.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Annual percent changes in age-adjusted thyroid cancer incidence and incidence-based mortality rates by histologic type and SEER stage for cases diagnosed during 1974-2013.

Results:  Among 77, 276 patients (mean [SD] age at diagnosis, 48 [16] years; 58 213 [75%] women) diagnosed with thyroid cancer from 1974-2013, papillary thyroid cancer was the most common histologic type (64 625 cases), and 2371 deaths from thyroid cancer occurred during 1994-2013. Thyroid cancer incidence increased, on average, 3.6% per year (95% CI, 3.2%-3.9%) during 1974-2013 (from 4.56 per 100 000 person-years in 1974-1977 to 14.42 per 100 000 person-years in 2010-2013), primarily related to increases in papillary thyroid cancer (annual percent change, 4.4% [95% CI, 4.0%-4.7%]). Papillary thyroid cancer incidence increased for all SEER stages at diagnosis (4.6% per year for localized, 4.3% per year for regional, 2.4% per year for distant, 1.8% per year for unknown). During 1994-2013, incidence-based mortality increased 1.1% per year (95% CI, 0.6%-1.6%) (from 0.40 per 100 000 person-years in 1994-1997 to 0.46 per 100 000 person-years in 2010-2013) overall and 2.9% per year (95% CI, 1.1%-4.7%) for SEER distant stage papillary thyroid cancer.

Conclusions and Relevance: Among patients in the United States diagnosed with thyroid cancer from 1974-2013, the overall incidence of thyroid cancer increased 3% annually, with increases in the incidence rate and thyroid cancer mortality rate for advanced-stage papillary thyroid cancer. These findings are consistent with a true increase in the occurrence of thyroid cancer in the United States.


Is the Increasing Incidence of Thyroid Cancer in the Nordic Countries Caused by Use of Mobile Phones?

Michael Carlberg, Tarmo Koppel, Lena K. Hedendahl, Lennart Hardell. Is the Increasing Incidence of Thyroid Cancer in the Nordic Countries Caused by Use of Mobile Phones? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 9129; International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 17(23). 7 December 2020. doi:10.3390/ijerph17239129.


The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) at the World Health Organization (WHO) categorized in 2011 radiofrequency (RF) as a possible human carcinogen, Group 2B. During use of the handheld wireless phone, especially the smartphone, the thyroid gland is a target organ. During the 21st century, the incidence of thyroid cancer is increasing in many countries. We used the Swedish Cancer Register to study trends from 1970 to 2017. During that time period, the incidence increased statistically significantly in women with average annual percentage change (AAPC) +2.13%, 95% confidence interval (CI) +1.43, +2.83%. The increase was especially pronounced during 2010–2017 with annual percentage change (APC) +9.65%, 95% CI +6.68, +12.71%. In men, AAPC increased during 1970–2017 with +1.49%, 95% CI +0.71, +2.28%. Highest increase was found for the time period 2001–2017 with APC +5.26%, 95% CI +4.05, +6.49%. Similar results were found for all Nordic countries based on NORDCAN 1970–2016 with APC +5.83%, 95% CI +4.56, +7.12 in women from 2006 to 2016 and APC + 5.48%, 95% CI +3.92, +7.06% in men from 2005 to 2016. According to the Swedish Cancer Register, the increasing incidence was similar for tumors ≤4 cm as for tumors >4 cm, indicating that the increase cannot be explained by overdiagnosis. These results are in agreement with recent results on increased thyroid cancer risk associated with the use of mobile phones. We postulate that RF radiation is a causative factor for the increasing thyroid cancer incidence.


Thyroid cancer incidence has been steeply increasing in Sweden and all Nordic countries during the 21st century. Use of the handheld mobile phone is increasing, in particular, the smartphone gives high RF radiation exposure to the thyroid gland. It is postulated that this might be a causative factor for the increasing incidence supported by human epidemiology that has shown an association between mobile phone use and thyroid cancer.


Korea's Thyroid-Cancer “Epidemic” — Screening and Overdiagnosis (and wireless phone use?)

November 5, 2014

According to today's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, South Korea has experienced a thyroid cancer epidemic in recent years (see paper and Figure below). 

"Thyroid cancer is now the most common type of cancer diagnosed in South Korea."
The authors of this paper attribute the "epidemic" to a government-sponsored cancer screening program. As evidence, they report,

"There was a strong correlation between the proportion of the population screened in a region in 2008 and 2009 and the regional incidence of thyroid cancer in 2009. Although the aggregate correlation could be vulnerable to the ecologic fallacy, the finding of significant positive correlations in each of eight age- and sex-based groups suggests that the finding is more robust."

That widespread screening identifies more cancer is not surprising. This could at least partly explain the increasing incidence of thyroid cancer observed in South Korea, and nine other countries including the U.S.

The authors argue that most of these cancers are not life-threatening and advise other countries against widespread screening for thyroid cancer:

"The experience with thyroid-cancer screening in South Korea should serve as a cautionary tale for the rest of the world. During the past two decades, multiple countries have had a substantial increase in thyroid-cancer incidence without a concomitant increase in mortality. According to the Cancer Incidence in Five Continents database maintained by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the rate of thyroid-cancer detection has more than doubled in France, Italy, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Israel, China, Australia, Canada, and the United States. The South Korean experience suggests that these countries are seeing just the tip of the thyroid-cancer iceberg — and that if they want to prevent their own “epidemic,” they will need to discourage early thyroid-cancer detection."

I'm not sure the answer is to simply ignore these cancers, but I don't want to address that debate here.

Rather, I would like to focus on the question why has thyroid cancer become so prevalent in at least ten nations? According to the American Cancer Society, although some thyroid cancers are linked to exposure to ionizing radiation, "the exact cause of most thyroid cancers is not yet known."

Could exposure to the electromagnetic radiation (RF and ELF) emitted by cell phones and cordless phones be contributing to this worldwide thyroid cancer epidemic? Isn't time for our government to fund research on the risk factors underlying this epidemic?

Hyeong Sik Ahn, Hyun Jung Kim, H. Gilbert Welch. Korea's Thyroid-Cancer “Epidemic” — Screening and Overdiagnosis. N Engl J Med 2014; 371:1765-1767 November 6, 2014 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1409841


Is mobile phone use contributing to increased incidence of thyroid cancer?

July 9, 2014

The incidence of thyroid cancer has been increasing rapidly in recent years in many countries including the U.S., Canada, and Israel.

A headline in Haaretz a year ago March reads, "
Israeli scientists find possible link between cellphone use, thyroid cancer." 

