Cancer in Radar Technicians Exposed to radiofrequency/microwave Radiation: Sentinel Episodes

Int J Occup Environ Health. Jul-Sep 2000;6(3):187-93. doi: 10.1179/oeh.2000.6.3.187.

Abstract

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).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allied Health Personnel*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Microwaves / adverse effects*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Radio Waves / adverse effects*
  • Radiometry
  • Risk
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sentinel Surveillance
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors