Science for Skeptics: Myth Versus Fact on Cell Phones and Wi-Fi

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“Every man is entitled to his own opinion. But every man is not entitled to his own facts.”

—U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Common Myths About Cell Phone and Wireless Radiation “Safety” Debunked

The public relations strategy of manufacturing doubt has often been used to delay policies to control or reduce environmental hazards, whether tobacco, climate change, asbestos, vinyl chloride, cell phone radiation or other agents. Here we identify and debunk erroneous statements that appear in the media in response to scientific results suggesting that cell phone radiation could be hazardous.

Science on Cell Phones and Wi-Fi

MYTH: “No research has found evidence of a link between regular cell phone use and glioma.”

FACT: In fact, multiple research studies of humans indicate that long-term cell phone use could increase a person’s risk for brain tumors. The latest animal study conducted by the U.S. government finds increases in the same types of tumors found to be increased in humans who used phones regularly for a decade or longer. The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) in 2011, based on epidemiological research showing an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer , associated with long term wireless phone use. These research studies also show an even higher risk for persons who start using cell phones at a young age. 

Click here for full documentation.
MYTH:

“No research has found evidence of a link between regular cell phone use and glioma.”  

FACT:

In fact, multiple research studies indicate that long-term cell phone use can increase the risk for brain tumors. The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) in 2011, based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use. These research studies also show a higher risk for persons who start using cell phones at a young age. The subjects within these studies have used cell phones for over ten years. In some of these studies “heavy” use was defined as around 30 minutes per day. The statistically significant risks were seen in long-term and “heavy” cell phone users.

The type of brain cancer increased by cell phones is glioblastomas. Cell phone-related glioblastomas are in fact increasing in the United States in precisely those parts of the brain that absorb most of the microwave radiation emitted or received by phones.

“A disservice has been done in inaccurately depicting the body of science, which in fact indicates that there are biological effects from the radiation emitted by wireless devices, including damage to DNA, and evidence for increased risk of cancer and other substantial health consequences…The public the world over has been misled by this reporting.” —Ronald B. Herberman, MD, Director of University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, 2008
The World Health Organization International Agency for the Research on Cancer classifies Radiofrequency as a Class 2B Carcinogen.

A statement that there is “no evidence” is not consistent with the expert findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization in 2011. The first sentence of the 2011 press release (IARC classifies Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans) reads: “The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use.”

In fact, the research studies considered by the WHO/IARC that looked at brain cancer and cell phone use specifically labeled “highest users of cell phones” or “heavy” cell phone use at about 30 minutes per day for over ten years or over 1625 hours of lifetime use. Twenty years ago, 30 minutes per day of cell phone use was certainly “heavy” use. However these days, people use their cell phones day and night. Phones are powered on for 24 hours and used for voice conversation, texts, internet and video/music streaming. The 30 minutes of so-called “heavy use” ten years ago would today be termed as being only “light use.”

In 2011 after the IARC classification, Dr. Jonathan Samet (University of Southern California, USA), Chairman of the IARC EMF Working Group, stated that “the evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B classification. The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk.”

Experts recommend taking precautions with cell phones.

“Given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings,” said IARC Director Christopher Wild, “it is important that additional research be conducted into the long‐term, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands‐free devices or texting.” Read more in the Science Daily News Article after the IARC classification..

Research indicates that long-term cell phone radiation exposure can increase brain cancer risk.

The WHO/IARC classification gave weight to evidence from Swedish case control studies and the Interphone study.

The Interphone study, a huge multi-country, multi center study published January 2, 2012 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine , concludes that there is an increased risk of glioma (a type of brain tumor) in long-term mobile phone users with high RF (radiofrequency) exposure and a risk for meningioma (a tumor of the membrane surrounding the brain). This study, unlike other studies, attempted to estimate the amount of radiation at the site of the tumor. The authors state, “This present paper is the first to use estimates of radio frequency energy deposition at the centre of tumours in the brain as a measure of radio frequency dose.” Scientists observed an increasing trend in gliomas with increasing radiofrequency dose for exposures after 7 years. Tumors were located primarily in the part of the brain receiving the maximum RF exposure.

The evidence has increased since 2011.

Epidemiology of brain tumors is quite complex, but has strengthened in the years after the 2011 IARC Class 2B Carcinogen classification. A more recent (2015) publication, by Lennart Hardell’s group, combines results of two previous studies (including 1498 cases and 3530 controls) in conjunction with numerous other findings from others, indicating that the evidence is now sufficient to conclude that radiofrequency radiation (RFR) does cause cancer (IARC Class 1). Hardell is very familiar with the IARC process, as he sat on the expert panel that evaluated radiofrequency radiation, as well as a previous panel considering phenoxy herbicides. We recommend reading the European Environmental Agency’s report: Late Lessons from Early Warnings Mobile phone use and brain tumour risk: early warnings, early actions? This report details the critical need to take precautions to protect public health regarding cell phones.

After the IARC classification, a multicenter case control study in France (Coureau 2014) reported the presence of significantly more brain tumors in heaviest cell phone users with long-term use in comparison to non-users. The published paper concludes, “These additional data support previous findings concerning a possible association between heavy mobile phone use and brain tumours.”

Due to the accumulating research (after the 2011 IARC classification) indicating a higher risk in long-term cell phone users, several cancer researchers affiliated with EHT published a paper in the International Journal of Oncology stating that the weight of evidence now shows that the carcinogen should be moved up to a Group 2A ‘probable’ human carcinogen. They “advise that the as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) principle be adopted for uses of this technology, while a major cross‑disciplinary effort is generated to train researchers in bioelectromagnetics and provide monitoring of potential health impacts of RF‑EMF.”

For additional information see the following research studies:

Non-ionizing radiation, Part II: Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields / IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. (2011) IARC Monogr Eval Carcinog Risks Hum, 102.2: 1-460.

  • Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields are possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B)” (p. 421).
  • “In children using mobile phones, the average deposition of RF energy may be two times higher in the brain and up to ten times higher in the bone marrow of the skull than in adult users” (page 42).

Coureau G, Bouvier G, Lebailly P, Fabbro-Peray P, Gruber A, Leffondre K, Guillamo JS, Loiseau H, Mathoulin-Pélissier S, Salamon R, Baldi I. (2014). Mobile phone use and brain tumours in the CERENAT case-control study. Occup Environ Med, 71.7: 514-22.

  • “A positive association was statistically significant in the heaviest users when considering life-long cumulative duration for meningiomas  and number of calls for gliomas. These additional data support previous findings concerning a possible association between heavy mobile phone use and brain tumours.”

Hardell, Lennart and Michael Carlberg. “Re: Mobile Phone Use and Brain Tumours in the CERENAT Case–control Study.” Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 72:79–79. doi:10.1136/oemed-2014-102448.

Coureau, Gaëlle, Karen Leffondre, Anne Gruber, Ghislaine Bouvier and Isabelle Baldi. “Author’s Response: Re ‘Mobile Phone Use and Brain Tumours in the CERENAT Case–control Study.’” Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 72:79–80. doi:10.1136/oemed-2014-102649.

  • “As requested by Dr Hardell, table 1 presents results of the laterality analysis using Interphone’s method, 3 for the main indicator (cumulative duration of use). As with our method, the results give higher OR for ipsilateral use (OR=4.21, 95% CI 0.70 to 25.52 for gliomas) compared with contralateral use (OR=1.61, 95% CI 0.36 to 7.14), without significant association. Moreover, as with our method, the two estimates of the ‘stratified’ OR are not grouped around the ‘total’ estimated OR for meningiomas. Such a result was also observed in a recent publication by Hardell et al 5 (in table 4). All these results suggest higher ORs for heavy ipsilateral use than for heavy contralateral use, however, they are not all statistically significant. Furthermore, when using cases only as in Inskip et al’s6 study, we found a significant association between the side of phone use and the side of the tumour for glioma (OR=2.40, 95% CI 1.002 to 5.73) but not for meningiomas (OR=0.77, 95% CI 0.26 to 2.22).”

Morgan LL, Miller AB, Sasco A, Davis DL. (2015). Mobile phone radiation causes brain tumors and should be classified as a probable human carcinogen (2A) (review). International Journal of Oncology, 46.5:1865-71.

  • The CERENAT finding of increased risk of glioma is consistent with studies that evaluated use of mobile phones for a decade or longer and corroborate those that have shown a risk of meningioma from mobile phone use.
  • We conclude that radiofrequency fields should be classified as a Group 2A ̔probable’ human carcinogen under the criteria used by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (Lyon, France).
  • We advise that the as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) principle be adopted for uses of this technology, while a major cross‑disciplinary effort is generated to train researchers in bioelectromagnetics and provide monitoring of potential health impacts of RF‑EMF.

