Lundquist BEMS poster paper on microwaves & carcinogenicity (20/7/02)
Tramès per Klaus Rudolph (Citizens'
presented a poster paper at the 2002 BEMS meeting in Quebec City, Canada,
last month which critically reviewed the two lifetime controlled laboratory
studies of specific-pathogen-free rodents exposed to
The most recent of these was the Repacholi study of SPF mice exposed to
simulated cellularphone radiation at or near 900 MHz (it was published
in Radiation Research in May, 1997). Pulsed radiation was employed.
A linear antenna was used and the mice were placed around its periphery
at a distance just greater than the distance calculated as the boundary
between the near and far field using the customary equation employed by
electrical engineers. (This is described as a "far field"
exposure by the authors of the report, but I take issue with this in my
critical review; I do NOT think this was a true far field exposure.)
The Repacholi study found that the microwave exposure of the mice DID
result in an increase in the cancer rate in these mice, which where genetically
predisposed to develop lymphoma. So microwave radiation was carcinogenic
to these mice in this experiment.
The earlier study was done in the 1980s on SPF rats; it was sponsored
by the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine. These rats were
exposed to pulsed 2450 MHz circularly polarized radiation inside a
In both experiments, the rodents were subjected to whole-body irradiation.
The rat study produced 5 primary malignancies in the control group, vs.
18 in the exposed group: more than a tripling of relative risk for such
malignancies. Though the experimental protocol required that this
finding give rise to the conclusion that there was a real difference between
the exposed and control groups, which would imply that microwave radiation
was responsible for the increased cancer risk, neither the contractor's
report nor any of the published papers drew this conclusion. Instead,
a number of arguments why these results should be disregarded were presented,
and this experiment has been regarded as leaving the question of carcinogencity
This spring, while reading the published paper (Chou et al. Bioelectromagnetics,
1992), I happened to check the statistical evaluation of the data on pheochromocytoma
(a benign tumor of the adrenal gland) that was reported as being evaluated
by Fisher's exact test, but could not duplicate the value of the test
statistic reported in the scientific paper, except by doubling the value
I had obtained. I immediately wrote to the author to present my calculations
and explain my inability to confirm what had been published.
The difference in the published value and my value reversed the conclusion
drawn regarding these data. In the paper, no statistically significant
difference was found, hence it was concluded that microwave radiation
had no effect. Using my value, though, a statistically significant result
WAS found, so I conclude that the microwave exposure had a tumorogenic
I was motivated to utilize the new BEMS mechanism for late abstract submission,
and prepared and submitted an abstract for a poster paper to be presented
at the BEMS meeting in June, 2002. I looked at the issue of bias in the
evaluation of experimental data, and also took a critical look at other
aspects of both experiments.
My conclusion is that both these experiments actually demonstrate that
microwave radiation is capable of being carcinogenic to living tissue,
under conditions of chronic irradiation at comparatively low radiation
I didn't make it to the BEMS meeting on time, however. I drove from
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, to Quebec City, Canada; and I was delayed 18
hours when trying to enter Canada because Canadian Customs refused to
permit my car to enter. (They refused to inspect it.) I had
to repack it twice; then, with great reluctance, on my third attempt to
enter Canada, Customs consented to do an inspection, which enabled my
car to be allowed in. This delay caused me to miss the first two
days of the BEMS meeting. I arrived Tuesday evening and posted my paper
Because mine was a late submission, my abstract doesn't appear in the
BEMS Abstract Book for this meeting.
It will take me some time to prepare a manuscript for publication. Anyone
wanting a copy of my poster paper in the meantime can send me a name and
mailing address. (Also, a modest donation of a few dollars would not be
amiss, to help cover postage and photocopying costs.)
Marjorie Lundquist, Ph.D., C.I.H.
P. O. Box 11831
Milwaukee, WI 53211-0831 USA
Message from Roy Beavers