Researchers Report No Link between Exposure to High-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields and Brain Tumors


Researchers from Barcelona Institute for Global Health suggested that exposure to high-frequency electromagnetic field (EMF) at work place does not lead to glioma or meningioma.

High frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) is generated when charged particles and are a form of non-ionizing radiation with intermediate frequency (IF) of 3kHz-10MHz and radiofrequency (RF) of 10MHz-300 GHz. Exposure to high-frequency electromagnetic fields is generally considered hazardous for a brain as it causes brain tumor. Such radio frequencies were declared as possibly carcinogenic to humans by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2011. These conclusions were made as part of animal studies. However, a study led by Elisabeth Cardis, Head of the Radiation Programme at ISGlobal revealed that occupational high-frequency EMF exposure is not a risk factor for brain tumors. The research was published in Environment International on July 8, 2018.

A ‘source-exposure matrix’ was developed by the researchers based on measurements collected from the literature for EMF sources. Analysis of Individual data along with this tool was used to estimate the relation between individual RF and IF exposure at work and probable risk of glioma or meningioma in adults. The INTEROCC study, performed under the umbrella of INTERPHONE, and supported by the European project GERoNiMO, comprised 2,054 glioma cases, 1,924 meningioma cases and 5,601 controls from seven countries. Factors such as working with or near radars, telecommunication antennas, medical diagnosis and treatment and microwave drying ovens, among others are the occupational sectors that involved exposure to electromagnetic fields. The researchers found no clear evidence of association between cumulative high-frequency EMF exposure and risk of glioma or meningioma .However, only 10% of the participants were exposed to RF and less than 1% were exposed to IF. Such low numbers limited the statistical power to find clear associations between brain tumors and exposure to high-frequency electromagnetic fields, if they exist.



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