In response to questions posed to me on this topic today from several individuals, I did a PubMed search. Although I did not find any epidemiologic studies that examined the association between mobile phone use and thyroid cancer in humans, I found almost a dozen published papers that have studied the effects of cell phone radiation on thyroid function. Apparently, case-control research on this topic is warranted.

The abstracts from 11 published papers that examined the effects of exposure to cell phone radiation on thyroid function appear below. Please let me know if you are aware of important studies that I missed, and I will supplement this list.  I did not include studies that examined exposure to power frequency radiation.

But first, here is the 2013 news article  ...

Israeli scientists find possible link between cellphone use, thyroid cancer

Dan Even, Haaretz, Mar 6, 2013

Israeli scientists have reported preliminary findings of a possible link between the radiation from cellphones and thyroid cancer. There has been a steep rise in rates of thyroid cancer in recent years in Western countries.

The Israeli research, conducted at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva and at Tel Aviv University, identified evidence for the first time of the possible connection between the rise in thyroid cancer cases to the increased exposure to radiation emitted by cellphones.

In one experiment, human thyroid cells collected from healthy patients were subjected to radiation with a device, designed for the study, that simulates the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cellphones. The irradiated thyroid cells proliferated at a much higher, statistically significant rate than non-irradiated cells in the control group. A second experiment, using different methods and materials, gave similar results.

The research was conducted in the Felsenstein Medical Research Center, part of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and the Rabin Medical Center. Prof. Raphael Feinmesser, head of Beilinson’s Ear, Nose and Throat Department was the lead researcher. The findings will be presented for the first time this weekend at the annual conference of the Israeli Society of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, in Eilat.

“The findings are the first evidence of changes in thyroid cells in response to electromagnetic radiation,” said Feinmesser. “But drawing sweeping conclusions as to a connection between cellphone radiation and thyroid cancer is still far off.”

The scientific community is divided as to the connection between cellular radiation and cancer. One opinion is that because cellular radiation is non-ionizing and incapable of causing changes in cellular DNA, it cannot cause cancer. But in recent years evidence has mounted from epidemiological studies indicating a relationship between increased exposure to cellular radiation and cancerous growths, especially in the brain and the salivary glands.

“The thyroid gland is located in the neck, but the area is located the same distance from the ear as the regions of the brain where [cancerous] growths have been diagnosed as being related to the use of the [cellular] devices. This is a region that is not far from the center of the device’s radiation,” said Feinmesser.

The incidence of thyroid cancer has been on the rise in Israel for more than a decade, which matches the rise in the use of cellphones. Thyroid cancer is three times more common in women than men. It is the fourth most common form of cancer among Jewish women in Israel, at 16.6 cases per 100,000 people. The three most common forms of cancer for women are cancer of the breast, colon and cervix. Among Israeli Arab women the rate of thyroid cancer is 11.6 cases per 100,000, and it is the third most common cancer. From 1990 to 2007 there was a 67-percent rise in thyroid cancer rates among Jewish women, and a 250 percent increase among Arab women, Health Ministry figures show. For men, the rise from 2000 is more moderate, but still shows a 41 percent increase in thyroid cancer rates for Jewish men.

“One of the explanations is that the rise is related to better technical methods of early detection of these growths, which have been developed in recent years. But other research shows that even after neutralizing this influence a rise in these growths still remains,” said Feinmesser.

Just this week it was reported that mobile operator Partner Communications (Orange ) reached a settlement with a customer who claims he contracted cancer after using the company’s cellphones. The customer, who is in his 50s, sued Partner in May, claiming that intensive use of the device resulted in an aggressive lymphoma near his left ear. Partner agreed to pay NIS 400,000 in an out-of-court settlement.”

Recent Studies

E López-Martín, F J Jorge-Barreiro, J L Relova-Quintero, A A Salas-Sánchez, F J Ares-Pena. Exposure to 2.45 GHz radiofrequency modulates calcitonin-dependent activity and HSP-90 protein in parafollicular cells of rat thyroid gland. Tissue Cell. 2020 Dec 26;68:101478. doi: 10.1016/j.tice.2020.101478.

• Non-ionizing radiation could constitute a toxic environment, altering the morphology and functioning of parafollicular cells.
• EMFs activate stress stimuli in the thyroid gland, which is associated with C-cell hyperplasia.
• Non-ionizing radiation modulates expression of Heat Shock Protein 90 in calcitonin-positive cells.

In this study we analyzed the response of parafollicular cells in rat thyroid gland after exposure to radiofrequency at 2.45 GHz using a subthermal experimental diathermy model. Forty-two Sprague Dawley rats, divided into two groups of 21 rats each, were individually exposed at 0 (control), 3 or 12 W in a Gigahertz Transverse Electro-Magnetic (GTEM) chamber for 30 min. After radiation, we used simple or fluorescence immunohistochemistry to measure calcitonin cells or cellular stress levels, indicated by the presence hyperplasia of parafollicular cells, heat shock protein (HSP) 90. Immunomarking of calcitonin-positive cells was statistically significant higher in the thyroid tissue of rats exposed to 2.45 GHz radiofrequency and cell hyperplasia appeared 90 min after radiation at the SAR levels studied. At the same time, co-localized expression of HSP-90 and calcitonin in parafollicular cells was statistically significant attenuated 90 min after radiation and remained statistically significantly low 24 h after radiation, even though parafollicular cell levels normalized. These facts indicate that subthermal radiofrequency (RF) at 2.45 GHz constitutes a negative external stress stimulus that alters the activity and homeostasis of parafollicular cells in the rat thyroid gland. However, further research is needed to determine if there is toxic action in human C cells.


Noha I Hussien, Ayman M Mousa, Abeer A Shoman. Decreased Level of Plasma nesfatin-1 in Rats Exposed to Cell Phone Radiation Is Correlated With Thyroid Dysfunction, Oxidative Stress, and Apoptosis Arch Physiol Biochem. 2020 Jun 17;1-7. doi: 10.1080/13813455.2020.1778037.


Context: Exposure to Electomagnetic radiation fields of cell phones causes thyroid dysfunction and a previous study revealed that nesfatin-1 may affect functions of the thyroid gland.

Objective: To study the role of nesfatin-1 on functions of rat's thyroid gland exposed to EMRF.

Materials and methods: Thirty adult male rats were divided equally into 3 groups as group I, group II and group III. The experiment extended for 30 days then the plasma nesfatin-1 level, thyroid functions, and thyroid tissue oxidative stress were assessed. Also; histological and immunohistochemical study studies were done to evaluate structural and apoptotic changes of the thyroid gland.

