Social media buzz about the US NTP study: A pessimists pre-view…

Yesterday, story published by the known-to-be-well-informed Microwave News made social media abuzz. My past experience tells me, however, to put the predictions on hold… because the spin doctors are at work. This is not any “conspiracy theory”, this is a fact of life. Huge telecom industry has certainly put lobbyists and associated scientists to work diligently to prevent possible damage to the business. This is their job, this is their business and they would be irresponsible if they did not do it. Anyone believing in the self-policing of the industry for the good of the peoples’ health is absolutely naïve, and there are numerous examples to show it.

Few important points, before jumping into premature conclusions:

The scientific results of the NTP study were not published yet, neither as a report nor as peer-reviewed articles. The results were seen only by a selected few and any opinions are, at this point, just hearsay. Therefore, it is not possible to reliably discuss the quality of the research and meaning of it in the context of the to date published animal studies and other research. This context, by the sheer numbers and by the misleading use of the “weight of evidence” term, is disadvantageous for the NTP study.

The sub-title of the Microwave News stating: “U.S. Government Expected To Advise Public of Health Risk” was being misunderstood in many social media comments. This advisory might be just a wishful thinking. Fact that the “…Discussions are currently underway among federal agencies on how to inform the public about the new findings...” does not mean that any warning by the US Government will be issued. In 2011, after the IARC classified cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen, US CDC issued a call for a precaution that was soon after retracted… after “discussions among the federal agencies”.

So, I am not holding my breath… Spin doctors will explain soon, usefulness or uselessness of, the NTP results.

I am waiting for the publication of the data.




10 thoughts on “Social media buzz about the US NTP study: A pessimists pre-view…

  1. That the National Institute of Health is now talking about the NTP study in relation to Public Health, I think, is an important change in debate, given that the human epi studies have mostly only been talked about with regards to individual risk.

  2. Tom Whitney said “the NTP animal study will only become part of the body of science. It will not provide a conclusion to the debate – more, and better cellular, animal and epidemiological studies will be called for.” Yes, a single study cannot be used in isolation for making decisions in regards to health and safety of wireless emissions. Of course there are many studies available on the subject, both negative and positive in findings, both poorly conducted and well conducted research. However, this animal study along with the many human studies showing a possible association between exposure and specific types of tumours strengthens the argument that RF is a likely to be a carcinogen by providing “converging” evidence. The IARC announcemnt in May 2011 that RF is a group 2B carcinogen based mainly on the Human epidemiological data. Animal data at the time was found to be “limited” in supporting this. Now we have a study (admittedly, yet to be published) that has found similar tumours that we see in humans also appearing in exposed rats (and only in the exposed rats) and so raises the bar. We also have A. Lerchl et al. replicated study of Tillman showing RF can act as a tumour promoter that was not available at the time IARC convened to review scientific findings.
    I do wonder if the IARC were to reconvene on this subject today, taking into consideration the data that is now available, whether it would strengthen the push for a change in classification from 2B to 2A or higher?

  3. RE: “Animal models are useful in scientific research, but they cannot predict human responses with sufficient accuracy” … the past cannot be denied:

    In 1930, researchers in Cologne, Germany, made a statistical correlation between cancer and smoking. Eight years later, Dr. Raymond Pearl of Johns Hopkins University reported that smokers do not live as long as non-smokers. By 1944, the American Cancer Society began to warn about possible ill effects of smoking, although it admitted that “no definite evidence exists” linking smoking and lung cancer.

    A statistical correlation between smoking and cancer had been demonstrated; but no causal relationship had been shown. More importantly, the general public knew little of the growing body of statistics.

    During the 1950’s, more and more evidence was surfacing that smoking was linked to lung cancer. Although the tobacco industry denied such health hazards, they promoted new products which were “safer”, such as those with lower tar and filtered cigarettes.

    That changed in 1952, when Reader’s Digest published “Cancer by the Carton,” an article detailing the dangers of smoking. The effect of the article was enormous: Similar reports began appearing in other periodicals, and the smoking public began to take notice. The following year, cigarette sales declined for the first time in over two decades.

