From the blog of Dariusz Leszczynski, Between a Rock and A Hard Place:
August 14, 2014
In May/June 2011, 30 experts (I was one of them) invited by the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), gathered in Lyon to discuss the scientific studies on radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) and cancer.
After intense deliberations, to the great surprise of the world-at-large, experts decided to classify RF-EMF emitted by e.g. cell phones, cell towers and wi-fi networks, as a possible human carcinogen ”“ in IARC scale “2B carcinogen”.
IARC has somewhat complicated but detailed set of rules that guide classification of carcinogenicity. The rules are in place to prevent “out of the blue sky” classifications. Protocols need to be followed and requirements fulfilled before carcinogen is classified.
Once the evidence from human studies is determined to be limited, and the same limited evidence is assigned to the evidence from experimental animal studies, classification of RF was automatically set as 2B possible carcinogen (for details see Preamble of IARC Monograph 102).
There are three possible scenarios that could change classification from 2B possible carcinogen to a higher group of carcinogenicity.
The first scenario: if the evidence from human studies would be changed from limited to sufficient then, automatically, no matter what other evidence is, the classification would be ”“ group 1 ”“ carcinogenic to humans.
The second scenario: if the evidence from experimental animal studies would be changed from limited to sufficient, and the evidence from human studies would remain as limited, the classification would change and become 2A ”“ probable carcinogen.
The third scenario: if the mechanistic evidence shows that the agent (RF) clearly belongs to a class of agents for which one or more members have been classified in group 1 or group 2A. This means that, in practice, mechanistic evidence for RF effects can be fully ignored by the IARC classification system because RF does not belong to a group of agents classified as group 1 or 2A carcinogens.