Results: There was a significant decrease in plasma nesfatin-1 level and thyroid functions with an increase in oxidative stress and apoptosis. Interestingly, there was a correlation between nesfatin-1 level and markers of thyroid function, oxidative stress and apoptosis.

Conclusion: Nesfatin-1 plays a role in thyroid dysfunctions of rats exposed to mobile phone radiation.


Cheng Y, Fu M. Dielectric Properties for Differentiating Normal and Malignant Thyroid Tissues. Med Sci Monit. 2018 Mar 2;24:1276-1281.


BACKGROUND The incidence rate of thyroid cancer has increased greatly during the last few decades, and highly sensitive and specific methods for early diagnosis and prognostic evaluation remain lacking. In this study, we investigated a novel approach based on microwave theory to detect thyroid cancer. 

MATERIAL AND METHODS Freshly excised thyroid tissues (n=236) from 48 patients were identified as normal or malignant using histology. Each sample was measured for effective dielectric permittivity and effective conductivity (0.5-8 GHz). The means of each of these parameters of the normal and malignant groups were compared. 

RESULTS The effective dielectric permittivities of normal and malignant thyroid tissues were 24.026±1.951 to 17.950±1.648 and 69.782±2.734 to 57.356±1.802, respectively. Also, as a function of frequency, the effective conductivities of normal and malignant thyroid cancer were 0.8395±0.2013 to 1.8730±0.0979 and 1.8960±0.5024 to 9.7461±0.9349 (S/m), respectively. The mean effective dielectric permittivities and effective conductivities of normal thyroid tissues were significantly lower than that of thyroid cancer tissues. 

CONCLUSIONS Measuring the effective dielectric permittivity and effective conductivity of excised thyroid tissues may be a new and viable method to determine malignancy in thyroid cancer.

Open access paper:


Baby NM, Koshy G, Mathew A. The effect of electromagnetic radiation due to mobile phone use on thyroid function in medical students studying in a medical college in South India. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Nov-Dec;21(6):797-802.


Background: Enormous increase in mobile phone use throughout the world raises widespread concerns about its possible detrimental effect on human health. Radiofrequency waves are emitted by cell phones. They are non-ionising and the effect on the thyroid gland is part of their non thermal effects. The thyroid gland may be particularly vulnerable to this effect because of its normal anatomical position.

Materials and Methods: The study was done to explore the association between radiation exposure and thyroid dysfunction among mobile phone users. It had an exploratory design and unit survey method to collect information from all medical students in a medical college in South India. Inclusion criteria included active use of mobile phone prior to and during the study period. Criteria for exclusion was presence of pre-existsting thyroid disease,thyroid nodule,thyroid goitre/nodule and altered thyroid function.

Results: The sample size was 83 undergraduate students. 71% of respondents had no family history of thyroid illness. Among the remainder,20.5% had a first degree relative with thyroid dysfunction,8.4% had a second degree relative affected. Clinical examination revealed that 79.5% of the respondents were normal,13.6% had thyroid swelling,3.6% had symptoms of thyroid dysfunction and 3.6% had both thyroid swelling and symptoms of thyroid dysfunction. 53% of the respondents spent 0.5 hrs on an average talking on the phone daily,28.9% spent 1.5 hrs daily and 10.8% of respondents spent over 3.5 hours. We found there was a significant correlation between total radiation exposure and an increase in TSH among both groups -in those with and without family history of thyroid illness.

Conclusion: In our study there was a significant correlation between total radiation exposure and increasing TSH values among both all respondents.


Silva V, Hilly O, Strenov Y, Tzabari C, Hauptman Y, Feinmesser R. Effect of cell phone-like electromagnetic radiation on primary human thyroid cells. Int J Radiat Biol. 2016;92(2):107-15. Epub 2015 Dec 21.


PURPOSE: To evaluate the potential carcinogenic effects of radiofrequency energy (RFE) emitted by cell phones on human thyroid primary cells.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Primary thyroid cell culture was prepared from normal thyroid tissue obtained from patients who underwent surgery at our department. Subconfluent thyroid cells were irradiated under different conditions inside a cell incubator using a device that simulates cell phone-RFE. Proliferation of control and irradiated cells was assessed by the immunohistochemical staining of antigen Kiel clone-67 (Ki-67) and tumor suppressor p53 (p53) expression. DNA ploidy and the stress biomarkers heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) was evaluated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS).

RESULTS: Our cells highly expressed thyroglobulin (Tg) and sodium-iodide symporter (NIS) confirming the origin of the tissue. None of the irradiation conditions evaluated here had an effect neither on the proliferation marker Ki-67 nor on p53 expression. DNA ploidy was also not affected by RFE, as well as the expression of the biomarkers HSP70 and ROS.

CONCLUSION: Our conditions of RFE exposure seem to have no potential carcinogenic effect on human thyroid cells. Moreover, common biomarkers usually associated to environmental stress also remained unchanged. We failed to find an association between cell phone-RFE and thyroid cancer. Additional studies are recommended.

Note: This study did not expose the cell samples to cell phone radiation. The RFE exposure in this simulation did not resemble cell phone radiation.
"Subconfluent thyroid cells were irradiated ... using a device consisting of a Radio Frequency (RF) generator (Fluke 60602A, manufactured by Fluke, Everett, WA) and an RF power amplifier (EMPower 7044, Holbrook, NY). The RF generator, located outside the incubator, was set to the desired power and connected to the power amplifier, which was connected to a panel antenna that was fixed inside the incubator."
"... an antenna was placed inside the cell incubator and set at 900 or 895 MHz and 80 or 210 μW/cm2 to simulate the radiation emitted by mobile phones."

International Agency for Research on Cancer. Overdiagnosis is a major driver of the thyroid cancer epidemic: Up to 50-90% of thyroid cancers in women in high-income countries estimated to be overdiagnoses. Press Release No. 246. August 18, 2016.


Lu M, W XY. Study of specific absorption rate (SAR) induced in human endocrine glands for using mobile phones. IEEE Asia-Pacific International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility (APEMC), 2016.: 1084-1086. (Journal not peer-reviewed)


With the quick development and widespread use of mobile phones has led to a rising concern about the possible adverse health effects of radio frequency electromagnetic field exposure. This study aims to present the dosimetry analysis of the electromagnetic fields induced by mobile phone on human endocrine glands. A finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method was employed to calculate the specific absorption rate (SAR) in a realistic human head-neck model from exposure to a generic handset at 1750 MHz. The results show that the locally induced SAR in thyroid gland is much larger than that in both hypophysis and hypothalamus glands. The induced SAR in thyroid for the mobile in short message service (SMS) position is much larger than that in the voice position. However, in all of the examined cases, the SAR values in endocrine glands are all below the IEEE safety standard.


