WHO classifies electromagnetic fields as potentially carcinogenic

WHO classifies electromagnetic fields as potentially carcinogenic

On 31 May 2011, after a week of meetings by 31 scientists from 14 different countries, the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), a division of the World Health Organisation WHO, announced in a press release that it will classify high-frequency electromagnetic fields (used by mobile telephony) in group 2b: ‘possibly carcinogenic‘.

It does so mainly on the basis of Interphone and Hardell’s research into brain tumours: glioma and auditory nerve tumours. In 2008, 237,913 new cases of brain tumours were recorded worldwide (2/3 of which concerned malignant gliomas).

With this IARC statement, the WHO is leaving the dogma that only ionising radiation could damage DNA and only heating effects could cause damage. (See also Ruediger’s metastudy of DNA damage in which 49 papers are cited that already demonstrate this.)

Group 2B: The agent is possibly carcinogenic to humans.
This category is used for agents for which there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and less than sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. It may also be used when there is inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in humans but there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. In some instances, an agent for which there is inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and less than sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals together with supporting evidence from mechanistic and other relevant data may be placed in this group. An agent may be classified in this category solely on the basis of strong evidence from mechanistic and other relevant data.

For the original IARC press release with an attached list of recent studies, see the attached PDF-file.

This page is also available in: Dutch

Share this post