Physics says: it should not exist…

Slate published a story “Four Reasons You Shouldn’t Exist“.

This story sounds like a mix of physics, philosophy and religion too… Interesting read for everybody. However, because of my cell phone “connection” something “rang” in my brains – I guess non-thermally 😉

The story brought to my mind a very common opinion of physicists speaking about the low energy of the cell phone radiation.

The most common conclusion of physicists is that such low amount energy cannot do anything to living matter. Physicists, then, continue to present a very long list of different physical phenomena and laws of physics that they know and they examined and did not find any possibility for the observed in laboratory biological effects of cell phone radiation.

Physicists say then – it is impossible for cell phone radiation, at the levels permitted by the safety limits, to cause any biological effects and you, biologists, apparently do not know what you are talking about.

Physics said so-and-so and this should be the end of the story.

However, it is not the end. Either physicists are scientifically arrogant and imagine to know everything what is there to know about the energy and matter or, we, biologists are bunch of wackos who see something where it is not – as I often say – bunch of ghost busters.

However, I would like to give myself and other biologists a benefit of doubt.

I find it difficult to believe that all the observed effects are just mirages. I think that there might be something what physicists are either missing in their evaluations or something what is not yet known. Otherwise, among other possibilities, as per Slate article, we should not exist.

While physics governs the universe, the living matter has more to it. And I do not go intu spiriual deliberations…

What living matter has and what physicists do not always understand or acknowledge or include in their calcualtions?

Well, physicist may see a molecule that when receives energy begins to bounce between state A and state B. This is OK and might be happening, for as long as the energy is supplied, when these states A and B are not in living matter.

In living matter it might happen so, that ,when molecule bounces from state A to state B then it becomes available for interaction with another molecule. Once molecules interact, the bouncing molecule might not anymore be able to bounce back to state A.

Physics laws are obeyed – molecule got energy and bounced from state A to state B and biology laws are obeyed because the molecule in state B interacted with another molecule, like, say, key and lock…

To conclude this long musing, let’s not yet say that physics says the effects cannot happen. The biological effects seem to happen but we do not know why. It might be so that we do not know everything there is to know about the physics and biology interaction.

This wise notion was also included in IARC report from 2011 classificaion of cell phone radiation as possible carcinogen – if you read the report carefully you will find it. Happy searching 😉

So, in the end, it might be that this blog’s title should be “Physicists say…” because physicists might be wrong. Physics not…

 

 

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68 thoughts on “Physics says: it should not exist…

  1. Doubting Thomas, this is your opinion and you are entitled to it. My opinion is that persons as yourself or Biron can be called activists… whether you like or not like this term… However, this is not what this blog is about. It is not science…

  2. Professor,

    I think you should expand your vocabulary just a bit to differentiate between the types of folks mentioned above. Those in positions of influence as leaders of non-profits claiming to be acting in the public interest seem to me to be distinct from those who observe and comment from the sidelines. We have a right to expect those accepting public funds and donations from the public will not misuse their positions by propagating false and misleading information. Those who do should be recognized as activists. We should have lower expectations for those who only comment. Maybe they could just be called critics – or pundits? But surely not activists!

  3. Hello Biron,
    It seems to me that there is a pattern in your many posts about my paper. Your statements are not presented clearly, you repeat arguments presented already in the paper and raise numerous very minor points not very relevant to the paper or its conclusions. It seems you maybe post just for the sake of posting. Your last post follows the same pattern. The math is clearly presented in the paper. Your proposal of modifying it is not clearly explained; it would render the calculation not rigorous and would lead to falsely stronger conclusions because cancer at even younger ages is rarer. The paper is only 3 pages long and it explains why more than one type of cancer is expected (whole body exposure versus exposure of the head only by cellphones).
    I think that our numerous posts about this paper clarified some points but they contained almost no innovation or new conclusions, so going on with them is of little interest to the readers and we can discontinue them.
    Best regards,
    Michael

  4. Biron, thank you for following me so thoroughly and for paying close attention what I do and what I don’t do. I should be happy, if this note was not plain sarcastic… BTW – in my vocabulary you are an activist, same as those who you call activists – Davis, Clegg or Moskowitz – just on the other side of the fence…

  5. Michael:

    I looked over the probability distribution calculation Pt and I have some questions. There were 4 events age < 40 and 1 case from age 41-60. As I see it, you summed over all of 4 or more cancer events age < 40 and 1 or more cancer events 41 – 60.

    I think you should include 5 cancer events before 40 and zero events from 41-60.

    This may not be a big factor in this instance but imagine if the scenario were 4 events ages 41-60 and 1 event age < 40. If you followed this pattern, your probability would not include for example, 3 cases age < 40 and 2-3 cases ages 41-60.

    If I understand the appendix correctly this would only apply to Pt=1:860 and not to the odds ratio, since you discarded the event 41-60 from the latter calculation.

    Also:

    " the calculations performed were conservative as explained in the appendix of the paper and since the particular types of cancers were not utilized in the calculations. I think those considerations would out-weight the somewhat low latency of three years of the single case out of five cases."

    Can you explain how accounting for the particular cancers would strengthen the argument of for a causal cluster? Most literature I've seen suggests that causal clusters would see incidences of the same cancer — not five separate types.

