22 April 2019 | Microwave News |
Animal Studies Prompt Calls To Upgrade Classification to “Probably Carcinogenic” or Higher
An advisory committee has recommended that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reassess the cancer risks associated with RF radiation. This should be a “high priority,” according to the panel’s report, which was issued last week.
The group, with 29 members from 18 countries, suggests that the new evaluation take place between 2022 and 2024.
In May 2011, an IARC expert committee classified RF radiation as a possible human carcinogen [Group 2B]. Since then, the evidence has grown stronger. After the NTP and Ramazzini animal studies both showed higher rates of cancer among rats exposed to cell phone radiation, a number of observers argued that IARC should upgrade RF to a “probable” cancer agent [Group 2A] or simply “carcinogenic to humans” [Group 1]. (More on the IARC classifications here.)
Following the release of the Ramazzini Institute results last year, Fiorella Belpoggi, the principal investigator, called on IARC to take another look (see our story). Belpoggi is the director of the Institute’s Research Center in Bologna, Italy. She was a member of the IARC priorities panel but would not comment on their deliberations at a meeting held during the last week of March in Lyon, IARC’s hometown. IARC required participants to sign a confidentiality agreement, she said.
“It is very good news,” Tony Miller, an emeritus professor of epidemiology at the University of Toronto, wrote in an e-mail. He cited the substantial human epidemiology and animal evidence of carcinogenicity that has accrued since the 2011 evaluation. “If a working group were to conclude that RF is a Group 1 human carcinogen, as many of us now believe,” he said, “it would be impossible for governments and public health authorities to ignore.”
Neither Kurt Straif, the head of IARC’s Monographs section, nor Joachim Schüz, the head of its environment and radiation section, responded to a query on the likelihood that the agency would follow through and convene a new RF assessment committee. Schüz has made no secret of his skepticism of an association between RF and cancer.
Despite the confidentiality of the priority panel’s deliberations, one insider revealed that, during the extensive discussion of the RF nomination at the meeting, some argued against it. This might explain why, while RF was given a high priority, it was assigned to the second half of IARC’s five-year planning window (2020-2024).
Details, including the full membership of the priorities panel, are posted on the Lancet Oncology Web site (free access).
Thank you to LF for sharing this article with us @ Z5G!