Research Outline

Research Status on Effects of RF emissions


To understand the current status of research on potentially harmful effects of RF emissions.

Early Findings


  • In 2011, an International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).
  • In 2015, a report was published by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR9) on the effects of exposure to EMF on frequencies in ranges already used in mobile telephony.
  • According to this report, epidemiological studies on mobile phone RF-EMF exposure do not show an increased risk of brain tumors, and other cancers of the head and neck region. However, some studies raised questions regarding the increased risk of glioma and acoustic neuroma in heavy users of mobile phones.
  • Due to this data, an IARC advisory committee has recommended reassessing the cancer risks associated with RF radiation.
  • According to the panel's report issued on April 2019, this reassessment was "high priority."
  • A number of scientists argued that IARC should upgrade RF to a "probable" cancer agent [Group 2A] or simply "carcinogenic to humans.
  • In 2017, the results of a large cohort study, conducted in a Dutch population of 14,829 people aged 31–65 years, were published. The authors found a relationship between the overall number of reported subjective complaints and the perception of exposure, and lacked any relationship between the occurrence of ailments and the exposure estimated using the geospatial model.
  • The authors suggested that "there is a need for more multidisciplinary studies that consider the role of both actual environmental exposures and perception in relation to self-reported health outcomes."


  • According to the various research conducted on the effects of RF emissions, various bodies seem to be disagreeing on the proper classification of these emissions. For this reason, some researchers have been met with much opposition from other researchers who feel that RF emissions need a different classification and a different research approach as a result.