In this work, SAR depositions in realistic human endocrine glands have been analysed when they were exposed to the electromagnetic radiation from a mobile phone. It was found the induced SAR in thyroid gland is much larger than that in hypophysis and hypothalamus glands when the mobile was placed in both voice and SMS positions. Although the induced SAR in the human endocrine glands are below the IEEE safety standard, long-term use of mobile with the higher level SAR absorption in thyroid gland may be a risk factor associated with several thyroid disorders.


Carlberg M, Hedendahl L, Ahonen, Koppel T, Hardell L. Increasing incidence of thyroid cancer in the Nordic countries with main focus on Swedish data. BMC Cancer. 16:246. 2016.


Background: Radiofrequency radiation in the frequency range 30 kHz–300 GHz was evaluated to be Group 2B, i.e. ‘possibly’ carcinogenic to humans, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) at WHO in May 2011. Among the evaluated devices were mobile and cordless phones, since they emit radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF). In addition to the brain, another organ, the thyroid gland, also receives high exposure. The incidence of thyroid cancer is increasing in many countries, especially the papillary type that is the most radiosensitive type.

Methods: We used the Swedish Cancer Register to study the incidence of thyroid cancer during 1970–2013 using joinpoint regression analysis.

Results: In women, the incidence increased statistically significantly during the whole study period; average annual percentage change (AAPC) +1.19 % (95 % confidence interval (CI) +0.56, +1.83 %). Two joinpoints were detected, 1979 and 2001, with a high increase of the incidence during the last period 2001–2013 with an annual percentage change (APC) of +5.34 % (95 % CI +3.93, +6.77 %). AAPC for all men during 1970–2013 was +0.77 % (95 % CI −0.03, +1.58 %). One joinpoint was detected in 2005 with a statistically significant increase in incidence during 2005–2013; APC +7.56 % (95 % CI +3.34, +11.96 %). Based on NORDCAN data, there was a statistically significant increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer in the Nordic countries during the same time period. In both women and men a joinpoint was detected in 2006. The incidence increased during 2006–2013 in women; APC +6.16 % (95 % CI +3.94, +8.42 %) and in men; APC +6.84 % (95 % CI +3.69, +10.08 %), thus showing similar results as the Swedish Cancer Register. Analyses based on data from the Cancer Register showed that the increasing trend in Sweden was mainly caused by thyroid cancer of the papillary type.

Conclusions: We postulate that the whole increase cannot be attributed to better diagnostic procedures. Increasing exposure to ionizing radiation, e.g. medical computed tomography (CT) scans, and to RF-EMF (non-ionizing radiation) should be further studied. The design of our study does not permit conclusions regarding causality.


Silva V, Hilly O, Strenov Y, Tzabari C, Hauptman Y, Feinmesser R. Effect of cell phone-like electromagnetic radiation on primary human thyroid cells. Int J Radiat Biol. 92(2):107-115. 2016.

My comments: The exposures in this study were very low as the maximum SAR was 0.170 W/kg. The exposures in the three experimental conditions ranged from 895 to 900 Mhz, 80 to 210 μW/cm2 power density, and 0.082 to 0.170 W/kg SAR. 


Purpose:  To evaluate the potential carcinogenic effects of radiofrequency energy (RFE) emitted by cell phones on human thyroid primary cells.

Materials and methods: Primary thyroid cell culture was prepared from normal thyroid tissue obtained from patients who underwent surgery at our department. Subconfluent thyroid cells were irradiated under different conditions inside a cell incubator using a device that simulates cell phone-RFE. Proliferation of control and irradiated cells was assessed by the immunohistochemical staining of antigen Kiel clone-67 (Ki-67) and tumor suppressor p53 (p53) expression. DNA ploidy and the stress biomarkers heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) was evaluated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS).

Results:  Our cells highly expressed thyroglobulin (Tg) and sodium-iodide symporter (NIS) confirming the origin of the tissue. None of the irradiation conditions evaluated here had an effect neither on the proliferation marker Ki-67 nor on p53 expression. DNA ploidy was also not affected by RFE, as well as the expression of the biomarkers HSP70 and ROS.

Conclusion: Our conditions of RFE exposure seem to have no potential carcinogenic effect on human thyroid cells. Moreover, common biomarkers usually associated to environmental stress also remained unchanged. We failed to find an association between cell phone-RFE and thyroid cancer. Additional studies are recommended.

We here report that different evaluated RFE exposure conditions have no potential carcinogenic effect on thyroid cells. Proliferation and cellular DNA integrity, two major players in cancer development and progression were not affected in our conditions. Moreover, common biomarkers that are usually associated with environmental stress also remained unchanged after RFE irradiation. Among the limitations of our work we consider that even though measurements of extremely low frequency interference were considerably low, the stray magnetic fields emitted by the instruments used in the study may have had a confounder effect on our results. On the other hand, different conditions of time and frequencies of exposure should be further explored in order to completely cross out a deleterious effect of RFE on thyroid cells. In summary, the increase of both, thyroid cancer and cellular phone use calls the attention to further investigate the potential effects that chronic use of mobile phones might have on the thyroid gland.


Hilly O, Silva V, Mizrachi A, Ariel O, Raiter A, Hauptman Y, Hardy B, Feinmesser R. Effect of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation at mobile phone frequency on human thyroid cells. Abstract from World Thyroid Cancer Congress, Toronto, 2013.

Background/Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the effect of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (NIER) at mobile phone frequency on human thyroid cells.

Methods: We cultured samples of normal thyroid tissue and subsequently exposed the cultured thyrocytes to NIER for 3 hours. NIER effects were evaluated in terms of proliferation using a cell viability assay and immunohistochemistry.

Results: We found that NIER exposure for 3 hours has lead to an increased proliferation of thyrocytes in cell viability assay (p=0.007). This result was confirmed by immunohistochemistry with antibodies against Ki67.

Discussion & Conclusion: In this study we present for the first time an in vitro evaluation of NIER  effects on human thyroid cells. Our results suggest a proliferative effect of NIER on human thyrocytes, an effect that may link NIER exposure with potential carcinogenesis.


