Was it ‘cherry-picking’ or ‘lack-of-understanding’ by journalists from ‘triple j Hack’ radio on ABC Sydney

On Tuesday evening, May, 22, 2019, I had skype interview with journalist from the ‘triple j Hack’ on ABC radio from Sydney, Australia. The interview lasted some 15-20 minutes and I have expressed numerous opinions concerning the carcinogenicity classification of cell phone radiation, possible individual sensitivity to this radiation and the reliability of the safety assurances for the 5G. Only very few of them ended up in the broadcast and in the subsequent article.

One of the topics that came out during the interview was the thermal and non-thermal effects of cell phone radiation. There, I have presented an opinion that we have an indirect proof that non-thermal effects exist. This proof comes not just from the numerous in vitro studies, that easily can be trivialized and dismissed. The proof of non-thermal effects comes from the human epidemiology case-control studies.

This opinion of mine was completely omitted from the podcast emitted on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 (podcast link), as well as from the article published on ‘triple j Hack’ website on Thursday, May 23, 2019 (article link).

Thus, I have complained to the journalist who interviewed me and I pointed out that my opinion concerning existence of proof of non-thermal effects was expressed by me during the interview and it should be included at least in the article on ‘triple j Hack’ website. I wrote to the journalist:

“…During the interview that we had, I said that there is an indirect proof of non-thermal effects being responsible for the increased risk of developing glioma. Namely, person using regular mobile phone for over 10 years for 30 minutes every day has an increased risk of developing brain cancer glioma. The regular phone is a phone that this person purchased in shop. It means that this regular phone is compliant with the current safety limits. This means that safety limits prevent this phone to emit radiation levels that could cause thermal effects. This proves that non-thermal effects exist because person’s risk of developing glioma rises while using mobile phone that is unable to cause thermal effects. Hence, non-thermal effects exist.

Because in the article [on triple j Hack website] is so much stressed by Croft and Karipidis and Kruszelnicki that mobile phone radiation can cause only thermal effects, it is important to point out the other possibility, and proof that I presented in our interview…”

The journalist agreed and promised that an update will be made to the article on ‘triple j Hack’:

“…Thank you Dariusz. The ABC does not cherry pick. This is being updated to clarify your point…”

… and the following update has been made by ‘triple j Hack’ journalists:

“…Epidemiological studies have provided supportive evidence of the increased risk of brain tumours from mobile use, and others have suggested this could be due to DNA damage (there’s a summary of the peer-reviewed studies here).

Most national regulators believe non-ionising radiation only has a thermal effect, i.e. it heats up the body, but does not have any other effect, such as damaging DNA.

Leszczynski says these studies are evidence it also has a non-thermal effect.

If that’s true, it would overturn the scientific basis of our current limits on mobile phone radiation exposure.

However, these studies are limited. As Leszczynski says: “This result is from epidemiological studies that can show only whether there’s an increase or not an increased risk of developing disease.

“They cannot demonstrate in particular this radiation has caused this cancer.”

His point is that we just don’t know what exactly is going on, and therefore we should be cautious…”

It is a matter of opinion how well the update reflects my opinion presented above… I am not very satisfied as no expert is happy when his opinion is rewritten and revised by a non-expert journalist…

To recap, there are four sets of case-control studies demonstrating that using the cell phone for over 10 years period and speaking on it every day for at least 30 minutes, increases risk of developing brain cancer – glioma. The increase in risk was by 40% in INTERPHONE study, by 100% in French CERENAT study, by 100% in Canadian re-calculation of INTERPHONE data and by 170% in studies from Swedish team of Lennart Hardell.

If ICNIRP or ARPANSA consider the evidence from these four sets of studies as invalid, they should prove that the results of these studies are worthless and should be excluded from the scientific considerations. Otherwise, results of these studies should not be arbitrarily dismissed or trivialized, as it is happening now.

And, a note to those claiming that the lack of noticeable “glioma epidemic” disproves the validity of these four case-control sets of studies. It is not so. There is an easy explanation why the risk of glioma in population is not dramatically increasing.

The explanation comes from the well known and scientifically established phenomenon of individual sensitivity.

