Cancer risks in the Druze Isifya Village: Reasons and RF/MW antennas

Iris Atzmon, Shai Linn, Elihu Richter, Boris A. Portnov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The present study was initiated to examine the claims of the residents of the Druze Isifya Village in Northern Israel that their high cancer rates were associated with the past exposures to radiation from radio and cellular transmitters. Objective: To investigate the association between past exposure to RF/MW transmitters and cancer risks, taking into account familial cancer history, occupational exposures and indicators of life-style. Methods: We carried out a population-based case-control study involving 307 residents, of whom 47 were diagnosed between 1989 and 2007 with different types of cancer and 260 controls. Cancer diagnoses were obtained from medical the records. Exposure status of individual houses were determined from a map, based on the distances between each house and RF/MW antennas, and were calculated using geographic information systems (GIS) tools. Data on additional risk factors for cancer, like smoking and occupation, were obtained from individual questionnaires. The analysis was adjusted for measures of life style and occupational exposure, and Binary multiple logistic regressions was used, for all cancer sites and for individual cancer types for those cancers with at least 5 documented cases. Results: Past occupational exposures to chemicals (e.g., pesticides) and electronics, were found to be strongly associated with increased cancer risks (all sites: OR=2.79; CI=1.14-6.82; P<0.05), but no discernible trend in overall cancer risk was associated with proximity to sources of past RF/MW radiation exposure (n= 47 OR=1.00; CI=0.99-1.02; P>0.4). Colorectal cancer showed a negligible elevated adjusted risk associated with radiation intensity (n=11 OR=1.03; CI = 1.01-1.05; P<0.01). Conclusion: There was evidence for an increased risk of cancers which were associated with chemicals in manufacturing and agriculture and electronics, where there may have been exposures to EMF, but the study did not confirm the suspicion of increased cancer risks associated with radiation for most cancer types in this village. Misclassification of past exposures could explain the negative finding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-28
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Agrochemicals
  • Cancer
  • Electronics
  • Microwave radiation
  • RF/MW transmitters
  • Retrospective study

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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