  6. Hello Biron,
    In general, as I wrote in my paper and in this blog:
    “Since this is a single cluster no definite conclusions can be drawn from it by itself, however together with other similar cases reported elsewhere it tends to indicate a severe cancer risk for groups of young people exposed repetitively and over years to non-ionizing radio-frequency radiation at levels limited only by the ICNIRP thermal limits”
    My peer-reviewed 2009 conference paper reports the important facts about the cancer cluster and justifies the conclusion above based on the statistical analysis of the cluster, on the known possible carcinogenic influence and on the exposure being much stronger in the occupational setting relative to the cellular one as analyzed in the paper.
    You write repeatedly about the selection bias. You are right but this is already stated and discussed in the paper, it is compatible with the above conclusion. The selection bias is indeed the well known weak aspect of cluster studies; this does not mean that information from cancer clusters should be ignored.
    You suggest some more detailed statistical analysis. I do not think it would be helpful since it would require using assumptions which may be reasonable but cannot be proved. If such an analysis would be performed it would likely yield an even stronger result since the calculations performed were conservative as explained in the appendix of the paper and since the particular types of cancers were not utilized in the calculations. I think those considerations would out-weight the somewhat low latency of three years of the single case out of five cases.

    I indeed wrote in 2006 the page “Microwave radiation levels and effects on humans at 1000MHz”. It is accurate, it does not contradict in any way the 2009 paper, and there is no discrepancy. It is an overview, not a conference or a journal paper.
    Professor Elihu Richter indeed published works in this field and served as an expert witness; you are right about this.
    Michael Peleg

  7. Michael:

    I’ve identified at least four attributes that define the cluster — site, age, exposure duration and the time period.

    For example, you chose people who worked two or more years. This allowed the cluster to capture the victim with the three-year exposure. Given the small size of the sample, I have questions about including someone with only three years exposure. The a priori probability for causal effect would be much lower than the rest of the group. If one does a post hoc analysis of a cluster is there some sort of correction factor to account for this?

    Are there any adjustments to the p-value calculations given the post hoc analysis?

    Also in a 2006 paper that I believe you authored, “Microwave radiation levels and effects on humans at 1000MHz” you stated:

    “Five cancer cases among young workers in the Rafael Antenna Ranges facility happened from 1982 to 1995, exhibiting very high statistical significance and very high personal risk, see the expert opinion [4]. Probably additional cases occurred there since then.”

    This paper was written 11 years after the cluster period. However, according to the your post above:

    “The cancer risk is not expected to remain extremely high at the site. The level of human exposure was reduced over the years due to availability of better and more sensitive measuring equipment and a further reduction occurred when the cancer cluster was identified.”

    Clearly your 2006 paper and current statement disagree — this by itself does not trouble me. In fact, since you identify yourself and have a written trail, it would be unfair to complain about discrepancy; things change, new evidence surfaces and these can alter conclusions.

    Instead, it is the attempt to “explain away” the discrepancy that concerns me. Nothing I’ve seen substantiates that equipment changes were responsible for the cluster disappearing.

    Right now, the 2009 paper appears to be a unsupported, post hoc cluster analysis that does not justify the overreaching preventative actions or conclusions in parts 5 and 6. The most effective suggestion is more sophisticated analysis of the cluster to rule out Texas Sharpshooting and very careful examinations of clusters worldwide. There are some interesting references on cluster studies:

    http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1999/02/08/1999_02_08_034_TNY_LIBRY_000017481

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1566365/pdf/envhper00518-0158.pdf

    The author, Mark Ellwood, does testify on behalf of telecoms in court cases, so there is a conflict of interest.

    I also note that one of the authors referenced in the Peleg paper, Dr. Elihu Richter, serves in an expert witness capacity representing plaintiffs. Dr. Richter did co-author a study refuting EMF cancer clusters in Issifya — which is quite fascinating.

  8. “It is very frustrating to read these arguments about the physical model and the chemical model and the bucket model and the biological model. They seem to have little to do with real life. ”

    This is a gross simplification of what is being said. The computational and physical models are just ways of looking at the distribution of signal. If you want to do biology you have to do it on living systems, obviously.

    You won’t find anyone actually doing the sort of stuff you castigate them for

  9. It is very frustrating to read these arguments about the physical model and the chemical model and the bucket model and the biological model. They seem to have little to do with real life. Henrick gets closest to making sense with the neural network. Living things are networks of neural networks, far more complex than any men have put together. They think! And they communicate with signals. Would you assume the signals in a computer were far too weak to make changes in a transistor? Of course not. Just remember that a biological body without data transmission is just a corpse. Life is the message not the lump that carries it. Life is data. Thus signals which insert false data into the network are just interference. Even if you are not an electronics nerd, you can understand that. Each molecule in the cell is looking for its local signal. Each organelle is tuned to specific electron charges. Each cell has its voltage gated ion channels and phase locked receptors. It doesnt need much to stuff it up.
    Isnt it time we had a new paradigm of life science?

  10. Hello Biron,
    Here are answers to some of your questions:
    The significance of the cancer cluster is discussed carefully in the paper including the issues you raised. It is stated there very clearly that it is not possible to draw definite conclusions from this single cluster alone. Together with other knowledge such as the papers by Hardell and by Richter it indicates a severe possible cancer risk in the occupational setting as explained in the paper.
    The possible selection bias is clearly stated in the paper. With Pt=1:860 it is very unlikely for the results to occur at random by selectivity in time.
    I do not consider citing of the paper by anyone a misuse. I wrote in the conclusions that human exposure should be reduced deep below the ICNIRP thresholds till this issue is resolved and this is my opinion now.
    The cancer risk is not expected to remain extremely high at the site. The level of human exposure was reduced over the years due to availability of better and more sensitive measuring equipment and a further reduction occurred when the cancer cluster was identified.
    Best regards,
    Michael

  11. “Whatever the judge wrote about you was not deserved.”

