Subversion of Science: Royal Society of Canada panel with conflict of interest to review Safety Code 6!

Dr. Daniel KrewskiJune 18, 2013.  Finally a medical authority reveals what goes on behind closed doors!

Paul Christopher Webster wrote an article for the  Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) revealing conflict of interest for one member of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) panel asked to review Health Canada’s Safety Code 6.  This story was also covered by  The Star and Sun Media.

Daniel Krewski who is Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ontario and Director of the R. Samuel McLaughlin Centre, failed to disclose to the society that he had a $126 000 contract in 2008–2009 from Industry Canada. According to the Merx public tender document, Krewski’s contract was to ‘assist in addressing what the Department believes is opposition often based on misperception and misinformation’ with respect to cellphone antennas.

Krewski appears in a Health Canada video where he downplays the potentially harmful effects of Wi-Fi in schools.  In this video Krewski states: “Of the literally thousands of papers that have been written on this topic, very few have suggested health concerns and all of that information needs to be taken into account when reaching an overall conclusion.”

Click here for a debate on Cell Phone Safety with Krewski on KQED Radio.

There seems to be an incestuous relationship between Health Canada and Krewski.  One way to get the outcome you want is to ask the same people you hire to provide good PR to also review Safety Code 6.

Let’s examine the history of the Royal Society Reviews for Health Canada and is Krewski the only one we should be concerned about or is he the tip of the iceberg?

1st Royal Society Review–Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 (1999)

Krewski served on the original RSC panel that released its report on Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 in 1999.  In that document, the Royal Society acknowledged the possibility of non-thermal effects beyond contact current and shock (the only non-thermal effects considered by Health Canada and only for frequencies below 110 MHz) but did not recommend lowering SC 6 at that time until more research was conducted.   The Royal Society report also stated that existing guidelines were inadequate to protect parts of the body, especially the eyes and they recommended changes for this part of the guideline.  Health Canada made NO changes to SC6.

2nd Royal Society of Canada Review–RF literature (2005)

In 2005, Dr. Krewski–as lead author–updated the 1999 Royal Society Report for the years 2001–2003.   The conclusions in that document are as follows:

All of the authoritative reviews completed within the last 2 yr have concluded that there is no clear evidence of adverse health effects associated with RF fields from mobile phones.  The British Medical Association (2001), for example, concluded that “whilst there are small physiological effects within the existing guidelines, there are no definite adverse health effects from mobile phones or their base stations.” At the same time, these same reviews support the need for further research to clarify the possible associations between RF fields and adverse health outcomes that have appeared in some reports, including possible associations with brain cancer (Hardell et al., 2002a, 2002b, 2003a, 2003b; Kundi et al., 2004). Research on the biological effects of low-level RF fields (including modulated signals), such as alteration of enzyme activity and transport of ions across cellular membranes, is also encouraged.

Be wary of wiggle words, highlighted in red above.  These are words used to mislead, downplay, divert from the real meaning intended in scientific studies.

Translation:
1.  authoritative reviews:  groups who think like us
2.  no clear evidence of adverse health effects:  there is evidence of adverse health effects
3. while there are small physiological effects:  there are physiological effects
3.  no definite adverse health effects:  there are adverse health effects
4.  need for further research:  delay tactic
There is always a need for more research to better understand something.  The real question is do we have enough of an understanding to change policy?
5.  possible associations between RF fields and adverse health outcomes:  there are associations between RF fields and adverse health outcomes

 

What the above paragraph states is the following:  There are physiological effects below existing RF guidelines.  There are adverse health effects, especially brain tumors,  associated with RF fields from mobile phones. Specific research is needed on biological effects at low levels (below existing guidelines) especially on enzyme activity and transport mechanisms.  NOTE: Health Canada does not conduct research below the thermal guidelines for RF frequencies according to their senior scientists, James McNamee.  If you don’t look . . . you can’t find.

3rd Royal Society of Canada Review– Safety Code 6 (2013)

Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 is normally reviewed every 10 years.  Health Canada decided to conduct an earlier review.  This makes sense.  Recently (2011)  the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as a possible human carcinogen.  In addition to cancer, studies show that  radio frequency radiation (RFR) affects sperm; and contributes to electrohypersensitivity (EHS).  A growing number of educational and activist web sites combined with media coverage are contributing to greater public awareness of this issue so it was a wise move for Health Canada to conduct an early review of Safety Code 6.

Health Canada needs to be reassured that their guidelines are sufficient to protect public health and they could not have picked a better group of people to give them that assurance.

Members of the Royal Society panel selected to review Safety Code 6 are available here.   They include:

Dr. Daniel Krewski, Chair (University of Ottawa)
Dr. Brian Christie (University of Victoria)
Dr. Richard Findlay (EMFcomp, UK)
Dr. Kenneth Foster (University of Pennsylvania)
Dr. Louise Lemyre (University of Ottawa)
Dr. John Moulder (Medical College of Wisconsin)
Dr. Frank Prato (Western University)
Dr. Rianne Stam (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment,
Bilthoven, the Netherlands)

Daniel Krewski:  The expose speaks for itself.

Brian Christie does not published in this field so why was he selected for this panel?

Richard Findlay is a computational physicist who worked for the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) in the UK.   The UK had the worst radio frequency standards in the world.  They are now in line with ICNIRP but are still too high to protect public health.

The view of Public Health England (Health Protection Agency link) on Wi-Fi in schoolssmart meters and  cordless telephones is as follows:

• There is no consistent evidence to date that exposure to radio signals from Wi-Fi and WLANs adversely affects the health of the general population. 

