As the world’s radiation protection agency meets in Cape Town, scientists call for the retraction of
a study from a top industry researcher claiming that children are not at higher risk from mobile phones
May 9, 2016
The International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) is a self-appointed body that sets the safety guidelines used by the World Health Organisation to cover all radiation from electrical and electronic apparatus, including power lines, smartphones, wifi, and telecoms masts.
ICNIRP is currently meeting in Cape Town to decide, among other things, whether there is any evidence that children are at higher risk from this radiation. ICNIRP has not revised its radiation safety guidelines since 1998, completely ignoring the vast proliferation of wireless technologies since then, including the widespread use of mobile phones by children.
As this international scientific workshop convenes, a call is being made for the retraction of a paper on children’s exposure to radiation, produced by one of the most prominent industry-associated researchers in this field, Professor “C-K” Chou, the former head of research at Motorola Laboratories. Chou is a well-known and controversial figure who has argued for decades that there is no danger from mobile phones, despite even his own research early in his career showing greatly elevated cancer rates in rats exposed to microwaves (he called this a “provocative” finding at the time).
However, a recent paper by Kenneth Foster and C-K Chou contains such obvious manipulation that open calls are being made by other scientists for this study to be retracted. Great concern has been raised about the exposure of children to mobile phone radiation; many news articles quote scientists saying that children’s heads absorb more of this radiation than do adults’ heads. Foster & Chou produced a scientific review paper in which they claim that the research does not show children absorbing more radiation.
A new analysis has shown their paper to be blatantly biased in its representation of the studies reviewed. We sincerely invite you to watch a short video (https://youtu.be/J5MMhm70lCY) featuring Dr Robert Morris, one of the scientists calling for this paper’s retraction, and see for yourself the obvious and clear bias of Foster & Chou in misrepresenting the scientific findings of the studies they quote. The findings are summarised in the table below, which shows a systematic error in Foster & Chou’s reporting of what the studies actually said; in fact, they completely invert the real findings. This is absolutely inexcusable for a review article. The authors are displaying more than simple bias; they are engaging in sustained and outright academic fraud.
This is far from being an isolated case. There are many studies that are widely quoted in the press regarding mobile phones and health that are known to be deliberately biased. The most notorious is the so-called Danish Cohort Study, which used data from the Danish Cancer Registry. The epidemiologist George Carlo, who was hired by the US wireless industry to research health risks, has revealed how these Danish researchers approached him for funding, openly saying that they could produce results that were favourable to industry. Carlo, who is also a lawyer, rejected their offer of rigged findings.
These researchers then obtained funding from the Danish telecoms industry and duly produced an oft-quoted study that found no association between cancer and mobile phone use for over 400,000 Danes. The sheer size of the study impressed many journalists, and this study is still often quoted in the media. Yet these researchers openly admit that they took the most-exposed group of mobile phone users – corporate users whose phone bills were paid by their companies – and classified them as “unexposed” to mobile phone radiation.
Correcting for this and other errors, Prof Michael Kundi of the Medical University of Vienna, demonstrated that the Danish study actually showed a clear increase in cancers with mobile phone use. Yet despitecalls from other top researchers to have this study retracted, it is still often quoted in the media as showing that mobile phones are safe.
The authoritative publication Microwave News has demonstrated that nearly all the studies that claim to find that mobile phones are safe were funded by industry; and that the “balance of scientific probabilities” is completely skewed by a host of industry-funded studies that are given undue weight by bodies such as ICNIRP. Studies that do find problems are either completely ignored or else are subjected to minute criticism that is never given to studies that report no health effects.
If a paper does report a clear health hazard, there are immediate calls for it to be replicated, even when this is essentially impossible. In one example, researchers measured the exposure to magnetic fields of pregnant women, and correlated this with asthma rates in their children 13 years later. They found a 250% increase in asthma in children whose mothers had a high exposure during pregnancy. Industry immediately called for a “replication” of this unique experiment, despite the fact that it would take another 13 years to complete and would be conducted in a completely different radiation environment.
As ICNIRP meets to decide the radiation exposure of most of the world, we encourage journalists to look at the reality behind the platitudes about mobile phones, wifi, and telecoms towers being safe. The ICNIRP guidelines are only intended to prevent overheating within a six-minute period. This is totally inadequate for 24-hour exposure from masts and always-on wifi, or for children who talk for hours a day on mobile phones. There are well over ten thousand scientific papers showing a vast range of health problems and biological effects caused by electromagnetic radiation at “non-thermal” levels; and we invite you to investigate the clear evidence that there is direct fraud in the industry-backed research claiming that exposure to this radiation is safe.
Press release issued by the Electromagnetic Radiation Research Foundation of South Africa.
For further inquiries, please contact the EMRRFSA on Tel: +27 11 326-0015, int…@iafrica.com, emrrfsa.org; Dr Devra Davis of the Environmental Health Trust at me…@ehtrust.org, ehtrust.org; or Dr Bob Morris at drbob…@gmail.com
Informant: Karl Muller