Children and pregnant women are most at risk from cell phone and wireless exposures. For children, cancer risks may be greater than that for adults because of greater penetration and absorption of cell phone radiation in the brains of children and because the developing nervous system of children is more susceptible to tissue damaging agents.
“The average RF energy deposition is twice as high in certain regions of children’s brains and up to 10 times higher in the bone marrow of children’s skulls, compared to energy deposition in adult brains and skulls.”
Doctors are in a unique position to directly educate their patients and their families. This page contains resources for pediatricians including research studies, educational resources, and links to learn more.
The US National Toxicology Program released final reports o their $25 million animal study on long-term exposure to radiofrequency EMF radiation. They found statistically significant increases in DNA damage, heart damage, increased brain tumors (malignant gliomas)and increased heart tumors (malignant schwannomas). The heart tumors were deemed “clear evidence of cancer.” Researchers with the renowned Ramazzini Institute in Italy published findings in 2018 that lab animals exposed to environmental levels of RF-EMF developed the same types of cancers the US National Toxicology Program found in their large-scale lifetime animal study (Falcioni 2018). The findings from these animal studies corroborate the research results from long term case control studies in humans which found increased in tumors of the same cell types- schwannomas and gliomas. Seven years ago, in 2011, radiofrequency electromagnetic fields were classified as a Group 2B possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer based on this research that found increases of acoustic neuromas and brain cancers in humans using cell phones long term. Now, in 2018, several prominent scientists have concluded that the body of current research substantially strengthens evidence that RF-EMF causes cancer, and they conclude that RF-EMF can be regarded as a human carcinogen (Hardell and Carlberg, 2017, Peleg et al., 2018, Miller et al., 2018).
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that families develop home rules to limit digital devices and that children under age two have no screen time. The AAP has also advised the US government to reassess and strengthen regulations regarding human exposure to wireless radiation that have not been altered since 1996. In multiple letters, the AAP states that children and pregnant women need more protections and that regulations must account for the real world use of phones and wireless devices, pointing to research that indicates children’s brains and bodies absorb proportionately more wireless radiation due to their unique physiology and lack of myelination.
The California Department of Health, the Connecticut Department of Health, many international health organizations and medical associations and more than 20 governments are recommending wireless exposure reduction, especially for children. Although institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic advise men to keep phones and wireless devices away from their reproductive organs, the public remains largely unaware.
Some examples of the latest research on electromagnetic radiation includes:
- A study (Foerster 2018) on adolescents found decreased memory scores with higher RF exposures to the brain after one year. The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute used company data records, personal measurement devices and sophisticated brain modeling research to estimate the RFR dose to the grey matter of the brain. This study was a follow up to Shoeni 2015 that also found higher RF exposure linked to impaired memory in adolescents.
- Kaiser Permanente researchers have published several studies linking pregnant women’s exposure to magnetic EMF fields to increased miscarriage, and in the women’s prenatally exposed children to increased asthma and obesity. Dr. De-Kun Li of Kaiser presented this research in a webinar with The Collaborative on Health and the Environment.
- A research team, led by Dr. Hugh Taylor, Chief of Obstetrics at Yale Medicine, found that prenatal EMF exposure led to higher hyperactivity, poorer memory and altered brain function — corroborating prior published research findings of altered brain development after exposure. These studies prompted 250 doctors and other child health experts to initiate an EPA recognized educational campaign called The BabySafe Project urging pregnant women to reduce wireless exposure to minimize risks to brain development.
- A technical review concluded that EMF induced oxidative stress and free radicals — an effect known to lead to a myriad of chronic diseases — in the majority (93 out of 100) of studies.
- Studies consistently find that wireless radiation alters sleep patterns in both animals and humans. For example, study found an hour of exposure to RF-EMF caused a one-hour delay for rats to drift into REM or deep sleep. Research consistently finds alterations in the electroencephalogram (EEG) during sleep in randomized crossover studies of people exposed to phone radiation prior to sleep (Loughran et al. 2012; Lustenberger et al. 2013; Regel et al. 2007; Schmid et al. 2012). Lustenberger et al. 2013 also observed reduced performance in a motor sequence task after a night with RF-EMF exposure compared with the sham condition.
Please be aware of the organization Physicians for Safe Technology “We are a group of physicians and health professionals whose mission is to provide trusted leadership in promoting, healthy and safe environments through the safer use of technology at home, in schools, in the workplace, in healthcare settings and in communities. Our aim is to prevent acute and chronic diseases by encouraging understanding of the connection between the public, psychosocial and environmental health effects of using modern technology.”