Exposure to non-ionizing radiation provokes changes in rat thyroid morphology and expression of HSP-90

Misa-Agustiño MJ, Jorge-Mora T, Jorge-Barreiro FJ, Suarez-Quintanilla J, Moreno-Piquero E, Ares-Pena FJ, López-Martín E. Exposure to non-ionizing radiation provokes changes in rat thyroid morphology and expression of HSP-90. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2015 Feb 2.


Non-ionizing radiation at 2.45 GHz may modify the morphology and expression of genes that codify heat shock proteins (HSP) in the thyroid gland. Diathermy is the therapeutic application of non-ionizing radiation to humans for its beneficial effects in rheumatological and musculo-skeletal pain processes.

We used a diathermy model on laboratory rats subjected to maximum exposure in the left front leg, in order to study the effects of radiation on the nearby thyroid tissue. Fifty-six rats were individually exposed once or repeatedly (10 times in two weeks) for 30 min to 2.45 GHz radiation in a commercial chamber at different non-thermal specific absorption rates (SARs), which were calculated using the finite difference time domain technique. We used immunohistochemistry methods to study the expression of HSP-90 and morphological changes in thyroid gland tissues.

Ninety minutes after radiation with the highest SAR, the central and peripheral follicles presented increased size and the thickness of the peripheral septa had decreased. Twenty-four hours after radiation, only peripheral follicles radiated at 12 W were found to be smaller. Peripheral follicles increased in size with repeated exposure at 3 W power.

Morphological changes in the thyroid tissue may indicate a glandular response to acute or repeated stress from radiation in the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis. Further research is needed to determine if the effect of this physical agent over time may cause disease in the human thyroid gland.
The thyroid gland is one of the most superficial vital organs and possibly more vulnerable to EMFs.7 Chronic exposure to microwaves at a RF of 2.45 GHz has been shown to significantly affect the hypothalamus–pituitary–thyroid (HPT) axis, provoking changes in body temperature, behavior, and thyroid hormone concentrations.8 Alterations in human and animal levels of thyroid stimulating hormone and other thyroid hormones have also been reported with chronic exposure to frequencies used in mobile telephones, such as 900 MHz.
Heat shock protein (HSP) 90 is a chaperone protein regulating several client proteins involved in thyroid cancer development and the level of expression is higher than in normal tissues. This chaperone has emerged as an exciting target in the development of cancer chemotherapeutics.11,12 Recently, we discovered that repeated, acute subthermal radiation for 30 min at 2.45 GHz can alter cellular stress levels in rat hypothalamus13 and thyroid gland,14 without initially altering apoptotic capacity. Surprisingly, in spite of frequent direct and indirect exposure to non-ionizing radiation in human environments and indications that radiation provokes a degree of stress in thyroid cells, there is very little research describing morphological changes that point to precocious re-adjustments of the mammalian thyroid gland after close-range exposure to non-ionizing radiation at 2.45 GHz.
Group A: single exposure and studied after 90 min (n = 18): The rats were divided into three subgroups (n = 6); each rat was exposed to 30 mina of microwave radiation at three levels: 0 (control), 3, and 12 W.b The rats were kept alive for 90 minc and then euthanized and perfused with fixative.
Group B: single exposure and studied after 24 h (n = 18): The rats were divided into three subgroups (n = 6); each rat was exposed to 30 min of microwave radiation at three levels: 0 (control), 3, and 12 W.b The rats were kept alive for 24 hc and then euthanized and perfused with fixative.
Group C: repeated exposure and studied after 90 min (n = 20): Rats in this group were irradiated at 3 W for 30 min/day, for a total of 10 times in a two-week period. On the last day of exposure, the rats were irradiated and after 90 min were euthanized and perfused with fixative. They were then tested for HSP-90 expression. In the non-irradiated control group (n = 10), rats were immobilized for each of the 10 sessions and euthanized on the last day, following the same protocol as the irradiated animals.
... we found that the interaction of non-ionizing radiation at a frequency of 2.45 GHz caused modifications in the morphology of the thyroid gland tissue and in the distribution of the constituent cellular stress protein known as HSP-90. The morphology of the thyroid gland underwent the following changes due to radiation:
The size of central and peripheral follicles increased and the thickness of the peripheral septa decreased 90 min after single exposure. After 24 h, central follicles had decreased in size, but hypertrophy was still present in the peripheral follicles of thyroid gland exposed to the higher SAR level.
Repeated stimulus of the thyroid gland at the lower SAR level triggered adaptation and an increase in the size of peripheral follicles.
The observed localization of the expression of this protein in the supportive tissue of the septa, specifically in the fibers and in the capsular and lobular membranes suggests that this stress protein constitutes an important component of glandular architecture and is probably dedicated to maintaining glandular structure and morphology. The distribution of HSP-90 in thyroid membranes and cells was diminished after single (if the SAR and time after radiation increased) and repeated exposure to radiation.
Our work describes for the first time the effects of single and repeated exposure to 2.45 GHz RF on the morphology of Sprague-Dawley rat thyroid gland. Published studies to date have described histopathological alterations in thyroid tissue of experimental animals exposed to extremely low frequency (ELF) (50 Hz) or in thyroid hormone levels in humans or animals exposed at ELF or RF.
We chose to experimentally examine small animals at 2.45 GHz RF because of the wide range of potential applications, from therapeutics to tissue diathermy (this frequency resonates with H2O, facilitating greater penetration) to telecommunications involving WIFI, UMTS, or Bluetooth. We used subthermal SAR levels of 0.102 ± 12.10–3 and 0.429 ± 12.10–3 W/kg at 2.45 GHz in the right front leg, near the thyroid, to ensure that the non-ionizing radiation would not cause direct thermal effects to the gland.  Research of this type requires immobilization of the animal, which itself has been found to generate a certain amount of stress. It must also be noted that radiation can catalyze single or repetitive activation of different neuron populations in rat hypothalamus, which intervene in the HPT axis. We cannot therefore assume that the effects of non-ionizing radiation to the thyroid are limited to its tissues; it must be treated as part of a system with multiple, interacting entry points. Other studies have described how microwave radiation at 2.45 GHz affects brain physiopathology and provokes changes in cerebral functioning and behavior. In the present study, the thyroid system is directly or indirectly affected by alterations in the HPT axis as well as by biochemical changes in the thyroid itself due to exposure to microwaves.
Recent research has described how EMFs can constitute external sources for the formation of free radicals in blood cells, the brain, spermatozoids,and myocardial tissue. The thyroid gland is by nature an oxidative organ, and when additional oxidative abuse is caused by exogenous pro-oxidants (ionizing radiation would be the most significant), damage to the macromolecules in the gland increases, possibly leading to thyroid pathology or cancer. In spite of this, a direct relation between thyroid cancer and exposure to EMFs has not yet been established. However, the search is ongoing for biomarkers in thyroid diseases that would make early detection, diagnosis, and intervention possible. HSP-90 is physiologically essential in cellular processes such as hormone signaling and control, proliferation, and differentiation of the cellular cycle. In prior studies, we described a decrease in HSP-90 and 70 due to acute radiation at 2.45 GHz in the thyroid gland, with no apparent effect in the apoptotic activity of thyroid cells. HSP-90 is known to play a modulatory role against thyroid cancer due to its primarily antiapoptotic function. In the present work, we have observed how, after 30 min exposure, the immunoreactivity of HSP-90 is histologically distributed throughout the thyroid gland in places where kinase proteins had previously been activated, between the capsular and lobular membranes and in the follicular and parafollicular cells.