    🙂

    Well, given your personal involvement in the case your opinion is perhaps not especially independent. I’m quite happy that the JUDGE actually went out of her way to comment in her written findings on the quality of the evidence given, and that I came out of that pretty well.

    “So *everyone* at BEMS2013 agreed that SAR model overestimates. Was there a show of hands? ”

    There was a special seminar with presentations from many people. No show of hands but a full and frank (friendly) discussion . The data clearly showed that someone had confused Gandhi’s paper on the scaled VM for a paper about SAM. Not one person in the room (and that included a load of the leading activists, including Devra Davis who presented a paper in that session) had a different conclusion. The paper she presented did not show any underestimation by SAM.

    “I’m still trying to figure out whether adult SAR model = child in your opinion.”

    I think I’ve made it pretty clear. The larger/flatter the physical model the greater the measured SAR from any given device (until you start going back the other way and it becomes concave). So SAR measured with a larger head will be overestimated. Specifically, also, if you run a realistic child computational model you get a lower SAR than the one that the SAM head gives you.

    This is all standard stuff, known for the best part of 15 years. It’s not an opinion, it’s simply what the published data say.

  12. In the paper we published (Emilio Del Giudice and me) in the ICEMS monograph (you can download it from http://www.icems.it : Non Thermal Effects and Mechanisms of Interaction between Electromagnetic Fields and Living Matter, part I) we discussed the theory of Adair showing that a quantitative approach to the structure of water suggests that the kT threshold can be exceeded by ion currents induced by weak ICR magnetic fields. That is well known by Robert Adair (who wrote a letter to M.N. Zhadin in 2007 but the response was not accepted to be published in Bioelectromagneics … for reasons of pages …). You could also download the paper of S. Tigrek and Frank Barnes in the same Monograph.
    Best regards
    Livio

  13. Phil, I was in that court room taking notes. Whatever the judge wrote about you was not deserved. If anyone asks me, I’ll show them exactly why. I’ll leave it there.

    So *everyone* at BEMS2013 agreed that SAR model overestimates. Was there a show of hands? When I look at the list of sponsors I worry that its turning into a trade show.

    I’m still trying to figure out whether adult SAR model = child in your opinion.

  14. My full name was mentioned by Dariusz on another discussion on this blog. Not that it should matter; as I say I have nothing to hide and am hiding nothing.

    “But that’s another story…”

    Indeed. In that court case I gave a precis of the science as an expert witness, and was thanked by the judge for balance.

    “So we agree that the SAR model underestimates. ”

    No. It OVERestimates.

    ” And now you mention that you didn’t really get talking about this until 2013?!”

    Nope. It’s been known about since the late 1990s The SAM head was modelled at the time, and has been modelled subsequently, and every time shown to overestimate exposure. Despite this it keeps being said on activist websites that it underestimates, and the session this year was to try to get both sides in the same room to see who was missing what. And when that happened it turned out that in fact *everyone* agreed that it overestimates. The confusion arose from misunderstanding of a paper that used a scaled Visible Man head as a child surrogate and compared it to a true child. The confusion was that someone mistook VM for SAM.

  15. Well, Phil you’re not posting under your full name so it’s not obvious to everyone with a keyboard + google that you do sell SAR phantoms. I recognized your style of writing from a copy of your witness statement in a lawsuit where you helped defend the industry in siting a 3G mobile-phone mast 28 meters from a house and with main beam of radiation going straight into that house. But that’s another story…

    So we agree that the SAR model underestimates. Great. But my point is that the industry has known about this elephant in the room for ages while maintaining that mobile-phones tested with larger-than-average adult models are fine for children to use. And now you mention that you didn’t really get talking about this until 2013?!
    What the flip?! Does that sound like an industry that takes consumer safety seriously at all, or an industry that is intentionally blindfolded?

  16. “So there are no effects and biologists see ghosts? You pump energy into biological system and nothing happens? ”

    No, I have never said that Dariusz. All I am talking about is the macroscopic distribution of RF absorption. If we want to think about interaction mechanisms I agree we need to take a step further in and look at the fine structure.

  17. “Though I still do not grasp what is my vested interest in cell phones…”

    well, it’s this:

    ” I have done them for the last 15 years not by my personal choice but as a job given… and I can do many other things, as long as they will pay for my living… So, I think that my vested interest is of pretty lousy value…”

    We all can do many things – I’m a fairly accomplished bicycle wheel builder and qualified in forestry – but like all of us you do the best job you can and in your case you have done well-known research and built up an excellent reputation. You argue on here politely and with authority for what you think. That’s good, but it means you have an investment in what you have done & what you think. Just like I don’t get paid for making bicycle wheels but I will do a good job, will defend “my” way of doing it and will say that my wheels are pretty damn good !

    We all invest some of our personal pride and authority in what we write and say.

  18. So there are no effects and biologists see ghosts? You pump energy into biological system and nothing happens? Somewhat you do not convince me Phil… May be we need to talk face to face to resolve our difference of opinions.

  19. but they begin at molecular (water content, cellulose quality and quantity) level and that is why different kinds of wood are good for different use…

  20. “Phil, I disagree. plastic mold filled with water with salt and sugar is not good enough to represent complexity of brain structure. First, and foremost the model “thinks” that charged ions can move freely whereas in real brain they cannot do. This must influence field distribution. My conclusion – plastic mold model does not provide real distribution of field.”