    In 1952 P. Lorillard markets its Kent brand with the “micronite” filter, which contained asbestos! This was fortunately discontinued in 1956.

    In 1953, Dr. Ernst L. Wynders finds that putting cigarette tar on the backs of mice causes tumors!

  4. Yes, I agree, we have not seen the study, nor the abstract of it. I am guessing that as we speak(w/r) the best minds of the FCC, FDA and the NIH are thinking of a way to publish the results without admitting they were completely wrong for about 40 years or more.
    On the other hand Louis Slesin is a very reliable guy and for years gave a true and balanced perspective on the issue.
    This might not be the “game changer” we might be looking for, but for now it seems that at least it is going to be “another brick in the wall”, maybe even a big brick.
    All the best
    Amir Borenstein

  5. Regardless of the final wording of the pending announcement, the NTP animal study will only become part of the body of science. It will not provide a conclusion to the debate – more, and better cellular, animal and epidemiological studies will be called for.

    Animal models are useful in scientific research, but they cannot predict human responses with sufficient accuracy to rely upon entirely. And when you have positive data from rats, but negative data from mice – what does that predict about human response?

  6. Dariusz – A fact is a fact…and a drip becomes a drop that the industry will not be able to stop! The CTIA knows it (George Carlo’s study), the U.S. government knows it (SAR ratings), the insurance industry knows it (won’t insure wireless industry) and telecom manufacturers knows it (publishing warnings in their user manuals.)

    Albeit, slowly, more and more research and studies will begin to peel the onion, so eventually everyone will know it.

  7. Pingback: Le cellulaire cause les mêmes tumeurs chez les rats que chez les humains, selon une nouvelle étude fédérale américaine : Maison du 21e siecle – Le Magazine de la Maison Saine

  8. Unfortunately you may be right but I hope you are wrong and that society finally will take a more responsible turn. The stakes in terms of premature death and increase of diseases are too high now as whole populations are increasingly exposed, including small children. But the industry managed to downplay the results of the Reflex study, they managed to downpaly the results of the Interphone + the Hardell studies, hundreds of studies showing oxidative stress and DNA damage, they funded and thereby controlled the majority of animal studies looking for cancer effects etc etc. What we see now is increasing cancer rates that might still be underreported (+40% since 2000 in Sweden). In Sweden the number of cancers of the thyroid are going up very steep and cancers in the mouth to a lesser extent only during the last 6 years. See graphs from cancer registry here. During the same period smart phones that have a different exposure pattern were increasingly used. See also a study that found increased size of thyroid and stress-proteins in rats exposed to 2.45 GHz

  9. I understand your caution, and I also understand that the wireless industry will be using every asset at its disposal to bury the information, or to undermine the findings of the study.

    However, having followed Microwave News for some time, I am extremely confident that Louis Slesin will be in possession of the facts, and that he would not unnecessarily “big up” this news, or misreport what he has been told by influential sources.

    On this basis, and accepting that Big Wireless will be throwing everything it has at this (thought it was upset about the Berkeley cellphone ordinance? You ain’t seen nothing yet), social media is doing what I believe it is there to do, which is to disseminate news of jaw-dropping importance, and prevent precisely the cover-ups and manipulation of information by the wireless industry that you highlight.

    At the risk of being an optimist, I see this historic news as representing the unravelling of the “thermal effects only” argument, and – as long as it hasn’t been exaggerated and the underlying science is unimpeachable, I hope and believe that many, many good things will eventually flow from it.

    Assuming this to be so, where now for WHO, ICNIRP, IEEE, IARC, SCENIHR etc.?

  10. Undoubtedly, you will be shown to be correct in your assessment Dariusz. But not before there is some panic within these organisations as they attempt build their case to downplay the findings. Of course such late findings will not be well received by ICNIRP or WHO as they work on closing off their draft updates (ICNIRP Guidelines and EHC report).

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