On radar and radio exposure and cancer in the military setting

Michael Peleg, Elliot M. Berry, Mora Deitch, Or Nativ, Elihu Richter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: In 2018, we reported a case series of 47 patients diagnosed with cancer following several years of exposure to high-intensity whole-body radiofrequency radiation (RFR) using the parameter of percentage frequency (PF). Consistent high and statistically significant PFs of hematolymphoid (HL) cancers were found in this group and in four previous reports on RFR-exposed groups in Belgium, Poland and Israel together with increased all-cancers rates. In this paper we report a new series of 46 young cancer patients who were exposed during military service to such radiation. Materials and methods: The new group of patients comprises Israeli soldiers previously exposed to occupational RFR. The patients were self-selected to enroll in the research in cooperation with an NGO assisting patients with administrative counseling and legal and social services. The new group of patients was studied with respect to distribution (proportion) of cancer types using the method of PF. When possible, cancer risk ratios (RR) were estimated too. The results are compared to those of other occupational groups in three countries. Results: Median age at diagnosis was 23 years; duration of exposure was between 1 and 3 years and the latencies were short, median 4.6 years. The PF of HL cancers was 41.3%, 95% CI (27%–57%), versus 22.7% expected in non-exposed subjects matched for age and gender profiles, p = 0.003; 19 out of the 46 patients had HL cancers. The PF of Hodgkin lymphoma cancers was 21.7%, 95%CI (11%–36%), versus 11.6% expected, p = 0.033. For a subgroup of 6 patients, the number of soldiers in the units was known, and we were able estimate approximately the overall cancer risk ratio (RR) after 8 years as being 8.0 with 95% CI (2.9, 17), p < 0.002, with only 0.75 cases expected from the Cancer Registry data. In this subgroup, there were 3 HL cancer cases and 3 non-HL cases. Sarcoma PF was higher than expected, 7 out of the 46 patients were diagnosed with sarcoma, PF = 15.2%, 95%CI (6.3%–28.9%), p = 0.04 versus the expected PF of 7%. Conclusion: The HL PF was high and consistent with previous reports. Epidemiological studies on excess risk for HL and other cancers, brain tumors in cellphone users, and experimental studies on RFR and carcinogenicity strongly point to a cause-effect relationship. It is mandatory to reduce the RFR exposure of all personnel to that of the typical community levels, including the peak level of radar pulses. Radiation protection, safety instructions, cancer risk warnings and quantitative data on individual exposure together with regular medical monitoring must be instituted for all personnel exposed to such risks. 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114610
JournalEnvironmental Research
Volume216
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.

Keywords

  • Hematolymphoid cancers
  • Hematopoietic malignancies
  • Non-ionizing radiation
  • Radar
  • Radio-frequency radiation
  • Sarcoma

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