    That can’t be so for two reasons: one is that at 900 MHz charges are not constrained by membranes & structures – capacitive coupling shorts them out – and the other is that the phantom materials are based on measurements of real tissues which do have all those structures.

    Dariusz, I have behind me a lab full of the network analysers and probes used for material and tissue measurements. If you measure small tissue samples (down to mm) you can see the effects of membranes, ion channels etc at frequencies below 1 MHz or so manifesting as anisotropies. As you go up to 100s of MHz all that directionality disappears and the tissue looks *exactly* like the phantom analogue.

  21. Phil, so one can rephrase: some have more some have less of vested interests… Though I still do not grasp what is my vested interest in cell phones… I have done them for the last 15 years not by my personal choice but as a job given… and I can do many other things, as long as they will pay for my living… So, I think that my vested interest is of pretty lousy value…

  22. Phil, yes, when you carve table leg of wood you do not worry about cellulose, but you think – is this wood dry enough to careve it or is it too humid and will change leter and my table leg will twist…

  23. Dariusz, *everyone* has, well not exactly a conflict of interest but certainly a vested interest. You, me, Heinrik, everyone. You’ve invested intellectual authority and a lot of your working life in this issue, as have I. We both have opinions we would defend.

    If anyone claims to be entirely neutral then either they’re fooling themselves or actually they have nothing to say.

  24. Phil, I disagree. plastic mold filled with water with salt and sugar is not good enough to represent complexity of brain structure. First, and foremost the model “thinks” that charged ions can move freely whereas in real brain they cannot do. This must influence field distribution. My conclusion – plastic mold model does not provide real distribution of field.

  25. “It is as if you would say that behaviour of molecules does not matter when analyzing piece of matter…”

    Interesting analogy. In fact when dealing with bulk matter we usually *don’t* worry about it at the molecular level. If I want to carve a table leg, I don’t worry about the chemical composition of cellulose.

    However for macroscopic absorption we very much do worry about it at the molecular level. That’s kind of of the point. That is the appropriate level to worry about it. and if you are doing membrane-level microdosimetry you worry about membranes (though of course at 900 MHz they’re pretty-much transparent anyway)

    In fact this is a critical point: I’m quite sceptical of 50 Hz computational modelling because at these frequencies membranes are most definitely not invisible and tissues are highly anisotropic. The models assume isotropy so on the whole they’re not very good. That’s not so for RF modelling or phantom measurements, because of the dielectric relaxations. Maybe this is one of those areas where biologists should listen to physicists who actually know something about the subject !

  26. “Maybe Phil should disclose that he sells SAR phantom models.”

    I don’t have to “disclose” anything Henrik, because I’m not hiding anything. Yes we sell phantoms for compliance testing. We also do computational microdosimetery, so on this issue I really have no axe to grind. I’m just pointing out the scientific reality of the different uses of the two approaches.

    “That’s Phil there standing behind a standard phantom body that’s larger than himself. Now consider the underestimation for children.”

    It overestimates. That’s kind of the point, There was a session at BioEM2013 on this specific issue where that topic was explored & explained. It’s a fallacy that a larger head underestimates, and there is a stack of published data to explain that. In fact that body deliberately has concave surface structures in places because we used it to show that there is a progression in absorption from convex-small-radius through convex larger-radius and then flat to concave, with concave being the highest.

  27. No Dariusz, I’m not wrong.

    If you want to know about microdosimetry, do microdosimetry. and if you want to know about macroscopic distribution of absorption then you can use phantoms. it’s not correct to criticise one for not doing something it never claims to do.

  28. Henrik, as Phil said, everyone has some conflict of interest… Though I must admit that I do not see my own – no job, no money, just independent opinions and being BRHP…

  29. Maybe Phil should disclose that he sells SAR phantom models.
    And Dariusz, you don’t have to zoom into cell membrane levels to explain that SAR models underestimate.
    Just take a look at Phil’s page here: http://mcluk.org
    Scroll to the bottom, to the strip of photos, and mouse-over the fifth photo. That’s Phil there standing behind a standard phantom body that’s larger than himself. Now consider the underestimation for children.

  30. Phil, you are wrong. It is as if you would say that behaviour of molecules does not matter when analyzing piece of matter…

  31. Michael:

    Thank you for the link and the paper.

    I have questions:

    1) “The combination of population size N=30 and Pt=1:860 indicates that such a cluster is expected to occur at random without causation by radiation in about one group of 30 people in a population of 30 x 860=25800, that is once in every small town”

    Was this cluster really selected at random? If not what is the purpose of this calculation?

    I think that the statistical significance of this report is overstated in spite of several disclaimers. Does the selection bias you mention account for temporal clustering? Yes, the number of geographic sites is limited, but these are multiplexed over time. My guess is that the 1982-1995 period was not chosen at random — it was probably selected because that’s when the anomaly occurred. If so, it’s an example of Texas Sharpshooting — drawing the target after the result — and dramatically weakens the statistical merit of the results.

    What happened in subsequent 13-year periods — which could overlap? Was there continued elevation at an 8.3 odds ratio?

    2) Is there exposure data — I did not see it mentioned in the paper?

    I think that cancer clusters are difficult to assess and often misinterpreted. It’s important to understand the significance of papers like these, because they make there way to activist sites where they can be misused (this one is on c4st).

    This would be an interesting topic for this blog.

