emf-info

Health – Cancer

Cancer is one of the most frequent causes of illness and death worldwide. The term “cancer” includes about 200 different diseases whose common characteristic is an uncontrolled, malignant cell growth. The precise causes for the formation and development of tumours (carcinogens) are not sufficiently clarified. The risk of becoming ill with cancer increases considerably with age. Other known risk factors are unhealthy habits such as an unwholesome diet, tobacco or alcohol abuse, viruses, certain chemical substances, ionising radiation or genetic predisposition.

EMFs and cancer

The cancer inducing effects of ionising radiation (ultra-violet, X-ray and gamma radiation) has been documented for a long time. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified ionising radiation as “demonstrated carcinogenic for humans”. EMFs have much energy than ionising radiation. They cannot directly damage the chemical bonds in our tissues and thereby trigger a possible cancer or promote its growth. A possible indirect connection between cancer and EMFs, in particular through interference in the DNA repair mechanism, is scientifically conceivable and is under investigation in all areas of the electromagnetic spectrum.

There are diverse studies on the topic of “EMF and cancer”. 

Tests on animals (so-called in vivo studies) and laboratory experiments with cell cultures (so-called in vitro studies) as well as surveys and statistical investigations with persons / populations (so-called epidemiological studies) have been carried out.

It is unclear whether low frequency EMFs (focussing here on the magnetic fields from high tension power lines in particular) and high frequency EMFs (concentrating here in particular on the radio fields from mobile telephones) increase the risk of cancer or not. No mechanisms are known and the statistical indications for a possible higher risk from long term exposure in respect of these fields are scientifically controversial. As a result, the International Cancer Agency IARC (see above) has classified electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic for humans” (amongst the 250 substances in Group 2b including DDT, coffee, pickled vegetables, car exhaust emissions). The IARC classification means that there is a suspicion, which, in IARC formulation is less than a strong indication and far removed from evidence of a carcinogenic effect.

Precautionary recommendations

National and international committees recommend that the radiation exposure from low and high frequency fields should be kept low as a precaution. This is taken into account in the Swiss Ordinance relating to Protection from Non-Ionising Radiation (ONIR). Against that background the Swiss Research Foundation for Electricity and Mobile Communication, and the Swiss League against Cancer have prepared recommendations on low emission use of mobile telephones.

Selected literature (overviews)

BioInitiative Working Group (2012). Health effects from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. BioInitiative Report, www.bioinitiative.org. Sections 11-14.

International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection ICNIRP (2009). Exposure to high frequency electromagnetic fields, bilogical effects and health consequences (100 kHz-300 GHz). Chapters II.4.2, 161-182, III.5 - III.7, 327-335.

IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) (2002). Non-ionizing radiation, part 1: static and extremely low-frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields. IARC Monograph 80, Lyon.

IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) (2013). Non-ionizing radiation, part 2: radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. IARC Monograph 102, Lyon.

Independent Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR) (2012). Health effects from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields.  U.K. Health Protection Agency, Oxfordshire. Chapters 3.2, 87-94, 4.5, 157-173, 8, 266-316.

SCENIHR (Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks) (2013). Preliminary Opinion on Potential Health Effects of Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields. European Commission, Brussels. Sections 3.5.1 and 3.7.1.

SSM (Swedish Radiation Safety Authority) (2013). Eighth Report of the Scientific Council on Electromagnetic Fields. Stockholm: SSM.

Strahlenschutzkommission (SSK) (2011). Vergleichende Bewertung der Evidenz von Krebsrisiken durch elektromagnetische Felder und Strahlungen Stellungnahme der Strahlenschutzkommission  mit wissenschaftlicher Begründung. Bonn: Strahlenschutzkommission.

Research Projects by FSM about Cancer

Erfassung des Erinnerungsfehlers zur Lateralität bei Hirntumor Studien


Private Universität für Gesundheitswissenschaften, Dep. für Human und Wirtschaftswissenschaften

Basic research (Closed)

Diese experimentelle Studie prüft, ob Personen, die wissen, dass bei einer virtuellen Person (Avatar) ein Hirntumor vorliegt, dazu neigen, die Telefonierhäufigkeit des Avatars auf der tumorbetroffenen Seite zu überschätzen. 

