By Dr. Mercola | mercola
In an interview with ElectromagneticHealth.org, Magda Havas, PhD, associate professor of Environment & Resource Studies at Trent University,1 Canada shares many of the deceptions surrounding cell phone science.2
As an expert in radiofrequency radiation, electromagnetic fields, dirty electricity and ground current, she is uniquely qualified to shed light on why it may appear as though cell phones are perfectly safe, when in fact the science itself shows the radiation cell phones emit is anything but …
Deception Apparent at All Levels of the Scientific Process
Deception starts even before a study begins, as soon as the funding source is determined. If it’s an industry-funded study, the results are likely to overwhelmingly favor industry. And if they don’t, confidentiality agreements typically have been signed that prevent the research from ever seeing the light of day.
What this means is that even if you scour the scientific literature to determine what the consensus is on any given health topic, what you’ll find is an overwhelming preponderance of data in favor of the industry that in no way, shape or form reflects the reality of what the empirical results of the scientific investigation that went into that specific product actually revealed. “No Risk Found” might be the message, when significant risk was found.
Havas notes research by Dr. Henry Lai, a University of Washington scientist in cellular and molecular engineering, who reviewed 85 papers on the DNA-damaging effects of the type of microwave radiation that comes from cell phones. Seventy-five percent of the studies that showed no genotoxic effects were funded by the wireless industry or the military, while 80 percent of those that showed a connection were not.
In reality, only university researchers who are not beholden to industry funding are technically “free” to share and report their science, but even then, many are harassed if they attempt to do so. As TIME reported:3
“… independent studies on cell phone radiation found dangers at more than twice the rate of industry-funded studies — though because the cell phone industry is the source of much of the funding of cell phone studies, there are far more of the latter.
… Time and again … industry has been able to twist science just enough to stave off the possibility of any regulation — and finds that researchers are afraid of challenging the status quo, lest they find themselves suddenly out of a job, denied the lifeblood of research money.
Most of the few brave researchers who challenge the prevailing wisdom on cell phone radiation — like the electrical engineer Om Gandhi or the bioengineer Henry Lai — are senior scientists, secure in their positions and their tenure. But a young researcher just starting out is far more vulnerable to industry pressure. Science isn’t as pristine as we imagine it.”
Study Designs Often Knowingly Deceive
There are numerous ways to “rig” a trial so that it produces the desired results. In the cell phone realm, for instance, studies have found an increased risk of tumors after a period of 10 years of use among moderate to heavy users, levels that would be considered very light users by today’s standards. In order to water down this finding, industry-funded research may focus on light cell phone users only.
For example, defining a ‘regular user’ as someone who used a cell phone once a week, or limiting the study to a shorter period of time where one would not expect to find risk, or excluding business users of cell phones (usually the heaviest users) from the analysis, as in the Danish Cellphone Subscriber Cohort study, which was roundly criticized by scientists worldwide.4 The end result is a study appears to show that cell phones are “safe,” when in reality it has intentionally removed the variables that would show harm.
Of the Danish Cellphone Subscriber Cohort study, which continues to be paraded out with updates repeating the same flawed conclusions, Don Maisch, PhD of EMF Facts in Australia says:
“How could the glaring error of excluding corporate subscribers from the analysis be overlooked and the fact that all new subscribers post 1995 were relegated to being considered as non-users. As the old saying goes, ‘rubbish in rubbish out.’”
According to Swedish investigative journalist Mona Nilsson, the Danish study is now being put forth as the “gold standard of epidemiology” in efforts to reverse the IARC decision that classified RF as a ‘Possible Carcinogen,’ along with claims that the Interphone study found no risk, which, she said, “clearly showed increased risks for today’s normal users.”
“The most striking deception in EMF science I know of is the CEFALO study, and calling the results ‘reassuring.’ Not only did the results indicate the opposite, increasing risks for children using mobile phones, but the study was clearly manipulated by the treatment of the cordless phone exposures.”
The CEFALO study, a four-country, industry-funded study, “Mobile Phone Use and Brain Tumors in Children and Adolescents: A Multicenter Case–Control Study,“ published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute,5 is a clear example where the study’s conclusions and the PR are contradicted by the study’s results, says Camilla Rees of ElectromagneticHealth.org.
“It showed a 274% increased risk of brain cancer from cell phones, in children ages 7-19; that children have nearly 4x the risk compared to adults; that younger children have greater risk of brain cancer than older children; and that girls have greater risk of brain cancer than boys“.
The spin included:
- “The authors found little or no evidence that mobile phones increase brain tumor risk, and the single positive association could be explained by bias or chance”…when in fact the data show multiple positive associations.
- “The lack of genotoxicity of mobile phone radiation has been confirmed by experimental animal and laboratory studies” (citing only 2 papers from 1999 and 2001 vs. the multiplicity of papers showing genotoxicity published in the last decade.)
- No conflict of interest statements from the authors were included, while many of the study’s authors are known to be linked to industry and to other research supporting industry’s interests.
The Interphone study, which cost more than $30 million to carry out (part of which was funded by the mobile phone industry) and was intended to provide the final word about cell phone brain tumor risks, is one of the most notorious examples of this.
When the results initially came out, they ignited a lightening storm of media headlines, many claiming, falsely, that the study found no link, or unclear evidence, linking cell phones to brain cancer. But when you look at Interphone’s results in light of its design flaws, and include the information contained in two appendices, they paint a very dangerous picture for the health future of regular, every day cell phone users.
“Note that two Appendices in the International Journal of Epidemiology show very different results than those published in the article, “Brain tumour risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the Interphone international case control study.“
How is it that in the very same journal results from the same study can appear so different? Appendix 1 shows an 84% increased risk of meningioma for those who used a digital phone 1,640 or more hours. And those who used both digital and analog phones, or if the type of phone was unknown, had a 343% increased risk of meningiomas. But the original article published on Interphone results showed a decreased risk of meningiomas, or no risk at all, from cell phone use.