  32. Well, to totally dismiss them, maybe, but if you have already 60 years of data and another study comes along that looks like a thousand we already saw, but this one has a different result, then it’s hard to get excited. People criticise the stickiness of paradigms, but I think in fact it’s a useful attribute. If we are to construct a rational world model then it needs not to be torn apart every time a single datum appears. Context and history really are everything. Consider this:

    If I tell you I saw a horse outside my window this morning and you know I live on a farm, you’d think “that’s nice”. if you know I live in the city you’d maybe think “interesting, was it a parade ?”. If you know I live on the 99th floor you’d think “Huh ? What does he mean ?”. If I tell you it had wings, and a horn, on its forehead and it was whistling yankee doodle dandy then you’d probably look for an alternative explanation.

    Or look at it another way: a paper published in 1996 suggests an RF bioeffect in rats. This leads to excitement, media headlines and the author is on the BBC News (true story). 17 years and hundreds of similar studies later, most of them negative, the same paper doesn’t get a mention anywhere.

  33. The presence of microscopic structures doesn’t affect macroscopic distribution of power absorption. So as a first pass of where the energy is going, and how much where, phantom work is useful. If you want microdosimetric detail you do microdosimetry. I’m not aware of anyone inferring membrane-level field strenght from homogeneous phantom measurements,

  34. Not really, at least from anatomic view point. The model of bucket + is all wrong. It does not take into consideration that membranes divide all tissue into small compartments and that active transport mechanisms work against uniform distribution of ions… Bucket brain is really bad. It was excusable when computers could not compute but not anymore…

  35. “Because on such “brain model” they modelled distribution of RF in living tissue. Ridiculous!”

    Why ? That tells you the macroscopic distribution of absorption within the head. So you know (more-or-less) how much power goes where. If you want to have the data at microdosimetric level you have to do microdosimetry. Obviously.

  36. “Are right those whom you call anti-wireless or are right those who use plastic mold with water + salt + sugar to mimick our brains and this way convince us that the radiation is no problem…”

    Nobody actually does that.

    There are 2 questions: compliance with limits and the existence of effects below limits. The test you describe are for the former, and no-one says they inform on the latter.

  37. Hello Biron,
    A copy of the paper, identical to the published one except for final IEEE formatting, is available for free here:
    https://sites.google.com/site/pelegmichael/Cancer_cluster_final_with_copyright_.pdf?attredirects=0
    Also typing the paper title into a google search window produces a free copy of the paper readily.
    The setting in which the cancer cluster occurred is an industrial one which means, as explained in the paper, that cancer clusters in such installations are far from certain to be reported and that the number of such installations is not so large.
    Even so, another paper reports numerous similar cancer cases in Israel alone. See the paper:

    Stein Y, Levy-Nativ O, Richter ED. A sentinel case series of cancer patients with occupational exposures to electromagnetic non-ionizing radiation and other agents. Eur. J. Oncol., vol. 16, n.1, pp. 21-54, 2011

    A link to a free copy is here:
    http://citizensforsafetechnology.org/A-sentinel-case-series-of-cancer-patients-with-occupational-exposures-to–electromagnetic-nonionizing-radiation-and-other-agents,6,1319

    I think that biology, epidemiology and physics are all compatible with the IARC conclusion that RF is a possible carcinogen to humans, furthermore the personal risk in the more severe occupational setting is much higher than the risk from cellphones as explained in the above paper (Cancer cluster …).

    Best regards,
    Michael

  38. Marne:

    “If industry PR had not minimized …the analysis of a panel of experts by likening their concern re cell phone radiation risks there would have been no need for anyone to reach to the other end of the range of perceived riskiness and mention DDT and engine exhaust.”

    This presumptuous statement, granting license for an activist scientist to mislead, emphasizes my point that anti-wireless scientists are “more equal” and not subject to the ethics and norms that science demands.

  39. “Well, physicists sometimes don’t know enough about chemistry too. Otherwise they would not claim that low level low frequency might not induce biological effect. They think only of RF absorbed and alters the vibrational dynamics and cause conformation change . They ignore electron transfer in macromolecule that can arise due to weak low frequency RF and below”

    I’m not sure that one can generalise to that extent about what physicists do and don’t know. I’m pretty sure that, either way, one shouldn’t.

  40. Well, physicists sometimes don’t know enough about chemistry too. Otherwise they would not claim that low level low frequency might not induce biological effect. They think only of RF absorbed and alters the vibrational dynamics and cause conformation change . They ignore electron transfer in macromolecule that can arise due to weak low frequency RF and below. Changing the location of the electron may shake tha inner balance of a molecule leading to its disintegration. Electron can tunnel long distance through macromolecules – there are many path from donor to acceptor leading to destructive or instructive interference of the electronic wave function. Even very slight displacement of atoms through which the electron move due to external field may change the interference between electronic paths from instructive to destructive thereby inducing biological effects .
    The simplest explanation for the effects of electric and magnetic fields on enzyme activity is field interaction with charge movements during enzyme function.
    Although it is clear that the reaction rate is accelerated in a weak magnetic field ,the forces are unusually weak. The Lorentz force F =q.v×B, where q=charge
    (1.6 times 10-19 coulombs, v=velocity in m/s, B=magnetic flux density(in tesla)

    No need of altering vibrational mode amplitudes, to cause changes in conformation or other biological effects,

  41. I fault the industry first and foremost–the “guy” with the biggest, most far-reaching “megaphone” and the conflict of interest to match.