... cellular damage in the thyroid gland was directly related to the SAR level and/or number of exposures applied to the tissue.

... In the present experiment, exposure of rat thyroid gland to RF at 2.45 GHz and 0.102 ± 12.10–3 SAR increased HSP-90 marking in the parafollicular cells. However, HSP-90 stress immunomarking decreased in the parafollicular cells at 0.429 ± 12.10–3 SAR or with repeated exposure (see Figure 7). HSP-90 in the parafollicular cell is sensitive to the nature and intensity of radiation stimulus, which can modify cellular function and serve as a biomarker for cellular damage.

Thyroid gland exposed to 2.45 GHz radiation in this experimental model of diathermy in rats presented the following visible morphological effects: (a) glandular hypertrophy in relation to the SAR and/or number of exposures; (b) modification of the distribution of HSP-90 associated with membranes and parafollicular cells. These effects might not be exclusively or directly produced by radiation and can be included with other indirect effects from the hypothalamus. However, further research is needed to ascertain whether the continued effect of this physical agent could provoke pathology in the thyroid gland.                             
Open access paper:


 K, Sechman A, Nieckarz Z. Plasma thyroid hormones and corticosterone levels in blood of chicken embryos and post hatch chickens exposed during incubation to 1800 MHz electromagnetic field. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2014 Jan 31.


INTRODUCTION: This study attempted to determine the effect of a 1800 MHz electromagnetic field (EMF) (only carrier frequency) on thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3) and corticosterone (CORT) concentrations in the blood plasma of chick embryos, and to investigate the effect of electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure during embryogenesis on the level of these hormones in birds that are ready for slaughter.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:  Throughout the incubation period, embryos from the experimental group were exposed to a 1800 MHz EMF with power density of 0.1 W/m2, 10 times during 24 h for 4 min. Blood samples were collected to determine T4, T3 and CORT concentrations on the 12th (E12) and 18th (E18) day of incubation, from newly hatched chicks (D1) and from birds ready for slaughter (D42).

RESULTS:  The experiment showed that T4 and T3 concentrations decreased markedly and CORT levels increased in the embryos and in the newly hatched chicks exposed to EMF during embryogenesis. However, no changes were found in the level of the analyzed hormones in the birds ready for slaughter. Differences in T4 and T3 plasma concentrations between the EMF-exposed group and the embryos incubated without additional EMF were the highest in the newly hatched chicks, which may be indicative of the cumulative effect of electromagnetic field on the hypothalamo-pituitary-thyroid axis (HPT).

DISCUSSION:  The obtained results suggest that additional 1800 MHz radio frequency electromagnetic field inhibits function of HPT axis, however, it stimulates hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis by inducing adrenal steroidogenic cells to synthesize corticosterone. Further investigations are needed to elucidate the mechanisms by which radio EMFs affect HPT and HPA axis function in the chicken embryos.


Jin YB, Choi HD, Kim BC, Pack JK, Kim N, Lee YS.Effects of simultaneous combined exposure to CDMA and WCDMA electromagnetic fields on serum hormone levels in rats. J Radiat Res. 2013 May;54(3):430-7. doi: 10.1093/jrr/rrs120.


Despite more than a decade of research on the endocrine system, there have been no published studies about the effects of concurrent exposure of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on this system. The present study investigated the several parameters of the endocrine system including melatonin, thyroid stimulating hormone, stress hormone and sex hormone after code division multiple access (CDMA, 849 MHz) and wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA, 1.95 GHz) signals for simultaneous exposure in rats. Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to RF-EMF signals for 45 min/day, 5 days/week for up to 8 weeks. The whole-body average specific absorption rate (SAR) of CDMA or WCDMA was 2.0 W/kg (total 4.0 W/kg). At 4 and 8 weeks after the experiment began, each experimental group's 40 rats (male 20, female 20) were autopsied. Exposure for 8 weeks to simultaneous CDMA and WCDMA RF did not affect serum levels in rats of melatonin, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxin (T4), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) as assessed by the ELISA method.


Dimida A, Ferrarini E, Agretti P, De Marco G, Grasso L, Martinelli M, Longo I, Giulietti D, Ricci A, Galimberti M, Siervo B, Licitra G, Francia F, Pinchera A, Vitti P, Tonacchera M. Electric and magnetic fields do not modify the biochemical properties of FRTL-5 cells. J Endocrinol Invest. 2011 Mar;34(3):185-9. doi: 10.3275/7107.


BACKGROUND: Electric and magnetic fields (EMF) might be involved in human disease and numerous research and scientific reviews have been conducted to address this question. In particular thyroid structural and functional alterations caused by various forms of non-ionizing radiation have been described.

AIM: The aim of this study was to analyze the possible effects of EMF on thyroid, in particular we analyzed the effects caused by a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) signal (900 MHz) on cultured thyroid cells (FRTL- 5).

MATERIAL AND METHODS:  The experimental setup was designed in order to expose samples to a radiofrequency wave in well-controlled conditions. We used the FRTL-5 cell line, an epithelial monoclonal continuous cell line derived from Fisher rat thyroid tissue growing as monolayer, expressing the TSH receptor and the sodium-iodide symporter (NIS). FRTL-5 were subsequently irradiate for 24, 48, and 96 h with EMF (800-900 MHz, power-frequency of mobile communication systems) and iodide uptake and cAMP production were measured.

RESULTS:  The irradiation of cells with EMF at 900 Mhz for 24, 48, and 96 h did not influence the level of cAMP production and was not able to modify iodide accumulation in FRTL- 5 cells with respect to basal conditions.

CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, EMF do not seem to be able to interfere with the biochemical properties of FRTL-5 cells in vitro.


