The scientists highlighted how soldiers working with Hawk missiles, David’s Sling batteries, the Iron Dome missile-defense system, Arrow missiles and Patriot batteries are receiving full body RFR exposures putting them at risk. They recommended ways for the military to mitigate the exposure.
The study was featured by the Jerusalem Post, “IDF soldiers who work with radar, Iron Dome at risk of cancer – study” stating “the researchers reported on a new series of 46 young cancer patients – 25 males and 21 females – who were exposed during military service to such radiation. Their median age when diagnosed with blood cancers was 23 years, and they were exposed to the radar between one and three years during their military service.
The scientists are Michael Peleg of the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Israel; Elliot M.Berry of Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Israel; Mora Deitch of Bar Ilan University, Israel and the German Institute for Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, Germany; Or Nativ and Elihu Richter of the Unit of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Israel.
“This is a very important study. It adds the ever growing body of research confirming the urgent need for governments to take action. Soldiers need protections. Workers need protections.” stated Dr. Devra Davis, President of Environmental Health Trust. Davis pointed out that the study also pointed out the”gross inadequacy” of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) thermal standards. ” ICNIRP and FCC limits are irrelevant to protecting the health of workers and the public.”
Citation: Peleg M, Berry EM, Deitch M, Nativ O, Richter E. On radar and radio exposure and cancer in the military setting. Environ Res. 2022 Oct 21:114610. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.114610.
Introduction: In 2018, we reported a case series of 47 patients diagnosed with cancer following several years of exposure to high-intensity whole-body radiofrequency radiation (RFR) using the parameter of percentage frequency (PF). Consistent high and statistically significant PFs of hematolymphoid (HL) cancers were found in this group and in four previous reports on RFR-exposed groups in Belgium, Poland and Israel together with increased all-cancers rates. In this paper we report a new series of 46 young cancer patients who were exposed during military service to such radiation.
Materials and methods: The new group of patients comprises Israeli soldiers previously exposed to occupational RFR. The patients were self-selected to enroll in the research in cooperation with an NGO assisting patients with administrative counseling and legal and social services. The new group of patients was studied with respect to distribution (proportion) of cancer types using the method of PF. When possible, cancer risk ratios (RR) were estimated too. The results are compared to those of other occupational groups in three countries.
Results: Median age at diagnosis was 23 years; duration of exposure was between 1 and 3 years and the latencies were short, median 4.6 years. The PF of HL cancers was 41.3%, 95% CI (27%-57%), versus 22.7% expected in non-exposed subjects matched for age and gender profiles, p = 0.003; 19 out of the 46 patients had HL cancers. The PF of Hodgkin lymphoma cancers was 21.7%, 95%CI (11%-36%), versus 11.6% expected, p = 0.033. For a subgroup of 6 patients, the number of soldiers in the units was known, and we were able estimate approximately the overall cancer risk ratio (RR) after 8 years as being 8.0 with 95% CI (2.9, 17), p < 0.002, with only 0.75 cases expected from the Cancer Registry data. In this subgroup, there were 3 HL cancer cases and 3 non-HL cases. Sarcoma PF was higher than expected, 7 out of the 46 patients were diagnosed with sarcoma, PF = 15.2%, 95%CI (6.3%-28.9%), p = 0.04 versus the expected PF of 7%.
Conclusions: The HL PF was high and consistent with previous reports. Epidemiological studies on excess risk for HL and other cancers, brain tumors in cellphone users, and experimental studies on RFR and carcinogenicity strongly point to a cause-effect relationship. It is mandatory to reduce the RFR exposure of all personnel to that of the typical community levels, including the peak level of radar pulses. Radiation protection, safety instructions, cancer risk warnings and quantitative data on individual exposure together with regular medical monitoring must be instituted for all personnel exposed to such risks. The findings from our study add to the growing body of evidence underscoring the gross inadequacy of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) thermal standards. Based on our findings and on the previous accumulated research, we endorse the recommendations to reclassify RFR exposure as a human carcinogen, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) group 1.
- Increase the distance between personnel and transmitters.
- Use antenna patterns with low sidelobes to reduce exposure.
- If applicable, insert a high metal fence acting as a Faraday shield, between a powerful transmitter and the soldiers. The shielding is effective either near the source or near the personnel.
- Create RFR-protected areas, for example, by covering buildings and tents with thin metal sheets functioning as Faraday shields or by incorporating such sheets in new relevant constructions.
- Include exposure-reducing features in all new RFR equipment designs, such as automatically reducing transmit power to the minimal needed, automatic switch-off of not needed transmitters, transmitting antennas with low sidelobes, remote control to enable distancing the soldier from the transmitting equipment, and RFR-shielded operator stations.
- Use RFR-protective clothing also including protection of the head and neck. Note that this is not a perfect protection since such clothing typically has openings. Protective clothing, while beneficial, is not a substitute for reducing the exposure at its source as described above.
- Provide information to personnel about the carcinogenicity of RFR to motivate adherence to safety rules.
- The obvious ultimate solution is a worldwide peace.