    If industry PR had not minimized–I would say rendered ludicrous–the analysis of a panel of experts by likening their concern re cell phone radiation risks to those of (only) coffee and “pickles”–in the simple terms that people think of them–there would have been no need for anyone to reach to the other end of the range of perceived riskiness and mention DDT and engine exhaust.

    Darius, I agree that mentioning the whole range (along with a little more elucidation of the coffee/pickles issue) would have been preferable and more straightforward.

    Meanwhile, statements like “why don’t we see…anti-wireless groupies* protesting McDonald’s…” and “It’s like saying you shouldn’t own a dachshund because it is the same color as a rottweiler,” are poor analogies that don’t hold water. (*The word “groupies” leans toward the insulting. I would ask, then, what the industry “groupies” equivalent would be?)

    I think you were correct, Darius. Physicists’ Statements + Time ≠ Physics in all cases.

  42. Physics is just what physicists do. Ok, some physicists say that low-level effects are impossible, but some don’t. Some biologists say that also; some don’t. In fact the split is not between people who are physicists and people who are biologists, but people with absolute certainty, one way or the other, and people with less certainty.

    For me, as a physicist, I can say that photon energy is not enough to cause ionisation in tissue. That is clear. It’s also pretty clear to me that we shouldn’t expect to see demodulation effects at the cell membrane above about 10 MHz. But there are other mechanisms that could cause DNA damage, for example the radical pair lifetime extension model, which is valid to microwave frequencies. The question is the extent of experimental evidence for this theory, and for the the others which might suggest effects.

  43. Biron, you have a point. It was poorly formulated statement by Dr. Davis.

  44. Marne:

    The primary concern of the Pickles, DDT, Cell Phone discussion — at least from my perspective, was Dr. Davis’s remarks:

    “The IARC expert reviewers reached a similar conclusion about this study and did not rely on it in reaching their conclusion that cell phone and other wireless radiation is a “possible human carcinogen”–the same category as DDT and engine exhausts–two agents that children are not allowed to play with and for which regulatory standards exist around the world.”

    The reasons that engine exhaust and DDT are harmful has little to do with their Group 2b classification. What is the purpose of this analogy?

  45. Topzag, I am with you on this. New findings do not often fit the accepted knowledge but it should be not used to automatically dismiss them… This is unscientific.

  46. Marne,

    You are correct and I agree that coffee and pickles may sound “innocent” but they contain chemicals that can cause harm…
    Also, an important distinction between RF and coffee and pickles. People are expoesed to RF whether they like or not. Consumption of coffee and pickles are matter of choice – I like them and I eat them, but I can stop at any time. Not with RF…

  47. It frustrates me that, during my lieftime, the answer won’t be found to the conundrum of whether wireless systems are harmful or harmless. Mankind’s hubris is the biggest impediment to achieving a true an unbiased answer. We are our own worst enemy.

  48. Yikes! Here’s another correction… in the coffee/cancer review, the borderline protective effect was in colorectal cancer (not bladder cancer, as I have mistakenly written). The risk was seen in bladder cancer.

  49. There’s a term in science for this: epistemological modesty. I do find it frustrating when anyone claims an extensive knowledge of any subject area beyond their experience or understanding. For scientists this is even more the case as being open to new findings and pushing the boundaries of understanding forward.

    I couldn’t agree more that the arrogance of “we already know everything, and your findings don’t fit, therefore they are wrong” is enormously frustrating. We are reaching the point with human health where cross-discipline research is the only way forward, and that relies on difference fields of science listening to other fields rather than preaching to them.

  50. One clarification…The following refers to certain populations in Japan and So. Korea where these pickled vegetables are eaten in quantities.

  51. Let’s get something clear about “coffee and pickles” before moving on, so they don’t get thrown into the mix with a bunch of assumptions.

    Coffee – in the review “Epidemiological evidence on coffee and cancer,” Arab,L. Nutri Cancer 2010, the following results were found: Coffee had a strong and protective association with hepato and endometrial cancers, a borderline protective effect on bladder cancer, an association of risk for bladder cancer for heavy coffee drinkers in some populations and men, and ambiguous results with some suggestion of risk for childhood leukemia when mothers drank a lot of it. Thus, the outcome (kind of like EMF) is mixed. If I were a man from a family with a lot of bladder cancer, I would appreciate having that knowledge and might consider lessening my coffee intake.

    Pickles – in the meta-analysis “Pickled vegetables and the risk of esophageal cancer,” Islami et al, British Journal of Cancer (2009), researchers found there was a two-fold increase in squamous cell esophageal cancer in people, such as those in So. Korea and Japan, who eat great and regular quantities of pickled vegetables. Gastric cancers are also under investigation.
    This is different from the McDonald’s or otherwise American pickles. The Asian pickled vegetables (such as kimchee) are eaten much of the year when fresh vegetables are not available, and they are made from a salt-water fermenting process over long periods of time (months) that prompt microbes to release carcinogens. Here in the US pickle manufacturers use a different, quicker system, involving dilute vinegar and pasteurization. In addition, Americans eat 4 lb. of pickles a year, probably mostly on their sandwiches, while in Japan and So. Korea, they are eaten several times a week as vegetable servings.

    So, as funny as cancer-causing coffee and pickles sounds when the wireless industry bats them around for laughs, there is really much more to the story that gives them quite a different context.

  52. Michael:

    I tried reading your paper “Report on a cancer cluster in an antenna ranges facility”, which is among the references listed in your paper above, but my IEEE membership does not allow me to download.

