BioEM2015: Plenary session on Precautionary Principle

BioEM2015 in Asilomar, CA, was opened by plenary session entitled “2B or not 2B”, dealing mostly with Precautionary Principle – should it be implemented for RF-EMF exposures.

First speaker, Kurt Straif of IARC presented briefly how carcinogenicity of agents is reviewed and classified by IARC.

Ken Foster, known from the past as opposing implementation of the Precautionary Principle for RF-EMF exposures, has made some interesting statements (link to full KF presentation is at the bottom of this blog):

  • In principle KF supports Precautionary Principle, even for RF-EMF but
  • There is no clear agreement what PP is, many differing “definitions” of PP cause confusion
  • Often PP is applied and it causes economic favoritism, it is rather economic tool than health protection tool
  • Canadian SC6 is based on PP idea
  • EHS is a psychological ailment, EMF is not caused by EMF affecting physiology
  • Ban of wifi in schools is a futile endeavor, because kids will make their own hot-spots using smart phones
  • Apply Precautionary Principle to the Precautionary Principle

Chris Portier, spoke in support of the implementation of the Precautionary Principle and made some interesting statements (link to full CP presentation is at the bottom of this blog):

  • Idea of ‘Better safe than sorry’ should be applied and that is why PP should be considered whenever needed
  • Implementation of the PP should consider the following ideas
    • Do not wait for conclusive causation data
    • Prove safety instead of proving harm
    • Thoroughly inform public about the possible risks
  • Danish Cohort study is useless for any decision making because of the serious misclassification of “exposures”
  • Million Women study is a good one [DL: this is, for me, surprising statement, considering how the “exposures” were defined]
  • Ecological studies following trends of appearance of cancer are useless because there can be simultaneously “at work” different factors – some increasing cancer, some preventing cancer – this can make trend data to look like no change is happening in response to studied factor but reality might be the opposite because of the uncontrolled factors that might prevent development of cancer
  • Yes, Precautionary Principle should be used for RF-EMF and should include, among others:
    • Stop saying that there are no established non-thermal effects; if cancer risk increases in epidemiological studies it indicates that non-thermal effects happen
    • Strengthen safety standards; change to reflect current scientific evidence showing possibility of health effects
    • Protect children – apples to cell phone use; not so much cell towers
    • Develop better technologies that emit less radiation
    • Reduce exposures of general population by making health agencies to advise people to do so
  • IARC classification of RF-EMF as possible carcinogen is enough to trigger consideration of PP
  • Recommendations concerning RF-EMF and health should be based on science. However, many committees (SCENIHR, ICNIRP, WHO, HPA, SSI) simply disregard evidence of effects from epidemiological case-control studies and animal studies and say that there are no effects. This disagrees with the evidence at hand. No idea what are “criteria” used by these committees to dismiss positive studies because description of these “criteria” is missing

Slides of presentation by Ken Foster

Slides of presentation by Chris Portier

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2 thoughts on “BioEM2015: Plenary session on Precautionary Principle

  1. Pingback: Shoddy ‘Danish Cohort’ and the unwillingness of the Editors of the BMJ to act responsibly | BRHP – Between a Rock and a Hard Place

  2. Pingback: W.E.E.P. NEWSLETTER | Smart Meter News

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