Carlberg M, Hardell L. (2014). Decreased Survival of Glioma Patients with Astrocytoma Grade IV (Glioblastoma Multiforme) Associated with Long-Term Use of Mobile and Cordless Phones. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11.10:10790-10805.

  • Use of wireless phones in the >20 years latency group (time since first use) was correlated with decreased survival for those diagnosed with astrocytoma grade IV.
  • “The study strengthens the proposed causal association between use of mobile and cordless phones and glioma. Due to the relationship to survival, the classification of IARC is strengthened and RF-EMF should be regarded as human carcinogen requiring urgent revision of current exposure guidelines.

Cardis et al. (2011). Risk of brain tumours in relation to estimated RF dose from mobile phones: results from five Interphone countries. Occup. Environ. Med., 68.10: 631–640.

  • Conclusions: There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma in long-term mobile phone users with high RF exposure and of similar, but apparently much smaller increases in meningioma risk. The uncertainty of these results requires that they be replicated before a causal interpretation can be made.
  1. Hardell, M. Carlberg (2014). Cell and cordless phone risk for glioma – Analysis of pooled case-control studies in Sweden, 1997-2003 and 2007-2009. Pathophysiology, 22.1: 1-13.
  • “Conclusion. We previously analysed the evidence on glioma associated with the use of  wireless phones using the Hill criteria [20]. We concluded that glioma and also acoustic neuroma are caused by RF-EMF emissions from wireless phones, and thus regarded as carcinogenic, under Group 1 according to the IARC classification, indicating that current guidelines for exposure should be urgently revised. This pooled analysis gives further support to that conclusion regarding glioma.”

Hardell L, Carlberg M, Söderqvist F and Mild K. (2013). Case-control study of the association between malignant brain tumours diagnosed between 2007 and 2009 and mobile and cordless phone use. International Journal of Oncology 43(6): 1833-45.

  • For persons with more than 25 years latency period (time since first use until tumour diagnosis) a 3-fold increased risk was found. The risk increased further for tumours located in the most exposed area of the brain, the temporal lobe, to a 5-fold increased risk.
  • “This study confirmed previous results of an association between mobile and cordless phone use and malignant brain tumours. These findings provide support for the hypothesis that RF-EMFs play a role both in the initiation and promotion stages of carcinogenesis”.

Hardell L, Carlberg M. (2013). Using the Hill viewpoints from 1965 for evaluating strengths of evidence of the risk for brain tumors associated with use of mobile and cordless phonesRev Environ Health, 28.2-3: 97-106.

  • “All nine issues on causation according to [Bradford] Hill were evaluated. The criteria on strength, consistency, specificity, temporality, and biologic gradient for evidence of increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma were fulfilled.
  • “Based on the Hill criteria, glioma and acoustic neuroma should be considered to be caused by RF-EMF emissions from wireless phones and regarded as carcinogenic to humans, classifying it as group 1 according to the IARC classification. Current guidelines for exposure need to be urgently revised.”

Lerchl et al. (2015). Tumor promotion by exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields below exposure limits for humans. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 459.4: 585-590.

  • “Numbers of tumors of the lungs and livers in exposed animals were significantly higher than in sham-exposed controls. In addition, lymphomas were also found to be significantly elevated by exposure. A clear dose–response effect is absent. We hypothesize that these tumor-promoting effects may be caused by metabolic changes due to exposure. Since many of the tumor-promoting effects in our study were seen at low to moderate exposure levels (0.04 and 0.4 W/kg SAR), thus well below exposure limits for the users of mobile phones, further studies are warranted to investigate the underlying mechanisms. Our findings may help to understand the repeatedly reported increased incidences of brain tumors in heavy users of mobile phones.”
Science on Cell Phones and Wi-Fi
MYTH:

“There is no known biological mechanism for cell phone radiation to cause cancer.”

FACT:

Cell phone radiation does not directly “cause” cancer in the same way that X-rays and atomic bombs do. However, several prominent scientists have published (with full documentation) on the mechanisms by which cell phone/wireless radiation could result in increased cancer. They explain how long-term exposure to extremely low power levels of radiofrequency fields could initiate a series of biological effects with the end result of an increased risk for cancer and a myriad of other serious health effects. There is now sufficient evidence that radiofrequency radiation could result in biochemical changes that alter how our cells functions and increase the oxidative stress (increasing free radicals) in our bodies leading to chronic inflammation and cancer. 

Click here for full documentation.
MYTH:

“There is no known biological mechanism for cell phone radiation to cause cancer.”

FACT:

Several prominent scientists have published (with full documentation) on the mechanisms by which cell phone/wireless radiation could result in increased cancer. They explain how long-term exposure to extremely low power levels of radiofrequency fields could initiate a series of biological effects with the end result of an increased risk for cancer and a myriad of other serious health effects. Cell phone radiation does not directly “cause” cancer in the same way that X-rays and atomic bombs do.

Significant evidence exists.

There is sufficient evidence that radiofrequency radiation could result in biochemical changes that alter how our cells functions and increase the oxidative stress (increasing free radicals) in our bodies leading to  chronic inflammation, cancer and neurological impacts. Consider the following:

Radiofrequency radiation increases oxidative stress which in turn increases cancer risk:

There is sufficient evidence that radiofrequency radiation could result in biochemical changes that alter how our cells functions and increase the oxidative stress (increasing free radicals) in our bodies. Extensive research during last two decades has revealed that continued oxidative stress can lead to chronic inflammation, which in turn can mediate cancer risk.

Two leading EMF/RF researchers, Frank Barnes and Ben Greenebaum, have offered theoretical arguments to explain how low-level RF radiation can alter the growth rates of cancer cells. Frank Barnes, Senior Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and his students have researched and published some fascinating indications that weak magnetic fields can either increase or decrease the growth of cancer cells and bacteria depending on specific conditions. Co-author of this important paper is Professor Emeritus of Physics, Ben Greenebaum, who also served as editor in chief of the peer-reviewed journal Bioelectromagnetics from 1993 to 2006. In a 2016 article published in IEEE Power Electronics Magazine, they propose a hypothesis that long-term exposure to weak magnetic fields can lead to elevated radical concentrations and an association with aging, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

Their theory indicates that low-level, long-term EMF exposures involve radicals, such as superoxide, nitric oxide, and hydrogen peroxide, which is readily converted into the radical OH-. These molecules contain unpaired electron spins that are highly reactive. Furthermore, these molecules are bifunctional in that they can serve as both signaling molecules and molecules that can cause damage to important biological molecules, such as lipids and DNA. The damage that unpaired reactive radicals can induce includes a host of inflammatory processes typical of aging, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. Their work provides an important theoretical foundation and new experimental data showing that long-term exposures to relatively weak static, low-frequency and RF magnetic fields affect free radical concentrations in biological systems.

While these exposures are inherently non-thermal they can be highly damaging. Long-term exposures to nonthermal RF and EMF can thereby affect the capacity of a biological system to defend and repair itself from attack, modify the rate of cell growth and repair, and ultimately lead to increased risks of a wide range of diseases.

“We think that there are now both the theoretical bases and sufficient experimental results for further consideration of the possibility that long-term exposures to magnetic fields can lead to both useful applications in treating diseases and to undesired health effects. It is expected that these effects are frequency, amplitude, and time dependent.” —Frank Barnes and Ben Greenebaum 2016.

A 2015 research review published in Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine found 93 out of 100 published peer-reviewed research studies indicated increased oxidative stress after exposure to radiofrequency radiation. The authors state, “In conclusion, our analysis demonstrates that low-intensity RFR is an expressive oxidative agent for living cells with a high pathogenic potential and that 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.”

Electromagnetic fields act via activation of voltage-gated calcium channels.

In 2013, Martin Pall PhD published a paper in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine detailing the research indicating that electromagnetic fields act via activation of voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCC) to produce beneficial or adverse effects at low intensity non-thermal levels. As Pall states in his published paper critiquing Canada’s Safety Code 6 Report, “Downstream effects of VGCC activation include calcium signaling, elevated nitric oxide (NO), NO signaling, peroxynitrite, free radical formation, and oxidative stress. Downstream effects explain repeatedly reported biological responses to non-thermal exposures: oxidative stress; single and double strand breaks in cellular DNA; cancer; male and female infertility; lowered melatonin/sleep disruption; cardiac changes including tachycardia, arrhythmia, and sudden cardiac death; diverse neuropsychiatric effects including depression; and therapeutic effects.”

The review article “Microwave frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects including depression” looks at the literature over the last half-decade, concluding “in summary, then, the mechanism of action of microwave EMFs, the role of the VGCCs in the brain, the impact of non-thermal EMFs on the brain, extensive epidemiological studies performed over the past 50 years, and five criteria testing for causality, all collectively show that various non-thermal microwave EMF exposures produce diverse neuropsychiatric effects.”