- “Children are increasingly using cell phones. “Family package” deals make it easy for parents to obtain phones for their children, and the phones provide parents with the comfort of easy access to their children. However, cell phones emit radio frequency (RF) radiation (Bucher & the Committee on Appropriations, 2010). While the government has deemed RF radiation to be safe, there is no current significant research to make this claim. To determine the relationship between cell phone radiation and brain cancer requires long-term studies lasting decades and with inclusion of frequent users in the subject pool. Further, to extend the results of any study to children requires controlling for the differences between juveniles and adults regarding the composition of the head, and bone density and neural tissue. Dr. L. Hardell of the University Hospital of Sweden noted that “it is necessary to apply the precautionary principle in this situation,” especially for long-term exposure that is likely to affect children (Hardell as cited in Mead, 2008, p. 1). There is cause for concern.”
The Austrian Medical Association Guidelines for Diagnosis and Treatment of EMF related Health Problems
The Austrian Medical Association has developed a guideline for differential diagnosis and treatment of health problems associated with outdoor and indoor electrosmog. Guidelines of the Austrian Medical Association for the diagnosis and treatment of EMF related health problems and illnesses (EMF syndrome)
The BabySafe Project: Doctors joining together to educate pregnant women on how to reduce their risk.
Research to Know
Anthony B. Miller, L. Lloyd Morgan, Iris Udasin, Devra Lee Davis, Cancer epidemiology update, following the 2011 IARC evaluation of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (Monograph 102), Environmental Research, Volume 167, 2018, Pages 673-683, ISSN 0013-9351
Fernández, A.A. de Salles, M.E. Sears, R.D. Morris, D.L. Davis, Absorption of wireless radiation in the child versus adult brain and eye from cell phone conversation or virtual reality, Environmental Research, 2018, , ISSN 0013-9351
Ronald L. Melnick, Commentary on the utility of the National Toxicology Program study on cell phone radiofrequency radiation data for assessing human health risks despite unfounded criticisms aimed at minimizing the findings of adverse health effects, Environmental Research, Volume 168, 2019, Pages 1-6, ISSN 0013-9351
Adams, Jessica A., et al. “Effect of mobile telephones on sperm quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Environmental International, vol. 70, 2014, pp. 106-12.
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Alster, Norm. “Captured agency: How the Federal Communications Commission is dominated by the industries it presumably regulates.” Edmund J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University, 2015.
Atasoy, Halil I., et al. “Immunohistopathologic demonstration of deleterious effects on growing rat testes of radiofrequency waves emitted from conventional Wi-Fi devices.” Journal of Pediatric Urology, vol. 9, no. 2, 2013, pp. 223-9.
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Byun, Yoon-Hwan, et al. “Mobile phone use, blood lead levels, and attention deficit hyperactivity symptoms in children: a longitudinal study.” PLoS One, vol. 8, no. 3, 2013.
Byun, Yoon-Hwan, et al. “Mobile Phone Use, Blood Lead Levels, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Symptoms in Children: A Longitudinal Study. PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 3, 2013.
Cardis, Elisabeth, et al. “Risk of brain tumours in relation to estimated RF dose from mobile phones: results from five Interphone countries.” Occupational and Environmental Medicine, vol. 68, no. 9, 2011, pp. 631-40.
Carlberg, Michael and Lennart Hardell. “Decreased survival of glioma patients with astrocytoma grade IV (glioblastoma multiforme) associated with long-term use of mobile and cordless phones.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 11, no. 10, 2014, pp. 10790-805.
Carlberg, Michael and Lennart Hardell. “Evaluation of Mobile Phone and Cordless Phone Use and Glioma Risk Using the Bradford Hill Viewpoints from 1965 on Association or Causation.” BioMed Research International, vol. 2017, 2017.
Carlberg, Michael, et al. “Increasing incidence of thyroid cancer in the Nordic countries with main focus on Swedish data.” BMC Cancer, vol. 16, no. 426, 2016. DOWNLOAD PDF
Coureau, Gaëlle, et al. “Mobile phone use and brain tumours in the CERENAT case-control study.” Occupational and Environmental Medicine, vol. 71, no. 7, 2014, pp. 514-22. DOWNLOAD PDF
Cucurachi, S., et al. “A review of the ecological effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF).” Environment International 51 (2013): 116-40.
Divan, Hozefa A., et al. “Cell phone use and behavioural problems in young children.” Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health, vol 66, no. 6, 2012, pp. 524-9.
Fernández-Rodríguez, Claudio Enrique, Alvaro Augusto Almeida De Salles, and Devra Lee Davis. “Dosimetric Simulations of Brain Absorption of Mobile Phone Radiation–The Relationship Between psSAR and Age.” IEEE Access vol. 3, 2015, pp. 2425-30. DOWNLOAD PDF
Ferreira, Juliana Borges, and Álvaro Augusto Almeida de Salles. “Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) in the head of Tablet users.” 7th Latin American Workshop On Communications, 2015.