    I can’t say much from the abstract, but with an odds ration of 8.3, we should see an epidemic of cancers for people with similar exposure. These would not be isolated instances, but rather to norm among similar installations. I’d like to know if there has been any followup and if the exposure, which was within ICNIRP limits, might be similar to other environments.

    Since you referenced this paper in your own work it’s important to revisit these results.

    Regards,

  53. Biron, activists compare RF with DDT or engine exhaust. Indusrty compares RF with coffee and pickles. Each side is bending evidence to fit their targets. Honest person would say that RF is in the same froup as DDT, exhaust, coffee and pickles. Neither side is really honest.

  54. Professor:

    I am glad that our discussion has become less contentious!

    However I disagree with your argument:

    “When you read what industry representatives write, they mention that in 2B, besides wi-fi, is coffee and pickles. This way the want to say that the 2B for wi-fi is as harmful as coffee in the morning or pickle with your burger. They do not mention DDT or engine exhaust.”

    Your statement lacks logical symmetry. it’s ridiculous to imply coffee and pickles are “safe” 2b carcinogens while cell phone radiation is a “dangerous” 2b carcinogen. Dr. Davis’s comparison is a sleight-of-hand designed to exaggerate the danger.

    Let’s ask this question: if a 2b classification implies danger comparable to engine exhaust and DDT why do we not see Dr. Davis or any of the other anti-wireless groupies protesting McDonald’s, Subway or Starbucks where you can find pickles and coffee? Are we going to make the same mistake with pickles and coffee that we made with tobacco? Of course the CEOs of these fast food restaurants do not want us to know the truth about pickles and coffee — they deny, deny deny!!

    This is classic Orwell — some group 2b risks are more equal than others.

    Is this argument silly? Yes. Mumbo-Jumbo as you like to say? Yes! But it’s nothing like the mumbo-jumbo, confusion and deception that the anti-wireless coalition sow regularly.

  55. Hello,
    Physics is an accurate science and it is not an enemy of biology. There is an argument about the too low energy of a radio-frequency photon but this argument is usually presented by amateurs, not by great physicist. The following paper (written by physicists) shows that this argument is misleading:
    Vistnes A. I. and Gjotterud K.; “Why Arguments Based on Photon Energy may be Highly Misleading for Power Line Frequency Electromagnetic Fields” , Bioelectromagnetics 22:200^204 (2001)
    I presented a similar conference paper focused on radio frequencies:
    Peleg M. (2011): “Bioelectromagnetic phenomena are affected by aggregates of many radio-frequency photons”. International Conference on Environmental Indicators (ISEI), 11 to 14 Sept. 2011 in Haifa. Available at http://vixra.org/pdf/1202.0017v1.pdf
    Furthermore, from the perspective of thermodynamics (an important branch of physics), cell-phone radiation has a high potential to influence complex systems, including living tissue. My paper showing this is available here:
    http://www.sapub.org/global/showpaperpdf.aspx?doi=10.5923.j.biophysics.20120201.01

    Best regards,
    Michael Peleg

  56. • Well, physicists sometimes don’t know enough about chemistry too. Otherwise they would not claim that low level low frequency might not induce biological effect. They think only of RF absorbed and alters the vibrational dynamics and cause conformation change . They ignore electron transfer in macromolecule that can arise due to weak low frequency RF and below. Changing the location of the electron may shake tha inner balance of a molecule leading to its disintegration. Electron can tunnel long distance through macromolecules – there are many path from donor to acceptor leading to destructive or instructive interference of the electronic wave function. Even very slight displacement of atoms through which the electron move due to external field may change the interference between electronic paths from instructive to destructive thereby inducing biological effects .
    The simplest explanation for the effects of electric and magnetic fields on enzyme activity is field interaction with charge movements during enzyme function.
    Although it is clear that the reaction rate is accelerated in a weak magnetic field ,the forces are unusually weak. The Lorentz force F =q.v×B, where q=charge
    (1.6 times 10-19 coulombs, v=velocity in m/s, B=magnetic flux density(in tesla)

    No need of altering vibrational mode amplitudes, to cause changes in conformation or other biological effects,

  57. Biron,

    I do agree with some of your points.

    First of all, because we really do not know we should avoid fearmongering. All these doom-scenarios painted by some of the activists are doing more harm to the issue tan help. It is wrong way, especially whne there is no evidence of “doom”. There is evidence of possible effects and that is why we should use caution for the next say 50-80 years. Because it is the time when first generation of users will have life-time exposure and we will be able to see whether the health effects are very bad or not. At least I do not see yet any solid evidence indication that within the next generation humanity will die our… But we should be vigilant.

    IATC classified a variety of different agents as possible carcinogens (2B category). When you read what industry representatives write, they mention that in 2B, besides wi-fi, is coffee and pickles. This way the want to say that the 2B for wi-fi is as harmful as coffee in the morning or pickle with your burger. They do not mention DDT or engine exhaust. But these are also classified in 2B category and these are used by anti-wireless, as you call them, to indicate how dangerous wi-fi in 2B category is. Both sides are guilty as charged with painting either no worries scenario or doom scenario. This is why this area of research is so confusing for lay persons.

    Finally, I do not consider Davis, Sage or other persons mentioned by you as leaders of anti-wireless movement. Yes, they are vocal and they are visible and they have contacts in the right places to disseminate their message. But they are not leaders… At least not mine, as long as they paint doom scenarios without proper scientific evidence…

    We can be worried and concerned but there is a long way from there to doom.