In short, Dr. Pall’s research details in full how EMFs produce VGCC activation which leads, in turn, to large increases in intracellular calcium and is the most probable mechanism of EMFs causing neurological damage. Such large increases in intracellular calcium have a central role in causing both Alzheimer’s disease and also other neurodegenerative diseases. “Among what are called ‘downstream effects’ of excess intracellular calcium include excessive levels of peroxynitrite and peroxynitrite and its breakdown products can increase the activity of matrix metalloproteinases which degrade the proteins making up the tight junctions that are needed for the blood barrier to function.”

In “The Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Fields: Problems and Solutions” (2012), Andrew Goldsworthy explains this issue in layperson’s terms. This report is a follow-up to his “The Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Fields” from 2007 where he details how “well‐replicated studies have shown that weak electromagnetic fields remove calcium ions bound to the membranes of living cells, making them more likely to tear, develop temporary pores and leak.”

Efflux of calcium ions was a known effect for decades.

It is important to note that when the Unites States set guidelines in 1996 the authors of the ANSI C95.1-1982 Exposure Limit Standard were aware of “modulation-specific effects, such as efflux of calcium ions” but chose, in effect, to ignore these results stating they were not linked to health effects.

“In addition, modulation-specific effects, such as efflux of calcium ions from brain materials were not considered adverse because of the inability of the subcommittee’s members to relate them to human health. The narrow ranges of power density and the low and narrow range of modulation frequencies associated with field-induced efflux of calcium ions, and the authors’ findings that the phenomenon is reversible, are factors that entered into the subcommittee’s deliberations.” (ANSI Page 13, column 2)

Current science (20 years later) indicates that calcium efflux is critical to understanding cell functioning and the transport of energy in the brain and does have a health impact. For example. the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health’s research found that “alterations in calcium-channel signaling could represent a fundamental mechanism contributing to a broad vulnerability to psychopathology” and genetic alterations in calcium-channel signaling could be a crucial factor in the susceptibility to several psychiatric disorders.

Electromagnetic radiation impacts brain health.

In 2016, Dr. Martha Herbert spoke at the Pediatric Academic Societies detailing the mechanisms by which EMF/RFR stresses cells, damages cell membranes, damages mitochondria, and can impact brain health. “Given how much we have already learned about the subtle biological, cellular and electrical impacts of EMF/RFR, we need to update our out-of-date regulations to take into account of how exquisitely vulnerable we now know we are.”

A statement that there is “no known biological mechanism” implies as if scientists immediately and in all instances understand the underlying mechanisms through which cancer arises. In the history of science, it often takes decades before a mechanism is understood and “proven.” The experimental and human data reviewed by the WHO/IARC were substantial enough to bring them to an almost unanimous decision regarding this classification of cell phone radiation as a possible cause of cancer.

Focusing on the statement that research “does not show it causes cancer” is a tactic long used by industries to dismiss research showing health effects. Cancer is not the only problem. It takes several decades to “prove causation” for any toxic exposure. For example, the tobacco industry has a long history of underwriting research to dismiss the dangers of secondhand smoke. A study published in the British Medical Journal by researchers funded by the tobacco industry misrepresented data from the American Cancer Society (ACS), and used flawed methodology. It concluded that secondhand smoke does not “cause” an increased risk for lung cancer and heart disease. The author of that work, Geoffrey Kabat, reinvented himself as an expert on cell phone radiation in his article in Forbes Magazine, noting that cell phone radiation has “such low energy levels that there is no known mechanism by which they could induce cancer.”

For more information, please see the following resources:

Frank Barnes and Ben Greenebaum

Barnes, F. & B. Greenebaum. (2016). Some Effects of Weak Magnetic Fields on Biological Systems: RF fields can change radical concentrations and cancer cell growth rates. IEEE Power Electronics, 3.1: 60-68.

Barnes F. & Greenebaum B. (2015). The effects of weak magnetic fields on radical pairs. Bioelectromagnetics. 36.1:45-54.

Castello P., Hill I., Sivo F., Portelli L., Barnes F., Usselman R. and Martino CF. Inhibition of cellular proliferation and enhancement of hydrogen peroxide production in fibrosarcoma cell line by weak radio frequency magnetic fields. Bioelectromagnetics. 35.8:598-602.

2008 US National Research Council Report (Frank Barnes as Chair)  The Identification of Research Needs Relating to Potential Biological or Adverse Health Effects of Wireless Communications Devices.

Martin Pall PhD

Letter to Montgomery County Schools On Wi-Fi by Dr. Martin Pall detailing this research.

Pall, M. (2013). Electromagnetic fields act via activation of voltage-gated calcium channels to produce beneficial or adverse effects. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. 17.8:958–965. DOI: 10.1111/jcmm.12088

Pall, M. (2014). Electromagnetic field activation of voltage-gated calcium channels: role in therapeutic effects. Electromagn. Biol. Med., 33.4:251

Pall, M. (2015). Review: scientific evidence contradicts findings and assumptions of Canadian safety panel 6: microwaves act through voltage-gated calcium channel activation to induce biological impacts a non-thermal levels, supporting a paradigm shift for microwave/lower frequency electromagnetic field action. Rev. Environ. Health, 30:99–116.

Andrew Goldsworthy PhD

The Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Fields: Problems and Solutions, 2012

The Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Fields, 2007

Martha Herbert MD

Herbert, M. (2015). Connections in our Environment: Sizing up Electromagnetic Fields. Autism Notebook, 24-25.

Herbert, M.R. and Sage, C. (2013). Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a Pathophysiological Link Part I. Pathophysiology. 20.3:191-209.

Herbert, M.R. and Sage, C. (2013). Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a Pathophysiological Link Part II. Pathophysiology. 20.3:211-34. Pubmed abstract

Wen Y, Alshikho MJ and Herbert MR. (2016). Pathway Network Analyses for Autism Reveal Multisystem Involvement, Major Overlaps with Other Diseases and Convergence upon MAPK and Calcium Signaling. PLOS ONE, 11.4.

Science on Cell Phones and Wi-Fi
MYTH:

“If cell phones were really causing brain tumors, then we should be seeing an epidemic of brain tumors and we are not.”

FACT:

Brain cancers are slow-growing and can take decades to develop after toxic exposure. Rates of lung cancer did not increase in the general population until more than three decades after American men had begun to smoke heavily. Glioblastomas (the type of brain cancer linked to cell phone radiation) are in fact increasing in young Americans, in precisely the areas of the brain that absorb most of the microwave radiation emitted or received by phones. But an increase in glioblastomas of the frontal and temporal lobes and cerebellum cannot be expected to show up in the general population, especially not where the incidence of all brain cancers are considered. Instead, research using case-control designs that study small groups of highly exposed persons are appropriate for identifying cancer risks tied with cell phone use. Thus, Swedish physician-researcher Lennart Hardell reports that persons who began using cell phones as teenagers have a four- to five-fold greater risk of brain tumors.

Click here for full documentation.
MYTH:

“If cell phones were really causing brain tumors, with so many people using them, we should be seeing an epidemic increase in brain tumor incidence, and we are not.”

FACT:

Brain cancers are slow-growing and can take four or more decades to develop after a toxic exposure. Studies of smokers find no increase in risk just ten years after most have begun to smoke. Glioblastomas (the type of brain cancer linked to cell phone radiation) are in fact increasing in young Americans, in precisely the areas of the brain that absorb most of the microwave radiation emitted or received by phones. But this increase in glioblastomas of the frontal and temporal lobes and cerebellum cannot be detected when examining the incidence of all types of brain cancers together.

The average latency period between exposure and development of a glioma (a malignant brain tumor) is at least 20 to 30 years (similar to all solid tumors such as lung cancer). The lag between when an exposure takes place and evidence of a disease occurs in a population depends on two factors: (1) how many people were in fact exposed and (2) how extensive their exposure has been. While cell phones have been around since the 1990s, they have only lately become an affordable major component of modern life.

A trivial segment of the population was using cell phones three decades ago, when cell phones were introduced to the U.S. marketplace in 1983. Most Americans did not begin using cell phones routinely until the late 1990s, and patterns of use and billing have changed a great deal recently.

Many brain tumor registries are not complete, making it difficult to detect trends in specific types of brain tumors. In the U.S., the CBTRUS now reports on virtually 100% of the U.S. population but previously less than half the population was captured in statistics. We know now that brain tumors are the leading cancer in American adolescents, and incidence is rising in young adults according to the largest, most comprehensive analysis of these age groups to date. Traditionally, leukemia and lymphoma were the most commonly diagnosed cancers in this group. Incidence is rising quickly in the most aggressive astrocytomas, although it is decreasing a bit in the less aggressive forms of glioma.

