14/01/2004 - Denmark is determined to refuse 3G at least until March
Several Danish municipalities have put a ban on siting 3G masts in their areas. In response to this, the minister of telecommunications told them they could be sued, but the mayors were unimpressed, remained uninfluenced by this sort of pressure, and continued with their ban.
The Danish Health Council (under political pressure, it is believed), sent a letter to all the mayors concerned, telling tham that both masts and phones were completely harmless. However, shortly after this in November 2003, the Health ministry sent another letter to the local authorities saying that mobile phones could be dangerous for children and therefore masts should not be put up on schools - everywhere else would be ok. Unfortunately, the Health Council and the Danish Cancer Society have been heavily criticised by local authority officers with respect to their contradictory messages and overall lack of credibility.
In the middle of December, in a meeting organised for local authority officers, Chr Johansen from the Danish Cancer Society was challenged as to why masts should not be put on schools, as he had said that mobile phones could cause brain cancer for everyone, but masts were completely harmless. He replied that the schools' decision was only made from a psychological and politically correct point of view.
When it was pointed out to him that there were actually no scientific studies that clearly showed a greater susceptibility for brain cancer in children, and that "a psychological and politically correct" decision on planning was a most cynical way of manipulating people's and parents feelings, he and the Health council refused to make further comment until they had spoken to their superiors. (lawyers?)
One of the lawyers present said that the telecommunications industry will never be held responsible for any ill health effects. The responsibility will be laid at the door of those giving permission for the masts, e.g. property owners and local authorities. It is likely that the municaplities will keep their ban on masts and wait for the parliamentary public hearing on mobile phones in March. Those that do not have a ban may re-consider their stance.
Andrew Mitchell, MP for Sutton Coldfield, to ask questions in a 15 minute debate on Mobile Phone and Mast technology
Andrew Mitchell is becoming increasingly concerned about the potential health risks associated with mobile phone technology, as a result of information and research initially brought to his attention by his constituents in Wishaw. He has been collecting queries and concerns, including from Powerwatch, in order to pose questions in the House in January 2004.
T-Mobile held to task in Chislehurst in December
T-Mobile tried to dig a hole in the wrong place for a mast, and was prevented by local protestors. Their action was reinforced by council officials who pointed out the company's errors to the workmen. The company will need a fresh application for the new site. The reporter said that T-Mobile wants to work with residents to find a solution. Right!
The hidden agenda behind scientific research
In a conference held in summer 2003 in Washington, D.C. called "Conflicted Science", journalists, researchers and university professors told how corporate money has corrupted or stifled their areas of work. They concluded "we can no longer trust what is presented to us as 'science', not even when it comes from what appear to be independent sources. Many nonprofit organisations have become the messengers for corporate interests".
It was pointed out that industries have more tricks than simple economic pressure to stifle contradictory reports. The Freedom of Information Act is used by industry to force the premature disclosure of data so that the data can be attacked as flawed before a study is ever completed.
When papers are submitted to journals for publication, most journals insist upon a peer-review process, to evaluate the credibility of the paper's conclusions. Yet major medical journals have recently relaxed their disclosure policies because it's nearly impossible to find a scientist for peer review who is not connected to an industry. This opens up avenues for very poor science, as well as 'corrupted' science.
The current culture is increasingly fashioned by the needs of corporate capitalism, so institutions from agriculture to education, health to government are becoming handmaidens of the corporate empire. While there are certainly pockets of resistance in science as in other spheres of modern life, it is unrealistic to expect that science will remain untainted.
For those of us with a keen interest in working to end the cancer epidemic, recognising the reality of 'conflicted science' means cultivating a constantly critical eye.
Environmental pollution and child development
In a new book by Colleen Moore, Silent Scourge: Children, Pollution and Why Scientists Disagree, OUP 2003, Moore, a developmental psychologist, reviews the case against lead, mercury, PCBs, pesticides, noise, and radio and chemical wastes. She explains the danger these pose to child development in the areas of intellectual function, behaviour, emotional state and overall physical and psychological well-being. She also adresses the question: How can scientists disagree without being dishonest?
The main reason she maintains (even allowing for the effects of corruption, corporate influence, or political manipulation, which certainly play a part), is that behind every issue to do with environmental protection, 'they apply different decision standards'. The 'they' tends to be a political rather than a scientific body, which decides on environmental policy as a result of a different agenda to the scientific one. Based on a historical precedent to do with lead additives in fuel, the Kehoe paradigm was cited; pollutants '... should be allowed unless and until it is shown to be a health hazard ... because there are benefits of its use.'
Where there is dispute about whether there is, or what constitutes, a health hazard, the question remains a vexed one. The burden of proof seems to be placed squarely on the polluted, not the polluter.
Moore believes that vested interests are preventing knowledge about the effects of pesticides on children. Lack of research is based on the questionable assumption (promoted by whom?) that low-level exposure to pesticides is safe, and the political reality that those children who are most likely to be exposed to pesticides are probably poor and minority children living in inner cities or agricultural areas (whose votes are unimportant). Moore was unable to find any studies that follow up child pesticide poisoning victims to see how they perform in school later. There was not even any good research to see if there is a link between current exposures to pesticides and neurobehavioural functioning in children. Perhaps we need look no further than the conclusions from the conference mentioned above to realise why.
Perhaps she should have added EMFs to her list of environmental pollutants; the similarities are striking.