Wireless radiation a carcinogen, say scientists

Top researchers from Israel and Germany are calling for wireless radiation to be classified as carcinogenic, following the results of a recent study on military personnel.

The research team (Peleg et al) investigated a group of 46 young cancer patients, both male and female, who were exposed to radiofrequency (RF/wireless) radiation during their military service. Some had operated radar and/or radio communications transmitters and others had worked close to these facilities. They’d received high levels of exposure to the whole body – higher levels than the general public would normally receive – but still within the limits set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation protection (ICNIRP Guidelines) on which the standards of many countries, including Australia, are based. The young patients had been exposed for one to three years and some were as young as 19 when diagnosed with cancer.

The researchers found that, of the 46 patients, 19 had hematolymphoid (HL) cancer, a rate that was approximately double that expected for people of their age and sex in the general population. They also found higher-than-normal risks of other cancers.

The results are consistent with a study by the same authors published in 2018 and also with four other studies on people exposed to high levels of radiofrequency radiation at work or in the military.

The authors said, ‘The data presented …. [from all six studies] … show high HL cancer risk and high all cancers risk in six independent groups of people exposed to RFR in the military/occupational setting.’ They added that, ‘These groups were diagnosed in different locations spread over three countries, in different times spread over tens of years and operated different radiation-emitting equipment and different generations of equipment.’

Animal studies, they pointed out, show the same sorts of cancer increases.

From this, the authors concluded that, ‘high intensity and long-term whole-body exposure to RFR causes an increase in cancer risk in groups of occupationally exposed young people.'

ICNIRP Guidelines

Given that these cancer increases occurred at levels of radiation that complied with the ICNIRP Guidelines, the authors point out that the Guidelines are not protecting people’s health.

‘The findings from our study add to the growing body of evidence underscoring the gross inadequacy of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) thermal standards. Based on our findings and on the previous accumulated research, we endorse the recommendations to reclassify RFR exposure as a human carcinogen, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) group 1.’

It is currently classified as a Class 2B (‘possible’) carcinogen.


‘Considering the growing evidence of carcinogenicity, it is crucial to reduce human exposure to RFR while additional data accumulate,’ the authors said. They suggested a number of strategies that could help, including:

  • setting more appropriate standards (1 µW/cm2 for average measurements and 5 µW/cm2 for peak measurements);

  • increasing the distance between transmitters and servicemen/women

  • using antennas that reduce exposure;

  • shielding transmitters/soldiers

  • designing equipment to reduce exposure

  • requiring protective clothing (which should not replace the need for other precautions)

  • informing personnel about the cancer risks

  • regular medical screening

  • studies on all personnel exposed to RF radiation.

         The best solution, they point out, ‘is a worldwide peace’.

Peleg M, Berry EM, Deitch M, Nativ O, Richter E. On radar and radio exposure and cancer in the military setting. Environ Res. 2023 Jan 1;216(Pt 2):114610. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.114610. Epub 2022 Oct 21. PMID: 36279918

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