In fact, some countries’ cancer registries are now showing some increased rates of glioma. The incidence of the worst brain cancer, glioblastoma, has increased in the United States and Denmark (Morgan et al, 2014). An Australian study has shown an overall significant increase in primary malignant brain tumors from 2000 to 2008, particularly since 2004 (Dobes 2011). Another recent study (Zada et al, 2012) shows an increase in brain tumors in three major cancer registries in the United States. The increase seen is in the frontal and temporal lobes, which are the two regions closest to where a cell phone is typically held. The National Cancer Institute reported that glioma incidence in the frontal lobe increased among young adults 20-29 years of age (Inskip et al., 2010). Hardell and Carlberg (2015) recently reported that brain tumor rates have been increasing in Sweden based upon the Swedish National Inpatient Registry data. Dr Moskowitz details this research in his PowerPoint presentation, available here.

160621_Storyline_trends-data

As Dr. Moskowitz details in STORYLINE vs. REST-OF-THE-STORY: Brain cancer incidence, cellphone use, and trends data, data from 10 nations show increases in specific subgroups or for specific types of tumors:

among all adults for glioblastoma in frontal & temporal lobes: USA.

The likelihood of developing a non-malignant brain tumor has increased in recent years in the U.S. according to newly-released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The age-adjusted incidence of the most common non-malignant tumor, meningioma, significantly increased among adults from 2004 through 2012. It is notable that several studies have found an increased risk for meningioma among heavy cell phone users: Carlberg and Hardell (2015), Coureau et al. (2014)  and Cardis et al. (2011). The age-adjusted incidence of pituitary gland tumors has significantly increased among children, and a prospective study of 790,000 women in the United Kingdom reported that the risk for pituitary gland tumors was more than twice as high among women who used a cell phone for less than five years as compared to never users (Benson et al., 2013).

An epidemiological study from Australia, on cell phones and brain cancer (Chapman 2016), made headline news alleging that cell phones do not cause brain cancer. However, several cancer researchers have noted that the Chapman report is inaccurate and “misleading.” Read Prof. Dariusz Leszczynski’s response to the Chapman study where he poses questions to the Australian study’s lead author. Leszczynski concludes that “the conclusion of the Australian study: “…After nearly 30 years of mobile phone use in Australia among the millions of people, there is no evidence of any rise in any age group that could be plausibly attributed to mobile phones…” is completely false because it is not supported by the evidence.”

Read Dr. Davis, Dr. Miller, and Lloyd Morgan’s response in Oxford University Press: Why there can be no increase in all brain cancers tied with cell phone use where they state, “The link between the carcinogenic effects of tobacco and cancer did not come about from studying population trends, but by special study of high-risk groups using case-control designs of selected cases and comparing their histories with those of persons who were otherwise similar but did not smoke, and cohort studies of groups with identified smoking histories followed for up to 40 years, as in the American Cancer Society and British Doctors studies. The fact that population-based trends in Australia do not yet show an increase in brain cancer does not mean it will not be detectable in the future—perhaps soon.”

Science on Cell Phones and Wi-Fi
MYTH:

The International Agency for Research on Cancer 2B Carcinogenic classification labeling cell phones as a possible carcinogen is the same classification as pickled vegetables, talcum powder, and coffee.

FACT:

In fact, the IARC removed coffee from this list. The myth comment is an attempt to dismiss the seriousness of this determination and mislead the public. Other hazards that made it to the list of 2B carcinogens remain the subject of major regulatory attention, including pesticides like DDT and Kepone, industrial materials such as PBBs, carbon black and carbon tetrachloride, jet and diesel fuel, and mercury. The IARC classification is based on weight of evidence, not amount of risk. With any toxic exposure, it takes decades to accumulate enough weight of evidence, meaning enough scientific research and statistics (in human epidemiology this refers to sick people) to show the exposure is toxic. Cell phone and other wireless emissions cannot be compared with talcum powder, coffee or pickled vegetables. Would you serve your child coffee in class all day long?

Click here for full documentation.
MYTH:

The International Agency for Research on Cancer 2B Carcinogenic classification labeling cell phones as a possible carcinogen is the same classification as pickled vegetables, talcum powder, and coffee.

FACT:

In fact, the IARC removed coffee from this list. This myth comment is an attempt to dismiss the seriousness of this determination and mislead the public. Other hazards that made it to the list of 2B carcinogens remain the subject of major regulatory attention, including pesticides like DDT and Kepone, industrial materials such as PBBs, carbon black and carbon tetrachloride, jet and diesel fuel, and mercury. The IARC classification is based on weight of evidence, not amount of risk. With any toxic exposure, it takes decades to accumulate enough weight of evidence, meaning enough scientific research and statistics (in human epidemiology this refers to sick people) to show the exposure is toxic.

Cell phone and other wireless emissions cannot be compared with talcum powder or pickled vegetables. Children are now exposed to cell phones and wireless radiation day and night. Are children doused in a new batch of talcum powder thousands of times per second all day in classrooms? Do children eat heavily salted vegetables day and night? Do children go to sleep eating these vegetables? No. However they do sleep with cell phones transmitting under their pillow. Children do go to school and are absorbing radiofrequency continuously in classrooms. There is simply no comparison.

As an example of how long it takes to show an exposure causes cancer, take the case of talcum powder. The talc in talcum powder for years was heavily contaminated with asbestos, which increases the risk of ovarian cancer. In fact, in 2016 Johnson & Johnson was fined to pay $72 million in damages to the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was linked to her use of the company’s body powders. According to the Washington Post, more than 1,200 women from across the country are suing Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn consumers of the dangers associated with talc—the mineral used in baby powder. How do they know it is the talcum powder causing the ovarian cancer? Answer: the talc was found within the tumors themselves—many of those tumors took 40 years to develop.

Diets high in heavily salted vegetables in China are tied with unusual increases in esophageal cancer. Rates of this cancer have fallen when people stopped eating these foods.

Learn more about what the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer states about the classification of RF radiation as a “Class 2B Possible Carcinogen” at this link.

Science on Cell Phones and Wi-Fi
MYTH:

The Class 2B Carcinogen classification by the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer only applies to cell phone emissions and not to emissions from other wireless devices.

FACT:

Wireless radiation from any device is included in the Class 2B Carcinogen classification by the World Health Organization International Agency for the Research on Cancer (WHO/IARC). In fact, the WHO/IARC has repeatedly documented that radiofrequency radiation “from any source,” be it cell phones, baby monitors, cell towers or Wi-Fi routers, is the “potentially toxic agent.” The WHO/IARC Monograph on RF-EMF clearly states that the Class 2B carcinogen classification applies to RF-EMF in the range of 30 KHz to 300 GHz. Senior officials with the IARC, such as Dr. Robert Bann and Dr. Kurt Straif, have clarified this fact repeatedly in lectures and letters since the 2011 classification. 

Click here for full documentation.
MYTH:

The Class 2B Carcinogen classification by the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer only applies to cell phone emissions and not to emissions from other wireless devices.

FACT:

Wireless radiation from any device is included in the Class 2B Carcinogen classification by the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO/IARC). In fact, the WHO/IARC has repeatedly documented that radiofrequency radiation “from any source,” be it cell phones, baby monitors, cell towers of Wi-Fi routers, is the “potentially toxic agent.” The WHO/IARC Monograph on RF-EMF clearly states that the Class 2B carcinogen classification applies to RF-EMF in the range of 30 KHz to 300 GHz. Senior officials with the IARC, such as Dr. Robert Bann and Dr. Kurt Straif, have clarified this fact repeatedly in lectures and letters since the 2011 classification.

Research studies on the long-term use of cell phones by people is the only long-term human research on radiofrequency exposure we have.

Cell phone research is very important to understanding the health effects of all wireless communications from all sources. Long-term research on cell phone users greatly informs our understanding of the long-term effects from low-level radiofrequency radiation. The radiation from cell phones and WiFi may be a slightly different frequency, but according to the IARC it is effectively “the same agent” as it is the same type of radiation, known as radiofrequency radiation (RF-EMF). If 900 MHz is showing harm, then other frequencies in the RF range—like WiFi at 2.45 GHz (2,450 MHz)—will also harm the body. In fact, higher frequencies could possibly be even more damaging.

Page 43 of the IARC Monograph 102 details why the carcinogenic classification is for RF emissions from 30 kHz to 300 GHz regardless of source.

Page 43 of the IARC Monograph 102 details why the carcinogenic classification is for RF emissions from 30 kHz to 300 GHz regardless of source.

It is important to note that some iPads have SARs at the same level as cell phones. This means that the body nearest the iPad will absorb similar levels of radiation as when the brain absorbs cell phone radiation. The difference is that if the iPad is on the lap, the radiation will penetrate into reproductive areas and there is no skull to protect the tissues. Radiation emissions from a device on the lap will still be absorbed in the brain, but higher levels will go into the abdominal region and chest.