Esmekaya MA, Seyhan N, Ömeroglu S. Pulse modulated 900 MHz radiation induces hypothyroidism and apoptosis in thyroid cells: a light, electron microscopy and immunohistochemical study. Int J Radiat Biol. 2010 Dec;86(12):1106-16.


PURPOSE: In the present study we investigated the possible histopathological effects of pulse modulated Radiofrequency (RF) fields on the thyroid gland using light microscopy, electron microscopy and immunohistochemical methods.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two months old male Wistar rats were exposed to a 900 MHz pulse-modulated RF radiation at a specific absorption rate (SAR) of 1.35 Watt/kg for 20 min/day for three weeks. The RF signals were pulse modulated by rectangular pulses with a repetition frequency of 217 Hz and a duty cycle of 1:8 (pulse width 0.576 ms). To assess thyroid endocrine disruption and estimate the degree of the pathology of the gland, we analysed structural alterations in follicular and colloidal diameters and areas, colloid content of the follicles, and height of the follicular epithelium. Apoptosis was confirmed by Transmission Electron Microscopy and assessing the activites of an initiator (caspase-9) and an effector (caspase-3) caspases that are important markers of cells undergoing apoptosis.

RESULTS: Morphological analyses revealed hypothyrophy of the gland in the 900 MHz RF exposure group. The results indicated that thyroid hormone secretion was inhibited by the RF radiation. In addition, we also observed formation of apoptotic bodies and increased caspase-3 and caspase-9 activities in thyroid cells of the rats that were exposed to modulated RF fields.

CONCLUSION: The overall findings indicated that whole body exposure to pulse-modulated RF radiation that is similar to that emitted by global system for mobile communications (GSM) mobile phones can cause pathological changes in the thyroid gland by altering the gland structure and enhancing caspase-dependent pathways of apoptosis.


Milham S. Most cancer in firefighters is due to radio-frequency radiation exposure not inhaled carcinogens. Med Hypotheses. 2009 Nov;73(5):788-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.04.020.


Recent reviews and reports of cancer incidence and mortality in firefighters conclude that they are at an increased risk of a number of cancers. These include leukemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, male breast cancer, malignant melanoma, and cancers of the brain, stomach, colon, rectum, prostate, urinary bladder, testes, and thyroid. Firefighters are exposed to a long list of recognized or probable carcinogens in combustion products and the presumed route of exposure to these carcinogens is by inhalation. Curiously, respiratory system cancers and diseases are usually not increased in firefighters as they are in workers exposed to known inhaled carcinogens. The list of cancers with increased risk in firefighters strongly overlaps the list of cancers at increased risk in workers exposed to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and radiofrequency radiation (RFR). Firefighters have increased exposure to RFR in the course of their work, from the mobile two-way radio communications devices which they routinely use while fighting fires, and at times from firehouse and fire vehicle radio transmitters. I suggest that some of the increased cancer risk in firefighters is caused by RFR exposure, and is therefore preventable. The precautionary principle should be applied to reduce the risk of cancer in firefighters, and workman's compensation rules will necessarily need to be modified.


Mortavazi S, Habib A, Ganj-Karami A, Samimi-Doost R, Pour-Abedi A, Babaie A. Alterations in TSH and thyroid hormones following mobile phone use. Oman Med J. 2009 Oct;24(4):274-8. doi: 10.5001/omj.2009.56.


Objectives: In recent years, the widespread use of mobile phones has lead to a public debate about possible detrimental effects on human health. In spite of years of research, there is still a great controversy regarding the possibility of induction of any significant physiological effects in humans by microwave radiations emitted by mobile phones. This study aims to investigate the effects of electromagnetic fields induced by the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) mobile phones on the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormones in humans.

Methods: 77 healthy university students participated in this study. The levels of T3, T4 and TSH were measured by using appropriate enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits (Human, Germany).

Results: The average levels of T3, T4 and TSH in students who moderately used mobile phones were 1.25±0.27 ng/ml, 7.76±1.73 µg/dl and 4.25±2.12 µu/l respectively. The levels in the students who severely used mobile phones were 1.18±0.30, 7.75±1.14 and 3.75±2.05 respectively. In non-users, the levels were 1.15±0.27, 8.42±2.72 and 2.70±1.75, respectively. The difference among the levels of TSH in these 3 groups was statistically significant (P<0.05).

Conclusion: As far as the study is concerned, this is the first human study to assess the associations between mobile phone use and alterations in the levels of TSH and thyroid hormones. Based on the findings, a higher than normal TSH level, low mean T4 and normal T3 concentrations in mobile users were observed. It seems that minor degrees of thyroid dysfunction with a compensatory rise in TSH may occur following excessive use of mobile phones. It may be concluded that possible deleterious effects of mobile microwaves on hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis affects the levels of these hormones.

Open access paper:


Sinha RK. Chronic non-thermal exposure of modulated 2450 MHz microwave radiation alters thyroid hormones and behavior of male rats. Int J Radiat Biol. 2008 Jun;84(6):505-13. doi: 10.1080/09553000802085441.


PURPOSE: The purpose of this investigation was to analyze the effects of leakage microwave (2450 MHz) irradiation on thyroid hormones and behavior of male rats.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Experiments were carried out on two groups of male rats (exposure and control, respectively). Radio-immuno assay (RIA) methods were used for estimation of 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4) and thyrotrophin or thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The assessments of behavioral changes were performed in Open-Field (OF) and Elevated Plus-Maze (EPM) apparatuses.

RESULTS: Following chronic microwave exposure, rats were found hyperactive and aggressive on the 16th and 21st days. Behavioral changes in OF were analyzed and found to be significantly changed from controls (p < 0.05) for immobilization, rearing and ambulation behavior. In EPM, rats showed increased activity with decreased time spent in the open arm and more time spent in the center on the 11th (p < 0.05), 16th (p < 0.05) and 21st day (p < 0.01) after irradiation. Changes in behavioral parameters are also correlated with the trend of changes, compared to control animals, in hormonal blood levels of T3 (decreased on the 16th day, p < 0.05 and 21st day, p < 0.01) and T4 (increased on the 21st day, p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Low energy microwave irradiation may be harmful as it is sufficient to alter the levels of thyroid hormones as well as the emotional reactivity of the irradiated compared to control animals.


Djeridane Y, Touitou Y, de Seze R. Influence of electromagnetic fields emitted by GSM-900 cellular telephones on the circadian patterns of gonadal, adrenal and pituitary hormones in men. Radiat Res. 2008 Mar;169(3):337-43.