• The evidence to date suggests exposures to the radio waves produced by smart meters do not pose a risk to health.

• Cordless phones and their base stations have output powers much too low for exposures to exceed internationally accepted guidelines and HPA does not consider there are particular safety issues with their use.

Kenneth Foster:  Published a commentary (Microwaves:  the risks of risk research) in the British Scientific Journal Nature (1987, volume 330) calling for an end to research that examines the risks of microwave radiation.  Clearly, according to Foster, we knew as much as we needed to know about the risks of microwave radiation back in 1987!

Louise Lemyre is McLaughlin Research Chair on Psychosocial Aspects of Risk on Population Health.  She frequently publishes with Krewski. His name appears 66 times related to her research and publications.   Someone needs to ask if any of her research is funded by the wireless industry and, if it is, why this conflict of interest is tolerated.

Why has RSC appointed two members to this panel who work together on a regular basis from the same university (University of Ottawa) and the same institute (R. Samuel McLaughlin Centre)?  Surely there are others who do research in this field who would be as, if not more, appropriate.

Why does this panel have a psychologist but not an epidemiologist?  Is the aim to designate electrohyersensitivity as a psychological disorder rather than a bonafide physiological response to radio frequency radiation?

John Moulder has had a lucrative career in consulting for industry.  According to his CV Moulder has been a consultant for Minnesota Power Company, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, Bermuda Digital Communications, Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association to name a few.

Moulder is also a Senior Editor of Radiation Research, a journal known to publish primarily studies that show no harmful effects of non-ionizing radiation.  Microwave News provides an expose on this journal and on Moulder that is worth reading.

Frank Prato does MRI and PET imaging so he is not going to say anything that would indicate this technology may be harmful to some people.  He was a panel member in the previous two reviews by the Royal Society of Canada on Radio frequency radiation.  He testified to the Parliamentary Health Committee in 2010 (HESA) that there is no need to remove Wi-Fi in schools simply because children and parents are complaining of symptoms of microwave radiation, because they are also exposed in other places.

I am unfamiliar with Rianne Stam so I looked her up.  One of her recent papers is on the effects of electromagnetic fields on the blood-brain barrier.

This is what she states in her abstract: Exposure to levels of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) that increase brain temperature by more than 1°C can reversibly increase the permeability of the BBB for macromolecules.  I agree with this statement.

Then she goes on to state:  The balance of experimental evidence does not support an effect of ‘non-thermal’ radiofrequency fields with microwave and mobile phone frequencies on BBB permeability . . . The literature on effects of low frequency EMF, which do not cause tissue heating, is sparse and does not yet permit any conclusions on permeability changes . . . Studies on the potential effect of EMF exposure on permeability of the BBB in humans are virtually absent.

Obviously she is unfamiliar with the work of Oscar and Hawkins (1977); Salford et al. 1992;  Persson et al.  1997; and Schirmacher et al. 2000.

The Royal Society did not do their homework when selecting this group for their expert panel to review Safety Code 6.  Removing Krewski as the Chair is insufficient to convert this into a legitimate, unbiased, expert panel at arm’s length from both Health Canada and the wireless industry to review Safety Code 6.

The honorable thing to do is for the RSC to go back to the drawing board and select members from the international scientific and medical community, who publish in this field,  are not funded by the wireless industry, and  present a diverse mix of expertise and opinion related to this topic.  In other words, RSC should follow its own guidelines on what constitutes an expert panel.

If this is not done, the outcome of this review is obvious since the one thing panel members have in common is that they don’t believe this radiation is harmful as long as it is below Safety Code 6.

For more information visit Citizens 4 Safe Technology at www.c4st.org

Addendum:

I was alerted to the fact that Kenneth Foster did a study on Wi-Fi exposure that was supported by the WiFi Alliance  (Foster KR, Radiofrequency exposure from wireless LANs utilizing Wi-Fi technology. Health Phys. 92:280-9, 2007). See FAQ:  WiFi and Health.

Interesting that this FAQ document references the Health Protection Agency (HPA) that Richard Findlay worked for to address the question, “Can Wi-Fi technology be used safely in schools?”

The Foster study, referenced above, showed that levels of radiation from Wi-Fi are below international guidelines.  This is NOT news nor is this the issue.  The issue is whether it is sensible, logical, wise to expose children for 6 hours daily in school to microwave radiation that has been associated with cancer, reproductive problems, and symptoms of electrohypersensitivity when we know that children are more vulnerable than adults to environmental toxins.   The International Guidelines for microwave radiation (same guidelines as in Canada and the U.S.) are based ONLY on HEATING and NOT on BIOLOGICAL CHANGES and potential HEALTH EFFECTS! There are no International Guidelines to protect the public against anything other than heating!  Determining whether or not levels of radiation exceed International Guidelines is a red herring as it is diverting attention away from the main issue.  It provides a sense of false security for those unfamiliar with the research in this area.

Who and what is the WiFi Alliance and how is it funded?

The Wifi Alliance is a “global non-profit organization with the goal of driving adoption of high-speed wireless local area networking.”

Follow the money.  WiFi Alliance is sponsored by T-mobile, Texas Instruments, Sony, Samsung, Qualcomm, Nokia, Motorola, Microsoft, LG, Intel, Huawei, Dell, Comcast, Cisco, Broadcom, and Apple.

Is this the organization you would trust to give you unbiased information about the safety of Wi-Fi?

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