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Analyse des Einflusses von HF und NF-EMF auf Signalpfade zwischen Genen und Krankheiten

Prof. Dr. Meike Mevissen, Prof. Dr. Christopher Portier
Universität Bern, Abteilung Veterinär- Pharmakologie & Toxikologie

Basic research (Closed)

Das Projekt identifiziert mittels statistischer Analysen bestehender Studien diejenigen Gene, die durch elektromagnetische Felder (Hoch- und Nieder¬frequenz) modifiziert werden und berechnet Korrelationen zu den dazugehörigen Signalwegen mit Krankheiten.

Publication/s:
Parham, F.,  Portier, C.J., Chang, X., Mevissen, M. (2016). The Use of signal-Transduction and Metabolic Pathways to Predict human Disease Targets from electric and Magnetic Fields Using in vitro Data in human cell lines. Frontiers in Public Health, 4, article 193. Download  Peer reviewed

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CEFALO: An international case-control study on brain tumours in children and adolescents

Prof. Dr. Martin Röösli, , Prof. Dr. Michael Grotzer, Prof. Dr. Nicolas von der Weid, Dr. Joachim Schüz, Dr. Tore Tynes, Dr. Maria Feychting
Universität Basel, Swiss TPH

Basic research (Closed)

In this international case-control study, the risk of children and adolescents for developing brain tumours due to the use of mobile telephones is investigated in 4 countries.

Publication/s:
Aydin, D., Feychting, M., Schüz, J., Andersen, T.V., Poulsen, A.H., Prochazka, M., Klaeboe, L., Kuehni, C.E., Tynes, T., Röösli, M. (2011b). Impact of Random and Systematic Recall Errors and Selection Bias in Case-Control Studies on Mobile Phone Use and Brain Tumors in Adolescents (CEFALO Study). Bioelectromagnetics, 32, 5, 396-407.  Peer reviewed

Aydin, D., Feychting, M., Schüz, J., Röösli, M. (2012c). Response. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, commentary, 104 (8), 635, first published online April 5, 2012, doi:10.1093/jnci/djs144. Download  Peer reviewed

Aydin, D., Feychting, M., Schüz, J., Röösli, M. (2012d). Response. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, commentary, 104 (8), 637-638, first published online April 5, 2012, doi:10.1093/jnci/djs147. Download  Peer reviewed

Aydin, D., Feychting, M., Schüz, J., Tynes, T., Andersen, T.V., Samsø Schmidt, L., Poulsen, A.H., Johansen, C., Prochazka, M., Lannering, B., Klæboe, L., Eggen, T., Jenni, D., Grotzer, M., von der Weid, N., Kuehni, C.E., Röösli, M. (2011c). Mobile phone use and risk of brain tumours in children and adolescents: a multicenter case-control study (CEFALO). Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 103, 1264-1276.  Peer reviewed

Rohner, N., Boutellier, R. (2007) Technological Lock-In Effects: A new Challenge for RF Health Risk Management?, in: 17th International Zurich Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility 2007 , Munich, September 24-28, 2007.  Peer reviewed

Röösli, M. (2007) Errors in epidemiological exposure assessment: Implications for study results, in: 17th International Zurich Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility 2007 , Munich, September 24-28, 2007.   Peer reviewed

Röösli, M., Feychting, M., Hamnerius, Y., Kheifets, L., Kuster, N., Ruiz, I., Schüz, J., Wiart, J., Neubauer, G. (2006a) Feasibility of future epidemiological studies on possible health effects of mobile phone base stations. Joint Conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) and the International Society for Exposure Assessment (ISEA), September 2-6, 2006, Paris, in: Epidemiology, 17, 6, 74.  Peer reviewed

Röösli, M., Feychting, M., Hamnerius, Y., Kheifets, L., Kuster, N., Ruiz, I., Schüz, J., Wiart, J., Neubauer, G. (2006b) Feasibility of future epidemiological studies on possible health effects of mobile phone base stations. Joint Conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) and the International Society for Exposure Assessment (ISEA), September 2-6, 2006, Paris (Abstract book).  Peer reviewed