The potential health risks of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMFs) emitted by mobile phones are currently of considerable public interest. The present study investigated the effect of exposure to 900 MHz GSM radiofrequency radiation on steroid (cortisol and testosterone) and pituitary (thyroid-stimulating hormone, growth hormone, prolactin and adrenocorticotropin) hormone levels in 20 healthy male volunteers. Each subject was exposed to RF EMFs through the use of a cellular phone for 2 h/day, 5 days/ week, for 4 weeks. Blood samples were collected hourly during the night and every 3 h during the day. Four sampling sessions were performed at 15-day intervals: before the beginning of the exposure period, at the middle and the end of the exposure period, and 15 days later. Parameters evaluated included the maximum serum concentration, the time of this maximum, and the area under the curve for hormone circadian patterns. Each individual's pre-exposure hormone concentration was used as his control. All hormone concentrations remained within normal physiological ranges. The circadian profiles of prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotropin and testosterone were not disrupted by RF EMFs emitted by mobile phones. For growth hormone and cortisol, there were significant decreases of about 28% and 12%, respectively, in the maximum levels when comparing the 2-week (for growth hormone and cortisol) and 4-week (for growth hormone) exposure periods to the pre-exposure period, but no difference persisted in the postexposure period. Our data show that the 900 MHz EMF exposure, at least under our experimental conditions, does not appear to affect endocrine functions in men.


Koyu A, Cesur G, Ozguner F, Akdogan M, Mollaoglu H, Ozen S. Effects of 900 MHz electromagnetic field on TSH and thyroid hormones in rats. Toxicol Lett. 2005 Jul 4;157(3):257-62.


In this study, the effects of exposure to a 900 megahertz (MHz) electromagnetic field (EMF) on serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and triiodothronine-thyroxin (T3-T4) hormones levels of adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were studied. Thirty rats were used in three independent groups, 10 of which were control (without stress and EMF), 10 of which were exposed to 900 MHz EMF and 10 of which were sham-exposed. The exposures were performed 30 min/day, for 5 days/week for 4 weeks to 900 MHz EMF. Sham-exposed animals were kept under the same environmental conditions as the study groups except with no EMF exposure. The concentration of TSH and T3-T4 hormones in the rat serum was measured by using an immunoradiometric assay (IRMA) method for TSH and a radio-immunoassay (RIA) method for T3 and T4 hormones. TSH values and T3-T4 at the 900 MHz EMF group were significantly lower than the sham-exposed group (p<0.01). There were no statistically significant differences in serum TSH values and T3-T4 hormone concentrations between the control and the sham-exposed group (p>0.05). These results indicate that 900 MHz EMF emitted by cellular telephones decrease serum TSH and T3-T4 levels.


Wakeford R. The cancer epidemiology of radiation. Oncogene. 2004 Aug 23;23(38):6404-28.


Ionizing radiation has been the subject of intense epidemiological investigation. Studies have demonstrated that exposure to moderate-to-high levels can cause most forms of cancer, leukaemia and cancers of the breast, lung and thyroid being particularly sensitive to induction by radiation, especially at young ages at exposure. Predominant among these studies is the Life Span Study of the cohort of survivors of the atomic bombings of Japan in 1945, but substantial evidence is derived from groups exposed for medical reasons, occupationally or environmentally. Notable among these other groups are underground hard rock miners who inhaled radioactive radon gas and its decay products, large numbers of patients irradiated therapeutically and workers who received high doses in the nuclear weapons programme of the former USSR. The degree of carcinogenic risk arising from low levels of exposure is more contentious, but the available evidence points to an increased risk that is approximately proportional to the dose received. Epidemiological investigations of nonionizing radiation have established ultraviolet radiation as a cause of skin cancer. However, the evidence for a carcinogenic effect of other forms of nonionizing radiation, such as those associated with mobile telephones or electricity transmission lines, is not convincing, although the possibility of a link between childhood leukaemia and extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields cannot be dismissed entirely.


Bergamaschi A, Magrini A, Ales G, Coppeta L, Somma G. Are thyroid dysfunctions related to stress or microwave exposure (900 MHz)? Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2004 May-Aug;17(2 Suppl):31-6.


In the last decade, numerous scientific evidence suggested possible adverse health effects from exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF'S) and the use of mobile phones. According to some studies EMF induced changes of trans-membrane Ca++ flux may lead to altered metabolism and/or secretion of neurohormones including TSH, ACTH, GH, prolactin and melatonin. The aim of this research was to analyse the effects of mobile phone use on thyroid function and to evaluate the possible role of occupational stress. 2598 employees (1355 men and 1243 women) with different duties (vendors, operators and network technicians) were included in the study. Exposure to EMF'S, generated by mobile phones, was assessed both by submitting a questionnaire directly to the employees and acquiring data regarding conversation times. The workers were divided into three groups on the basis of their personal mobile phone use. Moreover, a group of 160 workers with TSH values below 0.4 UI/l was characterized. No statistically significant difference regarding TSH values below 0.4 UI/l was observed among workers with different duties but there was a greater prevalence of subjects with low SH values among 192 employees with more than 33 hrs./month conversation time; this difference was statistically significant (p<0.05). On the basis of our data, it is not possible to establish whether this result is determined by exposure to EMF'S from mobile phones of by the stress of using these instruments.


Black DR, Heynick LN. Radiofrequency (RF) effects on blood cells, cardiac, endocrine, and immunological functions. Bioelectromagnetics. 2003;Suppl 6:S187-95.


Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RFEMF) on the pituitary adrenocortical (ACTH), growth (GH), and thyroid (TSH) hormones have been extensively studied, and there is coherent research on reproductive hormones (FSH and LH). Those effects which have been identified are clearly caused by heating. The exposure thresholds for these effects in living mammals, including primates, have been established. There is limited evidence that indicates no interaction between RFEMF and the pineal gland or an effect on prolactin from the pituitary gland. Studies of RFEMF exposed blood cells have shown that changes or damage do not occur unless the cells are heated. White cells (leukocytes) are much more sensitive than red cells (erythrocytes) but white cell effects remain consistent with normal physiological responses to systemic temperature fluctuation. Lifetime studies of RFEMF exposed animals show no cumulative adverse effects in their endocrine, hematological, or immune systems. Cardiovascular tissue is not directly affected adversely in the absence of significant RFEMF heating or electric currents. The regulation of blood pressure is not influenced by ultra high frequency (UHF) RFEMF at levels commonly encountered in the use of mobile communication devices.