Gandhi, Om P., et al. “Exposure limits: the underestimation of absorbed cell phone radiation, especially in children.” Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, vol. 31, no. 1, 2012, pp. 34-51.
Gultekin, David H., and Lothar Moeller. “NMR imaging of cell phone radiation absorption in brain tissue.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 110, no. 1, 2013, pp. 58-63.
Hardell, Lennart and Michael Carlberg. “Mobile phone and cordless phone use and the risk for glioma–Analysis of pooled case-control studies in Sweden, 1997–2003 and 2007–2009.” Pathophysiology, vol. 22, no. 1, 2015, pp. 1-13.
Hardell, Lennart and Michael Carlberg. “Using the Hill viewpoints from 1965 for evaluating strengths of evidence of the risk for brain tumors associated with use of mobile and cordless phones.” Reviews on Environmental Health, vol. 28, no. 2-3, 2013, pp. 97-106.
Hardell, Lennart, Michael Carlberg, and David Gee. “Mobile phone use and brain tumour risk: early warnings, early actions?” Late Lessons from Early Warnings, pt. 2, pp. 509-29, 2012.
Houston, B.J., et al. “The effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation on sperm function.” Reproduction, vol. 152, no. 2, 2016, pp. R263-76.
IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. “IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans. Non-Ionizing Radiation, Part 2: Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields.” IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans/World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer vol. 102 (2013).
Kostoff, Ronald N., and Clifford GY Lau. “Combined biological and health effects of electromagnetic fields and other agents in the published literature.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change vol. 80, no. 7, 2013, no. 1331-49.
Leszczynski, Dariusz, et al. “Non‐thermal activation of the hsp27/p38MAPK stress pathway by mobile phone radiation in human endothelial cells: Molecular mechanism for cancer‐and blood‐brain barrier‐related effects.” Differentiation, vol. 70, no. 2‐3, 2002, pp. 120-9.
Lerchl, Alexander, et al. “Tumor promotion by exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields below exposure limits for humans.” Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, vol. 459, no. 4, 2015, pp. 585-90.
Markovà, Eva, Lars OG Malmgren, and Igor Y. Belyaev. “Microwaves from mobile phones inhibit 53BP1 focus formation in human stem cells more strongly than in differentiated cells: possible mechanistic link to cancer risk.” Environ Health Perspect, vol. 118, no. 3, 2010, pp. 394-9.
Pall, Martin L. “EMFs act via activation of voltage-gated calcium channels to produce beneficial or adverse effects.” Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, vol. 17, no. 8, 2013, pp. 958-65.
Papageorgiou, Charalabos C., et al. “Effects of wi-fi signals on the p300 component of event-related potentials during an auditory hayling task.” Journal of Integrative Neuroscience, vol. 10, no. 2, 2011, pp. 189-202.
Panagopoulos, Dimitris J., Olle Johansson, and George L. Carlo. “Real versus simulated mobile phone exposures in experimental studies.” BioMed Research International, 2015. DOWNLOAD PDF
Panagopoulos, Dimitris J., Olle Johansson, and George L. Carlo. “Polarization: A Key Difference between Man-made and Natural Electromagnetic Fields, in regard to Biological Activity.” Scientific Reports, vol. 5, no. 12914, 2015.
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Redmayne, Mary. “International policy and advisory response regarding children’s exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF).” Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, vol. 35, no. 2, 2016, pp. 176-85.
Schoeni et al., Memory performance, wireless communication and exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: A prospective cohort study in adolescents, Environ Int. 2015 Dec;85:343-51. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2015.09.025. Epub 2015 Oct 30.
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Soffritti, Morando, et al. “Synergism between sinusoidal-50 Hz magnetic field and formaldehyde in triggering carcinogenic effects in male Sprague–Dawley rats.” American Journal of Industrial Medicine, vol. 59, no. 7, 2016, pp. 509-21.
Soffritti, Morando, et al. “Life-span exposure to sinusoidal-50 Hz magnetic field and acute low-dose γ radiation induce carcinogenic effects in Sprague-Dawley rats.” International Journal of Radiation Biology, vol. 92, no. 4, 2016, pp. 202-14.
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Wyde, Michael, et al. “Report of Partial findings from the National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation in Hsd: Sprague Dawley® SD rats (Whole Body Exposure).”
Yakymenko, Igor, et al. “Oxidative mechanisms of biological activity of low-intensity radiofrequency radiation.” Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, vol. 35, no. 2, 2016, pp 186-202.
Cell Phones: Technology, Exposures, Health Effects by Environment and Human Health, Inc. lead authors from Yale School of Medicine.
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