Feychting, M. (2006) CEFALO - A case-control study of brain tumours in children and adolescents and mobile phone use. Joint Conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) and the International Society for Exposure Assessment (ISEA), September 2-6, 2006, Paris (Abstract book).  Peer reviewed

Christensen, J.S., Mortensen, L.H., Röösli, M., Feychting, M., Tynes, T., Andersen, T.V., Schmidt, L.S., Poulsen, A.H., Aydin, D., Kuehni, C.E., Prochazka, M., Lannering, B., Klaeboe, L., Eggen, T., Schüz, J. (2012). Brain tumors in children and adolescents and exposure to animals and farm life: a multicenter case-control study (CEFALO). Cancer Causes Control, 23, 1463-1473. Download  Peer reviewed

Aydin, D., Feychting, M., Schüz, J., Röösli, M. (2012a). Childhood brain tumours and use of mobile phones: comparison of a case–control study with incidence data. Environmental Health, 11, 35. Commentary. Download  Peer reviewed

Aydin, D., Röösli, M. (2012b). Mobiltelefongebrauch und Hirntumorrisiko bei Kindern und Jugendlichen - die CEFALO-Studie, EMF Spektrum, 1, 2012, 11-15. Download  Peer reviewed

Shu, X., Prochazka, M., Lannering, B., Schüz,  J., Röösli,  M., Tynes,  T., Kuehni,  C. E., Andersen, T. V., Infanger,  D., Schmidt,  L. S., Poulsen,  A. H., Klaeboe,  L., Eggen  T. & Feychting  M. (2014). Atopic conditions and brain tumor risk in children and adolescents—an international case–control study (CEFALO). Annals of Oncology, doi:10.1093/annonc/mdu048 Download  Peer reviewed

Fahmideh M.A., Lavebratt C, Schüz J., Röösli M., Tynes T., Grotzer M.A., Johansen C., Kuehni C.E., Lannering B., Prochazka M., Schmidt L.S., Feychting M. (2015). CCDC26, CDKN2BAS, RTEL1, and TERT Polymorphisms in Pediatric Brain Tumor Susceptibility. Carcinogenesis, 36, 8, 876-882. Download  Peer reviewed

Vienneau, D., Infanger,D. Feychting M., Schüz J., Samsø Schmidt L., Harbo Poulsen A., Tettamanti G., Klæboe L., Kuehni C.E., Tynes T., Von der Weid N. Lannering B., Röösli M. (2016). A multinational case-control study on childhood brain tumours, anthropogenic factors, birth characteristics and prenatal exposures: a validation of interview data. Cancer Epidemiology, 40, 52–59. Download  Peer reviewed

Fahmideh, M.A., Lavebratt C, Schüz J., Röösli M., Tynes T., Grotzer M.A., Johansen C., Kuehni C.E., Lannering B., Prochazka M., Schmidt L.S., Feychting M. (2016). Common Genetic Variations in Cell Cycle and DNA Repair Pathways Associated with Pediatric Brain Tumor Susceptibility, Oncotarget. epub ahead of print. Download  Peer reviewed

Tettamanti, G., Xiaochen, S., Fahmideh, M.A., Schüz, J., Röösli, M., Tynes, T., Grotzer, M.A., Johansen, C., Klaeboe, L., Kuehni, C.E., Lannering, B., Schmidt, L.S., Vienneau, D., Feychting, M. (2016). Prenatal and postnatal medical conditions and the risk of brain tumors in children and adolescents: an international multicenter case-control study. Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, published online first, DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-16-0451. Download  Peer reviewed

Waszak, S.M. et al. (2018). Spectrum and prevalence of genetic predisposition in medulloblastoma: a retrospective genetic study and prospective validation in a clinical trial cohort. Lancet Oncol. Epub ahead of print. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(18)30242-0. Download  Peer reviewed

Aydin, D., Feychting, M., Schüz, J., Andersen, T.V., Poulsen, A.H., Prochazka, M., Klaeboe, L., Kuehni, C.E., Tynes, T., Röösli, M. (2011b). Impact of Random and Systematic Recall Errors and Selection Bias in Case-Control Studies on Mobile Phone Use and Brain Tumors in Adolescents (CEFALO Study). Bioelectromagnetics, 32, 5, 396-407.

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