The Effect of Continuous Low-Intensity Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields from Radio Base Stations to Cancer Mortality in Brazil

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 29;18(3):1229. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18031229.


Background: this study aims to estimate the rate of death by cancer as a result of Radio Base Station (RBS) radiofrequency exposure, especially for breast, cervix, lung, and esophagus cancers.

Methods: we collected information on the number of deaths by cancer, gender, age group, gross domestic product per capita, death year, and the amount of exposure over a lifetime. We investigated all cancer types and some specific types (breast, cervix, lung, and esophagus cancers).

Results: in capitals where RBS radiofrequency exposure was higher than 2000/antennas-year, the average mortality rate was 112/100,000 for all cancers. The adjusted analysis showed that, the higher the exposure to RBS radiofrequency, the higher cancer mortality was. The highest adjusted risk was observed for cervix cancer (rate ratio = 2.18). The spatial analysis showed that the highest RBS radiofrequency exposure was observed in a city in southern Brazil that also showed the highest mortality rate for all types of cancer and specifically for lung and breast cancer.

Conclusion: the balance of our results indicates that exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from RBS increases the rate of death for all types of cancer.

Keywords: breast neoplasms; cancer; electromagnetic fields; esophageal neoplasms; lung neoplasms; mortality; uterine cervical neoplasms.

MeSH terms

  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cell Phone*
  • Cities
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms*
  • Radio Waves / adverse effects