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Bioelectromagnetics. 2003;Suppl 6:S74-100.

Radio frequency electromagnetic fields: cancer, mutagenesis, and genotoxicity.

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  • 1Independent Consultant, Palo Alto, California 94303, USA.


We present critiques of epidemiologic studies and experimental investigations, published mostly in peer-reviewed journals, on cancer and related effects from exposure to nonionizing electromagnetic fields in the nominal frequency range of 3 kHz to 300 GHz of interest to Subcommittee 4 (SC4) of the International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety (ICES). The major topics discussed are presented under the headings Epidemiologic and Other Findings on Human Exposure, Mammals Exposed In Vivo, Mammalian Live Tissues and Cell Preparations Exposed In Vitro, and Mutagenesis and Genotoxicity in Microorganisms and Fruit Flies. Under each major topic, we present minireviews of papers on various specific endpoints investigated. The section on Epidemiologic and Other Findings on Human Exposure is divided into two subsections, the first on possible carcinogenic effects of exposure from emitters not in physical contact with the populations studied, for example, transmitting antennas and other devices. Discussed in the second subsection are studies of postulated carcinogenic effects from use of mobile phones, with prominence given to brain tumors from use of cellular and cordless telephones in direct physical contact with an ear of each subject. In both subsections, some investigations yielded positive findings, others had negative findings, including papers directed toward experimentally verifying positive findings, and both were reported in a few instances. Further research on various important aspects may resolve such differences. Overall, however, the preponderance of published epidemiologic and experimental findings do not support the supposition that in vivo or in vitro exposures to such fields are carcinogenic.

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