Increased risk of cancer and heart diseases due to the exposure to the radar EMF among the population of Potenza Picena, Italy (1986-91)

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Background and aim of the work: This study investigates the possible association between the prevalence of some chronic and lethal diseases in the population and the exposure to the EMF radiation of the military radar ARGOS 10, that had been located since 1970 until 1998 in the hamlet of Casette Antonelli, Potenza Picena (MC), Italy. Methods: Five types of diseases were researched in the hospital admissions between 1986 and 1991: cancer, heart attacks and strokes, miscarriages, congenital malformations and severe behavioral disorders. The search for such diseases was performed among 756 hospital admissions, 355 of which were for cancer and 189 for heart attack and stroke. For each observed case the address of residence was identified and the corresponding level of exposure to the radar EMF radiation was evaluated, in order to collect a large sample of data suitable to a statistical analysis based on risk indices. Results: The exposure to the radar radiofrequency emissions can increase the risk of cancer and heart diseases. Conclusions: For all the pathologies considered, the observed rate results always higher in exposed groups, since both the indices RR and OR are higher than one. In particular, the risk of cancer results to be highly significant in both patterns of comparison. For the risk of heart attack the comparison between exposed and fully exposed people is highly significant, being consistent with previous studies concluding that chronic RF exposure can bring about increased cardiovascular risk (Bortkiewicz A et al, 1995, 1996; Vangelova K et al, 2006).

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Ninety-three adult males working at AM broadcasting stations (0.738–1.503 MHz) or radio line stations volunteered for cardiological examinations. The examinations included routine electrocardiogram (ECG) at rest, analysis of heart rate variability (HRV), Holter 24-h ECG, and 24-h ambulatory blood pressure (ABP). Results of cardiological examinations were correlated with individual exposure to EM fields (maximum exposure levels during working shift, daily exposure dose, and cumulative lifetime exposure). Of the 93 subjects qualified for the study, 71 (76.3%) experienced occupational RF exposure, while the remaining 22 (23.7%) had no history of regular EM exposure. ECG abnormalities or pathological changes were recorded quite frequently (50–70%) in both exposed and control populations. There was no correlation with exposure levels. We found measurable effects in the HRV and ABP parameters in the EM-exposed population, but none could be assigned clinical significance. The results suggest that exposure of workers to EM fields can cause slight disturbances in autonomic cardiac regulation and slight dysregulation of circadian rhythms in workers exposed to EM fields exceeding 100–150 V/m.
Due to increased usage of microwave radiation, there are concerns of its adverse effect in today's society. Keeping this in view, study was aimed at workers occupationally exposed to pulsed microwave radiation, originating from marine radars. Electromagnetic field strength was measured at assigned marine radar frequencies (3 GHz, 5.5 GHz and 9.4 GHz) and corresponding specific absorption rate values were determined. Parameters of the comet assay and micronucleus test were studied both in the exposed workers and in corresponding unexposed subjects. Differences between mean tail intensity (0.67 vs. 1.22) and moment (0.08 vs. 0.16) as comet assay parameters and micronucleus test parameters (micronuclei, nucleoplasmic bridges and nuclear buds) were statistically significant between the two examined groups, suggesting that cytogenetic alterations occurred after microwave exposure. Concentrations of glutathione and malondialdehyde were measured spectrophotometrically and using high performance liquid chromatography. The glutathione concentration in exposed group was significantly lower than in controls (1.24 vs. 0.53) whereas the concentration of malondialdehyde was significantly higher (1.74 vs. 3.17), indicating oxidative stress. Results suggests that pulsed microwaves from working environment can be the cause of genetic and cell alterations and that oxidative stress can be one of the possible mechanisms of DNA and cell damage.