The World Health Organization/IARC specifically and repeatedly has stated the carcinogenic classification is for radiofrequency radiation from any source, including WiFi. Note this documentation:

  • The Lancet WHO/IARC published statement: Wireless radiofrequency radiation is classified as a “Possible Human Carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization(WHO) Read The Lancet’s published statement by the IARC from 2011 on cancer risk of wireless radiation.
  • WHO/IARC Press Release: The Class 2B classification includes wireless radiation from any transmitting source such as “cell phones, baby monitors, tablets, cell towers, radar, other wifi, etc”. It applies to RF-EMF in the range of 30 KHz to 300 GHz emitted from any device. These statements are detailed in The Lancet article and in the related WHO IARC press release in 2011. All wireless emissions from electronic devices are RF-EMF (wireless radiation). It does not matter what type of device is the source.
  • The 2013 WHO/IARC Monograph: Non-Ionizing Radiation, Part 2: Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields, which states, “Human exposure to RF radiation can occur from many different sources and under a wide variety of circumstances, including the use of personal devices (mobile phones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, amateur radios, etc.), occupational sources (high-frequency dielectric and induction heaters, broadcast antennas, high-power pulsed radars, and medical applications), and environmental sources (mobile-phone base stations, broadcast antennae). These multiple sources contribute to an individual’s total exposure, with contributions varying by different characteristics, e.g. place of residence.”

Experts of the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer have stated (on several occasions) how the WHO/IARC experts specifically intended this classification to apply to the full range of radio frequency radiation which includes WiFi as well as cell tower radiation.

  • 2011 Symposium on Radiofrequency at Swineburne University of Technology: At minute 37:40, Bann explains that the IARC classification was not for just mobile telephones. He states “So it should be noted here that the working group—in the overall evaluation—decided to make a general, generic evaluation of radiofrequency fields and did not want to limit it to mobile telephone use (hat all other exposures were left out of the evaluation) that was mainly based on the diversity of the exposures in the animal cancer studies where different types of radiation with different frequencies across the radiofrequency part of the electromagnetic spectrum were noted and, in fact, the consideration that the radiation from environmental sources and in the occupational situations and from the mobile telephones is basically and physically speaking the same type of agent. So the overall conclusion was RF EMF are possibly carcinogenic to humans group 2B.” Watch all the videos from that Symposium here

“It should be noted that the working group in the overall evaluation decided to make a generic evaluation of radio frequency fields and did not want to limit it to mobile telephone use and all other exposures .. that was based on the diversity of the exposures in the animal cancer studies where different types of radiation with different frequencies across the radio frequency part of the EMF spectrum were noted and the radiation from the environmental sources (i.e Wi-Fi, Cell Towers etc) and from the mobile telephones is basically and physically speaking the same type of agent .”

In 2016, the World Health Organization’s Head of the IARC Monographs Programme, Dr. Kurt Straif, wrote the following:

“IARC’s evaluation of the cancer hazards from exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields covers all sources of RF-radiation.” and “IARC classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (including Wi-Fi signals and mobile phone signals) as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) “ Read the Email exchange here.

Science on Cell Phones and Wi-Fi
MYTH:

“This will never be as serious as tobacco.”

FACT:

This is potentially far worse than tobacco. We never had 100% of people smoking, but we do have nearly all people using cell phones and wireless devices today—and non-users are also exposed to the emissions. Six billion people, including children, use cell phones regularly—some exclusively, as landlines are abandoned—resulting in considerable exposure. Several scientists have compared cigarette smoking to cell phone and wireless radiation. Dr. Franz Adlkofer gave a lecture at the Harvard Law Center for Ethics Lecture in 2011 and specifically paralleled cell phone emissions to cigarette smoke. Furthermore, it is curious how some tobacco industry scientists have moved on and are now defending the wireless industry. 

Click here for full documentation.
MYTH:

“This will never be as serious as tobacco.”

FACT:

This is potentially far worse than tobacco. We never had 100% of people smoking, but we do have nearly all people using cell phones and wireless devices today. Six billion people, including children, use cell phones regularly—some exclusively, as landlines are abandoned—resulting in considerable exposure.

Dr. Franz Adlkofer spoke at the Harvard Law Center for Ethics Lecture in 2011 and specifically paralleled cell phone emissions to cigarette smoke. He presented on how he was unjustly accused of scientific fraud for his REFLEX study findings that cell phone radiation damages DNA. Listen to him describe the results of his research here in 2010.

We do not have the same scientific foundation for understanding cell phone radiation as we had for tobacco and lung cancer for two reasons: 1. The telecom industry has intentionally blocked studies, and 2. It is more difficult for researchers to get funding now because of the economic downturn and the lack of training and funding in this field.

“It is these hardball tactics that recall 20th century Big Tobacco tactics.” states the Harvard Law publication Captured Agency: How the Federal Communications Commission is Dominated by the Industries it Presumably Regulates, which details how the wireless industry has unchecked influence on our government due to financial contributions and the revolving door of politics and industry. Read Harvard Book here.

Several scientists well connected to the tobacco industry are now involved in the wireless issue.

Geoffrey Kabat authored a 2003 industry funded (much criticized) study, published in the British Medical Journal, which concluded that secondhand smoke does not cause an increased risk for lung cancer and heart disease. Read a 2005 article where Kabat’s research is cited in a paper on how “documents also reveal that the (tobacco)  industry funds research to enhance its credibility and endeavours to work with respected scientists to advance its goals.”

Forbes Magazine articles by Kabat on cell phones: Kabat has now reinvented himself as an expert on cell phone radiation, writing multiple articles in Forbes Magazine, noting that cell phone radiation has “such low energy levels that there is no known mechanism by which they could induce cancer.” Note the headlines of his recent Forbes Magazine articles:

Kabat lectures that movement for safe technology is “cuckoo”: “Geoffrey Kabat, former tobacco scientist calls the movement for safe technology and RF precaution in schools ‘cuckoo’ and puts BPA and endocrine disruptors” in the same category as cell phone emissions. He states, “Just because these compounds can be detected in minute quantities, by ultra-sensitive methods, in the blood of most Americans, this does not mean that they are having some effect on health.” Read an article about his lecture at McGill in 2015 Watch his lecture here. (Note: The lecture series is funded by multimillionaire McGill donor Lorne Trottier, President of the computer company Matrox, who makes iPad-specific products and is known to support online websites such as EMF and Health criticising concerned EMF scientists.)

Peter Valberg has been an expert called in by Philip Morris RJ Reynolds and he was  Principal and Senior Health Scientist at Gradient Corporation. “Gradient,” according to the Texas Tribune, “typically conducts research funded by industry groups like the American Petroleum Institute. One Harvard University epidemiologist calls its work for Texas “bullshit” science that contradicts conclusions by the vast majority of experts.” The Tribune goes on to detail “‘This is a company that basically works for industry, and their job is to trash environmental studies,’ said Joel Schwartz, a professor of environmental epidemiology at Harvard and director of the University’s Center for Risk Analysis.”

Valberg is now an “expert” supporting the “Smart Grid,” to provide “evidence” that wireless emitting smart utility meters and infrastructure are not proven harmful. He gave a one-hour webinar to the Eugene Water and Energy Board and Oregon citizens and is considered an expert by several utility companies on the subject, submitting several expert testimonies (see News Report on his work the Edison Electric Institute).

Science on Cell Phones and Wi-Fi
MYTH:

“The Interphone study showed no link between cell phones and brain tumors.”

FACT:

In the Interphone study, those who used a mobile phone for 10 or more years were found to be twice as likely to develop a brain tumor, a statistically significant finding. The heaviest users with the longest use had increased risk. While it is true that the final conclusion of the Interphone study states, “Overall, no increase in risk of glioma or meningioma was observed.” yet, in the heaviest users in the Interphone study, a doubled or greater risk is evident. Lead authors of the study later published an article in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine calling for precautions to reduce exposures to the brain in light of the Interphone study’s findings. 

Click here for full documentation.
MYTH:

“The Interphone study showed no link between cell phones and brain tumors.”

FACT:

In the Interphone study, those who used a mobile phone for 10 or more years were found to be twice as likely to develop a brain tumor, a statistically significant finding. The heaviest users with the longest use had increased risk. It is true that the final conclusion of the Interphone study states, “Overall, no increase in risk of glioma or meningioma was observed.” The key word is “overall.” The overall absence of risk is due to the fact that the average user in this study used a phone for less than eight years, and that a user was defined as someone who made one call per week for six months. Because overall exposures were so low and limited, it is not surprising that the finding states there is no overall increase in risk.