    I stick to my own scientific opinions…

  58. Professor:

    You ask:

    “Are right those whom you call anti-wireless or are right those who use plastic mold with water + salt + sugar to mimick our brains and this way convince us that the radiation is no problem…”

    I’m not a biologist — I can’t answer this question nor can I judge the controversy. I know zilch about proteomics. It’s not that I’m biased — I’m just not trained. From my viewpoint it is certainly legitimate for Dr. Davis or anyone else to hold ICNIRP or whoever made that model accountable. Not only is it legitimate — it’s necessary!

    The problem is all fearmongering via bad analogies, cherrypicking and all the rest of the BS that the anti-wireless trade group engages. When Dr. Davis pulls her shtick that children should not be allowed cell phone because they’ve been classified as group 2b carcinogens just like DDT and engine exhaust I have to laugh. It’s like saying you should not own a dachsund because it’s the same color as a rottweiler. How you allow your guest bloggers to write nonsense without challenge escapes me.

    I also find it strange that she claims

    “Competing interests: None declared”

    “http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d6387?tab=responses”

    when she frequently promotes her book. Note that the PowerWatch response declared a conflict.

  59. Biron, that is your opinion and you are entitled to it. Some will agree with you some will disagree. Some will say that it is a disgrace. Some will say that what you are talking is disgrace. As to “respectable element of anti-wireless would have driven them out” you are talking BS. If I disagree with them or with you – how can I “drive anyone out”? I can only patiently explain time and time again my point… You do not make sense.

  60. You’ve missed the point. The anti-wireless “scientists” that I mentioned have no business being leaders. If there was a respectable element of anti-wireless biologists they would have driven them out years ago. It’s an absolute disgrace.

  61. Biron,

    In order to disagree and criticize other scientists’ opinions one needs to know them. You, by listening to the recordings of that meeting did exactly so.

    My job is done. You got the message, you listened and you disagree. OK

    Who is right, I am not really sure.

    Are right those whom you call anti-wireless or are right those who use plastic mold with water + salt + sugar to mimick our brains and this way convince us that the radiation is no problem…

  62. Biron,

    Wonderful list of deceased great physicists. What is your point? They did not speak about wi-fi effects on biological systems… I can also give wonderful list of great biologists, all deceased and all who never imagined wi-fi to come… So what? You are talking mumbo jumbo again.

    One sentence in your message makes sense: “Physicists certainly don’t know enough about biology to declare that wireless is absolutely safe”. Yes, physicists shoul learn also about biology because their dosimetry of RF in brain is pure BS, unless you agree that your brain is water + salt + sugar and nothing else. Because on such “brain model” they modelled distribution of RF in living tissue. Ridiculous!

  63. FYI, I listened to segments of the Electromagnetichealth.org audio segment you tweeted. I don’t know whether you listened to any of it and I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

    Electromagnetichealth.org is an anti-wireless advocacy site . They scientists are advocates of anti-wireless policy — they are not balanced. It is blatant. I’m sure it appeals to most readers on this site and disappoints the minority of unbiased, scientifically literate readers.

    The organizer of the event began by citing dubious research. We were told that teenagers on the internet after “lights out” were more likely to commit suicide. What this has to do with EMF is unclear but it could very well be that depressed and isolated teenagers spend more time on the internet than socially active teenagers, the cause and effect being reversed.

    Dr. Hugh Taylor presented the debunked mouse study that you featured in two WT posts. Before his presentation, he thanked EHHI for its funding. EHHI is an environmental activist group that almost always presents information claiming harm. You criticized the EHHI cell phone report (those were better days for you) in a WT post. Since EHHI publications are lopsided towards anti-wireless results, I have concerns about funding bias. The term “independent-scientist” has been hijacked by the anti-wireless coalition.

    I was pleasantly surprised how restrained Dr. Carpenter was.

    Dr. Devra Davis pulled another bad analogy. She tried to convince the audience since 1 minute of microwave oven radiation cooks water a cumulative exposure of 1W of cell phone radiation must be dangerous. She also mentioned that an Italian court found in favor of a man who claimed cell phone use caused the tumor — I’d love to know how they concluded that!

    In closing, I’m posting a link about experimental design which I found interesting. However, after I read it, I found that it was written by Google’s Director of Research. The post has general information about experimental flaws, but it includes harsh criticism of wireless studies which found effect. I was reluctant to post initially, on the other hand it’s an opportunity to examine the quality of science — or propaganda — from a source with an undeniable conflict of interest.

    http://norvig.com/experiment-design.html

  64. Physics has always been at the top of the science pecking order which likely explains the arrogance real and/or perceived.

    However, let’s look at a sampling of the greatest physicists of their day — e.g. Bernoulli, Newton, Pascal and Fourier. They not only contributed to physics but extensively to math as well.

    We go onto modern physics where the great names include Heisenberg, Einstein, Schrodinger and Bohr.

    What are the great names among the anti-wireless? Sage, Davis, Johannson and Havas.

    Physicists certainly don’t know enough about biology to declare that wireless is absolutely safe. What they can see is the BS that comes from those who have emerged as the anti-wireless leaders.

  65. Physicists enjoy the luxury of dealing with dead things. Dead things are predictable.
    Living systems adapt. That’s why they’re called “living” for Christ sake! (no spirituality implied).
    You can construct something as utterly simple as a software based neural network. Take two identical copies of said neural network and they will adjust differently to the same stimuli.

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