Cancer morbidity was registered in the whole population of military career personnel in Poland during a period of 15 years (1971-1985). Subjects exposed occupationally to radiofrequencies (RF) and microwaves (MW) were selected from the population on the basis of their service records and documented exposures at service posts. The population size varied slightly from year to year with a mean count of about 128,000 persons each year; each year about 3700 of them (2.98%) were considered as occupationally exposed to RF/MW. All subjects (exposed and non-exposed to RF/MW) were divided into age groups (20-29, 30-39, 40-49 and 50-59). All newly registered cases of cancer were divided into 12 types based on localisation of the malignancy; for neoplasms of the haemopoietic system and lymphatic organs an additional analysis based on diagnosis was performed. Morbidity rates (per 100,000 subjects annually) were calculated for all of the above localisations and types of malignancies both for the whole population and for the age groups. The mean value of 15 annual rates during 1971-1985 represented the respective morbidity rate for the whole period. Morbidity rates in the non-exposed groups of personnel were used as 'expected' (E) rates for the exposed subjects, while the real morbidity rates counted in the RF/MW-exposed personnel served as 'observed' (O) rates. This allowed the calculation of the observed/expected ratio (OER) representing the odds ratio for the exposed groups. The cancer morbidity rate for RF/MW-exposed personnel for all age groups (20-59 years) reached 119.1 per 100,000 annually (57.6 in non-exposed) with an OER of 2.07, significant at P < 0.05. The difference between observed and expected values results from higher morbidity rates due to neoplasms of the alimentary tract (OER = 3.19-3.24), brain tumours (OER = 1.91) and malignancies of the haemopoietic system and lymphatic organs (OER = 6.31). Among malignancies of the haemopoietic/lymphatic systems, the largest differences in morbidity rates between exposed and non-exposed personnel were found for chronic myelocytic leukaemia (OER = 13.9), acute myeloblastic leukaemia (OER = 8.62) and non-Hodgkin lymphomas (OER = 5.82).
This study was undertaken to evaluate the neurovegetative regulation of the heart in workers occupationally exposed to medium frequency (MF) electromagnetic (EM) fields. The subjects were 71 workers of MF broadcast stations, aged 20-68 (mean 47.1) with the duration of work under exposure ranging from 2-40 years and 22 workers of radio link stations, aged 21-65 (mean 46.9) who were not exposed to MF EM fields. The distribution of age and work tenure in both groups did not differ significantly. Heart rate variability (HRV) was analysed basing on 512 normal heart evolutions registered in resting, from the body surface, using the Medea-HRV system. The analysis concerned time-domain and frequency-domain parameters of HRV using fast fourier transformation. Power spectrum in the low (0.05-0.15 Hz) and high (0.15-0.35 Hz) frequency bands (LF and HF, respectively) was determined. Statistically insignificant differences found between exposed and non-exposed groups were found either in time- or in frequency-domain parameters of HRV. No correlation between the power spectrum and the subjects age was noted. Such a relationship, however, could be observed in the control group. In the study group a statistically significant negative correlation was found between the maximum intensity of EM fields and HF power spectrum. Thus it was concluded that occupational exposure to EM fields brings about impairments in the neurovegetative regulation of the cardiovascular function.
Public and occupational exposures to microwave (RF) are of two main types. The first type of exposures are those connected with military and industrial uses and, to some extent broadcast exposures. It is this type that most of the data cited in this study draw upon. The second type, cellular telephones and their associated broadcast requirements, have raised concerns about current exposures because of their increasingly widespread use. Four types of effects were originally reported in multiple studies: increased spontaneous abortion, shifts in red and white blood cell counts, increased somatic mutation rates in lymphocytes, and increased childhood, testicular, and other cancers. In addition, there is evidence of generalized increased disability rates from a variety of causes in one study and symptoms of sensitivity reactions and lenticular opacity in at least one other. These findings suggest that RF exposures are potentially carcinogenic and have other health effects. Therefore, prudent avoidance of unneeded exposures is recommended as a precautionary measure. Epidemiologic studies of occupational groups such as military users and air traffic controllers should have high priority because their exposures can be reasonably well characterized and the effects reported are suitable for epidemiologic monitoring. Additional community studies are needed.