But in the heaviest users in the Interphone study, a doubled or greater risk is evident. This is why the IARC review considered the Interphone study as evidence of increased risk. In fact, lead authors of the study later published an article in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine on January 27 calling for precautions in light of the Study’s findings:

“While more studies are needed to confirm or refute these results, indications of an increased risk [of brain cancer] in high- and long-term users from Interphone and other studies are of concern,” Cardis and Sadetzki conclude. “There are now more than 4 billion people, including children, using mobile phones. Even a small risk at the individual level could eventually result in a considerable number of tumours and become an important public-health issue. Simple and low-cost measures, such as the use of text messages, hands-free kits and/or the loudspeaker mode of the phone could substantially reduce exposure to the brain from mobile phones. Therefore, until definitive scientific answers are available, the adoption of such precautions, particularly among young people, is advisable.” (Cardis and Sadetzki 2011)
Science on Cell Phones and Wi-Fi
MYTH:

“The Danish Cohort is proof there is no risk.”

FACT:

The Danish Cohort Study used flawed data to arrive at a flawed conclusion. The Danish Cohort Study  published in the British Medical Journal is often quoted as proof of safety as it did not find any causal link between brain cancer and cell phone radiation. However, many scientists (including scientists of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for the Research on Cancer) have critiqued the Danish Study for using flawed data resulting in an equally flawed analysis. The problem? Corporate subscribers (in other words: likeliest the heaviest cell phone users) were placed in the control group as they were excluded from the exposed group. When Michael Kundi and colleagues from the Medical University of Vienna mathematically corrected for this concern in the earlier Danish study, they found a significantly increased risk for brain tumors. 

Click here for full documentation.

The Danish Cohort Study  published in the British Medical Journal is often quoted as proof of safety as it did not find any causal link between brain cancer and cell phone radiation. However, many scientists (including scientists of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for the Research on Cancer) have critiqued the Danish Study for using flawed data resulting in an equally flawed analysis. The problem? Heavy cell phone users were placed in the control group.

The Danish project eliminated more than 200,000 corporate subscribers (that was one-third of the actual number of Danish cell phone users), who were the intended study population and, admittedly, the heaviest cell users. In other words, heaviest users were analyzed as if they did not use cell phones and ended up in the control group. The study authors state, “Because we excluded corporate subscriptions, mobile phone users who do not have a subscription in their own name will have been misclassified as unexposed…”

“This study only looks at 7% of the Danish population who had a personal cellphone subscription for at least one year during the period 1987 to 1995. It ignores corporate subscribers (the heaviest users then) and the researchers have no data at all on cellphone use since 1995 so the extra 86% of the population who started to use a cellphone since 1996 were left in the “non subscriber part of the population. This study uses seriously flawed data to make a flawed analysis and should be condemned as misleading spin.” — Alasdair Philips

This bias explains why the 2011 IARC panel put less weight on the Danish study than on the Interphone and Hardell efforts. As corporate subscribers were left out of the exposed group, the International Agency for the Research on Cancer’s Robert Bann wrote that the exclusion of the corporate subscribers “seems remarkable” and “could have resulted in considerable misclassification in exposure assessment.” When Michael Kundi and colleagues from the Medical University of Vienna mathematically corrected for this concern in the earlier Danish study, they found a significantly increased risk for brain tumors.

Read what George Carlo has to say about the Danish Cohort study in a published article The Latest Reassurance Ruse About Cell Phones and Cancer. The epidemiologist George Carlo was hired by the U.S. wireless industry to research health risks in the 1990s and ran a $28 million research project.

“Back in the 1990s, two of the authors of the 2006 Danish study, John Boice and Joe McLaughlin, applied to the WTR program for funding to do the same epidemiology study that was released this week. When they made the proposal on behalf of their company, the International Epidemiology Institute, both were employees of the National Cancer Institute. That affiliation was an important part of how they presented their credentials. After consideration of their proposal, we denied them funding because we were not convinced they would provide meaningful findings. We also were not comfortable with the study design that was presented to us. The investigators put too much emphasis on the probability that the study would not find risk increases.

Because the program was funded by the industry, they might have thought the low-risk pitch was what we wanted to hear. When we refused to give them funding to do the work, Boice and McLaughlin went directly to the industry with the same pitch – and they were hired. The Danish study released this week is one of many studies from this group of investigators – all concluding with similar findings of no tumor risk from cell phones. In 2001, they released what they then lauded as one of the largest studies to date.

…the Danish study was epidemiologically constructed to produce a finding of reassurance that may well not have been supported even by a more professionally conceived study designed to really assess risk. The study has been trumpeted far beyond any reasonable reading of the data as proof that cell phones are safe. ”

Read the Scientist Opinion Piece (2/25/13): “Scientific Peer Review in Crisis” by Prof. Dariusz Leszczynski at Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, where he details these flaws and calls for a retraction. Additionally, as Leszczynski points out, although the authors of the study declared no conflicts of interest, the original cohort was established with funding from Danish Telecom.

Published science and articles on the flawed Danish Cohort Study

Environmental Health Trust and Other Experts Expose Major Flaws in New Danish Study Claiming No Significant Cancer Risks from Cell Phone Use

The Scientist: “Scientific Peer Review in Crisis” by Prof. Dariusz Leszczynski

Microwave News:The Danish Cohort Study: The Politics and Economics of Bias

Medscape Medical News:Cell Phones and Brain Tumors: No Link, But Is Study Flawed?

C NET Do cell phones cause brain tumors? Danish Study Debate rages

British Medical Journal

Use of mobile phones and risk of brain tumours: update of Danish cohort study Re: Not enough data excluding cellphones’ morbidity, British Medical Journal November 2011 by Devra L Davis

Ronald B. Herberman and Yael Stein

2012: Review of four publications on the Danish cohort study on mobile phone subscribers and risk of brain tumors. Rev Environ Health

2011: The Danish Cellphone Subscriber Study on the Risk of Cancer Among Subscribers Is Fundamentally Flawed, Lloyd Morgan’s Commentary in the British Medical Journal

2011: Use of mobile phones and risk of brain tumours: update of Danish cohort study, British Medical Journal

2007: Re: Cellular Telephone Use and Cancer Risk: Update of a Nationwide Danish Cohort Study, British Medical Journal

2006: Cellular Telephone Use and Cancer Risk: Update of a Nationwide Danish Cohort, British Medical Journal

Science on Cell Phones and Wi-Fi
MYTH:

“The scientific consensus is that cell phones and wireless cannot harm us”

FACT:

That is false. There is no scientific consensus that cell phones, wireless and electromagnetic fields are safe, and no medical organization assures us of safety. The opinion of independent scientists is strikingly different than that of industry funded sources who often use the phrase “scientific consensus.” The fact is that numerous medical and scientific organizations are calling for urgent action to reduce wireless exposures and protect public health. They have been warning the public for decades. 

Click here for full documentation.
MYTH:

“The scientific consensus is that cell phones and wireless cannot harm us”

FACT:

That is false. There is no scientific consensus that cell phones, wireless and electromagnetic fields are safe, and no medical organization assures us of safety. The opinion of independent scientists is strikingly different than that of industry funded sources who often use the phrase “scientific consensus.” The fact is that numerous medical and scientific organizations are calling for urgent action to reduce wireless exposures and protect public health (and have been urging for decades).

The EMF Scientist Appeal

In 2015, over 200 scientists appealed to the United Nations, calling for tighter regulations on wireless radiation and stating, “numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans.” These scientists have collectively published over 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on the biological or health effects of non-ionizing radiation and are independent from industry funding conflicts of interest. Read the EMF Scientists Appeal Read the Press Release.

Linda S. Birnbaum, Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program (USA) stated, “If some of the studies turn out to be harbingers of things to come, we may have major health consequences from the nearly ubiquitous presence of wireless equipment.”  (Quote from the The Israeli Environmental Health Report 2014, page 90)

Dr. Chris Portier, recently retired CDC Director, Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease, officially argued for invoking the precautionary principle at the Bioelectromagnetics Society Conference in June 2015. In that conference he, along with cancer researchers, presented a poster on cellphones and brain cancer risk that refers to new research showing associations between cell phones and brain cancer evidence and states, “IARC should consider convening a Working Group to re-evaluate the classification of RFR. Educational and public health institutions should be encouraged to reduce exposures, especially of young children, to RF devices. Finally, there is a strong need for additional independent research on the effects of RFR on humans, animals and cells.” He stated, “a careful review of the scientific literature demonstrates there are potentially dangerous effects from RF.”

There is no scientific consensus.

