…this post is open for comments…
Epidemiological evidence is considered as the most important evidence when evaluating possibility of health effects induced by radiation emitted by wireless communication devices (RF-EMF). I disagree with this notion because of the intrinsic limitations of epidemiological method. It is too crude method to give reliable answers. I am not alone in this opinion. Notably, Michael Repacholi, former Head of the WHO EMF Project has similar opinion and he said in his Guest Blog on BRHP: “my concern is that there is an over-reliance on epidemiology studies.”
The problem with the, so far, executed epidemiological studies in RF-EMF area is the inadequate radiation dosimetry.
In some studies, like the case-control studies (Interphone, Hardell and CERENAT) the dosimetry is based on what person remembers. It is very crude information. However, in defense of the planners of case-control studies, it is necessary to mention that when the Interphone was being planned, and I participated in these discussions as then Head of Radiation Biology Laboratory of STUK, scientists asked network operators to provide information on the use of cell phones by study subjects. Operators refused, calling the information “trade secret”. So, the scientists had to rely on peoples’ memory…
Situation of dosimetry data in cohort studies is even worse. Scientists attempted to avoid reliance on users’ memory but, instead of improving exposure data, they made it worse. The dosimetry evidence in cohort studies, Danish Cohort and Million Women Study, is absolutely inadequate to use it as proof of no risk of cancer from the use of cell phones.
However, the ICNIRP scientists just do so. They quote Danish Cohort and Million Women Study as the evidence of no cancer risk. At the same time they simply dismiss the evidence provided by the case control studies.
In the past, I wrote critically about the Danish Cohort and the UK’s Million Women Study.
My critical evaluation of the Danish Cohort was published in The Scientist Magazine whereas evaluation of the Million Women Study I published in my blog on The Washington Times Communities site.
In the case of the critical evaluation of the Million Women Study, I did not rely on my own opinion but I also asked opinions of several prominent epidemiologists. Full texts of these opinions were published in the above mentioned blog on The Washington Times Communities site. Here, are just a few very brief quotes from these opinions:
Michael Kundi of the Medical University of Vienna, Austria,:
“…I regret to say that the authors have not put much thought into the issue of mobile phone use and brain tumors…”
Bruce Armstrong of the Sydney University, Australia,:
“…While this study adds to the evidence on the relationship between mobile phone use and intracranial tumours, it does not add sufficiently, in my opinion, to shift in either direction the IARC’s conclusion that there is limited evidence in humans for carcinogenicity of radiofrequency radiation.”
Joel Moskowitz of the University of California at Berkeley:
“With regard to investigating the association between cell phone use and subsequent tumor risk (which was not the primary purpose of the “million women” study), this study had several major shortcomings which would undermine its ability to find this association…”
Mark Elwood, of the University of Auckland in New:
“…So, another of many studies showing no risk from using cellphones, but like all other studies, it can’t prove that there’s no risk… And the study doesn’t cover men, younger people, or risks beyond about 10 years. So the debate will continue.”
Elisabeth Cardis, of CREAL-Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Spain and formerly Principal Investigator of the Interphone Project:
“…It would be nice to see results by some form of amount of use, but obviously the information collected is very limited – ever use, daily use and number of years – but perhaps looking at categories of daily use in different periods of time since start … but the numbers would get very small.”
From the above comments of prominent epidemiologists the general conclusion can be drawn that despite the size of The Million Women cohort, the numbers of tumors are small and the information about the cell phone use is nonexistent. Therefore, it is not possible to draw any scientifically reliable conclusions based on the results of The Million Women Study. It should be so but…
…ICNIRP thinks differently.
The most recent example of “ICNIRP thinking” was presentation of Maria Feychting at the ICNIRP meeting in Wollongong, Australia. In abstract of the presentation Maria stated:
“…Most notably, a new high quality prospective study from the UK…”.
To be sure that we think about the same study, I asked Maria whether she meant the Million Women Study – yes, she confirmed… Maria’s abstract in full is here:
Both cohort studies (Danish and Million Women) were mentioned by Maria in her presentation. In conclusions slide was the following statement:
- “Cohort studies with prospectively collected information about mobile phone use have not found an increased risk of brain tumors or acoustic neuroma – but crude exposure information…”
It looks like on the one hand Maria Feychting considers data from the cohort studies as insufficient because of poor exposure data but, at the same time, she uses both cohort studies as a proof of no cancer risk. To me “something does not add up” here. “ICNIRP thinking“?
The same “ICNIRP thinking” applies to the chapter on cancer in the draft of the Environmental Health Criteria. The reason for this similarity is simple; Maria Feychting was the point-person responsible for writing this chapter.
It looks like ICNIRP dictates the WHO EMF Project what science says. In fact it looks like the WHO EMF Project was “hijacked” by the ICNIRP and the reality is that
ICNIRP = WHO EMF Project
ICNIRP prepares guidelines that are recommended for implementation around the world by the WHO EMF Project. Prominent ICNIRP members write draft of the Environmental Health Criteria of the WHO EMF Project. My “wild guess” is that ICNIRP scientists will be prominently on the WHO Task Group that will prepare conclusions and recommendations for the Environmental Health Criteria.
It means that WHO says what ICNIRP says and ICNIRP uses WHO to propagate own message… No accountability, no responsibility…
ICNIRP = WHO EMF Project