With some delay, on August 12, 2013, Australian AMTA has published news about guest blog of Mike Repacholi that was published on my science blog site BRHP earlier this year.
AMTA’s text, not surprisingly, is very self-serving for the industry.
It would be much more interesting if AMTA wrote also about the opinions expressed by the readers in the very extensive discussion that followed Mike’s guest blog. Also, it would be interesting to hear what AMTA thinks about my own responses to Mike’s opinions that were published in my later blog.
In his guest blog Mike Repacholi called IARC classification flawed.
I call ICNIRP and WHO analyses flawed, as it clearly comes out from all my texts published in this BRHP science blog and in my science columns in The Washington Times Communities. What is more, these WHO and ICNIRP flawed analyses lead to flawed safety standards that falsely claim that, without differences, all users and for ever will be protected from any effects of cell phone radiation. This is not supported by the available science and WHO and ICNIRP know it but keep silent on it.
I am also concerned about Mike Repacholi’s change of mind with respect of the value of epidemiology.
I still clearly remember that at the 2003 meeting to update WHO research agenda, both Mike Repacholi and Bernard Veyret were of the opinion that epidemiology, and only epidemiology, will give an answer whether cell phone radiation is harmful or harmless to human health.
Now, 10 years later, and with Swedish and Interphone studies published, Mike Repacholi thinks that we should not put too heavy emphais on their findings. Why? Are the findings too inconvenient for the pro-industry lobby?
When Mike Repacholi was still head of the EMF-Project at the WHO, he was impatiently waiting for the Interphone project to be completed and its evidence used in evaluation of the EMF health risks. At that time he had no problem with epidemiological evidence to be important part of the health risk evaluation. He waited for it and he delayed the WHO evaluation, but to no avail. He retired before the Interphone was ready.
Now, that studies from Sweden and Interphone alike point towards the increased risk of brain cancer, Mike Repacholi seemingly changed his mind about value of epidemiology.
Now, the epidemiology is not so important anymore for Mike Repacholi. Now the animal studies seem to be the most important.
I say it is not so. Animal studies are important only when they show that the tested agent causes health risk to experimental animals. Only then we can say something about human health risk based on animal studies.
Current animal studies are interpreted by WHO and ICNIRP as showing no effect on animal well being. The evaluation is flawed but, at the same time, what does this flawed evaluation mean for human health risk? NOTHING! Absolutely nothing.
Only when animal study shows an effect we can consider that similar effect might happen in humans and, in such situation, it might be necessary to develop measures to protect human health.
When animal study shows no effect by the tested agent we are back in the starting point of risk evaluation. No effect in animal is NOT EQUAL of no effect in humans.
This serious flaw in thinking of Mike Repachoili should be corrected. No effect in animals does not prove that the agent is not harmful to humans.
Another misconception, propagated by Mike Repacholi and the pro-industry lobby is that the outcome of IARC evaluation was decided nearly solely on the weight of the epidemiological evidence. It was not so. Epidemiological evidence alone was not sufficiently strong to classify cell phone radiation as 2B carcinogen. Only thanks to the support from the positive animal co-carcinogen studies the cell phone radiation was classified as 2B carcinogen.
Mike Repacholi seems to forget that animal studies provided important evidence of the possible carcinogenicity. The same animal studies that Mike Repacholi is considering as so important.
To me it shows that Mike Repacholi contradicts himself and tries to pick the more convenient evidence. When epidemiology shows an inconvenient effect then Mike Repacholiturns to animal studies for “help”. Unfortunately, animal co-carcinogenicity studies showed an effect.
It means that the IARC classification is not flawed. What is flawed is Mike Repacholis logic and “cherry picking” attitude towards the scientific evidence.
I have a great personal respect for Mike Repoacholi and his knowledge. However, I strongly disagree with his current “fiddling” with epidemiological and animal studies evidence.