The EMF Scientists Appeal
  • In May 2015, a group of over 200 scientists from 39 nations  who have authored more than 2,000 articles on this topic appealed to the United Nations to address “the emerging public health crisis” related to cell phones and other wireless devices.  These scientists state that “the ICNIRP guidelines do not cover long-term exposure and low-intensity effects,  and are “ insufficient to protect public health.”
  • They state that “the various agencies setting safety standards have failed to impose sufficient guidelines to protect the general public, particularly children who are more vulnerable to the effects of EMF.” See the International EMF Scientist Appeal at https://emfscientist.org.
The French National Agency of Health Security of Food, Environment and Labour
Canadian Parliament Standing Committee on Health of the House of Commons “Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Radiation and the Health of Canadians”
  • This June 2015 Canadian Parliment Report has 12 recommendations including “That the Government of Canada develop an awareness campaign relating to the safe use of wireless technologies, such as cell phones and Wi-Fi, in key environments such as the school and home to ensure that Canadian families and children are reducing risks related to radiofrequency exposure.”
The Council of Europe Resolution 1815:

“For children in general, and particularly in schools and classrooms, give preference to wired Internet connections, and strictly regulate the use of mobile phones by schoolchildren on school premises.” Read Resolution 1815

The Vienna Medical Association

The Vienna Medical Association has issued Guidelines on Reducing RF radiation. Vienna Medical Association Guidelines include : “Make calls at home and at work via the fixed corded (not wireless) network – Internet access via LAN cable (eg via ADSL, VDSL, fiber optic) no Radiation, is fast and secure data transfer. Constant radiation emitters like DECT cordless telephones, WLAN access points, data sticks and LTE Home base stations (Box, Cube etc.) should be avoided!”

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer
  • The WHO/IARC classified all radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.  Read the IARC Monograph. The Lancet article indicates how this applies to all radio frequency electromagnetic fields including Wi-Fi.
Swiss Physicians for the Environment

“the risk of cancer for this type of [wireless] radiation is similar to that of the insecticide DDT, rightfully banned… From the medical point of view, it is urgent to apply the precautionary principle for mobile telephony, WiFi, power lines, etc.” Read the Swiss Physicians Letter here.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine

“Adverse health effects, such as learning disabilities, altered immune responses, headaches, etc. from wireless radio frequency fields do exist and are well documented in the scientific literature. Safer technology, such as using hard-wiring, must be seriously considered in schools for the safety of those susceptible individuals who may be affected by this phenomenon. ” Read the The American Academy of Environmental Medicine’s  Open Letter to the Superintendents of the School Districts of the United States

International Society of Doctors for the Environment and Irish Doctors Environmental Association
  • These Societies have made the following recommendations: Avoid Wi-Fi in home or work if possible, particularly in schools or hospitals and Use wired technology whenever possible.
  • “Because of the potentially increased risks for the foetus, infants and young children due to their thinner more permeable skulls and developing systems, particularly the immune and neurological systems, based on the precautionary principle and on the mounting evidence for harm at the sub-cellular level, we recommend that EMR exposure should be kept to a minimum.”
  • Read the Statement Here.
Bioinitiative Working Group

In a Letter to Education Super Highway CEOs the Co-Editors of the Bioinitiative Report Cindy Sage and David Carpenter sent a letter on behalf of the Bioinitiative Working Group to the CEO’s on the health risks of wireless infrastructure in US schools stating:

“WiFi in schools, in contrast to wired internet connections, will increase risk of neurologic impairment and long-term risk of cancer in students. Corporations cannot avoid responsibility simply by asserting compliance with existing legal, but outdated and inadequate FCC public safety limits. Today, corporations that deal with educational technology should be looking forward and helping school administrators and municipal leaders to access safe, wired solutions.” Read the Letter to Education Super Highway CEOs, Click here to go to the Bioinitiative 2012 Report.

The BabySafe Project Joint Statement
  • As of August 2016 over 200 physicians, scientists and public health professionals from around the world have signed onto this Project “to express their concern about the risk that wireless radiation poses to pregnancy and to urge pregnant women to limit their exposures.”
  • “We call on our elected leaders to support such research and to advance policies and regulations that limit exposures for pregnant women. We call on industry to implement and explore technologies and designs that will reduce radiation exposures until such research is carried out.”
  • The BabySafe Project Lists “Ten Ways to Reduce Your Wireless Exposure” which includes “Whenever possible, connect to the internet with wired cables”. See the Project Website at http://www.babysafeproject.org/
Science on Cell Phones and Wi-Fi
MYTH:

Studies showing effects have not been replicated.

FACT:

Research has been replicated in several areas and has repeatedly shown increased brain cancer/tumor risk after over 10 years of cell phone use, increased blood-brain barrier permeability, and the ability of RF to promote cancer and act as a co-carcinogen. All independent research studies looking at long-term cell phone users found increased brain cancer after 10 years and “heavy use” or at about 1625 lifetime hours. Read Mobile phone radiation causes brain tumors and should be classified as a probable human carcinogen (2A) (review) for details.

In the 2016 released findings of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) study of the Carcinogenicity of Radiofrequency Radiation, male rats exposed to wireless radiation develop more unusual, highly malignant brain tumors—gliomas—as well as very rare tumors of the nerves around and within the heart—Schwannomas. The tumors found in the NTP rats parallel the same types of tumors found in human epidemiological studies looking at long-term use of cell phones. The NTP stated, “These findings appear to support the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) conclusions regarding the possible carcinogenic potential of RFR.” Read more about the National Toxicology Program Study here.

Click here for full documentation.
MYTH:

“Studies showing effects have not been replicated”

FACT:

Research has been replicated in several areas and has repeatedly shown increased brain cancer/tumor risk after over 10 years of cell phone use, increased blood-brain barrier permeability, and the ability of RF to promote cancer and act as a co-carcinogen.

Long-term studies repeatedly show increased brain cancer risk.

All independent research studies looking at long-term cell phone users found increased brain cancer after 10 years and “heavy use” or about 1625 lifetime hours. “Heavy” was defined as about 30 minutes per day. The WHO/IARC would not base a cancer classification Class 2B risk on just one researcher’s study. Read Mobile phone radiation causes brain tumors and should be classified as a probable human carcinogen (2A) (review) for details.

$25 Million US Government Study found increased cancers in rats, paralleling cancers found increased in long-term cell phone users.

In the 2016 released findings of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) study of the Carcinogenicity of Radiofrequency Radiation, male rats exposed to wireless radiation develop more unusual, highly malignant brain tumors—gliomas—as well as very rare tumors of the nerves around and within the heart—Schwannomas. The tumors found in the NTP rats parallel the same types of tumors found in human epidemiological studies looking at long-term use of cell phones. The NTP stated, “These findings appear to support the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) conclusions regarding the possible carcinogenic potential of RFR.” Read more about the National Toxicology Program Study here.

Experimental studies show electromagnetic fields act as a cancer promoter.

In the 2015 replication study Tumor promotion by exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields below exposure limits for humans, published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Lerchl et al. describe how the new study replicated an earlier experiment that found that weak cell phone signals can promote the growth of tumors in mice. The abstract states:

“Numbers of tumors of the lungs and livers in exposed animals were significantly higher than in sham-exposed controls. In addition, lymphomas were also found to be significantly elevated by exposure. A clear dose–response effect is absent. We hypothesize that these tumor-promoting effects may be caused by metabolic changes due to exposure. Since many of the tumor-promoting effects in our study were seen at low to moderate exposure levels (0.04 and 0.4 W/kg SAR), thus well below exposure limits for the users of mobile phones, further studies are warranted to investigate the underlying mechanisms. Our findings may help to understand the repeatedly reported increased incidences of brain tumors in heavy users of mobile phones.”

Please read more about this replicated research at Microwave News Report. Read the press release here from the University and note it was curiously removed from the University website.

In 2013, the WHO/IARC specifically notes the following co-carcinogenic research studies in their evaluation of radiofrequency as a Class 2B carcinogen:

“Four of six co-carcinogenesis studies showed increased cancer incidence after exposure to RF-EMF in combination with a known carcinogen; however, the predictive value of this type of study for human cancer is unknown.” – Page 2 of the Lancet WHO/IARC Press Release on Radiofrequency Fields. Tables showing the research in co-carcinogenicity are found on page 279 of the April 2013 Published IARC Monograph on Non-Ionizing Radiation, Part 2: Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields.

Power-frequency magnetic fields have been repeatedly found to act as a cancer promoter.
“The new study indicates that ELF EMFs can promote breast cancer…the leukemia findings contribute new pieces of the puzzle supporting the IARC decision of 2001 that ELF EMFs is a possible carcinogen.” —Dr. Meike Mevissen Director, Veterinary Pharmacology & Toxicology, University of Bern in Switzerland

This study confirms previous research showing that rats developed higher than expected rates of certain cancers after being exposed to a known carcinogen plus a magnetic field for their lifetime. The researchers conclude, “These results call for a reevaluation of the safety of non-ionizing radiation.”

