Lost Opportunities for Cancer Prevention: Historical Evidence on early Warnings with Emphasis on Radiofrequency Radiation

Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg – 19Mar2021

In this open access article lost opportunities for cancer prevention are discussed including tobacco, asbestos, DDT, dioxins, such pesticides such as phenoxy acetic acids and glyphosate.

Mostly there has been a long time period between the first publications on cancer risks until preventive measurements have been undertaken. Thereby the possibility to save lives has been lost.

One more recent example is exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation that in 2011 was evaluated by IARC at WHO to be a possible human carcinogen, Group 2B. Since then the evidence has increased so that RF radiation could be classified as a human cancer-causing agent. Based on published case-control studies the numbers of persons with brain and head tumours that could have been prevented are calculated. The study reports also increasing rates of brain tumours in Sweden based on the hospital in-patient register both in men and women.


Some historical aspects on late lessons from early warnings on cancer risks with lost time for prevention are discussed. One current example is the cancer-causing effect from radiofrequency (RF) radiation. Studies since decades have shown increased human cancer risk. The fifth generation, 5G, for wireless communication is about to be implemented world-wide despite no comprehensive investigations of potential risks to human health and the environment. This has created debate on this technology among concerned people in many countries. In an appeal to EU in September 2017, currently endorsed by more than 400 scientists and medical doctors, a moratorium on the 5G deployment was required until proper scientific evaluation of negative consequences has been made (www.5Gappeal.eu). That request has not been taken seriously by EU. Lack of proper unbiased risk evaluation of the 5G technology makes adverse effects impossible to be foreseen. This disregard is exemplified by the recent report from the International Commission on non-ionizing radiation protection (ICNIRP) whereby only thermal (heating) effects from RF radiation are acknowledged despite a large number of reported non-thermal effects. Thus, no health effects are acknowledged by ICNIRP for non-thermal RF electromagnetic fields in the range of 100 kHz–300 GHz. Based on results in three case-control studies on use of wireless phones we present preventable fraction for brain tumors. Numbers of brain tumors of not defined type were found to increase in Sweden, especially in the age group 20–39 years in both genders, based on the Swedish Inpatient Register. This may be caused by the high prevalence of wireless phone use among children and in adolescence taking a reasonable latency period and the higher vulnerability to RF radiation among young persons.

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Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg
Lost opportunities for cancer prevention: historical evidence on early warnings with emphasis on radiofrequency radiation
De Gruyter | 2021 – DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2020-0168

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Source – Lennart Hardell’s blog – A blog about environmental and health related research