In this opinion piece, the author brings together and discusses the collective relevance of possible health effects of microwave or radar exposure in military, broadcasting, and occupational circumstances, with a view to assuring optimal protective practices. Sources of the information presented include 1) historical data, 2) experiences of Polish soldiers, 3) a study of U.S. naval personnel using radar in the Korean War, 4) preliminary findings of exposures to the Skrunda, Latvia, transmitter, 5) data obtained near Hawaiian broadcasting facilities, 6) occupational studies of electronic and electrical workers, including ham radio operators, 7) reproductive outcomes among physiotherapists using short-wave and microwave diathermy, and 8) U.S. foreign service personnel exposed at Embassies in Eastern Europe. Some of the data are available in the peer-reviewed literature, others in abstracts, reports, or other non-peer-reviewed forms. Some were obtained under Freedom of Information statutes and are incomplete. For some of these, there is reason to believe that further evidence desired by the investigator was not obtained. Some are case-referent studies, but most are not. Some are ecological, and all are retrospective. Few have reliable dose estimations, and none has accurate dosage information on each subject. None includes evidence of tissue heating or any short-term effect. Possible outcomes considered included 1) blood count changes, 2) evidence of somatic mutation, 3) impairment of reproductive outcomes, especially increased spontaneous abortion, and 4) increase in cancer incidence and mortality, especially of the hematopoietic system, brain, and breast. The author presents evidence that sufficient microwave exposures are associated with all four of these outcomes, concluding that the possible effects and their timings with respect to exposure are qualitatively similar to those on ionizing radiation. A prudent course of action would be to provide more protection for those exposed than required by present regulations. No systematic effort to include negative studies is made; thus this review has a positive reporting bias.
Controversy exists concerning the health risks from exposures to radiofrequency/microwave irradiation (RF/MW). The authors report exposure-effect relationships in sentinel patients and their co-workers, who were technicians with high levels of exposure to RF/MW radiation. Information about exposures of patients with sentinel tumors was obtained from interviews, medical records, and technical sources. One patient was a member of a cohort of 25 workers with six tumors. The authors estimated relative risks for cancer in this group and latency periods for a larger group of self-reported individuals. Index patients with melanoma of the eye, testicular cancer, nasopharyngioma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and breast cancer were in the 20-37-year age group. Information about work conditions suggested prolonged exposures to high levels of RF/MW radiation that produced risks for the entire body. Clusters involved many different types of tumors. Latency periods were extremely brief in index patients and a larger self-reported group. The findings suggest that young persons exposed to high levels of RF/MW radiation for long periods in settings where preventive measures were lax were at increased risk for cancer. Very short latency periods suggest high risks from high-level exposures. Calculations derived from a linear model of dose-response suggest the need to prevent exposures in the range of 10-100 microw/cm(2).
The aim of the study was to assess the long-term effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (EMR) on the cardiovascular system. Two groups of exposed operators (49 broadcasting (BC) station and 61 TV station operators) and a control group of 110 radiorelay station operators, matched by sex and age, with similar job characteristics except for the radiofrequency EMR were studied. The EMR exposure was assessed and the time-weighted average (TWA) was calculated. The cardiovascular risk factors arterial pressure, lipid profile, body mass index, waist/hip ratio, smoking, and family history of cardiovascular disease were followed. The systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP), total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) were significantly higher in the two exposed groups. It was found that the radiofrequency EMR exposure was associated with greater chance of becoming hypertensive and dyslipidemic. The stepwise multiple regression equations showed that the SBP and TWA predicted the high TC and high LDL-C, while the TC, age and abdominal obesity were predictors for high SBP and DBP. In conclusion, our data show that the radiofrequency EMR contributes to adverse effects on the cardiovascular system.
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