In this study, rats that received a single low-dose of gamma radiation early in life and were exposed to magnetic fields for their entire lifetime developed higher than expected rates of three different types of cancer: breast cancer, leukemia/lymphoma, and an extremely rare and obscure tumor called malignant schwannoma of the heart. Microwave News quotes Morando Soffritti, the director of the research project as stating, “We have confirmed the old epidemiological observations of Milham, Wertheimer and Matanoski regarding the increased risk of lymphoma/leukemia and mammary cancers, as well as the more recent study by Cardis,” referring to the pioneering work of Sam Milham, Nancy Wertheimer, and Geneveive Matanoski from 1979 through the 1990s. Please read Microwave News Report on this study for full details.

Research has repeatedly shown radiofrequency radiation impacts blood-brain barrier permeability.

In 2015, the well respected journal Brain Research published a study by Chinese scientists entitled Exposure to 900 MHz electromagnetic fields activates the mkp-1/ERK pathway and causes blood-brain barrier damage and cognitive impairment in rats. In this study, Gang Zhu and collaborating scientists confirmed the findings of Leif Salford and colleagues showing that exposure of rats to cell phone radiation causes leakage of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Tang et al. also pointed out that activation of stress response pathway is involved in the effects, concluding, “Taken together, these results demonstrated that exposure to 900 MHz EMF radiation for 28 days can significantly impair spatial memory and damage BBB permeability in rat by activating the mkp-1/ERK pathway.“

Read more about these confirmed findings at Dariusz Leszczynski’s post Cell Phones and Blood-Brain Barrier: Chinese scientists confirm findings of Swedish Salford group, where he notes, “My research group at STUK also suggested in a study published in 2002 that blood-brain barrier function of human endothelial cells might be impaired due to activation of p38MAP kinase/Hsp27 stress response pathway.”

Repeated research shows that radiofrequency radiation impacts the reproductive system.

Epidemiological studies in vitro (cells) laboratory and in vivo (animal) show that RF exposure at non- thermal levels and from using cell phones in common ways is associated with reduced sperm count, motility, and concentration, DNA damage, and altered cell structure. As the British Columbia Center for Disease Control states in its 2013 report A Radiofrequency Toolkit for Environmental Health Practitioners, “The epidemiological studies of men assessed for infertility were consistent in demonstrating decreased sperm motility associated with increased use of mobile phones” and “biological effects on sperm motility related to RF exposure.” Several recent reviews document this body of research: Effect of mobile telephones on sperm quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Challenging cell phone impact on reproduction: A Review, Effects of the exposure to mobile phones on male reproduction: a review of the literature, Effect of electromagnetic field exposure on the reproductive system. Please read more research on our webpage here.

Industry funded replication studies seem to show that studies cannot be replicated.

However,  a deeper investigation shows that what are often referred to as “replication studies” are not actually true replication studies. Allen Frey describes how his early research showing increased blood-brain barrier permeability was supposedly replicated by a Brooks Air Force Base group showing “no effect” but “after much pressure from the scientific community, the Brooks Air Force Base contracting group finally revealed that they had not, in fact, replicated the work.” Please read Frey’s published commentary “Security concerns during the Cold War may have led to the generation of misinformation on the physiological effects of microwave radiation from mobile,” which also speaks to the way microwave research funding was defunded. There are literally thousands of studies showing harm that are “not replicated because there is no funding to even do the replication research studies needed.”

Frey concludes, “This suppression of research has now made hundreds of millions of people subjects in a grand experiment that may involve their health, without their informed consent, and the outcome of which can have substantial medical, legal, and economic consequences.”

Science on Cell Phones and Wi-Fi
MYTH:

The government safety standards have a safety margin of fifty-fold.

FACT:

There is no “fifty-fold safety” margin. The wireless industry repeatedly states that the current guidelines have a fifty-fold safety factor built in to protect the public. This statement is wrong and rests solely on avoiding heating effects rather than considering newer studies finding impacts on reproduction, development, and cancer. The standard refers solely to antiquated evidence based on an animal study of what temperature in the rectum of trained and food-deprived rats causes them to stop seeking a food reward.

Click here for full documentation.
MYTH:

“The government safety standards have a safety margin of fifty-fold”

FACT:

There is no “fifty-fold safety” margin. The wireless industry repeatedly states that the current guidelines have a fifty-fold safety factor built in to protect the public. This statement is wrong and rests solely on avoiding heating effects rather than considering newer studies finding impacts on reproduction, development, and cancer. The standard refers solely to antiquated evidence based on an animal study of what temperature in the rectum of trained and food-deprived rats caused them to stop seeking a food reward.

Details on the rat study: The level of exposure that produced the cessation of trying to eat was assumed to be 4 Watts/kgm. But in fact, according to another study known to the ANSI authors in 1982, at 1 Watt/kgm food-deprived rats would stop trying to seek a food reward at exposures of 1 W/kgm. The so-called fifty-fold safety factor of .08 W/kgm was based on dividing 4 Watts by 50. If the 1 W/kgm level is used, then the safety factor of .08 W/kgm becomes 2.5.

To have a fifty-fold factor based solely on avoiding heat, the standard would have to be .02 W/kgm.

The Environmental Health Trust has detailed the inaccuracy of the often referenced “fifty-fold safety factor” in their Submission to the FCC.

Note these examples of the complexity of safety factors:

Research shows that stem cells are more impacted by microwave radiation. Stem cells are more active in children. Scientists assume that the same amount of radiation will impact children more (as experts state worldwide). How does this research translate into quantified impacts on children at various radiation levels? Answer: We do not know because that research came out a decade after our radiation thresholds were set. Researchers did not have access to this research study nor any other research showing children’s increased vulnerability to determine a “safe level.”

Research has repeatedly now shown that children are more exposed to this radiation because of their smaller stature and thinner skulls. The radiation penetrates deeper into their brain and critical brain centers responsible for memory and thinking. None of this has been factored into the “safety margin.”

Children’s eyes are not fully developed until age 10. Eye insult at a young age can lead to  impacts later in life, such as macular degeneration. Research also shows that the eyes of all humans, in general, are more vulnerable to microwave radiation because, unlike other parts of the body, they do not have a mechanism to cool. Research that quantified exposures to the eyes and determined a safety level was available and not taken into account when the standards were set in 1996, as detailed by the EPA’s Robert Hankin in a 2002 Letter which states, “the current exposure guidelines used by the FCC are based on the effects resulting from whole body heat, not exposure of and effect on critical organs including the brain and eyes.” However, in schools throughout the country, young children are placing transmitting cell phones up to their eyes as part of Google’s Virtual Reality School Project and this is not breaking any regulations.

Remember, the EPA did not do research to determine a safe level. The EPA had started this process and was defunded. Instead, guidelines were adapted from “expert” groups involving military and industry groups. Public health researchers, toxicologists, and medical doctors did not determine a safe level of exposure. Such a medically informed process was never done in the U.S.

In other words, when it comes to the U.S. “safety” standards: 1. At most there is a 2.5 safety factor built in for thermal effects, 2. The U.S. has not determined a safety limit when it comes to non-thermal effects, and 3. The U.S. has no scientific data to determine how much lower we should drop that limit to protect developing children who are far more vulnerable.

When you hear the statement, “federal standards already ensure wireless consumer safety, incorporating a fifty-fold safety factor designed to  provide for safe exposure levels for all segments of the population” all you need to do is ask, “Where is the documentation showing such protection?” If you are in the U.S., the FCC will direct you to this document from 1986: Biological Effects and Exposure Criteria for Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields. We suggest you read it yourself and decide for yourself if this three decades-old document shows how the special vulnerabilities of children and pregnant women and “all segments of the population” are protected. It states, “the population at large, some members of which could be exposed continuously to RFEM fields, contains subpopulations of debilitated or otherwise potentially vulnerable individuals for whom there is presently inadequate knowledge to set firm standards. For example, the sensitivity of aged individuals, of pregnant females and their conception, of young infants, or of chronically ill persons is not known.”

There is no scientific documentation showing that the recommended limits are actually protective of these populations.

Additional Information:

The CTIA highlights the fifty-fold safety factor in it’s letter on the Berkeley Ordinance in 2015.

Environmental Health Trust Submission to the FCC 2013.

2014: U.S. Department of the Interior Letter (2014) on FCC Guidelines

2003: Interagency Radio Frequency Workgroup 2003 Letter from EPA Norbert Hankin on Additional Concerns about RF Exposure Guidelines

1999: Radio  Frequency Interagency  Workgroup Concerns About RF Exposure Gregory Lotz NIOSH Letter

1995: EPA Letter to the FCC on Development of Guidelines by the EPA.

1984: US Science Advisory Board Letter that recommends that the EPA develop radiation protection guidance to protect the public (Note: the standards were never issued.)

1983: EPA: Biological Effects Of RadioFrequency Radiation

1981: EPA: Index of Publications on Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation

 

 

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