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When theory and observation collide: Can non-ionizing radiation cause cancer?
Magda Havas, B.Sc., Ph.D.
Trent School of the Environment, Trent University, 1600 West Bank Drive, Peterborough, ON, K9J 0G2, Canada
Received 23 August 2016, Revised 6 October 2016, Accepted 7 October 2016, Available online 28 November 2016
There is sufficient scientific evidence of cellular damage caused by NIR well below thermal guidelines.
Applying the ionization model to non-ionizing radiation is inappropriate as mechanisms of biological interactions differ.
Free radicals can and do cause cancer and non-ionizing radiation can and does increase free-radicals.
This paper attempts to resolve the debate about whether non-ionizing radiation (NIR) can cause cancer–a debate that has been ongoing for decades. The rationale, put forward mostly by physicists and accepted by many health agencies, is that, “since NIR does not have enough energy to dislodge electrons, it is unable to cause cancer.” This argument is based on a flawed assumption and uses the model of ionizing radiation (IR) to explain NIR, which is inappropriate. Evidence of free-radical damage has been repeatedly documented among humans, animals, plants and microorganisms for both extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields (EMF) and for radio frequency (RF) radiation, neither of which is ionizing. While IR directly damages DNA, NIR interferes with the oxidative repair mechanisms resulting in oxidative stress, damage to cellular components including DNA, and damage to cellular processes leading to cancer. Furthermore, free-radical damage explains the increased cancer risks associated with mobile phone use, occupational exposure to NIR (ELF EMF and RFR), and residential exposure to power lines and RF transmitters including mobile phones, cell phone base stations, broadcast antennas, and radar installations.
Non-ionizing radiation; Oxidative stress; Free radicals; Cancer
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