There is a well-known, and scientifically well-established, phenomenon of individual sensitivity (Foray et al. 2012). Individual sensitivity means that, because of the genetic and the epigenetic differences between people, different persons have different sensitivity to the same exposing factor (radiation or chemicals). The phenomenon of the individual sensitivity to radiation is well known for ionizing radiation (Bourguignon et al. 2005a, 2005b), for non-ionizing ultraviolet radiation (Rees 2004, Kelly et al. 2000) and for ultrasound (Barnett et al. 1997). Therefore, it is scientifically justified to suspect (assume) that the individual sensitivity exists also for the EMF exposures. This means that not every user of cell phone is at risk of developing glioma. Only some users, having “suitably sensitive” genome and/or epigenome will react and may develop glioma. Our problem is that we do not know who these sensitive persons are and we do not do research to develop, clinically valid, testing methods detecting individual sensitivity to EMF.

Therefore, it is likely there will not happen any “glioma epidemic” but just some of the “unlucky” users of cell phones, having suitable genome and/or epigenome will risk development of glioma, or other ailment(s).

Besides Rodney Croft and Ken Karipidis, ABC’s ‘triple j Hack’ has used its own expert, Dr. Karl, who provided the most unscientific opinion that was presented, in the podcast and repeated in the article. Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki said that with cell phones we deal with non-ionizing radiation that is unable to cause cancer. It is incorrect opinion. We need to remember that agent can “cause” cancer either by inducing mutations or by causing changes in cells metabolism that support survival of cells with mutation, acquired spontaneously or caused by some other agent. Thus, any claim by anyone that non-ionizing radiation is automatically unable to “cause” cancer is biologically incorrect.

Finally, there is also an interesting sentence in the article. Of course it might be a glitch caused by the lack  of sufficient understanding of the topic by the journalist writing the article, but here it is [emphasis added by DL], and with “winking eye”:

“…Like Professor Croft and Dr Karl, ARPANSA follows the evidence-based assumption that non-ionising radiation will only cause an increase in temperature, and cannot cause cancer…”

References

  • Foray N, Colin C, Bourguignon M. 2012. 100 Years of Individual Radiosensitivity: How We Have Forgotten the Evidence. Radiology 264:627-631
  • Bourguignon MH, Gisone PA, Perez MR, Michelin S, Dubner D, Di Giorgio M, Carosella ED. 2005a. Genetic and epigenetic features in radiation sensitivity. Part I: Cell signalling in radiation response. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 32:229-246
  • Bourguignon MH,Gisone PA, Perez MR, Michelin S, Dubner D, Di Giorgio M, Carosella ED. 2005b. Ge-netic and epigenetic features in radiation sensitivity. Part II: implications for clinical practice and radia-tion protection. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 32:351-368
  • Rees 2004. The Genetics of Sun Sensitivity in Humans. Am J Hum Genet 75:739-751
  • Kelly DA, Young AR, McGregor JM, Seed PT, Potten CS, Walker SL. Sensitivity to Sunburn Is Associated with Susceptibility to Ultraviolet Radiation–induced Suppression of Cutaneous Cell–mediated Immunity. J Exp Med 191:561-566
  • Barnett SB, Rott HD, ter Haar GR, Ziskin MC, Maeda K. 1997. The sensitivity of biological tissue to ultra-sound
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3 thoughts on “Was it ‘cherry-picking’ or ‘lack-of-understanding’ by journalists from ‘triple j Hack’ radio on ABC Sydney

  1. You state here that “If ICNIRP or ARPANSA consider the evidence from these four sets of studies as invalid, they should prove that the results of these studies are worthless and should be excluded from the scientific considerations. Otherwise, results of these studies should not be arbitrarily dismissed or trivialized, as it is happening now.”

    However, you stated in your ‘REPORT from the BioEM2017’ that “Only the use of smartphone apps is a cost efficient and sufficiently accurate approach to assess radiation exposure of study subject without using “useless” and “misleading” surrogates of the radiation exposure like calls length (INTERPHONE, Hardell, CERENAT) or length of the phone subscription with the operator (Danish Cohort).”

    It would seem that you also have dismissed or trivialized these studies – for good reason.
    The inaccurate exposure assessments were useless and misleading!

  2. Dariuscz, Send me your email adress so I can send you some of the latest paper. I am thinking of Om Gandhis paper showing that the phone needs to be hold at a distance between 5 to 25 mm from the body in order to meet safety standards. This info is hidden in the manual with small prints!
    There is also the new advisory com. of IARC recommending an update of RF radiation.
    kjell.hansson.mild@radfys.umu.se

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